A familiar stranger book review

Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing A familiar stranger by Matthew Williams. I was given a copy of the book for the purpose of being reviewed by Matthew. I’m not getting paid to write about it, and the fact that I was given the copy of the book won’t impact my review of it, so don’t worry you’ll still be getting my honest thoughts.

The collection is based around the realities of living a modern day life. It covers topics from mental health to politics, big life events and day to day encounters. There is at least one poem in there for everyone.

The author isn’t afraid to play around with layout and stanza length to, it’s a contemporary collection. You’re not going to get bored with this collection, every poem has it’s own unique spin. It’s a credit to Matthew’s ability as a poet.

The layout of this collection is very well thought out, it add to the pleasantness of the reading experience. There’s four chapters within the collection, off of which could be their own collection as they stand if I’m honest. These chapters, living, loving, falling and rising, will then be the theme of the poems that follow. Continue reading “A familiar stranger book review”

My favorite read of 2019 – Branches

Since starting university I’ve read so many great books… and some not too great ones. But rather surprisingly my favorite read of this year wasn’t a part of my required reading. In my poetry class we had the opportunity to chose what collection we wanted to analyse and review. Without any hesitation I told my professor that I was going to chose Branches by Rhiannon McGavin. I didn’t even own the collection at the time, I had to order it as soon as I got back to my flat.

I’d come across Rhiannon’s work via YouTube, she has a channel called The Geeky Blond where she shares not only her poetry but general life chatter. She’s one of the people who influenced me to become a poet. I’m not sure if it’s her personality or delivery of her work that I enjoy more but either way she’s a joy to watch.

Branches is everything I love about her work, it’s the perfect poetry collection in my eyes, every poem is a pleasure to read. When reading it I have the book in one hand and a pencil in the other. Ideas I’ve had whilst reading the poems are scribbled in the margins. Some pages have big stars in the corners for the ones I really love. Words are underlined and stanzas and circled. Continue reading “My favorite read of 2019 – Branches”

Tips on supporting someone with an eating disorder this Christmas

The count down to Christmas has begun! There’s been a Christmas tree in my flat kitchen since November and the inflatable Rudolf on the windowsill now has a tinsel scarf, all and all I’m feeling festive. Being at Uni has really brought back some of that childish excitement that comes with Christmas. I had a lovely time on Friday making paper snowflakes with some of the girls I live with, I haven’t done that in years!

In the past few Christmases has been a very hard time for me. I spent three Christmases with an eating disorder and I couldn’t help but dread this time of year for that reason. It’s such a contrast to how I feel now. If you had asked me two years ago how would I feel about making snowflakes with my flatmates as I eat a massive chicken casserole, I would have ran. Enjoying Christmas felt impossible to me with anorexia.

In the last few days I’ve been going through some of my older posts correcting spelling mistakes I’ve missed. It’s been really nice reading things from a few years back and seeing just how far I’ve come and how faithful God has been. There was one post particular from 2017 that really struck a chord with me. It was the one where I talked about how you can support someone with an eating disorder. The post didn’t do very well, but I still believe there are a lot of good points in there that people should know. So, with Christmas coming our way I’ve decided to rewrite it as a Christmas edition. I know that it’s not going to be the most relevant post for a lot of you, but even if I help one person through this it’s worth my analytics taking a hit from this post.

Christmas is a very hard time of year with those battling any kind of eating disorder. There’s a lot of uncertainty, lot of anxiety, lot of attention and so much time spent around food. It’s a really hard time. I’m hoping I can use my experiences to provide a few tips for those supporting a loved one or friend with an eating disorder this Christmas.

Continue reading “Tips on supporting someone with an eating disorder this Christmas”

Getting a good night sleep- weighted blanket review

Getting a decent night sleep is a bit of a challenge for me, especially since I’ve been at university. As a kid I could only sleep if I had pressure on my head, what often resulted in me curling into a ball in the middle of my bed half suffocating myself with the covers pilled on top of me. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I got out of this habit after a particularly hot summer resulted in me not being able to cover my whole body and head with a winter duvet. But five years later I still like having weight on me as I sleep, no matter how how it is.

When the time came for me to start shopping for university I made sure a thick duvet was on my shopping list, but I struggled to find one with the weight that my old one had. This issues made me think back to the previous year when I had been researching autism and I’d came across these things called weighted blankets. At the time I loved the sound of them, but the price tag put me off and I was doing just fine with my current duvet and blanket combo, so I never got one. But after researching it a bit more in the past few months as my moving day drew closer, I decided that this was a product that I was interested in and thought would benefit me.

In my final few months at work I put money aside to save up for my weighted blanket and a month before I moved, I ordered one. Continue reading “Getting a good night sleep- weighted blanket review”

Why photography is important for my mental health

How many times have you been told by someone that when you’re feeling down you should get yourself outside, or better yet go for a run? It’s no secret that getting out and excersis has a possitive effect on your mood and health, it’s why doctors and therapists recomend it so often.

I now live in a house of runners, my mum got the bug first last year, I joined in and finally my brother gave it a go not long back and got that same bug. Before the running they were both active in walking and my brother was adamant that he would drag us up every mountain we came across (I’ve summited two so far, but I’m yet to do Snowdon even though that’s my most local mountain range). By observing them I can 100% agree of the benefits of getting out and excising has on your mental health.

But what happens when you can’t join in with those activities, what do you do then?

Me and exercise have always been a thing. I was a competitive dancer growing up and just had too much energy for my own good. I joined in with the mountainering with my family but found it unexciting. Then when I was 17 I developed anorexia and exercise took a different role all together. I tried running when I was recovering but then at 19 I developed a whole new bunch of problems with my feet that limits my mobility to this day, meaning I had to hang up my running shoes once again.

Going outside walking and exercising are both incresingly difficult tasks for me now, what really sucks for a 20 year old who’s trying to gain more inderpencae and hates sympathy. So how do I try and keep on top of my overall mood when my usual activities aren’t always an option? 

It’s simple, I pick up my camera.

Continue reading “Why photography is important for my mental health”

The stigma of using mobility aids as a young person.

So I brought a walking stick…

Not going to lie, shopping for a walking stick at 20 years old was a surreal experience. It was not something I ever expected to need and it was something I most certainly didn’t want. But here we are, I’m now the owner of a sparkly purple walking stick.

Long story short, for those who are new, I have chronic pain in my feet and through that I’ve now got dodgy knees and hips. For the past year and a bit I’ve been in some degree of pain every day what often causes me issues with walking or standing. Some days I’m fine and I can walk around normally without help as whilst I’m in pain it’s manageable (though these days are now few and far between). However, other days I’m in so much pain I can hardly walk let alone stand, for example today it took me an hour and a half to get out of bed. I have a cabin bed with a ladder and I was in too much pain to go down four steps… it kinda sucked.

In a bid to have some level of independence back and to allow me to be as normal as possible I eventually started to use crutches to help me get about. I started off with only using one but eventually moved on to two for more support. Using crutches comes with it’s own set of problems, my main one being that I was off to university soon and needed to be walking with less support so I could have a more normal uni experience. I thought they would create a barrier whilst I was there. I’ve also been getting stronger walking unaided for short periods of time, so I found that on better pain days the crutch (I’d only be using one) would cause more issues than help. It’s big and clunky and if I’m not in massive amounts of pain and not using it properly, it does more damage to my feet than good. So at the start of this week I made the decision to get a folding walking stick, one that I could keep in my bag at all times. It allows me to walk without aid for as long as I can manage, building up strength, but have the security of having an aid when the pain gets too much.

It’s taken me a long time to accept that I need mobility aids now, but I think I’m pretty much come to terms with it, and now that I do feel comfortable talking about it I can write about a topic that’s been bugging me since day one of my crutches – The stigma of using mobility aids as a young person.

Continue reading “The stigma of using mobility aids as a young person.”