Book Reviews

mad girl – the book everyone needs to read.

Bryony Gordon, what can I say? Well, let me start my saying this woman shook my world up just ever so slightly.

I was having a day out with my mum, wandering around the shops, when naturally we stopped in Waterstones to browse at their latest books, the deals, the ‘big this week’ books. Bear in mind, I was not reading at this point. I was still desperately struggling with depression and only the thought of reading made me feel better, yet I never actually did. On this day I was feeling particularly determined, and started browsing the latest books, where a bright yellow covered looked up at me. I grabbed it and instantly fixed on the back page review – with Bryony’s shocked face staring back at me, I had a feeling I would read this book.

I couldn’t put it down. I read it that afternoon in one sitting, pausing only for a toilet break and a biscuit. I laughed and giggled, I cried, I teared up, I moved. This story struck me in a way I had forgotten that books do.

Growing up, Bryony explored the parts of life that we all do, except she had a few additions. The voices convincing her someone would die if she didn’t say / do something a certain amount of times, bulimia controlling her behavior, battling drug use… these aspects of her life are completely non-existent in mine, so far those parts I couldn’t relate. However, the depression, the bizarre choices we make to encourage a more positive feeling (putting up with shitty men, moving in with shitty men…) I can relate to.

For the next few months, Paul is a dream.

What this book made me realize was that it is perfectly possible to live a functional life, whilst battling with mental health issues. It’s possible to go to work, to have a relationship, to be kind to your friends, to make changes. Whilst she wasn’t always coping well, she carried on.

I AM COMPLETELY MENTAL!

What Bryony has made me realize is that you can get through this. Perhaps we won’t always completely get over our mental health issues, but we can always work through them. We can learn to understand and take care of ourselves in a way that works for us. We can be happy, have families, keep our jobs. Bryony Gordon inspires me on my bad days. She reminds me that things can, and will, get better.

And, as her sub-title suggests “A happy life with a mixed-up mind”.

★★★★★

Go and buy yourself a copy. Now. Go.
More reviews on Goodreads
Follow Bryony on Twitter

Advertisements
Photography, travel

Holiday resumed. Tuesday in Taipei City.

Last night was one of the most solid sleeps I’ve had in 13 days since arriving in Taipei. Five and a half hours of solid, peaceful sleep. Only to be jolted awake with stabbing pains in my stomach, but hey ho! This is the life of (suspected) endo! Anyway, this is not about my pains and what-nots today. This is a positive, happy, vibe-y post about how much I love my life at the moment. Read along!

Stunning morning in TianMu

How should you spend a day in Taipei? Well, I started my day by talking to my favourite person, just as he was going to bed on the other side of the world, and headed off to uni with my sister as she returned her graduation gown and hat – exciting times ahead for the newly graduated! 

Moving out day at NTNU – great memories of my student days!
Beautiful art on the walls outside NTNU

We wanted to grab smoothies from a place called Vegg Out, on ShiDa road, but when we arrived it was completely packed and the queue was to the door. 

Instead, I took my sister to Ooh Cha Cha, one of the coolest cafes I’ve ever been to, and totally vegan! Located on NanChang Road, just a few minutes walk from Guting MRT station, this small cafe serves plant-based meals from Chickpea Smash on Sourdough, to a range of burgers to salad and hummus bowls. They are absolutely delicious and go perfectly with any of the yummy smoothies they make too, my favourite being the Acai Twist! 

Falafel burger, hummus beet bowl and orange juice

From here my sister and I walked around the corner to catch the 278 bus towards the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, in XinYi district (only a 20 minute walk to Taipei 101), and on our way there we stopped at ICE MONSTER for mini ice lollies that cost us NT$30 each. 

Mango and strawberry lollies

They were actually pretty cute and in 36°C and 87% humidity, we needed that cool-down to keep us going! We also had a quick pit-stop at the Hello Kitty shop where we snacked on typical Taiwanese pineapple cakes, and mini waffles!

Hello Kitty, we love you!

The park has some beautiful, quaint little cafes and temple-style shelters scattered around, vending machines and rubbish bins, making it a lovely place to visit as it’s peaceful and extremely clean. 



The Eslite building is fantastic and absolutely not to be missed. With four floors of souvenirs, handmade gifts, stationery, teas, candles, clothing and so much more! You must spend some time here. One of my favourite discoveries of my holiday was made here today. 


A pop-up shop of Cafe Solé serving pour over coffee from Taiwan’s A Li mountain (阿里山) – for NT$130 not only did I receive nearly two cups of coffee, but I watched this amazing barista grind the beans and filter the coffee in front of me, letting me smell the coffee throughout the stages. For a coffee obsessor like me, it was wonderful! And delicious coffee as well. 


After an hour or so of wandering through the individual stalls, we began walking to Taipei 101, stopping st various points along the way to take silly photos, or in most cases, stop at the dreaded traffic lights! 

Meimei 妹妹
Jiejie 姐姐

We ended up at Street Churros, which considering how many issues I have with my stomach, I definitely should not have eaten, they were absolutely amazing! Hot churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce… is there anything better?! 


Followed by a little wander through ATT4Fun mall and looked at all the clothes, trying them on, then putting them back as we certainly couldn’t afford them. 


As my feet blistered and head throbbed from lack of water today, we made our way home on the MRT. (Taking a few photo booth snapshots before we left) 


Oh my god. That cold shower was the best welcome home after being on my feet for 9 hours, and I spent the evening eating rice cakes and watching Shanghai Noon with my little sister. 

Feeling very grateful for having such a wonderful, positive day.

Taipei, I love you.

Uncategorized

Snap out of it.

The words I had to tell myself this morning as I spent over half an hour scrolling through various social media feeds, wading through utter nonsense that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on.

I had to forcefully tell myself to get up and do my morning breathing and exercise rituals that I have set for myself.

I fed myself some positive vibes, straight from my own mind and made myself a 4-cup dripper full of coffee as I read through my mindfulness book.

It’s working, honestly.

Even if my days are not 100% positive I am already feeling a little more confident, a little less angry at the world, and a little more proud of myself. Despite that evil voice in my head that tries to suffocate me, I am learning to fight back.

I got this.

health, Personal

Decluttering my head.

Lately I seem to be making some irrational decisions, and I have come to the conclusion that my life is an a fairly unstable mess.

With few friends, only a part time job and a shed-load of debt, finding the positives becomes a little difficult some days. Especially when you’ve just messed up the most wonderful relationship because your brain decides to tell you nasty things and fill your head with insecurities.

You often hear, “All girls are crazy!”, and right now, I feel as crazy as they come.

I have decided on a few ‘things’ to help me work through my cluttered mind, body and soul. (Yes, all of it. It’s a mess.)

  • Forgiveness – I have so many angry, upsetting memories that I just can’t let go of, but I have decided that I must. They are poisoning me. I will forgive people for what they have done wrong to me, I will forgive myself for my wrong-doings, and I will forgive myself for not taking care of myself when I needed it the most. I feel like this is a fundamental part of moving forward with my life.
  • Recognize my accomplishments – another negative is that I constantly put myself down about absolutely everything, despite having two University degrees and having worked 4 jobs throughout one of them. I can hold a conversation in at least two languages, and am trying to learn more. I can cook, sew, make a pretty decent coffee, I am creative, clever, occasionally hilarious and almost always kind to others. They don’t seem like such bad attributes right? So why, why, why, do I have such a negative opinion of myself? This is going to stop. Right now.
  • Breathing – Although I STILL haven’t been to a yoga class (it’s been 3 years I’ve been saying I’ll go, and I still haven’t.) I am starting to learn to breathe differently. I breathe to calm myself down, to relax, to think, to just be. It is absolutely unbelievable how much breathing properly helps in stressful situations. I am going to make even more of an effort to relax, breathe, and unwind during my days. Part of this will include finding a yoga class I can afford, and try and find an effective way to meditate.
  • Self-talk  – I constantly beat myself up and let my worries completely take over my mind, causing stress to my body and bringing out the worst in myself. I tell myself I’m useless, worthless, stupid, horrible and many other things. This will stop, as I said above, and I mean it. I am going to practice self-talk to bring more positive vibes into my mind, and to help rebuild my confidence (which is currently at about -10000). Negative self-talk can be immensely, emotionally crippling and damage our health more than we often realize, and I am going to stop it. I found an interesting article on Spirituality & Health on the benefits of Self-Talk, written by Linda Carbone.
  • WRITE MORE! I have noticed how little I write these days, compared to a year or two ago when I would fill notebook after notebook with thoughts and ideas and emotions. I am confident that by writing out my worries I can reflect better, and release my thoughts from my head, rather than bottling them up inside me, which leads to…
  • Being more open – I worry too often about hurting someone else’s feelings, therefore I keep my opinions or feelings to myself. If I feel that someone has been unkind, or is pushing me out, I let it bubble up inside and hurt myself, rather than discussing the issue. I 100% will be more open about what I am thinking and feeling, as this as once again caused a break down in certain relationships recently.

Whilst I have a few other options in the background (I am exercising more, and looking into mindfulness), I am going to start with these pointers and hope that they begin to make a difference.

If anyone has any thoughts or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments section! xo

health, Uncategorized

Beating Depression

We hear so many different suggestions and opinions these days on how to deal with mental health issues. Some are condescending, some are ruthless and others are ignorant. Some are light-hearted, some are serious and awakening, and others are completely useless. After a fairly difficult few days, I decided I needed a kick up the backside and dragged myself to the computer, to find as many suggestions as I could for naturally helping beat depression.

One of the pieces which genuinely stuck in my mind has been this one, 11 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally, by Maria Rodale. It is simplistic, honest and not at all patronizing. For me, I felt a sense of compassion coming from her writing, as if she was actively trying to reach out to some of us. That’s probably all my emotions going crazy on me, but I wanted to share it anyway in case it helps someone else.

Also, if anyone has their own suggestions or ideas for dealing with depression, anxiety or anything else, please leave me a comment below as I’d really like to know how other people cope.

Lots of love xo

Sheffield Life

Troublesome Tuesdays.

Good evening lovely readers!

Yet another manic day which thankfully started with peanut butter on toast and a spoonful of fairygoblin.

Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom
IMG_6306
Just a spoonful of Fairy helps the medicine go down…

I went along to the intermediate Chinese class today and boy was it a shock, but in a good way. I have forgotten so many characters and the 9am start certainly didn’t help. At least I was finally in the right place though.

I spent my spare hour studying before shuffling off to Research Methods, but not before buying my favourite green tea and a cute little pen! Although the lecture was so boring they should have given us pillows so we could nap.

IMG_6311
A little birdie told me…

Then the mania began as I was rushing from the East Asian Building, over to the Journalism block and then back to the SU and I was honestly just running around like a headless chicken. As well as trying to find a yellow tshirt for HK Day tomorrow ❤

Jia You HK <3
Jia You HK ❤

No such luck.

Thankfully people were giving out free galaxy bars just inside the Student Union. I wanted to hug them.

I love you.
I love you.

I went along to a Mental Health Matters Society meeting this evening and the ladies provided paper, stickers, glitter glue and felts for us all to write / draw / design a pledge of our own for the next year. It was a really lovely meeting and quite good fun!

I pledge.
I pledge.

The walk home was tiring but the sky was just amazing. It was bright blue with whispy white plane trails, peachy clouds and the sun just lighting it all up. Too bad my camera died, again.

Healthy dinner.
Healthy dinner.

After a few very quick twin cuddles, I went home, put my pyjamas on and curled up on the sofa for a night of TV, which of course started with Eastenders and ended with the oh-so-hilarious 50 ways to kill your mammy.

I don’t have to set an alarm for tomorrow, although the fresher’s fair is happening and I don’t know if I should go.

Goodnight lovelies.

                        xo