Me Monday | Life Update!

A few days ago marked the 6 month anniversary of this blog! I realise that I’ve missed several Mondays’ worth of posts lately, and haven’t really given any personal updates on the blog itself, so hopefully today will make up for it a little.

What’s New?

I am considering upgrading the blog soon – I’d love my own domain and I feel that it would be more professional and motivate me to produce better content. I’m biding my time until I get a new job though!

I said I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo… then got an idea. Review Wednesdays may be few and far between this month as I’m taking more time to write than read. I may share snippets if I feel like it but so far I’m very, very far behind so there’s not much to share!

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Health wise I know my last update (The Truth) was well, not good to say the least. I was getting some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sorted but, perhaps ironically, by the time the letter came through at the start of September I wasn’t actually well enough to make the phone call to book my first appointment, so I missed my chance there. I’m doing okay without, though – I’ve never had therapy before and although I’m sure I would benefit from it I am able to cope without. At the moment things are ok, and looking up all the time, so I think I’m fine without for now. Onwards and upwards!

Other than the above, my life is pretty dull at the moment really! There are a few blog opportunities coming up though, and I am looking forward to Christmas and my birthday (cough 54 days cough).

To Be Read

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I have an ever-growing to-be-read pile at the moment! It feels like I finish one book and buy at least two more! Here are some of the physical ones I have:

-A Monster Calls – it feels like I bought this an age ago, and still haven’t read it! I’ll get to it eventually!

– Daughters of the Witching Hill – I bought this just before Halloween but didn’t get the chance to read it then.

-Suite Francaise – “If in doubt, read historical fiction” is slowly becoming my life motto. This has a really interesting back story so will hopefully be a good read!

-Humans – I know, I know, another Matt Haig. This came into the charity shop where I work and I had to pick it up. I am intentionally putting it at the bottom of the pile to mix my reading up, so it’ll be a while before I get to it!

-Reckless – I got this around the same time I got A Monster Calls, but I don’t really know what to do with it. I realised when I got it home that it’s actually an uncorrected proof, and much shorter than the published copy. I think I’ll probably get a copy of the published edition and possibly read both to compare, but I just don’t have the time or drive at the moment to read the same book twice!

So that’s me, pretty much.  What’s going on with your life? Are you on top of your TBR? Give me an update of your own!

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | Costumes on a Budget!

I am a big advocate of the budget costume. For the past few Halloweens I’ve been a poor student, and this year I’m a poor graduate – I have budget costumes down to a T, and by now I think I have enough tips to write at least a post about it!

1) Don’t buy a costume!

Okay, hear me out – of course you’ll have to buy a few things, that’s obvious, but don’t buy a full costume. They may be quick and easy, but they’re also generally speaking cheaply made, overpriced and nothing you can’t do yourself! Unless you’re really pressed for time or intend to wear it several times, they aren’t worth the expense.

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I had to buy the apron & headband for this Magenta costume because I ran out of time & don’t have the sewing talent! I only got one wear out of them – not worth it. 

2) Come up with an idea based on what you already own.

I must admit that most of my wardrobe is black. This makes Halloween pretty easy – just add a few accessories and some face paint to an LBD and I’m good to go! A lot of costumes can be based around normal clothing, and don’t forget any unwanted clothes that still even vaguely fit – they could be zombified! My costume in first year was a zombie look based on a dress with a hole by the waistband; add some more rips and holes and some brown/black eye shadow & it looked great.

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If in doubt, coat yourself in fake blood.

3) Things that are worth buying: face paint, coloured paper, glue, fake blood.

Last year I was a scary clown. As a crafty person I already had things like card and glue, so it was a no brainer to make my own accessories – a ruff, hat and buttons. I already had the dress, so all I spent money on was a face paint set (on sale at a toy shop before I went back to uni), tights and some neon orange paper. If you have a good stash of craft things you’re probably set – if not, there are plenty of places that sell the basics pretty cheap. Unless it’s something you really, really can’t make, I’d say try DIY!

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I was so proud of this costume tbh. Getting blackout drunk was an appropriate way to show it off. 

4) Not crafty? Not a problem.

There are plenty of easy peasy costumes that require little to no crafting ability while still looking good. As previously mentioned, zombie costumes are so easy – just scruff up some clothes you don’t care about using scissors and some dark eyeshadow – you can’t go wrong because they’re supposed to look messy and ripped (although if you don’t want to flash I would suggest tactical ripping!). Another easy one is a mad scientist – you’d have to get hold of a lab coat, but what you wear underneath is up to you; as crazy or normal as you’d like. Mess your hair up, put some blobs of odd coloured eyeshadow on the coat/your face et voila! I did this one for a SciFi social, basing my look on Steam Powered Giraffe’s Walter Workers, and won best costume! If you’re really last minute and stuck, don’t doubt the power of some pound shop/dollar store fake blood – turn dark clothing into a vampire look with a few dots on your neck and some drops on your chin. There’s no excuse not to make even that little bit of effort!

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5) Have fun & get creative!

Halloween is a great excuse to explore your crazy, wacky, fun side and express yourself in any way you want – so go for it! Don’t be scared of having a ‘Mean Girls Moment’ – I have before and while it was a little bit embarrassing at first, I had the most fun putting my costume together and I think I probably felt the best.

Just have fun & so long as you feel good in your costume, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! These last two are two of my favourite costumes from uni (the other favourite being my clown costume) – in the first I was a gothic loli girl & wore a lacy black dress, ripped tights and boots, all of which I already owned. The second is my Megara cosplay – I did spend money on this, buying a stretchy lilac dress, a violet scarf for her waist and a long, grecian style skirt; but I’ve worn it several times and definitely got my money’s worth, as well as wearing the individual parts for other costumes.

I unfortunately only have pictures of my full body in the costumes with other people and most are pretty messy (read: drunken) so unfortunately shoulders up shots will have to do! I think they illustrate my point well enough though! What are you going as for Halloween? Have you got your costume together yet?

See you soon,

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Sweet ‘stume. [x]

Review Wednesday | Book Review – The Radleys

They talk some more, Will prompting Peter into remembering their early childhood on the barge. How their parents always went that extra mile to make their infancy special, like the time they brought a freshly killed department store Santa Clause home for their midnight Christmas feast.

The Radleys are a pretty average family. Peter, Helen and their two teenagers Clara and Rowan live a fairly normal life – until the local bully tries to assault vegan Clara at a party. Let’s just say she finds her taste for meat.

The plot of The Radleys isn’t particularly original. A family of non-humans trying to fit in to normal society? It’s been done a million times. What Matt Haig brings to the table, however, is a twisted sense of humour and gruesome detail. This book is very funny and immensely enjoyable. The characters, while vampires, are very realistic. The plot appears quite silly, but the book doesn’t read that way – if you don’t have much of a sick sense of humour, I wouldn’t recommend! The Radleys is gruesome and dark, and doesn’t sugar coat the addictive qualities that blood supposedly possesses for the vampires. It’s more than just not drinking it, it’s an addiction that plagues Peter and his brother Will especially.

I think one of my favourite parts of the book are the extracts from ‘The Abstainers’ Handbook’ between chapters. ‘The Abstainers’ Handbook’ is a book owned by Peter and Helen. It is a guide for vampires living without drinking human (or vampire) blood, and provides a lot of the information the reader gets on the vampires’ subculture. It adds a layer to the book that ties everything up wonderfully, and expands the world.

This is the second Matt Haig book I’ve reviewed, the first being Reasons to Stay Alive. This makes Haig the first author I’ve reviewed more than once (although I have written about JK Rowling on several occasions). In Reasons to Stay Alive Haig has a very distinctive voice, and this is still very clear in the Radleys, despite it being fiction and non-biographical. There’s something very real and relatable in his writing style that pulls me in.

Overall, The Radleys is a brilliant magical realist novel, with comedy and heart by the bucketful. I’d definitely recommend this book!

See you soon,

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Fandom Friday | Non-Scary Films for Wimpy Halloween Lovers (AKA Me)

I am the first to admit that I’m a huge wimp when it comes to scary films. It’s the idea more than anything; I watched Blair Witch Project with friends and didn’t find it scary. What I do love though is Halloween – the quirky, fun-loving celebration, the history, the costumes (I am a sucker for dressing up). While a lot of people choose to watch scary films and spend the night creeping themselves out, I’d much rather tap into what has become the spirit of the holiday and enjoy some kooky, spooky fun! Here’s my list of favourite Halloween films – although it should be noted that while they may not be scary, they aren’t all suitable for children!

The Halloweentown Trilogy

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There will be a lot of Disney on this list. The Halloweentown films are essential for 90s kid throwback Halloween film nights! Three ordinary children discover that they descend from the famous Cromwell witches, and embark on a journey to their grandmother’s home in Halloweentown – a place full of weird and wonderful new friends. Unsurprisingly, trouble is brewing and it’s up to the new Cromwell witches (and their brother – the males in the line have little to no magical power) to save the day.

Nightmare Before Christmas

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This one is pretty self explanatory. A classic Autumn-Winter film, this is a must watch around Halloween. If you need a costume idea, you will almost certainly find inspiration here!

The Addams Family

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Is it Halloween without the all together ooky-ness of The Addams Family? Whether you prefer the original tv show or the later movies, nothing helps get those festive spirits up like the Addams’. Also, Gomez + Morticia = Goals. Seriously.

R.L Stine’s The Haunting Hour (Don’t Think About It)

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This is a great first “scary” film – it’s not really scary, but it has the tropes and suspense of horror films. A classic DCOM-style Halloween film.

The Corpse Bride

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Burton at his best, the Corpse Bride combines the darkness and kooky, colourful madness that make Halloween what it is.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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Do I really need to say anything about this one? Just watch it.

Coraline

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Okay, so this doesn’t fill the “non-scary” quota as well as the others. Coraline is certainly much darker in tone than the others, and definitely creepier, but it didn’t scare me so you’re probably good. It’s a beautiful film and a really strong concept that I’d definitely recommend.

Beetlejuice

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If you’ve followed my blog for a while you are probably aware of my huge crush on Winona Ryder, so this will come as no surprise to you. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s sick – but it’s not scary. Perfect.

I know this post is really short and it’s definitely not at the level of quality I wanted for it but I ran out of time and I just don’t have the time this weekend to do it as a late post instead. Hopefully it’s been useful anyway and you like some of my recommendations!

Are you a massive wimp too? Did I miss any of your favourites out?

See you soon,

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Legit me. [x]

Review Wednesday | Book Review – The Museum Guard

Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1938. Orphaned at the age of nine by a zeppelin crash, DeFoe Russet grew up in a hotel under the care of his magnetic uncle Edward. Now thirty, DeFoe works with Edward as a guard in Halifax’s three-room Glace Museum. By day, he and his uncle break the silence of the museum with heated conversations that show them to be ‘opposites at life’. By night, DeFoe spends his time trying to keep the affection of Imogen Linny.

[…]

When the Dutch painting ‘Jewess on a Street in Amsterdam’ arrives at the museum, Imogen becomes obsessed and abandons her life in favour of the ennobled one she imagines for its subject – even though being a Jew in Amsterdam is becoming more and more perilous as the clouds of World War 2 begin to gather.

I’ll say it now – this is not a happy book. While there are certainly many warm, happy and even funny moments, the book is overall actually quite unsettling. Much of it is relatable and familiar, and yet as the novel (and time) progresses the threat of war and the larger events of the novel itself loom over the residents of Halifax. Listening to the radio late at night, for example, turns into religious following of Ovid Lamartine, a Canadian reporter in Europe, as he discusses the increasingly dangerous situation in Europe.

The smaller details make this novel what it is. There is a huge amount of drama, heartbreak, betrayal and moral uncertainty in the book – all of which is countered by Norman’s incredible ability to bring the banal to the forefront. DeFoe’s coping mechanism is ironing – scenes of great drama are softened by piles of crumpled laundry. The Museum Guard paints the picture of a world dangerously close to destruction, and yet this isn’t the focus; in fact the novel ends before the war starts. There’s something poetic in this – we are left with the same sense of impending doom that the characters experience throughout the novel.

The way the novel ends and the setting leaves the reader in a very strange position – we cannot feel much hope for the characters, and the novel doesn’t give us any reason to have any; we know what is about to happen to the world in general, and any predictions we can make about the characters are not positive ones.

This is a very short review, I know, but this book really does speak for itself. The plot is incredibly odd, and yet remains real and raw. Norman has honestly left me speechless, and that’s definitely a good thing.

See you soon,

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Last Post: Review Wednesday | Book Review – Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

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I couldn’t think of (or be bothered to find) a good gif for this, so I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from the book instead;

Life is full of dramas of the soul’s estrangement and reconciliation.

 

Review Wednesday | Book Review – Fish Change Direction In Cold Weather

When his parents split up, and his dad leaves home, a ten year old boy begs the sky to help him. The next day an ice storm covers his city. Then the power goes out, the temperature drops and people must turn to each other to survive.

Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather is a novel by Pierre Szalowski, translated into English by Alison Anderson. It is set in the infamous Montreal ice storm in 1998, and centres around several people in one small area. The format is quite Love Actually esque; the characters’ stories slowly and improbably intertwine as the narrative unfolds.

This isn’t exactly a revolutionary book. It’s been done and it’ll be done again. The ending was quite predictable, and not just because we know the facts about the ice storm. Despite this, however, it was a very enjoyable book. The story played out well and although the characters weren’t massively developed, this almost added to the feel within the book that this fleeting event not only has the characters thrust into each others’ private lives, but it has thrown the reader in there too. We know bits about the characters’ back stories, but for the most part we are only shown what happens during the ice storm; this often leads to a sort of awkward intimacy that is reflected in the characters’ interactions with each other. We don’t know them, they don’t know each other, and yet we’re all forced into each others’ lives for a short period.

There are 9 main characters in the book (and 4 fish). This seems like a lot, but like most narratives of this nature they can be split into groups;

The Narrator and his parents – The narrator is a 10 year old boy, coming to terms with (or rather, denying entirely) his parents splitting up. He asks the sky for help the day before the ice storm hits, and spends much of the novel believing that he is controlling the storm.

Alex and Alexis – Alex is the narrator’s best friend and kind of a jerk. He pushes the narrator around and misbehaves at school, however we are encouraged to sympathise with him due to his living conditions; his father is an alcoholic and sleeps much of the day away, while his mother is nowhere to be seen.

Simon and Michel – An older gay couple, Simon and Michel were both previously married to women before finding each other. They are often mistaken for brothers in the street and are scared to ‘out’ themselves; they tend not to leave the house together if they can help it, much less show affection in public.

Julie – A stripper with 3 cats, Julie leads a relatively unknown life before the storm. We see very little of her and unfortunately I wasn’t satisfied with her character; it felt as though she was left behind because ‘stripper’ was enough explanation for her.

Boris – the character behind the title of the book, Boris is a Russian mathematician. He has been working on a dissertation for years about the affects of temperature on the trajectory of his four fish’s paths.

I don’t want to say much more about the characters for fear of spoiling the whole book, but they are all generally easy to read and even the less savoury do have likeability. Overall, I enjoyed this book and although it might not be the most original or surprising, it’s a heart-warming and lovely little read. The message of the book is basically that everything falls to shit sometimes, but there’s always hope and good – I personally think that it never hurts to be reminded of that.

See you soon,

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Last Post: Me Monday | Very Superstitious…

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Literally me at the pool. [x]

Me Monday | Very Superstitious…

Superstition has been around as long as humans have. Good luck charms, rituals to ward off bad energy and precautionary tales have become part of the human condition. Even those who may claim to not believe in anything of the sort may find themselves following a superstition, from avoiding ladders and cracks in the pavement to wearing certain things for certain events (anyone else have exam pants?). Even saying ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes stems from superstition – there are many variations of this all over the world, but all appear to originate from the belief that a sneeze opens the body up to evil spirits; blessing the person protects them from said evil.

We throw spilt salt over our shoulders, ‘touch wood’, dislike black cats (black animals continue to be the least likely to get adopted from shelters – because of a ridiculous and harmful belief stemming from associations with witches.)

But why, in a world that increasingly rejects the belief in anything other than the known world, do we still have superstition?

Personally, a lot of my beliefs are based on the idea that we simply don’t know what’s out there. We can’t prove that there is a god or higher being, but we can’t solidly disprove it either. There are plenty of things without scientific explanation, and plenty of reasons to believe that there could be something else. Luck and karma may seem farfetched, but energy is definitely something I can get behind; it is common sense that if you have a good attitude towards something that you’re more likely to be successful, right? So why is it so crazy to believe in letting good energy in and keeping bad energy out?

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Is this the face of evil? I mean she is, but not because of her colour!

Of course, many superstitions do stem from basic common sense. Walking under a ladder is dangerous to both yourself and the person on the ladder, and walking on uneven paving can make you trip over. I also feel, however, that many superstitions that we still follow nowadays may simply be a case of not wanting to find out what happens if you don’t follow the superstition. People with good luck charms tend to get distressed and thrown off if they forget or lose them, in the same way that not following a routine may stress someone out. There is also a sense of fear; while you may not believe in whatever bad thing will supposedly happen if you don’t follow superstition correctly, there may still be enough fear there to do that thing. This article by The Atlantic discusses this phenomenon – while atheists should have no issue reading statements claiming God will damn them to Hell, it still makes them as uncomfortable as it does religious people. When asked what would happen if a witch offered to cast an evil spell on them, students said that they should accept the spell with no worries – and yet personally most wouldn’t risk it.

It doesn’t matter how logical we are, humans still have some kind of doubt about what exists and what doesn’t. Superstition and religion are thought by many to be irrational and illogical things to believe in. They’re often seen as old explanations for things, which are becoming more and more obsolete with the evolution of science. While this may well be the case, there is clearly something about superstition and supernatural belief that sticks with us – whether it’s force of habit and a matter of tradition or a sincere belief and fear of a judgemental universe with a distaste for umbrellas and love of rabbits’ feet.

Are you superstitious? If so, what superstitions do you adhere too & why? If not, do you believe in luck or karma?

Some more things I read while writing this that were really interesting:

13 Common (But Silly) Superstitions– Live Science

Why Do We Say ‘Bless You’ or ‘Gesundheit’ When People Sneeze? – Howstuffworks

Knock on Wood in Different Languages (or the equivalent sayings) – WordReference

See you soon,

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Jinkies! [x]

 

 

Review Wednesday | Book Review – The Hidden People (ARC Review)

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Pretty Lizzie Higgs is gone, burned to death on her own hearth – but was she really a changeling, as her husband insists? Albie Mirralls met his cousin only once, in 1851, within the grand glass arches of the Crystal Palace, but unable to countenance the rumours that surround her murder, he leaves his young wife in London and travels to Halfoak, a village steeped in superstition.

Albie begins to look into Lizzie’s death, but in this place where the old tales hold sway and the ‘Hidden People’ supposedly roam, answers are slippery and further tragedy is just a step away . . .

 I received this book free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The blurb sounded interesting, and didn’t quite occur to me until after I was approved to read it that it was classed by Amazon as a horror. I am not good at scary books, so I did approach it tentatively after that. I feel like my own nervousness made getting into the book difficult; however I was soon hooked despite my cowardice!

Despite my own inability to focus, this novel was very good and definitely had an interesting premise. I feel like it was very realistic as a piece set in Victorian Britain; the language was largely convincing, although I wasn’t as sold by the Yorkshire accents. The story had the feel of a Victorian novel; I often found that I’d have to remind myself that it is a contemporary piece – I’m someone who’s read an awful lot of Victorian fiction, so I’d say that’s effective writing!

I personally wouldn’t have classified this as horror. While there was a lot of suspense, and there was certainly some horrific imagery, I was never really scared by it. As a massive wimp, I’m honestly quite glad of this! It works very well as a historical suspense or even a crime novel.  While the story was mostly uneventful, with the main events occurring before the main story begins and towards the end, it was very enjoyable and certainly worth reading for the sheer amount of detail and work put into it – it is obvious from the start that Littlewood’s story is the result of huge amounts of research, and is clearly a labour of love. I love a novel that clearly has a huge amount of background work behind it, especially when it is executed as well as this.

Overall, I found that The Hidden People was an engaging and detailed read, with plenty of twists and suspense. It made for a great read, and although I imagine for many the ending could be unfulfilling, I found it satisfying and very Victorian. The story cuts through the pastoral Victorian country life, showing an incredibly dark side to the simple, peaceful existence of the people of Halfoak and by extension many rural areas in the 19th century. The version I was sent, which will presumably be the same as the eBook edition when it’s published, includes author’s notes at the end describing the very real cases and folklore the story came from – most notably the case of Bridget Cleary. As I’ve mentioned before, Alison Littlewood uses this history and information very well, and I would definitely recommend this book.

The Hidden People is set to be published on the 6th of October. Pre-order here (UK).

See you soon,

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This shouldn’t make me laugh as much as it does. [x]

PCOS Awareness Month: Where My Cysters At?!

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This isn’t actually the post I’d planned on posting today, but a friend (see her blog here!) brought my attention to the fact that September is PCOS Awareness Month. This post has been in the works for a while, but what better time to post it than a month dedicated to the topic?

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a reproductive illness affecting up to 1 in 10 biological females. While ovarian cysts are common and can often be removed, PCOS is diagnosed if there are over 12 cysts on each ovary at any given time (or, this is how it was explained to me during my diagnosis). PCOS is often characterised by an increased amount of male hormones, and can also lead to insulin resistance. PCOS symptoms include acne, excess body and facial hair, weight gain/difficulty losing weight and, possibly most importantly, irregular or heavy periods. PCOS can cause fertility problems and depression, and people with the condition are at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.

My Experience with PCOS

I was diagnosed with PCOS aged 17, almost 5 years ago. When I was diagnosed, my testosterone levels were in the normal range for an adult male – hardly what you want in an already moody teenage girl! Although I’d started my periods 5 years before, I had never experienced a ‘normal’ period – I had been to the GP several times over the years before my diagnosis, however in younger teenagers irregular periods are common and often level out after puberty. I was put on a 3 month course of contraceptives to encourage my hormone levels to fix themselves when I was about 14, but this turned out to be a short term fix. I was going for long periods of time without bleeding, then getting months when it just didn’t stop.

I remember once during my longest period (several months long!) a girl at school was sent home after starting hers for the first time and being unable to manage the pain. In the mean time, I’d been bleeding non-stop for weeks, passing clots the size of satsumas & still had to grin and bear it!

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When I was finally diagnosed I was put on Dianette, another contraceptive that they only prescribe in the UK for severe acne and hormone imbalance. I found out a while after that Dianette is actually banned in several European countries, such as France and Turkey (both places I was intending to go to!) because it is a much more dangerous pill than most other kinds. There is a risk of blood clots with all oral contraceptives, but this risk is much larger with Dianette. The risk is also increased if you are a PCOS sufferer – as contraceptives are the most common treatment, we really can’t win!

Personally, I haven’t ever had any problems with contraceptives. I experienced some cramps in my legs and was switched to one of the most common pills (the brands I’ve had are Rigevidon and Microgynon but many other brands use the same dosage) almost two years ago. This controls my acne and periods, and for now I’m perfectly happy taking them although I do want children, and will have to discuss different methods of treatment when I do decide to try and conceive.

My Symptoms

As I’ve mentioned, I have terrible skin – although having been on the pill for so long this is largely manageable. My skin is still temperamental, and often facial washes etc that have worked really well before suddenly don’t, but I don’t get anywhere near as much acne as I used to. I also struggle with excess body and facial hair. I’m quite relieved that at the moment I have a one piece swimming costume and no one to impress because I don’t have to shave my stomach! During the summer I often have to shave my legs and underarms daily, and have also shaved my arms before. Let’s not even discuss the bikini line!

As I mentioned before, periods have definitely been a huge struggle. I still get a lot of pain, clotting and heavy bleeding, but the pills have regulated them very well. I get period pain & back ache even when I’m not “on”, but I know that I won’t get my period until the 3 pill weeks are up.

Why I Feel Lucky

While my experience with PCOS hasn’t been easy, I do feel lucky to have been diagnosed when I was and treated quickly. It did take a while to get diagnosed, but this was due to age and I can understand why PCOS wasn’t considered when I started going through puberty; the disease is most commonly diagnosed in the late teens/early 20s.

I feel lucky that my symptoms aren’t as extreme as many peoples’. A lot of the time PCOS is only in the media if a woman has excess facial hair as a result, and chooses not to shave. I don’t have a beard, and don’t need to shave my face. This post describes a horrendous experience, which makes my experience with PCOS seem quite minor, really. I don’t know what my fertility is like and it does worry me. I want children more than anything, and the idea that it could never happen is really scary, but for now I’m on top of the PCOS, I’m happy with my treatment, and babies aren’t something I want to worry about yet!

Why Do We Need PCOS Awareness?

While the symptoms can be controlled, there is no cure for PCOS. It is an illness that can not only be serious in itself but can put sufferers at higher risk of other, more serious conditions. With as many as 10% of adult females affected it just makes sense that there should be more awareness of the condition. While this is a largely invisible illness, it does affect lives in ways that many people aren’t aware of.

See you soon,

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PCOS Period Problems [x]

Fandom Friday | How Should We Read?

I feel like this post is an inevitable one for all book bloggers. The physical book vs eReader vs audiobook debate is one that’s been long raging and surprisingly devisive amongst many readers. I know people who refuse to use eReaders, I know people who have abandoned physical books. All mediums have their benefits, and all mediums have their issues. Is there really a ‘best’ way to read?

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Physical Books

I don’t think there’s a single reader out there who doesn’t want to bottle the scent of real physical books. Old books, new books, they all have this incredible smell that can’t be beaten. Paper books feel good to read – it feels like you own the book in a way that you can’t get with a Kindle, and I find it much easier to tell my progress; percentages mean nothing to me when I can easily see how much of the book I’ve read and how far I’ve got to go with a physical copy. This was never much of an issue when I solely read for pleasure, but it was definitely important during my degree and now that I have Review Wednesdays to think about!

I love physical books and there is definitely something about flicking through the softened pages of a well loved favourite that other formats simply can’t simulate.  Despite this, they take up a lot of space and often cost considerably more than electronic books and audiobooks.

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eReaders/Reading on Electronic Devices

If you’ve seen my Instagram lately you’ll have seen that while I’ve posted a lot of photos of physical books, I’ve also posted a photo of my Kindle Paperwhite. I have been using my Kindle a lot lately, having bought 4 books and received two via NetGalley on there. Electronic reading means that publishers can use websites such as NetGalley to easily send ARCs to reviewers such as myself. For the reader, it means that you can carry a huge amount of books around on a device much smaller and lighter than even one novel. It also means that you don’t even have to get up to start reading something else once finishing a book, and can instantly download the next one in a series.  While it’s an art that I think most readers have mastered, stuffing a 600 page novel into an already full bag is definitely not an easy feat! Reading on a phone makes books even more portable, eliminating the need to pack anything extra – however I find that this strains my eyes, so I don’t tend to do it. eReaders also provide more accessibility for many people; those with visual impairments can make the text as large as they need, making many books that wouldn’t be physically printed in large text much more accessible.

Another point worth mentioning for electronic reading is that there’s much more access to independent authors via eBooks – a lot of people self publish eBooks, and publishers often start publishing independent authors on eBook before physical copies. If you want to read more independent titles I would say that the Kindle Store has a much larger, more varied selection of independent writers than most physical book shops.

Audiobooks

Audio books have never really been something I’ve gotten into. My family like them, including my brother and dad, who don’t enjoy reading. Personally I’d rather read, as I find that I can’t fully put all my attention into audio books. I also find that the person reading them definitely affects my ability to engage with the story. I listened to the original dramatised radio show of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and while I loved that and still listen to Welcome To Night Vale, a serialised story told through podcasts, overall I prefer to read stories rather than listen to them. Despite not being my read or just want something other than music to listen to while travelling or nodding off to sleep, I’d definitely say that audio books could be for you. Audio books also make books much more accessible to those with visual impairments.

So there’s my view on it. I don’t really see the need to be so purist about one medium over another – they all have good and bad points, and I feel like judging someone’s personal preferences breeds an attitude that just puts people off reading. We should aim to encourage literacy and reading, not judge people if they’d rather read on their phone than get a physical book! I don’t believe that physical books are threatened by the electronic publishing industry, and I don’t believe that eReaders can ever fully replace the feel of a physical book. For me the most important thing in reading is that the story is good; whatever format it’s in.

What’s your favourite method of reading? Have I forgotten anything?

See you soon,

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