This is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake, Garbage and me.

Garbage are my all time favourite band. I have loved them ever since a 12 year old me heard their Bond theme The World is Not Enough on the radio. I bought the single and remember seeing the picture of the band on the inside cover. Shirley looked cool, tough, strong, different.  I instantly needed to know more. I remember rifling through my stack of Now cd compilations. I found one from a few years earlier. It had their eerie ballad Milk on it. I remember putting it on my cd player and being transported. The song was beautiful, weird, creepy, haunting. It was like nothing I'd ever heard. It was love. 

Since then I have followed them closely. I've been lucky enough to see them live quite a few times and have forced their music on everyone I know! (Most of the time with success!) I have pored over every interview I could find. When the band announced they were releasing a book (not long after their 20th anniversary of their brilliant debut album) I was beyond excited. This is a document of the band over the years through photographs and in their own words.

If you are at all familiar with the band you will know they put a lot of thought into the design and look of their artwork. Their singles from their debut album were released in special vinyl packages- including one made of metal, one of cloth and one of rubber. The singles from their second album Version 2.0 were released in special mini disc blister packs. They released their third album Beautiful Garbage in a special edition origami like fold out rose. Each album even has it's own specific font. Therefore it was no surprise that this book would be visually stunning. The design is TO DIE FOR! So please excuse the fact I have included so many pictures in this post but I wanted to include some of my favourite pages. 

Hiding underneath the dust jacket was this embossed logo of their record label StunVolume. I love these beautiful touches. 

This image of Shirley in the matchstick dress was the second image I ever saw of her. The face to the voice. I was an awkward, shy freckled kid who didn't fit in. I looked through the booklet to my Now cd where they had this picture and a brief write up of the band. I remember having to wait for my Birthday until I had money so that I could buy the two Garbage albums that were out at the time.

Everyday after school I would come home, put my headphones on and disappear into the music. It was like my own private hideout. Their music was strange, and creepy, strong and vulnerable. It was everything to a weird kid like me.  

As I got a little older I remember begging my Mum to dye my hair red. She let me. I started wearing black eyeliner. reading about feminism. getting into other bands like Siouxsie & the Banshees, Hole, Patti Smith. If Shirley mentioned them I'd look them up. I bought red lipstick. Studded black jeans. I felt like a badass. Shirley inspired me. Through the music and her no nonsense interviews she gave me confidence. 

Fast forward and I am now 31. I still love Garbage just as much as I did and Shirley is still my hero. I don't dye my hair red anymore- I have my own style (although I still love my leopard coat and black boots), thanks to Shirley I am not afraid to be who I am, have my own opinions or make wrong decisions. I've been through many ups and downs and Garbage has always been there for me. To me they are more than just a band. 

This post started out as a book review and ended up being as much about me as the book. When This is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake arrived it took me right back to first discovering them. It took me back to being an awkward sky kid. A moody teenage goth. A lost early twenty something. This band have been with me for so long they feel a part of me. This book was an emotional experience. Full of connections. 

This is the Noise that Keeps me Awake is full of unseen photographs though the years, honest insight from the band and their personal experiences. There is a full discography, themed cocktail recipes, a list of every gig they've ever played. The book includes details of all their music videos and stories about the making of them. Tour stories, and two of my favourite pages- each band members first single, album, and gig and each band members top five favourite Garbage songs. 

Basically it is a Garbage fans DREAM.

 Another of my favourite pages- some of Shirleys favourite outfits.

Simply put this post is a big gushing mess of love for Garbage and This is the Noise That Keeps me Awake. Although it is highly unlikely the band will ever see this little blog post I want to thank them with all my little black heart for everything and more. And especially thank you Shirley, for your words, your voice, your power, your intelligence. Thank you for never letting me down. 

With love always,
Shell x

Book review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsay Lee Johnson

'A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld's PrepThe Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents' expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public: postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.'

To cut straight to it this was a beautifully written book. Starting off with the suicide of a boy who was cyber bullied by his classmates this jumps forward to catch up with the class involved as well as a new teacher who takes them on. 

The chapters alternate between Miss Nichol and then a chapter per student. The chapters dedicated to each student read like a character study of the teen, looking at their life and their thoughts and feelings. You get a deep insight into what makes them who they are. I also really enjoyed the chapters told from Miss Nichol's point of view. She starts off wanting to care and help her students, but soon becomes disillusioned with her job. I felt like she was a really interesting and relateable character. 

I really savoured this book as I wanted to pour over and enjoy every word. I got really attached to the characters and felt connected to what was happening. 

Although the kids were privileged and had everything at their feet they were as lost as anyone and the way some of their stories progressed was quite emotional.

Overall I found this a compelling and beautifully written read. I recommend to anyone who enjoys coming of age stories that are real and honest.

On Goodreads I gave this 4/5 stars.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth is available in paperback Aug 24th here

[Huge thanks to Veronique at Hodder for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.] 

Burt's Bees haul.

After falling in love with Burt's Bees lip products I decided to stock up on their products and try a few new things. Amazon had a deal going where if you spend £15 on Burt's Bees you got a free lip gift set. That was as good an excuse as any!
The main thing I wanted to get was a Gloss Lip Crayon after loving the matte versions. These ones are fairly new and they have tons of lovely colours. I opted for Outback Oasis which is a nice soft beige colour, and have been using this a lot, it's really nice. 

The set I got free came with this cute bag (which I now use to keep all my BB products), a Strawberry lipbalm (which I carry round in my bag), a lip shimmer in Peony, and  tinted lip balm in Zinnia. Both of these are lovely pinkish neutral shades. 

Finally I got the Essential Burt's Bees Kit which features lots of handy products. A Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing balm, a Hand Slave, Milk & Honey body lotion, and a Coconut Foot Cream. I haven't tried all of these yet but I'm looking forward to seeing what they are all like.

So that's my Burt's Bees haul! 

15 Simple stress relievers.

If you suffer with anxiety having or carrying around some sort of stress reliever can be helpful. I've had anxiety for years and I like to think I've got some way into learning to manage/control it. So here are some things I find helpful to have to take your focus if you are feeling anxious.

fidget spinners
stress ball/ squishy
kinetic sand/ play dough
bubble wrap
elastic band/ hair tie worn on the wrist
pen and paper to scribble on
chewing gum/ bubble gum
ring spinner (like these)
fidget cube
ASMR videos on YT
Simple and repetitive phone apps (I like Kids Cake Maker or Mahjong)
colouring book
podcasts/ audiobook

When I'm at work and need something discreet I find chewing gum and wearing an elastic band on my wrist works perfectly. When I'm at home and feeling a bit stressed or need a distraction I will grab my fidget spinner or kinetic sand. Kinetic sand is one of my favourites as it's very tactile and has a really relaxing movement to it! You can get little single pots of it in Tesco or sets from Amazon/toy shops. When I'm trying to sleep I will put my earphones in and watch some ASMR videos on YouTube. If you haven't tried this you are in for a treat- they are incredibly relaxing and great for anxiety. 

Do you have any others you find really helpful?

July Lately.

 When you live with a cat!
 Live hard play hard right?! This was plans for one of those wild nights. But seriously perfect- The book ended up being a 5 star read, I love an iced coffee and those biscuits are a new favourite. The amount of boxes I have consumed the past couple of weeks is shocking! 
 A day out at the shops and a stop at Starbucks. Some cool pins on my bag too!
 I hate Summer buuut I love Summer fruit. I have been eating so much fruit lately- my favourites are red grapes, cherries, nectarines and peaches. 

Finally at the age of 30 I have mastered the art of bubblegum. Here is a commemorative photo. I really feel like I am at last getting somewhere in life.

Currently reading: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsay Lee Johnson
Currently watching: Glow on Netflix
Currently listening to: No Horses by Garbage, Doctor Who audiobooks
Currently wearing: Cat eye sunglasses

Latest in Beauty (July).

Latest in Beauty subscription service allows you to curate your own box each month and as I am so picky this is perfect for me! You can choose from either 3, 6 or 9 products and delivery is free if you subscribe. I went for 6 products and it cost me just £15 which I think is a complete bargain! So here's what I picked...

  • Weleda Wild Rose body lotion
  • Burts Bees tinted lip balm in Rose
  • Vichy Purete Thermale 3 in 1
  • Melvita Rose floral water
  • Phillip Kingsley Moisturising balancing shampoo & conditioner
  • Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentrate (not pictured)
Extras: Neom Energy Boosting Capsule and Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm.

This month the packaging was a lovely midnight blue. So far I've really liked everything I've tried. The Weleda Body Lotion smells like Turkish delight (yum!), the Burt's Bees lip balm is great for everyday and the Embryollsse is working excellently with my sensitive skin. 

One of the items was missing from my box but a quick email to them sorted it out. Great customer service always makes me more likely to stick with a company so I would definitely recommend giving them a go. They have a huge selection of products to suit any taste- make up, nails, perfume, hair, skin care and are always updating and adding new stuff. 

July reading round up.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa
'When Masechaba finally achieves her childhood dream of becoming a doctor, her ambition is tested as she faces the stark reality of South Africa's public healthcare system.

As she leaves her deeply religious mother and makes friends with the politically-minded Nyasha, Masechaba's eyes are opened to the rising xenophobic tension that carries echoes of apartheid.

Battling her inner demons, she must decide if she should take a stand to help her best friend, even it comes at a high personal cost.'

Read my full review here. 4/5

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
'GATHER THE DAUGHTERS tells the story of an end-of-the-world cult founded years ago when ten men colonised an island. It's a society in which men reign supreme, breeding is controlled, and knowledge of the outside world is kept to a minimum. Girls are wives-in-training: at the first sign of puberty, they must marry and have children. But until that point, every summer, island tradition dictates that the children live wildly: running free, making camps, sleeping on the beach. And it is at the end of one such summer that one of the youngest girls sees something so horrifying that life on the island can never be the same again.'

Read my full review here. 4.5/5

Coffin Hil Vol.1 by Caitlin Kittredge
'Following a night of sex, drugs and witchcraft in the woods, Eve Coffin wakes up naked, covered in blood and unable to remember how she got there. One friend is missing, one is in a mental ward-and one knows that Eve is responsible.

Years later, Eve returns to Coffin Hill, only to discover the darkness that she unleashed ten years ago in the woods was never contained. It continues to seep through the town, cursing the soul of this sleepy Massachusetts hollow, spilling secrets and enacting its revenge.'

This book was one giant MEH. Meh story, Meh characters, and MEH artwork. 1/5

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
'Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.'

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this!! A fun and scary horror story set in an Ikea like store. I also loved that the book was designed like an Ikea catalogue to. This was unique and brilliant and an instant addition to my favourites. 5/5

And Then Emily Was Gone by John Lees & Ian Laurie
'A haunted former police detective goes in search of a missing girl, and finds Hell instead. And Then Emily Was Gone is a dark horror-mystery that tells the story of Greg Hellinger, a man who sees monsters. A former detective driven to the brink of madness by terrifying apparitions, Hellinger is tasked with finding a missing girl named Emily. His search takes him to a remote community in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, where strange and terrible things are happening.'

This is the complete graphic novel and I really enjoyed it. Genuinely scary and disturbing and fast paced. I though the scratchy artwork complimented the story perfectly. If you are a fan of horror comics it's definitely worth tracking this one down- I wish the FCBD prequel was included in this as that was equally as scary and added a bit more to the story. 4/5