Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

I was recently asked by basketball player and author Alex Owumi, if I wanted to review his audio book, The Man in Forest Hills. Alex has always been a great friend and has helped increase my blogging audience over the past couple of years. I admire him and his journey and wanted to review one of his books!

Book Review: The Man in Forest Hills

The Man in Forest Hills is set around the character Thomas Kent, a detective based in Boston. He wakes up from a coma after being shot to find out his family are gone. He thinks it’s something to do with one of the high profile cases he’s worked on in the past and starts trying to dig into the mystery further…

I don’t want to give away any more spoilers as there’s a lot that goes down in the book!

I really enjoyed actually listening to an audiobook and being able to do other things; it was also a really good book to start off with. It only took me two days to get through although I did have to pay close attention to all the characters!

What I really enjoyed about this book was the suspense. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, making you wonder who was behind the murder of Kent’s family. As a reader, you also struggle to determine whether Kent is playing good cop or bad cop by trying to avenge his family’s murder.

If he murders the people who have harmed them, is he then in the wrong? Or is he doing a good deed to make sure they don’t murder again? It’s a very moral oriented story. We have to pick whether we are backing Kent or we want him to go to jail.

As the chapters go on we also see flashbacks to before Kent’s family were murdered; we also see his time in the police academy and how his story has unraveled to leave us where he is now. By giving us this glimpse into Kent’s past, Owumi has let the reader into his world; these flashbacks intrigue us and we find ourselves wanting to know more.

Overall, I felt like the story line was well thought out and I can’t wait to read the rest of Owumi’s books!

You can purchase Alex’s books here.

You can also read Alex’s thoughts and tips on his blog.

Hope you enjoyed this review! Remember, if you have a book you want reviewed, email me at greenv745@gmail.com

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

6 Coping Techniques To Use For Panic Attacks

We’ve all been in that situation where we suddenly experience a panic attack, whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s always a shock to the system. Everyone’s panic attacks are different. Mine usually consist of vertigo, a lump in the throat, sweaty, breathless, palpitations and more, depending on the situation I’m in.

I’ve noticed over the past few years that I tend to experience more panic attacks while travelling. When visiting my boyfriend in London he would have to meet me just outside the barriers and come with me on the tube. I was terrified of being alone without anyone to grab onto for support. An incident happened where my partner was ill and I needed to see him. However, he obviously couldn’t come with me on the tube and take me back to his parent’s house. I had to make the journey alone. This seemed impossible. But I think it’s one of the best things I have done for my mental health.

I managed to get on the tube by myself, albeit having a few wobbles. I got to his house by myself and it was such an accomplishment. From then on, my partner told me I would be making the journey by myself. I was angry with him. I wanted my security back. After two years of travelling on the train and meeting him on the other end, that would disappear and I would have to make the journey alone. But I did it. For over a year until I moved in with him.

I still get panic attacks when travelling alone but my anxiety has improved so much; I’m a completely different person to who I was before meeting Oliver.

So now that I’ve rambled on – and if you managed to read all of that – let me give you some tips on how to cope with panic attacks. These are a few techniques and remedies I’ve used but please be aware that not everything that worked for me will necessarily work for others.

Use the Tapping Technique

I read a while ago about a tapping technique, also called EFT tapping which is used for people with anxiety and PTSD to help relieve tension and trauma from negative events that have happened. You can read more on the technique and how to practice it here. This technique can help ground you but also take your mind off the situation by giving you something else to think about.

6 Coping Anxiety

Use Rescue Remedy

When I remember to bring it with me, I use Rescue Remedy to help relieve my anxiety. I have the liquid but I’ve also used the pastilles which I find better. I tend to eat a lot and like something to chew so chewing gum or pastilles really help. You can purchase Rescue Remedy here. Please be aware this is an affiliate link and any purchases you make through this link will benefit me and my blog! You won’t pay any extra, it just allows me to make money from the sale!

Scroll Through Your Phone

When I’m nervous I tend to want to do something with my hands so grabbing my phone is an instant relief for me. Try downloading some games onto your phone. When I travel, to take my mind off what I’m doing I hop onto Bubble Shooter.

6 coping anxiety

Take Yourself to a Safe Place

If you’re really struggling to keep it together and need somewhere quiet to go, you should try and find somewhere that makes you comfortable. Whether that’s going to a public bathroom and shutting yourself in a stall like I do, or grabbing a coffee and sitting down in a quiet corner, there’s always somewhere to calm down and collect your thoughts.

Call Someone to Distract You

I have a few friends I feel I can call upon when I’m anxious or having a panic attack. I usually call my friends or my partner who are able to calm me down. It really helps to distract me from my surroundings and grounds me. If you have someone who can be that person for you, that’s great! If you don’t, try texting someone or writing your worries down on paper or your notes app. It helps to write down your feelings so you can calm down.

6 coping anxiety attack

Get Yourself a Fidget Cube

Fidget cubes are a great way to distract yourself because you can fiddle around with buttons, switches etc. Even a Rubix cube or something small you can put in your bag may help you calm down and think about the task at hand.

I hope these were somewhat helpful tools for you to use in stressful and anxiety inducing situations! Let me know your techniques and what works for you in the comments.

Review: Clean by Juno Dawson

Review: Clean by Juno Dawson

Hi guys! So last week I posted a review of Melvin Burgess’ Junk. I read that before Clean because Juno referred to that as her inspiration.

About Clean

Clean is centred around Lexi Volkov, the daughter of a wealthy hotel owner who so happens to be spoilt and can get whatever she wants, when she wants. Which essentially means she can also do drugs with her boyfriend Kurt whenever she wants.

However, Nikolai, Lexi’s brother kidnaps her and takes her to a special clinic on an island where she can do the ten step progam to get clean.

She meets a lot of different people (with money) who are there for other addictions such as anorexia and OCD. Lexi needs to decide whether she wants to recover or waste her life away. Her new found friends may just be the answer she needs…

Review

I’ve been to a few events where Lexi has been said to be very confident and commanding. I thought she would be a total bitch – and she is at the start – but really she has a soft centre to her.

She seems to want to hide all her secrets and blames everyone for her mistakes. She doesn’t realise she has a problem until it’s nearly too late.

What I love about this book is the character development of all the addicts. Juno really can get into the mind of an addict and it’s amazing. At times we just want to tell Lexi to put the coke down and step away. But we see her go through the ups and downs all the way to the end.

I warmed to all the addicts at the centre, even Sasha. Everyone has issues but it’s how you deal with them that counts.

I loved the writing and the characters. And obviously the fact it’s set in London. What more could you want?

Have you read Clean? What did you think?

Book Review: Junk by Melvin Burgess

Book Review: Junk by Melvin Burgess

Hey guys!

I read Melvin Burgess’ book, Junk ages ago and wanted to share my thoughts about the book.

About Junk

Junk is a book about a group of teens who get caught up in all sorts of dodgy dealings, from drugs, to stealing to even prostitution. Two teens run away, Gemma who is loud and confident, and Tar, shy and quiet. They fall in and out of love and we see their lives unravel through the years.

Review

I thought Junk was incredibly clever and well written. It is written in first person and has lots of the characters’ opinions and view points in. It was a book that needed to be written. We see how easy it is to get into drugs, smoking, alcohol and more when Gemma and Tar start to live with two other teens in a squat.

We see Gemma become reckless and full of herself after she leaves her parents. Whereas Tar, beaten up by his dad and abused by his mother, starts to make friends and a life for himself. But that all seems to change when Gemma meets Lily, a quirky girl in her own world. They become instant friends and Gemma decides to live with Lily and her boyfriend Rob. Tar, being the hopeless romantic he is, chases after Gemma and decides to live in the squat with them.

Everything is fine at first. Until they start smoking hash and then get on to Heroin. Their personalities change over the years. They become less caring, depressed and even more irresponsible.

I think it was important for Burgess to put this book out there to one, explain to people what addiction is and how hard it is to come off, and two, how anyone, literally anyone, can get into the same situation Tar and Gemma found themselves in. Like Melvin said, he didn’t want to write the book at all, but he knew he had to.

I thought that the character development in this was phenomenal, even if it wasn’t a good character development. It showed us how peoples personalities can change when on drugs. After all, these kids were impressionable, they were both only 14 when they left their parents.

It’s no wonder Tar got addicted to drugs so easily coming from the family he had. But he should have recieved help before it got to that point. But at the time, he didn’t think he needed help, he just made out as though they were having a bit of fun and could easily come off the drugs if they wanted.

But unfortunately it’s not that easy. Things don’t always go to plan. And that’s what I love about this book; the way Burgess is so honest with the readers. He doesn’t shy away from the topic of drugs, sex or anything. He openly discusses it and I found the book to be an eye opener.

I look forward to reading Melvin’s other books!

Until next time, love, Vee x

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Christmas Markets – Frankfurt

Last weekend we visited Frankfurt and its Christmas markets. We packed jumpers, coats, hats and scarves but the weather was just the same as the UK.

My aim was to have a Baileys hot chocolate, come back with a mug and have a pretzel the size of my face – which I did.

We arrived really late on Friday night and stayed at the Bristol Hotel next to the train station. After someone (Oliver’s dad) forgot the directions, we eventually made it to the hotel after 45 minutes but it should have taken 5 😂

We woke up, had breakfast and walked to where the Christmas markets are. We stopped in a store that reminded me of Flying Tiger before heading into the markets to grab hot chocolate with amaretto.

We stayed out for a few hours to take pictures, buy drinks and get some food. There were so many stalls, from food, drinks to hardware and Christmas ornaments. I’ve never seen a market so big. We also walked over a bridge the other side of the river where there were a few flea markets and we also went into a large church with a choir performing.

We went back to the room for a while and caught up on I’m a Celeb before going out again at 7pm to see the markets in the dark.

We ended up having a Maccy D’s. We always like to see the difference in food choices when we go away. You can make your own mcflurrys and get different types of burgers. In France you can even get seafood.

On Sunday we got up, had breakfast at the Bristol Hotel and headed off to the markets again. This is when I bought my pretzel (it only cost €3.50). I also managed to get myself a Baileys hot chocolate! First time I’ve ever tried Baileys and I definitely approve.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed attending my first European Christmas Market. It was so festive and I can’t wait to go to a new Christmas Market again.

A few tips for anyone thinking of going to a Christmas market:

  • If you buy a mulled wine or hot chocolate, you’ll pay more for the mug and get a token. If you take the mug back, you’ll get some money back. If you decide to keep it, just swap it for a clean mug.
  • Bring warm clothes such as a coat and hat but don’t worry about bringing gloves and scarves as it’s currently the same temperature as it is in the UK.
  • Check times of when markets open and close before you go and see if you can find any secret markets or indoor stalls.

A Trip To Marrakech

A Trip To Marrakech

Hi all! As you may have guessed from my selfie spam on social media, we went to Morroco for a week away. We stayed at the Riu Tikida Palmeraie in Marrakech, a short shuttle bus away from the centre of Marrakech. We went for the all inclusive because we wanted a paid for summer holiday with no fuss or hassle. We only took £50 spending money and managed to get snacks, KFC (yes we are those people on holiday) and souvenirs.

For the first few days we stayed at the hotel, lounging about on the sunbeds and swimming in the indoor swimming pool (which was completely empty for some reason). We binged on food and drink because let’s face it, you have to on all inclusive to get your moneys worth.

On Friday we decided to go into Marrakech centre and took the free shuttle bus from the hotel. I wanted to go to Majorelle Gardens as it looked so beautiful on the photos I’d seen. We could have been dropped off there but we decided to go all the way into the centre so we would know where pick up and drop off is. We walked quite a way as the gardens are a little further out and paid 70 Dirhams each to go inside which is less than £10. I was only interested in the gardens and not the museum so we only paid for that. The gardens were completely stunning and it was lovely to see how peaceful it was away from the bustling city centre. I would definitely recommend a visit.

After strolling through the gardens for around an hour and encountering some wildlife, we walked back into town and headed for KFC. Our legs were hurting from walking and I was way to hot in my leather jacket even though everyone was wearing huge puffy coats.

I really wanted to visit the palaces but we got lost on the map so instead we headed for the souks which was quite an experience. We got lost several times and were bombarded with questions from local sellers and stall holders. I didn’t particularly enjoy the souks but it was good to have ticked it off my list.

For the next few days we had some rain but also some gorgeous days with highs of up to 24c in November. It’s the perfect time to go because our hotel was fairly cheap, there was hardly anyone there and we experienced some lovely weather.

We headed back into the souks on Sunday night to see it in the dark and to buy some items with our leftover money. We bought Oliver’s parents a little tealight holder and I got a fake designer bag because I’m that girl.

Our last few days consisted of going to the local supermarket which came across as a Costco and spending some quality time in the sun drinking. It was sad to come home to reality but at the same time I can’t wait for the next adventure. Down below are some tips for anyone wishing to visit Morroco/Marrakech.

Tips

  • For women, it is best to cover the shoulders and knees to draw less attention to yourself but don’t worry about being too strict, it’s only for mainly going to the religious spots and palaces. I dressed conservatively to avoid attention.
  • If you’re staying in an all inclusive like us you don’t need to bring too much money with you unless you want to eat out a lot.
  • Take a water bottle to be more sustainable but to also keep hydrated as it can get quite humid, especially if you are walking a lot.
  • Ignore people wanting to sell you things, you will say no thank you ten times over if not.
  • People will pretend to shout things such as “you’ve dropped your purse” to get your attention so they can steal from you.
  • I noticed a lot of people were quite nasty and rude and only wanted money so keep your wits about you; don’t let anyone show you directions or carry your bag, you will be hassled until you give them money.
  • Don’t take pictures of monkeys and snake charmers because they will demand money from you.

Don’t forget to have a great time! Have you been to Morroco? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Don’t Vote

Why I Don’t Vote

Before anyone jumps on the blame train, I’d like to make this clear. It’s perfectly fine to vote, it’s fine if you don’t vote and it’s okay if you’re confused and conflicted. This is completely my own opinion and if you don’t share that, then that’s fine too! I’m pretty sure all I’m trying to get across here, is you do you.

Here’s a list of reasons why I decided not to vote.

Confused

It can’t just be me who’s confused and conflicted about parties. On the one hand, I have always been brought up never to vote Tory (I come from Norfolk which has a very heavy Green Party and Labour background) because my whole family are working class and it was always made out that you could never think otherwise. It’s just where you come from. Second of all, I wouldn’t vote Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn. A lot of people I know want to vote for him because of what he’s promised, and that’s fine, I completely understand it’s like picking one of two evils, especially if you’re on the fence like I am.

I have read articles about Jeremy Corbyn and the past he has had. I don’t agree with his views and honestly I think it’s all propaganda, but that comes with every party, right?

Scaremongering

I have seen a lot of people’s articles, tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts stating that we were lied to about the referendum. However, the only party that seems to take the blame are Tories. Doesn’t every party use scaremongering tactics to win people’s votes? All parties lie about what they’re bringing to the table, so for me, I didn’t want to vote for the wrong party.

Pressure

There is so much pressure on everyone to vote now, which I completely understand because this is such an important vote. However, I’m tired of being made to feel guilty whenever I say I don’t want to vote. I won’t argue with you, your points are valid no matter what party you choose to vote for, but I won’t tolerate being pressured into voting and receiving a biased opinion.

Guilt

Basically, whatever you do, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. For me, I’m not very political so I don’t want to make an uninformed decision and regret it later. I am not a fan of any of the parties, so to decide based on what I already know would be improper. I don’t want to vote for the wrong one and then end up complaining when the country goes to shit, because, it may be selfish, but I don’t want to regret it.

Do you vote? If you don’t,what are your reasons why? I think we should be giving people the facts, not giving them our own opinions which could sway or pressure them into doing something they aren’t sure or know little about.

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Hey guys. In this week’s blog I’ll be reviewing Charly Cox’s poetry debut, She Must Be Mad.

She Must Be Mad is a book about revisiting young love and painful times. There are three sections within the book; She Must Be In Love, She Must Be Mad, She Must Be Fat and She Must Be An Adult.

I have to say, I didn’t relate to a lot of the things Cox describes in the book because I’ve never had drunken night out or anything like that.

The mental health part of the book resonated with me and also some of the weight issues. I still struggle with how I look, I always will, but we learn to accept ourselves as we are.

Cox also describes what being an adult is all about and how it’s not what we expect it to be. She has a lovely writing style and makes the reader welcome in her world. She’s not afraid to tell her story in detail and that’s what I love about people.

Cox tries to make you feel less alone in a world that tells you want to be and how to act. She comforts you with her words of wisdom about when she went through her youth. The part at the end about being an adult actually made me want to cry because this year I turn 20 and I’m petrified. I don’t want to face being an adult and I don’t want to let go of my teens. But knowing others feel the same way I do is reassuring.

If you want a heartfelt read about youth, lust, love and mental illness, then this is the book for you. Until next time, love, Vee x

Guest Post: Overwhelmed

Guest Post: Overwhelmed

I asked a fellow blogger if she would kindly help me write a blog post for mental health awareness and I can’t wait for you to see it!

That dreaded overwhelming feeling

Writing this blog post, I have had so many ideas that I have went back and forth between yet I felt like it was best to write about something that I am currently dealing with. I want to use this post to share tips, a story or two and a few of my favourite quotes.

Overwhelm
‘Have a strong emotional effect on’
‘Bury or drown beneath a high mass of something’

Feeling overwhelmed is not something that can be easily described, it’s a tightness in your chest, exhaustion and mood swings. It is something that is so similar to anxiety that it is difficult to see the difference between the two. I label my anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed ‘the two devils’.

As of lately I’ve been trying to mentally work out which I am feeling at each point in the day. Mostly at the minute it is a constant overwhelming feeling that seems to tick my anxiety off. I have recently just began my second year of journalism and I’m putting so much pressure on myself to get a first that I am overwhelming myself with so much extra work load that really isn’t necessary. This in turn then causes me to get that dreaded overwhelming feeling surrounding the workload of uni which then has a knock on effect that flicks my anxiety gauge to high. Once I begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed everything becomes a problem; the workload, grades, the degree itself, my future, failure, just absolutely everything.

That dreaded feeling is a combination of wanting to stay in bed but making yourself physically sick with how worried and anxious you are that you haven’t done anything. That dreaded feeling is best friends with your rocky mental health. That dreaded feeling wants to be in control. That dreaded feeling will get in the way of everything and everyone.

When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.

Now, if you ever feel yourself losing control and that dreaded feeling taking over these are the few times that help me most times!

Set boundaries – In my example I have used university as my example, however, that dreaded feeling can creep up over anything. It is important to set boundaries on what times and how long you are going to spend trying to focus on the particular thing that is causing that dreaded feeling.

Plan – use your time wisely yet don’t be too ambitions or disheartened. Mental health is unpredictable and some days you need to recover after a mentally draining day by recharging your batteries and not worrying about what needs to happen.

Talk – taking is one of the hardest yet most valuable thing when it comes to any form of mental health.

That’s it, just three times to help fight back at that dreaded feeling. You got this! I believe in you!

Links:

Blog

Instagram

What is SAD?

What is SAD?

Trigger warning. This post contains talk of suicide and depression.

SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. 29% of adults will experience SAD during the Winter months, especially when the clocks go back – 1 in 3 adults now experience and suffer from SAD.

Have you felt that your depression worsens in the colder months? Or that you have no energy whatsoever and no motivation to get up and do anything? This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I asked my Twitter followers whether they experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and I was surprised at the amount of people who responded with yes or offered to collab on a blog post. Therefore I took them up on the offer and I asked them to write a short paragraph on what SAD means to them.

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com

 

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com (2)

 

Symptoms of SAD

Here are just some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Have you experienced any of these?

  • Low energy
  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Losing sleep
  • Feeling sluggish or irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Do you have any symptoms that aren’t listed on here?

Did you know there is such a thing as Winter and Summer depression? There are different symptoms for each one. Such as Winter, you may experience oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness or appetite changes. Whereas in the Summer you may find yourself experiencing these symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.

Causes of SAD

If you have sudden onset SAD, you may wonder why this is. Sometimes to relieve anxiety, it can help to know what the cause is. SAD can be brought on from a range of things such as:

  • Your biological clock. Because of how dark it gets in the evenings in Winter, this can mess with your internal body clock, therefore making you have depressive thoughts/episodes.
  • Your serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for your feelings such as happiness. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in your serotonin levels which could trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital part in your sleep patterns and mood, therefore a change in season can make these levels unbalanced.

How to Beat SAD

If you experience SAD you won’t be looking forward to Winter. Which is why I have come up with a list of things to help you combat SAD and live your best life (as much as you can). Here are just some of the things you could do to relieve the stress of SAD:

  • As much as we all hate it –  exercise. I go swimming every week which helps release serotonin in the brain which essentially makes us happy. Even a walk in nature will do!
  • Wear warm clothes. It’s proven that being cold can make you feel more depressed, so wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot drinks and cosy up by the fire if you have one.
  • Eating healthy. As much as I love my chocolate it makes me feel depressed after I’ve eaten it. You don’t have to go around eating salads five days a week for lunch, but switch up your meals, do meal prep with your partner or friends and try something new.
  • It’s proven that having a light box or dawn simulator (can be bought on Amazon for under £30) can help improve your mood.
  • Take up a new hobby. It will help distract you from your SAD thoughts (get it? No okay) and help you concentrate.
  • Socializing is a great way of warding off SAD (all my fellow introverts out there, I feel you)
  • Join a support group, or any group for that matter!
  • Make sure to take your Vitamin D.
  • As hard as it is to sleep with SAD, going to bed and switching off your phone at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your sleep schedule and make you feel less tired, which in turn will help your mood swings.

I hope this post has helped at least some of you! If you have SAD, what are some ways you combat it?

Sources:

https://getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-seasonal-affective-disorder/ 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/