Book Review

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Review (4)

Madeline has a rare disease. She is allergic to the world. One step outside, one germ that creeps in, could lead to her death. All her life she has lived inside her house, in the bubble of safety that her mother provides for her. She receives online tuition and has 1:1 medical care from her nurse. Madeline has spent her time dreaming about what the outside world is like, having never experienced true friendship, love, or any traditional coming-of-age experiences. Her only friend is her mom.

Her world starts to become claustraphobic when Olly moves in to the house across the road. He is the definition of dreamy and mysterious. Olly and Madeline strike up a friendship, miming to each other from their windows, and eventually use IM to get to know each other a little better. What Madeline finds is that Olly makes her feel like there is so much more to life than staying safe. His quirky, flippant attitude rubs off on her and she is drawn to him in ways that she has never experienced before. What will Madeline do to prevent the ‘what-ifs’? Will she play it safe, or will she risk it all for the sake of living life to the full?

If I’m totally honest, I was disappointed with this book. I first came across this book in a newsletter from Oprah’s Book Club and took a screen shot of it so that when I went looking for a new book I’d keep my eye out for it. I mean, if Oprah recommends it it has to be good, right?

It was a very easy read, and it was pleasant, but I felt that it was far too obvious. I felt that I knew very early on what the outcome of the book would be and I was right. It may have just been far too light for my liking, but as Young Adult books go I wasn’t too impressed. It is due to be released as a movie this summer and even though the book didn’t do much for me, I can see why it would have cinematic appeal.

The book does have the underlying message of ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ but it felt like a bit of a cop out. I felt that the story had a lot of potential and the way that it ended – as initially predicted within the first few pages – was extremely disappointing. I don’t think that this is a book I would recommend. It felt as though the narrative took the easy road. And, if I’m completely honest, I’m hoping that the filmmakers take artistic liberty to change the ending to make it a much more compelling and believable story. I feel like that is harsh criticism, but unfortunately I cannot help but feel disappointed in it.

Image result for 2.5 stars out of 5
2.5 stars

Lists, Positivity

10 Ways I Deal With Anxiety

10 ways i deal with

Meditation
I believe in meditation over medication. I know that makes me sound like a bit of a hippy but I think that anxiety is something that we can actually control. It’s kind of a case of mind over matter. I have been on medication for anxiety, and while it helped me at the time, it is not something that I would like to go back to. Now, when I’m feeling anxious, I try to focus on my breathing and do a guided meditation. It helps me gain control of my breathing and steady my thoughts. I would highly recommend Jason Stephenson and Dr Aine Tubridy‘s meditations on YouTube as a starting point.

Meditation is something that should be practiced to strengthen the mind too. It’s not just something that I go to in my time of need. A short morning meditation or an night time meditation are enough to keep my focused and feeling in control on a day to day basis. There are many good meditation podcasts on iTunes, as well as some really good apps available. If meditation is something that you’ve never tried before then I urge you to connect with your inner Buddha and give it a go – I swear by it!

Exercise
It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, once it’s something that gets your heart pumping and leaves you feeling amazing afterwards. Personally, I love to go for walks, run, and do classes such as Yoga and Boxercise. I don’t exercise for fitness reasons whatsoever; it is something I do primarily for the mental health benefits that come with it. When I’m feeling anxious, or a bit down, it is so hard to motivate myself to get up off my ass and go for a walk. But when I do, I always feel better afterwards. Getting my heart pumping and the happy hormones flowing really makes me feel good. It has often allowed me to gain some perspective on what it is that is causing me to be anxious and I then am able to deal with the situation in a much calmer way.

Again, like meditation, exercise is something that should be done regularly. By getting out and getting my body moving and heart pumping, I feel that I am releasing any adrenaline that has been building up in my system. It allows me to feel in control, and feel pro-active, giving me a sense of pride in my efforts to take care of my mental health. A brisk walk alone in the mornings before I tackle the day ahead usually works wonders for me, and then, if I still feel like my body needs that little bit extra, I’ll go for a walk or do some Yoga in the evenings. Yoga with Adriene is by far the best yoga channel on YouTube and I would recommend the Couch to 5K app for anyone interested in getting themselves running!

Routine
I find that a routine is really important for me. On days when I’m neither here nor there, you know those days where you find yourself sitting and staring aimlessly at something, or else wondering why you’re always on autopilot, those are the days that I start to get very anxious. By having a morning and night time routine I feel very much in control of myself and my day. I took inspiration for my Morning Routine from Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning  and I also talk about the importance of routine in My Guide to Feeling Good.

Having a good morning routine allows me to feel totally in control of how I face the day ahead, and my night time routine allows me to destress and unwind and get set for a night of good, deep sleep. I listened to an episode of Operation Self Reset podcast recently that also discussed the importance of routine, click here to access that episode and hear what Jake Nawrocki has to say about the importance of routine in our daily lives.

Talk It Out
This can be one of the easiest, but often one of the hardest things to do. When you feel your stomach drop, your palms starting to sweat, and your heart starting to race, we often have no idea what to do next. Something that has really helped me is to be very open and honest with those I love about what I am experiencing. It isn’t very easy to put that fear into words, and there is often the added fear of ‘will they think I’m insane?’, but realistically, the people that love you will want to do anything that they can to support you.

Reach out and ask your friend to meet up to talk about whatever it is that’s making you feel overwhelmed. Tell them that you’re not expecting them to solve your problem, or even understand why it is causing you so much upset, but that you just need a listening ear. Having friends that are willing to go for that walk with you, or meet you for a coffee while you talk it out, those people are irreplaceable. If you have these people in your life make sure you hang onto them!

Something else that I’ve started doing recently is being very direct with my friends/family/boyfriend when I’m worried that I have done something wrong; I will send a message stating that I am feeling really anxious over X, Y, Z, and can they just let me know if I need to be concerned over it or not. My people are amazing and completely understand where I’m at anxiety wise, so when I’m starting to become panicky, and when they receive that text, they always reply and let me know what the story is. And, as you can probably guess, I’ve never even needed to be worried. It just makes me feel good to know that I can be straight with them and say that I’m worried about something, instead of trying to figure it all out myself and becoming even more distressed in the process.

Tapping
This is something that is very new to me. I remember years ago, my mother came home and started talking to me about how she had heard about controlling your feelings/emotions by tapping on your face. I remember looking at her and thinking she might have lost the plot, but she was right. Even though at the time I don’t think she knew the exact points where you need to tap to achieve this, she was onto something that I wouldn’t really learn more about for another 10 years or so.

I came across The Tapping Solution  when I discovered the podcast called Adventures in Happiness – which is amazing by the way! Tapping is a form of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) that focuses on accupressure points on the face and upper body. I don’t know enough about Tapping to explain how it works, but all I know is that every time I tap I feel at least 10 times calmer at the end of it. I’ve yet to read the book written by Nick Ortner, The Tapping Solution, but even without an understanding of the principles behind the technique, it is still very effective.

Schedule Happy Things
This is a big thing for me. I try to make sure that each and every day I do something that I enjoy. To do this you need to firstly sit down and write a list of all of the things that make you happy, the things that make you feel good. By doing this you come up with your own inventory to work from. You don’t have to actively plan including things. For example this does not always require for you to sit down and decide that Monday will be the day where you go for a walk, Tuesday will be the day that you treat yourself to your favourite meal, Wednesday the day where you meet your friend for coffee etc., just that at some point during your day that you ensure that you have done something that you know will make you feel good. Today you might feel like reading, tomorrow you might not! So just go with the flow and do whatever makes you feel good!

Herbal Remedies
This is not something that I reach for often, apart from herbal tea, but when I’m feeling like I need that little bit of reassurance I often find that herbal remedies are the way to go. Sometimes that might be something like Natracalm, or it might be my most recent discovery of Valerian Relax Blend. Again, these are things that I would use as an alternative to prescription medication and they manage to take the edge off for me. Chamomile tea is also great at the end of the day or after a stressful time to help to unwind and de-stress. Never underestimate the power of a cup of Chamomile tea!

Positive Mental Attitude
This is, without a doubt, something that I would have rolled my eyes at before. But hear me out. You need to understand that anxiety is a fear based mindset. By practicing positive thinking, and by teaching yourself how to develop and maintain a positive mindset, you will be able to control your anxiety. I do this by keeping a gratitude journal, using the Happier App, making vision boards, reading personal development books, and listening to podcasts about personal development.

I’m going to assume you’ve heard the quote “Happiness is not a destination, its away of life.” This is so true and so fundamental to this practice. You can’t expect to be happy and in control when you’ve not learned how to overcome the fear mindset. I’ve been practicing this for almost eight years, and although I feel that I am pretty competent with the PMA thing, I always continue to work on it. I like to think of myself as a car. Without fuel a petrol cannot run. These tools that I mentioned above are my fuel; I require top-ups every now and then, I need my engine cleaned and my spirit reignited. I cannot do one gratitude list and expect to be happy forever because of it! Regular practices and consistency is key here! Mind you mind!

Breathing Techniques
While this is something that can be done as part of meditation and yoga, breathing exercises can also be done separately too. There are many different types of breathing techniques that you can try out but these are the three that work best for me:

A) Mantra Breathing
This is when I breathe in and say to myself “I am breathing in calm”, and on the exhale I say to myself “I am breathing out fear.” I repeat this over and over and over again until I start to calm down.

B) Box Breathing
This is fairly simple to remember. Inhale through your nose for the count of four, hold for the count of four, exhale through your mouth for the count of four, pause for the count of four. As your breathing starts to slow down and as you feel more in control, you can up your count to 5, then to 6, then to 7 and so on.

C) Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is by far the most complicated to explain, but it is unbelievably effective!
Extend your thumb, ring and pinky finger (as though you are miming a phone) and place your thumb over your right nostril. Exhale fully through your left nostril, then inhale deeply. Pause. Release your thumb whilst placing your pinky or ring finger on your left nostril. Exhale fully. Inhale deeply. Pause and swap. Repeat for a few rounds.

I’ll leave a video here for you to try out for yourself – I think its easier to follow on a video than a written description so check out the link below! Trust me on this one! It is amazingly beneficial!

Accept It
How is this a way of dealing with Anxiety I hear you ask? I can understand your confusion, but let me explain! You might have anxiety but anxiety does not define who you are. You might suffer from Panic Attacks, but they do not make up everything that you are. You need to sit back, take a lot of time, and just consider what anxiety even is. It is an adrenaline overload. It is not a disease, it is not a label that you wear for all to see, it is only a small element of your personality.

You might be sitting there and reading this and thinking that I’m talking a load of crap, and I can appreciate that, but it’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I used to be really paranoid and embarrassed because of my anxiety. And yes, it still can have that effect on me, but I now try to to look at it in a more positive light. I am a caring person. I try to do everything to the best of my ability. I would never intentionally say or do anything to upset somebody. I am very aware of the emotions of others. Are any of those statements negative things to say about yourself? Not in the slightest. Instead they depict how you are a sensitive and caring person who is often overly worried about these things. Your anxiety does not have to define you, nor should you let it. Accept that you are a worrier, accept that you are your own worst critic, and accept that this is only one part of the beautiful person that you are! When you accept that, you can deal with your anxiety in a much more positive and productive light. It may never go away, but you can control it.

Book Review

Book Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Book Review (3)

Riley McPherson is a 26 year old woman who has lived her life under the shadow of her sister’s suicide. Riley, who was only two when her sister died, cannot remember her fully and when she is given charge of clearing out her father’s house after his death, she finds a box of newspaper articles that show her a completely different side to Lisa.  Riley starts to uncover a family secret that shatters her life to pieces and leaves her wondering if she even knows who she is. Who was Lisa McPherson; was she really dead; and who could Riley really trust anymore?

This was my first time reading a Diane Chamberlain novel and I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit sceptical at first because I have this thing about authors who write lots of books; I automatically assume that they’re not going to be great books (an awful assumption of me, I know!) However, I was proved wrong. Yes, parts of the book were very predictable, and I did at times feel as though it was all a bit too ‘obvious’, but I really enjoyed the journey that this book took me on. I honestly believed that I had the whole thing sussed after the first two chapters. I thought I knew who the enemies were, who Riley needed to put her trust in, and what had really happened to Lisa.

However, at 1am this morning I found out that a lot of what I had hypothesized was false! Even though I do consider this book to be an ‘easy read’ I really enjoyed it. The characters felt real to me and I even got goosebumps on a few occasions! I did not see the plot twist coming at all – something that I’m usually quite good at foretelling – so that was something that really impressed me! I found it impossible to not care about Riley and her family, and I felt compelled to pick up the book and find out what was going to unfold next.

The book made me consider the concept of family and what we will do for one another. It made me think about how much I love my family and consider just how far I would go for them. Overall I found this book to be a very enjoyable read and am very grateful for the recommendation!

1-star1-star1-star1-star
4/5 stars!

Have you read many of Diane Chamberlain’s novels? If so, what one do you recommend I read next? I’d love to get some advice!

Cx

 

The Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently ¦ vol. 10

Before I get started I do need to state that I am very aware that it is not Sunday, however, as I sat down to write this last night I switched the TV channel and ended up watching One Love Manchester, the benefit concert organised by Ariana Grande. Within seconds I knew that nothing I could write about mattered as much as what was going on in Manchester at that point in time and so I just turned off the laptop and cried. I cried for the entire show on and off. I was so touched and so heartbroken all at once. I don’t even know where to begin with how I’m feeling about the terrorist attacks at the moment but I’m not going to give that attention here as I want this to be a happy place today, because I need it to be!!! 

R E A D I N G

Today I started reading The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. I’ve not read any of her books before and am looking forward to it. I’m expecting a mix of Jodi Picoult and Lesley Pearse! 

W R I T I N G

I have been journaling more. Now that work is finished for the summer I feel like I have more time to do the things that genuinely make me feel happy. I’m also writing my packing list for my upcoming trip to Alaska and I’m getting very excited about it!

I’m hoping that, now that I’m off, I’ll be able to blog more. I don’t now what content that will include and so if people have any preferences I’d love to hear them.

L I S T E N I N G

I’ve listened to a lot of old albums this week. I’ve listened to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Ed Sheeran and Michael Bublé. I’ve also been listening to a lot of oldies but goodies lately! I’ve included three favourites from my playlists below:

S M E L L I N G

I’m still smelling that beautiful Yankee Candle! I’ve also been burning some Lavender oils and used a really lovely citrus smelling Eco Cleaner earlier so the place is smelling really fresh!

H O P I N G

I’m hoping that the evil in the world is drowned out by love. I’m hoping that people can live their lives safely and peacefully. I’m hoping that we will be able to live in a world we feel safe in, and bring children into a world where there is no fear and hatred.

W E A R I N G

A t-shirt from a charity even and PJ bottoms! Nice and cozy for a bank holiday monday.

L O V I N G

I am on my summer holidays!!!!! I am so so happy with this!! And, as of from tomorrow I only have two weeks until I am reunited with Himself after a long 4 months of being apart!

F E E L I N G

I’m feeling very relaxed now that I’m off! I’m also feeling very full! There’s been lots of eating out and drinking involved in the end of the school-year; lots of over indulging. And so, as a result, I’m feeling like I really need to work off the excess in order to feel my best in two weeks time!

 W A T C H I N G

So I’ve started a Chick Flick Challenge which involved watching The Parent Trap and A Walk to Remember today.

 I’ve also been binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale and am completely hooked!!! It is so terrifying because it is so real. Based on Attwood’s novel of the same name, the impact can be felt because each of the acts that take place was never created from fiction. Each event, each act, was based upon events that have taken place around the world prior to Attwood’s penning of the novel. That is a terrifying concept because I feel that it makes it feel all the more real, all the more possible. If you haven’t been watching this show I urge you to look at it! Here are 6 reasons why you should watch The Handmaid’s Tale!

I hope you have a great week!

Cx

General musings

Chick Flick Challenge 

So, I came across this today and wanted to share it with you! With a little bit of a hungover head on me this morning I watched two of the movies on this list; 10 Things I Hate About You and Save The Last Dance! Two absolute classics! And, seeing as I’m now off work for the summer (insert victory dance here!) I think I might try to watch as many of these as possible! 

I haven’t watched them all before so I’m actually really looking forward to this! 


If you have any recommendations for what I should watch next, do let me know! 

Cx 

The Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently | vol. 9

Sunday Currently

R E A D I N G
I’ve finished reading Everything Everything! It was a very simple book and I found it very predictable, but it was also a very lovely, easy read.

I’ve moved on to Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern. I’ve never really been one to read a lot of books by Irish authors but after reading the Perfect series by Cecelia, I’ve decided to read more of her stuff! So far, so good! It’s a really interesting read!

Lyrebird
On a side note, I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Into The Water by Paula Hawkins! I’ve heard it’s even better than The Girl On The Train and I’m dying to read this!!

Into the water
W R I T I N G

I’ve been writing my ass off and have finally finished my assignment and am over the moon! I couldn’t write or post on Sunday because I was at my friend’s Hen Party and was shattered afterwards! I’m so glad that I will hopefully never have to write academically again! 
L I S T E N I N G

I’ve been listening to my playlists on Spotify! Some happy playlists are always a good idea!

I’ve also been listening to Harry Styles and Stevie Knicks’ duet! I get that Harry is just a young ‘un but he has a very amazing voice!


S M E L L I N G

A really beautiful Yankee Candle I received as a gift from a student; Clean Cotton! One of my favourite smells ever!

H O P I N G

I’m really hoping that I can get through the next few weeks. It’s only three and a half weeks until I get to see Himself and it’s getting more and more difficult with every passing day. Being apart for so long is very hard and I just can’t wait for the countdown to be over.
W E A R I N G

His t-shirt and a tracksuit pants! Cozying it up on this chilled out Sunday evening!
L O V I N G

I am loving the fact that I have only one week of work left!!!! I am very excited about getting my Summer holidays and having three months to relax, rest, and recuperate! 
F E E L I N G

I’m going to be very honest and say that I am feeling very anxious. A lot of that is induced by alcohol consumption over the weekend but nevertheless it’s real. I’m also feeling very relaxed though. I’ve had a really lovely weekend away with one of my friends and am glad that I’ve had to weekend to wind down. I feel as though the anxiety I experienced last night is also a result of a few weeks of non-stop going, never stopping. I think my brain and body both needed time to switch off and I’m very glad that I got that this weekend. 

 W A T C H I N G
This weekend I’ve watched Mamma Mia, The Proposal, and Notting Hill. I’ve also started to watch The Keepers on Netflix and it is so interesting. If you haven’t started watching this I would highly recommend it. See the trailer below to see if it is something that you would be interested in.