Why I'm voting Labour in the general election.

The general election is fast approaching, and this is an important one. This is our chance to show the government that we aren't happy and that we want (and need) change.

If you are over 18 you have a vote, and who you vote for is of course your choice, but I am going to explain to you why you should consider voting for the Labour party...

If you care for the young, and old, the poor, the disabled, those with mental illness. If you want to make sure the NHS doesn't get sold off, that vulnerable people don't loose their much needed support, that schools get proper funding, that public transport doesn't all get sold off, then consider voting Labour.

If you watch May being asked important questions and are fed up of watching her bumbling, sidestepping answers and trotting out the same old bullshit and weak insults at Corbyn then consider voting Labour.

If you are sick of the right wing media (owned by rich tories who want to protect their billions) trying to brainwash you into hate Jeremy Corbyn by feeding you lies and holding endless smear campaigns then actually listen to what this man has to say. Read the Labour manifesto. Can you honestly disagree with the changes they want to make.

We really need to work together to get the 'nasty party' tories out. Under them we have seen disabled people literally dying because of cuts to their support. Schools are having to ask parents to donate crayons. Our PM literally held the hand of Donald Trump. The emergency services have been cut back so much they can't cope. Not too long ago the army had to support the NHS because it was under so much strain. Yet the Conservatives want you to vote them in again, to continue doing more of the same. We need a government that looks after everyone no one that bleeds us to the bone. I believe the Labour party led by Corbyn Can do that. 

This is the rare chance to vote for a politician that values respect, listening to what people have to say, and honesty. He rises above stone throwing and sticks to what he is passionate about- positive change. He has proven in his years as an MP that he speaks for everyone and has fought for womens, LGBQT, and, the vulnerable and  minority rights. May hasn't. We live in one of the richest countries in the world yet over a million people had to use emergency food banks in the UK in the last year. If you think this is wrong then please vote for change by voting Labour on June the 8th and let's get the tories out! 

New books part 2!

On payday I decided to treat myself to a few books. You can see the other half of this haul here!

I've had my eye on Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams for a while, I love the sprinkles on the cover. This looks like a fun non fiction read. These style self help books seem hugely popular of late, and although I'm not typically a fan of self help books per-see I couldn't resist giving this a try! 

This is a book I was kindly sent for review from Headline, and Ararat is the story of mountain climbers who encounter an evil spirit in a cave. It sounds very intriguing and reminds me a little of The White Road which I read recently and loved. 

I've been waiting for this book to be released for ages and it's beautiful! I think The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen is a fairly self explanatory title and it's written in chronological order and features tons of characters- quite a few I've never heard of. I also really enjoy Hope Nicholson's writing. 

Finally this isn't technically a book and I got it a while back but I wanted to mention Do What You Want which is a zine about mental wellbeing. It is packed with essays, interviews, articles, poetry, recipes, and beautiful artwork all centred around mental health. I've read about half of it so far and really love it. I highly recommend picking up a copy [here] and another bonus is that all proceeds go to mental health charities. :)

Geeky bookish haul...

I was recently involved in a highly stressful incident at work and it caused my anxiety to rear it's head. In times of high anxiety I have a tendency to over spend and buy stuff... so here is the product of that stress! There are quite a few haul posts on this blog at the moment as after payday hit I kind of just went for it! Anyway here's some cool bookish stuff I bought!

I don't tend to go into Waterstones very often as I find them quite pricey but I got a bit carried away with their bookish gift section and bought this adorable mini book on The Brontes. It's a traditionally bound book and summarises all of the Bronte sisters novels as well as giving background info. It's also very cute and makes a lovely book shelf decoration! 

I also found a George Orwell essay I wasn't familiar with, which I look forward tor reading. My Dad got me a very cool DC Comics colouring book (packed with Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batman and Batgirl) and an L.S.P. Adventure Time keyring to cheer me up. Oh, and that book nerd badge was by the tills at Waterstones and I couldn't resist...

Finally, I was highly amused to find this talking Batman bust. It came with a little book and when you press the button on his utility belt he says various phrases. This put a much needed smile on my face and my favourite of his phrases is "THE JOKES ON YOU JOKER!" Smooth, Batman, smooth.

My favourite fictional women...

This post was originally intended for International Women's Day but I didn't finish it in time, I thought I'd still post it though...
Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World)
Enid is a moody teenager not quite sure what she wants from life. She also has amazing style and a lot of snark. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes is my favourite graphic novel and the film adaption is also my favourite film. It's hard to believe her character was written by a man as Clowes captures the frustrations of being a teenage girl perfectly. Thora Birch also brought Enid to life perfectly and I can relate to Enid on so many levels. 

Selina Kyle aka Catwoman is the biggest baddass Queen ever. Fact. She is also my favourite comic book character. I love her because she has a dark side, and although she isn't always good she usually has good reason for what she does. She is hugely protective of the people of Gotham's East End and her stories often have a dark, noir edge to them. I also love the tense relationship she has with Bruce/ Batman and that she refuses to take any shit from him despite her feelings because lets face it he's a bit of a twat. In fact she doesn't take shit from anyone, and is always confident in herself and her abilities no matter what.
Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family)
I wish I was half as snarky as Wednesday Addams. She has a smart answer for everything and doesn't give a fuck what people think of her as she know exactly what she's about. I always wanted to be Wednesday watching the Addams family films growing up- she's the coolest kid I know, not that she'd want to be.
Furiousa (Mad Max: Fury Road)
To put it simply Furiousa is a straight up fearless badass. It is a joy to see a woman character in an action film being strong and tough, having emotions, making decisions, firing the shots whilst using Max as a gun rest (as he knows he couldn't do better). I love Charlize Theron, and am so glad she brought Furiousa to life in such spectacular style. 

Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
What I love most about Buffy is that she is not your typical hero, and she is far from perfect. Throughout the show she grows up from teen to adult going through lots of ups and downs whilst also fighting evil. She is not always likeable and doesn't always make the right decisions but that's what makes her so relateable. 

Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)
It's thanks to the character of Rose Tyler that I got into Doctor Who in the first place. I happened to turn on the TV and caught the episode Doomsday and with no prior knowledge of the reboot blubbed like a baby! I then went out and bought the box set and fell in love. I love Rose because she is down to earth, and real but also fearless. She is a perfect match to The Doctor who is able to start enjoying life again thanks to Rose's enthusiasm and humour and she's my favourite companion.

Alana (Saga)
Alana is a tough, no nonsense woman fighting for her family no matter what. She's smart, not afraid to speak her mind and Does. Not. Take. Any. Shit. She is a fiercely protective mother and always stands up for the vulnerable. She also has amazing hair. There are so many briliant characters in the comic book series Saga, but Alan stands out as not only someone you wouldn't want to mess with but also a loving Mum to not just her daughter but anyone that need looking after!
Dana Scully (The X Files)
Not only is Scully a brilliant FBI agent, she is also a highly skilled Doctor. Need an autopsy? Call Scully. Need a transplant? Call Scully. Need a murder case solving? Call Scully. Need someone to come and talk some common sense into Mulder? Call Scully. 
Possibly my favourite thing about Scully is her perfect no nonsense reactions and eye rolls to Mulders bullshit, This woman has no fucks to give.

Other characters I love... Lisa Simpson, Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development), Clarice Starling, Scout Finch (To Kill a Mocking Bird), the 2016 Ghostbusters, Storm, Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill), Alex Drake (Ashes to Ashes), Lisbeth Salander (The Millenium Trilogy), Black Canary, Jackie Brown, Jane Eyre, Annie Sawyer (Being Human), Wonder Woman, Ursula, Liv Moore (iZombie), Princess Bubblegum (Adventure Time), Gwenpool, Lily Munster (The Munsters), Carrie Mathison (Homeland), Scarlett Witch, Norma Bates (Bates Motel), Cosima (Orphan Black), Jessica Jones, Martha Costello (Silk), Squirrel Girl, Stella Gibson (The Fall)... Ok, I'm stopping there!

Who are your favourite fictional women?
Next I'll be do a post on my favourite fictional men!

New books.

Payday + high anxiety = book buying!

After really enjoying Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard I decided to pick up her latest book A Quiet Kind of Thunder. This ones looks like it's more of a romance which isn't really my kind of thing but I loved her writing so want to give it a try. Seeing as I'm a bit of a new convert to YA I also picked up both of Sue Wallman's books- Lying About Last Summer, and See How They Lie. Both are YA type thrillers by the sounds of it (EDIT: I've read See How They Lie and loved it!) It turns out YA books seem to be great distractions for anxiety as they are easier reads.

I also picked up two adult thrillers. The latest Louise Doughty book Black Water, which hopefully will be just as suspenseful as Apple Tree Yard, which I loved. I read it a couple of years ago and for some reason have never read any of her other books. Blood Wedding was a bit of an impulse buy, but it's thriller by french writer Pierre Lemaitre about a woman who creates a new identity after being involved in a crime.  Finally, in Waterstones I picked up this cute Little Book of Wonder Woman which is packed with art, covers and the history of the iconic character.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is an illness that is often misunderstood. Often when I've told people I have it their response is either "what's that?" or them attempting to wrongly explain to me what it is. I thought I'd share a few bits of information if you are curious or would like to learn...

Firstly this is  TED-Ed video giving a brief but informative explanation:

When I was at the beginning of my own diagnosis a documentary Stephen Fry made called The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive meant a great deal to me. It was the first time I recognised that I had a name for the symptoms I was struggling to live with. Stephen Fry is perhaps one of the most famous people with bipolar and talks about it often and openly, and his words meant a lot to me when I was coming to terms with the diagnosis. 

Here he talks about his experience with bipolar and explains it a little:

I hope now you have a bit of a clearer understanding of bipolar disorder :)

Free Comic Book Day 2017.

As usual me and my sister make a day of Free Comic Book Day and I post about it (FCBD16, FCBD15) and this year is no different. Above are the free comics I got from the two comic book shops we visited.  

 The past two years I had a bit of a shopping spree but this year FCBD fell the week before payday so I didn't go so crazy! I did however buy a stack of back issues and a Funko DC pets mystery mini. I got a cute Wonder Woman! Now I just need the Catwoman figure.
We stopped off at Cafe Chino which I have previously posted about (here) and had a vanilla iced coffee again and a delicious slice of strawberry cake, which was pink! 

This year was even more fun because my niece came with us, and she loves anything to do with comics- she's especially a big fan of Guardians of the Galazy, Harley Quinn and Black Widow. She was pretty overwhelmed in the comics book shops and wanted everything haha 

We stopped for some *cheap* lunch at McDonalds and opened up our blind boxes. Both me Scarlett got exactly the ones we wanted thanks to my sister picking them (Well done K!) 

 We also made a stop at the Chinese supermarkets in Chinatown to stock up on snacks. I am seriously addicted to the choco puffs.
Here's me and my niece reading the FCBD Wonder Woman comic in Cafe Chino 💜

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017...

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is Surviving or Thriving. You can find some really useful and interesting information here as well as looking up the #mentalhealthawarenessweek and #MHAW17 hashtags on Twitter. 

I wanted to link some of my mental health posts from this blog if you feel like a read...

1. Study tips when you have a mental illness. Here are some tips I've picked up whilst being a student with mental health problems.
2. Telling your employer you have a mental illness. Here I discuss whether you should disclose your mental illness to your place of work as well as giving two personal accounts of what happened when I did.
3. The trouble with social anxiety and loneliness. In this post I talk about how having social anxiety has made it difficult to make friends.
4. Being honest about mental health. In this post I talk about my own experiences with mental health and where I am now.
5. Time to talk day 2017. Here I talk about misconceptions of bipolar disorder and the importance of awareness, and impacts of stigma.
6. What to do when you are having a panic attack. Tips I've picked up that may be helpful for dealing with panic attacks.
7. 16 Ways to practice self care. Self care is hugely important, especially if you struggle with your mental health... here are some ideas.
8. 8 Bipolar symptoms you might not know about. Here are some things you might not know about bipolar disorder.
9. Having a mental illness and staying positive. Exactly what it says on the tin!
10. Bipolar awareness day. Talking stats and facts about BD.
11. Panic: Dealing with anxiety. If you have anxiety finding things that help manage it are important- here are some things that work for me.

I hope you find these posts useful and if you blog about mental health please leave me your links!

I won a giveaway!

I am one of those people that is perpetually unlucky. If I buy a scratchcard the one after mine will be the winner. So I was very much surprised to find I had one a giveway on Twitter to win a bundle of thriller books from HQ Digital. If you read my blog often you will know I am a big thriller reader so I was extra excited. 

Here is the bundle I won...

I think if I had to choose, the two books I am most excited about are...

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse
"The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…


Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
"My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie."

Both sound AMAZING!! 

Tips for studying and concentration when you have a mental illness...

Studying can be stressful at the best of times but when you have a mental illness it can be really difficult. You already have to contend with lack of concentration, poor memory, and fatigue. Since starting university I have found a few things help, so here are my tips...

Burn citrus candles
It may sound silly but citrus is known as an uplifting scent. I always burn a citrus candle when I am sat at my laptop essay writing and it really helps me to stay focused (and awake!)

Create a work area
Have a clear work space set aside specifically for studying. A desk equipped with all the pens and notebooks you need, any textbooks and minimal distractions. I find I definitely work better when I am sat at my desk rather than when I decide to try reading my text books somewhere else.

Establish a sleep routine
This is so important to mental health, regardless of whether you are a student or not but getting a good nights sleep improves your concentration, mood, and will mean you will find it easier to be more productive. Getting into the routine of having a set bed time and get up time will help hugely.

Take regular breaks and don't do too much at once
Ensuring you take regular breaks will help stop your concentration from waning as well as keeping you motivated. Set some goals and then whenever you reach one reward yourself with a break- maybe 20 minutes on Twitter or a couple of videos on YouTube.

It's important not to put too much pressure on yourself or you could risk feeling demotivated and will end up not getting much done. Some days I have brain fog and know I won't be able to concentrate so will do something else and go back to studying the next day. There's no point wasting a day sat staring at a computer screen and getting nowhere.

Eat some fruit
Try snacking on food high in energy like fruit. Something like a banana, some seeds, dried fruit or a smoothie will help your concentration. I also require a LOT of coffee to keep me awake!

Make time for something you enjoy
Don't get in the habit of working constantly- it will bring your mood down and you won't work as well. Make sure you set time specifically for self care and doing things you like. Reading, having a bath, going for a walk, seeing friends etc...

April reading round up...

What Goes Around by Julie Corbin
"What Goes Around is the story of two women - Ellen and Leila. Ellen is the ex-wife and Leila is the new woman, living in Ellen's house, sleeping with Ellen's husband. Each woman has her own secrets to keep. Leila's brother is back in her life and is determined to rake up their past while Ellen is out for revenge. She wants her home back and she wants Leila to pay for breaking up her marriage. Her plan will make her do things she never thought herself capable of - but it will also put her in danger. Because Ellen has no idea what sort of a woman Leila is and when she finally finds out, it could already be too late...

One of the women will end up dead. But which one?

Read my full review here.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough
"Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

I'd heard so many good things about this book that I couldn't wait to read what I expected to be a suspenseful thriller. The first half was ok- readable, plenty of intrigue but as it went on it got more and more unbelievable. Honestly I kind of wished I'd dnf'd it as the ending was just crazy. The book was written as a thriller set in the real world yet went off on an extreme fanatical tangent at the end where somehow [SPOILER] certain people where able to leave their bodies and take other other peoples bodies whilst lucid dreaming [SPOILER] I felt like chucking the book out of the window in disgust and bemusement. All the characters were infuriating, especially Louise who seemed to be completely lacking in any common sense. As a side note I also didn't appreciate how the author dealt with mental health in this book, relying on the tired crazed mentally ill person cliches. 

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
"Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own."

I'm not the biggest fan of YA but I bought this after seeing the beautiful cover. I enjoy books that have a coming of age theme or look at female friendship. This one covered both and I really enjoyed the writing style. The characters all had their faults and I liked that this was set in the UK (I rarely see UK YA!) I also felt that the subject of mental illness was handled really well here. As an aside the main character had a sister who was bipolar and it did not define her character in any way. She wasn't crazy, dangerous or erratic. Hooray! I defintely plan on reading Barnard's latest book.

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
"Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century."

This was kind of a sombre read for me. I really enjoyed it and found certain stories oddly relateable but also quite sad. The book was brilliantly written and very real. I also enjoyed the change in art style for different stories. I will definitely look into more of Tomine's work.  

Saga Vol.7 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
"From the worldwide bestselling team of Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained Saga event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience. "

This series is flawless. There aren't many comics or books in general that can have me crying and laughing. This story is so epic in scale and so fast paced and has never lost it's brilliance even after seven volumes. 

We Can Never Go Home by Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon
"The story of two teenagers, a mixtape, a stolen car, a fully loaded .45, strange abilities, dead drug dealers, and their money. A dark and modern story about getting lost and finding yourself on the backroads of America."

This was ok but didn't keep me interested enough to make me want to continue with it. It's a story been told many times before and nothing new was really added. I did however enjoy the design and liked the mixtapes and nod to super hero comics and I also enjoyed the surprise ending. 

Green Lanterns issue 15 by Sam Humphreys and Tyler Kirkham
I don't usually mention single issues of comics in my reading round ups but I loved this so much I had to include it. I picked up a copy after hearing about it on Nerdburgers YouTube channel and am so glad I did. This issue is a day in the life of Green Lantern Jessica Cruz who has anxiety. It gave a realistic and genuine look at the day to day struggles of having anxiety and It's the first time I have encountered a mainstream superhero comic depict a mental illness. Humphreys also writes one of my favourite comics- Jonesy and after reading this issue I definitely want to pick up the trades. 5/5

The Beauty Vol. 1 by Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley
"Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? 

In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is only one sexual encounter away. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Vaughn and Foster will soon discover it comes at a terrible cost. Now, they'll have to find their way past corrupt poiticians, vengeful federal agents, and a terrifying mercenary out to collect the price on their heads. "

This was an interesting concept and I do enjoy dystopian stories but it moved a little slow for my liking. I probably will read the second volume at some point but I'm not in a rush to. 3/5

Salad Anniversary by Machi Tawara"Machi Tawara's first book of poems, The Anniversary of the Salad combines the classical 'tanka' form with the subject of a modern love affair. It became a sensation, selling over 2 million copies - and the 'salad phenomenon' in Japanese culture was comparable to the 'bananamania' that followed publication of the first novel by Tawara's contemporary Banana Yoshimoto."

This is a translation of a collection of poetry written in a classic Japanese style. Tawara writes beautifully about her relationship and her words invoked Spring, new beginnings and the excitement of something new. The subject was very modern and I enjoyed the many mentions of food there was also a bittersweet edge to this book. I really want to get back into poetry again and am so glad I picked a copy of this book up (which incidentally is beautifully presented too). 4/5