Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

I feel like I haven’t written a book review in a while so to start the year off on the right foot I’ll be reviewing Fiona Thomas’ book, Depression in a Digital Age.

This book has everything you need from Spice Girl references to Fiona’s rambling thoughts that help ground you and make you feel a little less alone.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

I really felt like I was taking a journey with Fiona while reading this. I felt sympathy for her when she went through her mental health breakdown and couldn’t work.

I myself have left countless jobs for mental health related reasons which has led me to a life of freelance work.

I completely emphasized with how she felt so overwhelmed with her workload and there’s a chapter in the book that really spoke to me.

Fiona talks about taking a break from work because it’s making her so stressed. However, she also stresses out when she takes a much needed break, worrying that people will miss her and need her.

I really resonated with this when I took a week’s holiday from freelance work to go to Morocco in November. Although I was so glad to get away I was worrying about money, about whether my clients had sent me thousands of emails, etc. Turns out when I got back and switched my work phone on, I had one email, and it was a promotional one. I felt a little disappointed no one had needed me and I’d wasted precious time on holiday worrying about my workload.

I think a good lesson to take away from Fiona’s book is that you can stress as much as you like but it won’t change the outcome or how quickly you can complete a task. Take a step back, breathe and relax. Everything will get done in the end.

Overall, Fiona’s book taught me it’s okay to let others help you. It’s okay to speak out about your mental health and not everyone wants the same thing.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

While some people are perfectly happy working 9-5 and getting home to get ready for the next day, not everyone feels the same. Sometimes our mental health stops us from doing the mundane tasks. Sometimes it prevents us from working on ourselves.

Not everyone’s journey is the same and that’s what I’ve learnt from Fiona. While our paths may be different, we share one thing in common. We just want to be happy. We want a life full of adventures. We don’t want to be bound by our mental illnesses. And that’s why Fiona’s story is so inspiring; she used her mental illness to help others.

In the book Fiona also talks about feeling like an imposter. That she isn’t qualified to do her job. The thing is, as a child I always thought I would grow up to feel so big and confident, like I could do anything. But I’m still little old anxious me. That won’t go away. We grow up to think adults have their shit together, when really we are all in the same boat, trying to paddle upstream to get to where we want to be.

Have you read Fiona’s book yet? She is currently writing another book all about being freelance which comes out later this year and I can’t wait to read it.

You can follow Fiona on her socials:

Instagram: @fionalikestoblog

Book: Depression in a Digital Age

Twitter: @fionalikes

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

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

Book Review: Margot and Me

Book Review: Margot and Me

I read Margot and Me by Juno Dawson earlier in the year and fell in love with Margot and Fliss.

About

Margot and Me is about how Fliss moves up to Wales to be with Fliss’ grandmother while her mum is in remission from cancer. Fliss has to leave all her friends behind, including a potential love interest. She can’t stand the thought of moving away from London to a tiny town in Wales.

But fortunately for Fliss, she finds her grandmother, Margot’s, diary from the time of the war. She unveils secrets she never knew and discovers it’s not that easy to move away from home. But it does have its perks.

From YA prom where I met Juno!

Review

From the start of the book, I didn’t know what it was going to be about at all or who it was aimed at.

I was excited that Fliss and her mum were moving to Wales because I love it there.

The characters were so likeable, especially Margot (not at the start). I loved Fliss’ mum and Fliss’ gay friend Danny who lives at the Chinese his mum and dad run. Her other friend, Bronwyn is also quite sweet, although a tad odd! Dewi was a personal favourite, a big softie. I wish he would have got more time in the book! (Juno, please write a book for Dewi!)

I felt like I could relate to Fliss, apart from her confidence and sassiness. She worries a lot but is also a kind soul. She has her opinion and sticks by it, regardless of what others think. But ultimately, I loved Margot the most. You could see her character develop from the person in the diaries to who she is now, and it’s not surprising she’s so cold hearted when you look at what she’s gone through.

There was so much crammed into this book that I didn’t know which direction it was going to go in.

The writing was beautiful, especially the parts where we’re reading Margot’s diary. It felt so accurate and made the story come alive. It was like reading a story within a story.

I felt like I was actually in Margot’s farm, watching Fliss resist the urge to eat bacon and seeing her sneak into her bedroom to read more of Margot’s diary.

This book is such a heartfelt read but also a heartbreaking one. Be prepared to cry, laugh (a lot, Fliss is such a diva) and smile. If you want a family oriented read full of laughter, ballet, piglets and more, then read this now!

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Monaco

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Monaco

I was kindly asked if I would like to be part of the Meet Me In Monaco book blog tour by Harper Collins. I was gifted the historical romance and I’ve been loving it ever since I started reading it!

I’m not very far into the story but what I have read so far has me captivated.

About the Book

MEET ME IN MONACO is a mesmerizing and meticulously researched new novel by New York Times bestselling authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, which transports readers to the glamour of the Côte d’Azur in the 1950s during Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and royal wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. In this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances, a young French perfumer and a British press photographer’s lives are forever changed by their chance encounter with a Hollywood actress who is about to become a princess.

Perfumer Sophie Duval is struggling to keep her beloved family business afloat. Running out of ideas—and money—she’s desperate, but fate intervenes when the Cannes Film Festival brings Grace Kelly into her life. In an attempt to dodge persistent British press photographer, James Henderson – a man who needs a professional win to keep his job – Miss Kelly finds herself in Sophie Duval’s boutique. There, she’s met with discretion and respect, and when Grace discovers Sophie’s extraordinary talents as a perfumer and falls in love with her scents, a bond is forged between the two women, setting into motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years.

Meanwhile, James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter in London, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York to Monaco. As he sails across the Atlantic, his anticipation and excitement mounts, not for the royal wedding, but for the chance to see Sophie once more. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Sophie and James in the 1950s and 1980s, and with enticing news articles reporting on Grace Kelly’s career, marriage – and later, tragic death – interspersed throughout, MEET ME IN MONACO is an evocative, engrossing, and marvelously told story of friendship, love, and tragedy.

About the Authors

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb).

Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s
Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s most recent novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the international bestselling, award-winning author of Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, The Phantom’s Apprentice, and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Hazel Gaynor), which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Meet Me in Monaco will be followed by a fall 2019 release from Harper Collins in which Heather is one of six contributing, bestselling authors to Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women. Her works have been translated into over a dozen languages worldwide. Heather is also passionate about helping writers find their voices as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and instructor at a local college.

I’m so excited for you all to read it! It’s out now, so go and buy it and let your inner romantic free.

V-Eco Food Wrap Review

V-Eco Food Wrap Review

I was kindly gifted some amazing eco friendly and vegan wraps which can be used for packed lunches as an alternative to cling film and plastic bags.

I was so excited to receive these since I want to try and be more sustainable and watch how much plastic I use.

I was gifted some Butty Wraps, food wraps and a soapsaver which are super handy for work or travelling. These all come in different designs but I was gifted the food wraps in the butterfly print, the butty wrap in the unicorn print (which is the best, don’t argue with me) and the soap saver in cherry blossom print.

These can all be reused by just washing them under cold water with a little bit of soap after use. Don’t put anything hot in or near these as they are made from tree resin and will therefore melt because they are a type of wax!

The soapsaver will come in really handy when I go on holiday to put my soaps and toiletries in instead of buying those plastic freezer bags that I chuck away after use.

I am really looking forward to making wraps and sandwiches in these so I don’t have to buy those meal deals and chuck all the plastic and clingfilm away afterwards.

If you are interested in trying to become more sustainable and want to use these vegan alternatives for your every day use then check out V-Eco’s website!

What are you doing/buying to be more eco friendly and sustainable? Have you got any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments!

12 Bookish Facts

12 Bookish Facts

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be talking about bookish facts. If there are any facts that I haven’t listed but you think are interesting, then please comment them below!

Bookish Facts

1. Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of reading material.

2. Dr. Seuss wrote his first book in 1936 on a luxury liner called the Kungholm. As he crossed the Atlantic the sound the engines made annoyed him so much that his wife proposed he use the repetitive rhythm to help him write the book.

3. Goodreads was established in 2007 and in July 2013 it was reported that they had attracted 55 million members.

4. In Kansas City there is a parking lot for the public library designed to look like a huge bookshelf.

5. There are over 8.2 million copies of all three of The Hunger Games books published in the U.S.

6. The Winnie the Pooh books have been translated into 50 other languages including Yiddish and Esperanto.

7. Beatrix Potter wrote The Fairy Caravan in 1926 which was only published in America because Potter thought it was too autobiographical to be brought out in England in her lifetime. The book was released in the UK nine years after her death in 1943.

8. Jacqueline Wilson’s first book for children was called Nobody’s Perfect.

9. When Roald Dahl was at school he was a taste tester for Cadbury. This is probably what inspired him to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

10. Books used to be chained to bookshelves in public libraries.

11. Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in China because General Ho Chien believed it was an insult to the human race that animals should be given speech in books.

12. About £2.2 billion in the UK is spent on books a year and a fifth of this is spent on children’s books.

I hope you enjoyed these! Until next time, Vee x

Date Nights on a Budget

Date Nights on a Budget

We all know how expensive dating can be, whether it’s going out for a meal or to the zoo or theme park etc. But what about ideas for some inexpensive or free date nights? I’m going to give you a list of free or cheap date night ideas for you and your partner to do together!

Date Night Ideas on a Budget

  • Go for a picnic at your favourite spot
  • Go for a long cycle ride together
  • Pack a lunch and go sit by the river and feed the ducks
  • Make your own pizzas and dessert
  • Make your own burgers and watch a movie together
  • Play board games you’ve never played or old ones you haven’t played in a while
  • Have competitions on the Wii/Xbox/PS and order in a pizza
  • Read a book to each other or together
  • Bake a cake together
  • Go to the beach
  • Have a barbecue
  • Have a fire in the backyard and watch the sunset together
  • Go to your local cinema on deal days (our local Vue does a cheap Monday deal)
  • Stay up all night having a movie marathon of your favourite film series
  • Buy facemasks and scrubs to do your own spa and movie night
  • Visit Ikea and browse all the things you’ll buy when you have your own place
  • See if there are any film festivals showing at your local park
  • Go to your closest airport and watch planes take off and land
  • Find a cheap spa trip on Groupon
  • Go to a museum, lots of them are free
  • Cycle to the local park and do some exercise together
  • Make something crafty together such as T-Shirts (pictured below)
  • Create a movie night box and watch a new film together on Netflix (my movie night box is pictured below)
I hope you found some ideas from this post! Let me know in the comments what some of your affordable date night ideas are. Until next time. Love, Vee x

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: Book vs Film

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: Book vs Film

In this weeks blog I’m going to be comparing The Perks Of Being A Wallflower book to the film. Let me know in the comments which you prefer.

I immediately watched the film after I had read the book; this may have been a mistake because all I could think was: this didn’t happen in the book; they’ve missed this out. Although some parts of the book were missing (like his sister being pregnant), you can expect this from films because you can’t fit everything from the book in it.
I thought that Logan Lerman did a fantastic job portraying Charlie and I loved seeing Paul Rudd as Bill (although he’s called Mr. Anderson in the film and Charlie does’t get invited over for tea in the film). I thought they picked a great cast and my favourite has to be Patrick, played by Ezra Miller. If you haven’t seen the film, I suggest you read the book first so that the characters don’t become the actors in your head.
I like to read the book before I see the movie so that I can read the book without it being ruined. Although the film did do the book some justice (after all, it was directed by Chbosky himself) I still preferred the book because there was a lot more detail. If you’ve seen the film before reading the book I think you’d be left with some questions.
One thing that’s different in the film is that Sam and Charlie seem to be together, whereas in the book it’s pretty much left down to “we’ll see what happens” and “we’ll write to each other.” There are a lot of things that bother me about the ending; does Charlie feel better? Does he make new friends? He was starting to be okay again and now it’s all come crashing down. Will I know what happened to him? How did he become depressed? There are so many unanswered questions; but that’s just like life. Everything is a cliffhanger.
If you’ve read the book or seen the film or both, let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and which version you prefer. Until next time, love, Vee x