Books I read in 2017


Happy 2018!

I say, 20 days late! 2017 was a year of up and downs for me; majority of it was the rest of my first year at University, as well as studying I also took part in two performances with my university’s theatre company, visited Dublin and Prestatyn, went to concerts, went to my first Pride festival and lots of other happy memories. One thing I was particularly proud of in 2017 was how many books I managed to read. I’ve always loved reading since I was tiny but during high school and afterwards, I drifted away from reading as a hobby and always struggled to try to find the time and the motivation to sit down and concentrate on a book. Luckily this year, the motivation and drive suddenly came back to me and I fell back in love with reading, bookshops, libraries and literature all over again and I am so thankful for it. Unfortunately, a downside of last year is I neglected my blog massively, which I blame partly on trying to focus on University and get used to the new routine and also blame on just laziness in general but I did manage to crack out two book reviews on my blog last year! You can read them here and here!

I thought I’d share some of the books I managed to read last year and what I thought of them, as well as talk about books I plan to read this year and ones I’d like to read! This list is in no particular order and not in any particular ‘rating’ and doesn’t include every book that I read this year:

  1. Too Close to Home by Aoife Walsh

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Ironically I first mentioned this book back in a blog post in February 2016! Only took me until October 2017 to finish it! I still stand by my original thoughts that Aoife’s novel reminds me of coming of age/YA stories like Ally’s World, which I used to read back in year 7 and 8. It tells the story of Minny who lives in a big, confusing family – where the father and mother are separated and Minny feels like she has to also help take care of her younger sister, baby brother and older sister Aisling who is autistic. I also enjoyed this book because I personally felt Aoife wrote an autistic character well and didn’t draw unnatural attention to how Aisling acted in situations and such. The novel also has typical YA novel topics like family problems, crushes and bullying. Overall I did quite enjoy it, I’m not in any rush to reread it and you can definitely tell it is a young adult novel – but I still enjoyed it and I’m very glad I finally finished it!

2. We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

After finishing this novel I was completely enamoured by it and the concepts discussed/implied in the story. Not spoiling any twists or big plot points but the story eventually brings up the question of humanity in animals, specifically primates and if they can remember family and if similar bonds between family members can be shown between a human and primate. The story was so surprising and different to other books I have read that once I hit a particular chapter or point in the book where a lot of things became revealed, I found myself glued to the book – not wanting to put it down. I’d love to read another book of Karen Joy Fowler’s as this novel is probably the book of 2017 that brought me back into reading regularly.

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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I now actually claim this novel as my favourite book, that is how much I enjoyed it. Not only that, I absolutely adore Ishiguro’s style of writing and when I found out that he had won the Nobel prize in Literature I was so proud to be a fan of his work because he is so talented and definitely deserves the prize. I went into detail about Never Let Me Go on a previous review on my blog, but let me tell you – this book has such a natural, raw narration from the main character that you find emotions hitting you for hours after you’ve finished the story.

4. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock of the Fall was included on one of my University module reading lists, and that is actually how I ended up reading it but the story was so real and impactful that I ended up sitting for hours not putting my kindle down because I needed to know what happened. I will warn that the story’s themes largely include mental health, schizophrenia, depression, suicide and death. The main protagonist had his flaws and parts of him that you’d find yourself reading and wanting to argue or yell at him but other times you’d pity him. In some parts of the novel, I found myself getting goosebumps because of how blunt and honest the character was and how dark the story could get. But I felt this was good writing because it didn’t romanticize mental health disorders, it didn’t paint them as something that one day would be magically cured, it showed how bleak it could be. That it could happen to anyone, that the symptoms can be far and near from what people expect. In general, I definitely recommend this book because it is so powerful and so well written.

I’m currently trying to power through Jane Austen’s Emma. I do love Austen’s stories and her writing, but sometimes when I’m tired it does take a couple of going over the same paragraph again to try and take in what happened in the scene and sometimes I mix characters up – but I am enjoying it and plan to finish it! Other books I have in my book box ready to read include

  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
  • Georgia, Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
  • Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

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So wish me luck! Hopefully I can read way more books this year than I did last! Feel free to share what books you loved in 2017, or any 2018 releases you are looking forward to!

I am also on GoodReads if you’d like to give me a follow!

Thanks for reading,



phone photography adventures and Easter laziness

Hey guys, long time no talk!

Lately I’ve been really missing blogging, art and just general hobbies I used to enjoy. That’s the annoying side of University life mixed with depression, it’s so easy to drop completely off the map when it comes to things that I really used to enjoy doing. Luckily I’m in the middle of a good 2-3 weeks off University and it’s been a mix of good and bad to my schedule. The first bad bit is that I’ve completely lost my sleeping pattern; maybe I didn’t have a good one in the first place but over the course of a week or two it’s definitely gone a bit tipsy. Although the bonus of being awake at 4am with your boyfriend watching Netflix and playing video games is you get to see how pretty the world is when it’s the dead of night. Especially in Manchester.

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I’ve been really enjoying taking photos lately. Now I’m definitely no photographer or skilled, especially with the fact all I have is my shoddy iPhone SE and editing apps/Photoshop – but it’s been something I’ve been doing a lot when I’m out of the house. Me and Will have been on three or four lovely walks during the Easter break which has given me a great chance to take some nice photos and it’s made me want to start doing photography again. Maybe fool around more with photo editing or even create some mixed media pieces if I can ever kick my butt back into art/drawing.

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Visiting Wythenshawe park provided me with a lot of lovely photos! We visited the Community Farm they have there so I got to see a lot of the adorable animals on the farm. Admittedly seeing the cows in their barn made me feel a little bit sad because it was hard to tell if they were happy or upset being there but a lot of the animals on the farm seemed very calm and were eating/just finished being fed.

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As well as picnics in parks and going for walks, I’ve been mostly lazing around playing video games. Persona 5 is my go-to game at the moment which I thoroughly recommend to anybody looking for a new PS4 game to play! It’s also available on PS3. It’s super unique and if you’re a fan of the Persona series, it’s definitely a step up from 4 and with a lot more gripping, darker storyline. The characters are super lovable and you’ll get instantly attached to them like I did. I’d also recommend it if you’re a fan of games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy because of the fighting and collecting monster themes but for anyone who enjoys games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age since they have a role-playing side to it where you can make personal choices to your game with some sides of it.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter holiday and I shall be back soon with another post!

Thanks for reading,









21.01.17 – Central Vegan Festival


Hello lovely world,

So today me and my gorgeous friend Natt popped into Manchester to visit the Central Vegan Festival that was taking place! Manchester was extremely busy today and I’m glad to know one of the many things going on today was the Women’s March taking place. Now I’m gutted I couldn’t go, mainly cause I left it to late in the day to make it and my anxiety was acting up a bit so I was wary about going into big crowds but I hope in future I can attend more marches. Of course, Manchester’s march wasn’t as massive as Washington’s but I am so proud to see how many people attended the march in my hometown. It makes me so proud and even feel a little bit more optimistic that I know so many women of all types – black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, white, disabled, gay, bisexual, trans, cisgender, mothers, single women, elderly women, teenagers etc. etc. are standing strong and looking out for each other after the news of Trump coming into presidency in the US. All the images and videos of marches around the world fill me with hope that so many people want to fight against the despairing, patriarchal presidency taking place.

I recommend taking a look at the images and videos on social media just by searching #WhyIMarch or #WomensMarch. It’s truly inspiring.

The vegan festival also took place in Manchester today and it’s my first proper vegan festival that I’ve attended. It was quite small and humble but very crowded and well-attended! It had that festival feeling where you’re shuffling around slowly and taking everything in, but I really enjoyed it despite the slow movement! There was tons of food stalls serving fresh vegan meals and although I couldn’t eat things from every stall I managed to try a gorgeous slice of ‘pepperoni’ pizza from Vegan Pizza Co.’s stall and I also treated myself to a batch of loaded nachos from Mex It Up‘s stall.


The staff at both stalls were also super lovely! Next up me and Natt had a lovely look around the other stalls, I recognised a stall for Wear Your Voice UK, who do really nice vegan and anti-cruelty prints on t-shirts and jumpers. I already own two that I’ve bought online but it was really exciting seeing them at a stall in person.


There was also a very cute stall there from a shop named Rogue Gypsy who did crystals and crystal jewellery. Now I’m a sucker for anything with crystals on so I had to buy something and me and Natt ended up deciding to get matching necklaces (cause we cute)! The man at the stall was super lovely and even told us about the crystals on our necklaces, and gave us a little slip with facts about the crystal with our necklaces.




Finally, of course, comes the snack haul – because I love food and I can’t help hauling vegan snacks. I managed to nab up some vegan sweet treats from Ananda Food‘s and Forgot the Egg‘s stall which was exciting, as well as picking up some other treats as seen below!



From left to right: two ‘Wheaty chorizo spacebars’ (they remind me of pepperamis but way better), Raw Cacao Ombar Buttons,, Ananda’s Choca Mocha marshmallows, a Marshmallow pop from Ananda’s, a gingerbread man from Forgot the Eggs and V-Bite’s dairy free Fudgee bites.

All in all I am extremely excited to try some of the stuff I picked up today and fully recommend popping to a vegan festival in future, even if you eat meat and you are curious about the food and such!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day,




20 feelings that make me happy I’m alive


So I guess you could jokingly say this is one of my lazier posts since it’ll basically be a list however I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a while as I really love trying to cheer people and myself up some days, and on really, really crappy days I can forgot about some of these lovely feelings and scenarios that make me feel alive and grateful to be where I am in that moment. If you have any you’d love to add on, do comment on my blog post or share on Twitter!

  1. Waking up naturally on a Sunny day and seeing the bright blue sky through your windows.
  2. When you’re baking or helping someone bake and you get to eat the excess icing or mix.
  3. Finding the perfect song or playlist to listen to on a long train/bus ride. Here’s one of mine!
  4. Watching ASMR or Bob Ross and the relaxing, calm feeling you get. The sound the paintbrushes make on the palette when Bob Ross is mixing paint really makes me relaxed, is that weird?
  5. Going to the cinema and seeing a trailer for a film you’re insanely excited for. (Lately the Suicide Squad trailer with Bohemian Rhapsody always gets me pumped up!)
  6. When you’re walking somewhere and a kind-looking stranger smiles at you when you make eye contact.
  7. When you’re walking somewhere and somebody’s dog tries to come and sniff you as they walk past. I want to be your friend too, small pupper.
  8. Seeing little bumblebees chill happily in a bed of pretty flowers.
  9. When a family member, friend or such shows you something and says ‘this reminded me of you.’
  10. Seeing a cute photo of a corgi butt on Instagram. Believe me.


  11. Getting a massive hug of someone you love when you’re crying.
  12. The first gulp of a really cold drink when you’re dehydrated.
  13. Seeing a family of ducks in a river. Especially if there is a parent/adult duck and tiny ducklings.
  14. Getting a 99 whippy ice cream on a summer’s day. They’re my guilty pleasure – especially with all the sprinkles, flake and raspberry syrup.
  15. Finally getting an essay/homework piece done and knowing you can relax.
  16. Walking/cycling when it’s sunset and you get to see all the beautiful colours the sky can make.
  17. When someone tells you randomly that you’ve made their day or you’ve been really helpful. Whenever I get a customer who says something like this to me when I’ve been working, my faith in humanity returns.
  18. Getting complimented randomly when out drinking. Especially going in the female toilets, you’ll get the occasional drunk girl saying they love your shoes or something and it’s the best feeling.
  19. Getting cosy in bed after a long day.
  20. When someone you care about says they’re proud of you. Even if it’s for something small like just passing an exam or even getting a high score on a video game. It makes me smile.

What things would you guys add?

Thanks for reading,



The Five H’s of University Worries

I’m so excited about university, lately it’s probably one of the most prominent things on my mind and tongue. I recently accepted my unconditional offer from York St John university and come September this year, I’ll be a student there! Am I bricking it? Absolutely.

Obviously it’s normal to get a bit nervous and have some anxiety, especially if you’re moving away from your hometown to this new place. So I thought I’d share some of my 5 current worries about starting university because who knows, maybe other people have them too! Or students might have had them and known how to overcome them!

  1. Hunger
    So technically, if I was to receive my second accommodation preference this might be less of a worry(living that self-catered life), but my ideal uni flat would require me sharing a kitchen with flat mates and also cooking for myself. Now if you know me well enough you’ll know I could probably try and cook beans on toast and still mess it up. Ok maybe I’m not, that bad – but I’m hardly a chef or baker. I’m also hugely unreliable with money. I can imagine I’ll end up blowing my food allowance mainly on crap I might not need and come home and be like ‘well I forgot an actual important thing like dinner’.
  2. Home sickness
    Now I did get offers for Manchester based universities but I wanted to take this opportunity to get out of town and try a new city. York is absolutely lovely and I can imagine I’ll get used to it as a nice home but I am really prone to getting home sick. When I was in year 7 at a two night camping trip, I remember crying to sleep because I wanted my parents. God forbid this happening at uni. Not because I’m ashamed but literally not having my parents in face-to-face distance for once might be a bit more shocking to my system. My anxious, easily frightened system.
  3. Hearing
    This worry is probably not as ‘relatable’ as every students worry but I’m mentioning it anyways. Maybe to get it off my chest or maybe hopefully I can look back and be like ‘this was nothing to worry about’. Obviously my hearing will play a big part in my university life, whether or not I want it to. I’m highly scared of missing stuff in lectures or even missing out on conversations with people that might end up with not feeling as inclusive with potential friends or maybe being seen as rude or strange by others.
  4. Homework
    I have not had homework for almost 3 years. Therefore having to do essays and important work in my free time is definitely going to feel really strange to me. I am positive I’ll enjoy my course and probably the things we’ll be given assignments on but I’m praying that my procrastination side won’t kick in during university. I hate being stressed and late on work so I need to try hard to get stuff done as soon as I get assigned it.
  5. Humans
    Ok bear with me, I had a hard time think of a ‘H’ word for people/friendships. But basically, the worst fear of university – especially one in a new city – is being able to make friends. Now I don’t want to get all open and mopey but making friends has always been a toughie for me in the past. In recent years it’s obviously changed and I’m glad I’m seeing my self-esteem and confidence grow but I can feel inside me, I’m going to be shy when I go to university. Hopefully Freshers and the staggering amount of alcohol will maybe dissolve that shyness but ho hum.

So that’s basically my anxieties about the upcoming student year but the positives and excitement definitely weigh it all out! Did you guys have any of this starting university? Or maybe even have it currently about your future university? I’d love to hear people’s views on it!


Thanks for reading,



My Current Job Inspiration

Fun fact when I was growing up I had some bizarre ‘dream jobs’; I wanted to be an ice cream van driver at one point and would spend hours scribbling designs of ‘ice creams’ and ‘lollies’ I would sell. Then at some points I wanted to work with animals, either being a zookeeper or a vet. Other jobs I have been interested in growing up include being a writer, artist, graphic novel artist, video game artist, actress, visual merchandiser – and that’s in no particular order! My mind changes very easily and I’m constantly bewildered by how much choice one person can have. I can understand the whole butterfly effect theory where you can basically have tons and tons of lines of ‘opportunities’ or ‘future scenarios’ but only certain ones happen if you do certain things, basically that everything happens for a reason. It makes me scared and excited at the same time. I want to experience as much as possible but make sure I don’t waste my choices on bad decisions or experiences and waste time.

My current dream job at the moment, I don’t think I could really pick one thing. I want to do something that involves the English/Creative Writing degree I will study in the future, something that’ll involve writing itself – maybe blogging and journalism. But as I have mentioned in a previous blog post, I do also miss the illustration/art side of things. I realised recently whilst having a stroll around Waterstones with my sister, a job that I’d probably love that includes both creative writing and illustration and that is – children’s books! Maybe one day I could write books and illustrate them and build up a portfolio based on it. I found a lot of inspiration in Waterstones and thought I’d share the inspirations I found that make me want to pursue this idea.


Pass it On by Sophy Henn’s book cover made me grin as soon as I saw it. There’s something minimalist but eye-catching about it which makes me really interested by it. I love how the balloons and font pop out against the grey background, it makes me wonder if that’s what the story will be about? Acts of kindness and happiness that bring colour into a grey day. The way Sophy’s drawn the characters is really cute too!! I love the left hand character’s bright little red hat. Sophy has also written and illustrated a book called ‘Pom Pom gets the grumps’ which looks absolutely precious! Her illustration is so colourful and she makes the colours contrast well so it is soothing on the eyes.


Also something about her typography choice in both of these pieces is really interesting. I like the cursive, round writing she uses for her signature and in the lower writing on the heading.

So after being very inspired by illustrator/writers like Sophy Henn I think I’m going to try and do more illustration pieces based on maybe book covers or ideas I have. I recently got some new watercolours for my birthday so I think they will definitely come in handy!

How is everyone else’s life lately? What jobs did you dream of doing whilst growing up?

Feel free to comment!


Credit for illustration in image is Sophy Henn’s pieces in her book Where Bear?



February Updates✨


I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit lately, but I’ll be honest I’ve been having a bit of a low moment the past few weeks and a very bad case of writers block. As well as that, on the upside, I have a new part time job! Which I’m enjoying a lot and gives me a bit of pocket money whilst I wait for University to start. Also have some possible writing opportunities coming up that I’m trying to plan for and hopefully when my writers block goes away I should be able to focus on that! But for now I’ll give you some updates from myself about what I’ve been up to in February and what stuff I’ve enjoyed!


I got my nostril pierced! I did this piercing on a massive impulse, and didn’t really plan for it at all – although I’ve considered a nostril piercing on and off for a while, since I got my septum done. The guy who pierced it was really kind and comforting, and it definitely didn’t hurt as much as my septum did. However somehow my nose/skin did not react well to the jewelry and the skin somehow flared up/got swollen and then started to almost swallow the stud. It was kind of scary! Google reassured me that the piercing sinking into the piercing hole, is quite a common mishap in nostril piercings so I went to a local piercer to get them to have a look at and they changed it to a much better jewelry piece for my nose and now it has started to calm down!

Next up, over the past month I’ve been trying to get back into reading. I suffer from depression and sometimes I can get really drowsy and have no energy to concentrate on anything. It is an unfortunate symptom as it draws me away from doing things I really enjoy including reading, writing and even playing video games! I miss when I used to be able to focus on a video game for hours on end. But a week or so back I picked up a book in Waterstones called ‘Too Close to Home’ by Aoife Walsh, and so far I am really enjoying it. Growing up I was a massive fan of book series including Ally’s World and Sadie Etc by Karen Mccombie, books by Sarah Dessen, ‘Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging’ – basically any book with a teenage female protagonist. I really like reading books from a teenage girl’s POV, because well I am one. It somehow helps me imagine the characters a bit better and Aoife definitely paints a really good picture of the characters in Too Close to Home. I admittedly find myself sometimes reading it, getting a bit annoyed at the main girl Minny for thinking poorly of her family members but she is an interesting character and her family are definitely interesting. I can’t wait to read more of it.


Lush is still one of my beauty obsessions of course. Recently they released a bubble bar shaped like a Unicorn horn and there was no force on earth to stop me from picking one of these candy-coloured, ‘bubble-mania-in-a-stick’ beauties! Annoyingly, I’m not sure if they are still available as the website won’t let me on the page for it which is a massive shame because I’d recommend them to anyone who is a big fan of the candy-scented stuff at Lush. Did you like Snow Fairy or Prince Charming shower gel? Do you like the pink heaven you get in the bath from Sex Bomb or Twilight bath bombs? The unicorn horn bubble bar would be amazing for you! It does not leave any glittery/cream residue in baths and makes the water a gorgeous pink colour. If your local Lush store still has them, I’d definitely recommend picking one up!


So last but not least of my February favourite products is a cruelty-free, vegan beauty product that I definitely recommend for any vegan/cruelty-free makeup users who want a cheap BB cream/foundation that includes SPF 15, UVA filters and ‘antioxidant protection’. Now I can’t say I swear by this BB cream to make your skin flawless – because it’s a very light coverage. However it definitely makes my skin feel moisturized but does a good enough job to make my skin tone seem even and lessen any redness.


As someone who isn’t a massive fan of heavy makeup and wanted a cheap, cruelty-free alternative to my foundation this definitely is something I don’t regret buying! Hurray for Superdrug and their cruelty-free branding.

And finally I leave you with a link to a couple of songs I’ve really been enjoying this month! Have a listen and comment any songs you like too!

Hope you guys enjoyed your February!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x