Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Celebrating Badass Women


If you’re a twitter user you may have noticed a recent trend on the site. I’m talking of course of the “Badder than Taylor Swift” tweets.
Now I don't have anything personal against Taylor Swift. Her music isn't to my taste but I can respect that she's a successful artist with an immense musical empire. That being said, this particular screenshot has inspired one of my favourite twitter trends I've ever seen, while also being one of the more frustrating examples of  empowerment I’ve seen in a while.

People have taken to quoting with details of women that can only be described as badass bitches. They've been a mix of historical figures and peoples own personal feminine heroes. It's one thing to acknowledge that badass women have existed all along, getting actual examples just makes it that much more amazing.
I, of course took tried to take part and included details of my great grandmother Rebecca. She was a formidable woman with an iron will, who fled across Europe before she was 20 with her best friend. She passed on before I was born but I've heard so much about her growing up, that I've always been a little bit awed by her.

It was only after I’d posted that someone pointed out that what the posts were actually doing were comparing women. As if women can only be successful when compared to other women rather than in their own right. It’s a shame because I really somebof the stories that have come from it.

Instead let’s start our own trend of #BadassBitches, not necessarily ones just compared to Taylor Swift. Let’s honour women’s achievements not match them against others.

In fact let’s just honour when people succeed full stop. Be they male, female or other. We all deserve recognition for our achievements, and we deserve them under our own steam. Not in the shadow of someone else, not in competition to our peers.

This twitter post has been both inspiring and eye opening for me. I can recognise that even when trying to help promote equality, that I instead fed into the inequality.

What badass women do you know of? Care to share?

Abi x

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Looking back in honesty

If you follow me on twitter, you'll have noticed I've returned to the good old medium of Youtube. It's been pretty fun for me if I'm honest, and I like that I'm finding new ways to remember what I've been up to with vlogs.

Yet, it's had a bit of an odd effect on my mental health. I avoided looking through the videos I'd uploaded and never made public(nothing risque I promise) for a long time, and I've kind of been forced to confront them.

In particular is a series of videos that I intended to string into one and be a "day in the life" style vlog on a day off from work. I look back now, and I can remember exactlyhow I felt that day, some 11, 12 months ago.
I remember feeling trapped in my own home. I keep referring to it jokingly in the video as "cabin fever". I remember feeling so lonely. I remember crying a good three, four times throughout the day. Most of all I remember how low I felt and not being comfortable talking about it. Even with my, then, boyfriend. I felt so isolated and lost. A whole day off and it felt like a waste. At the time it would have been one of many days I had like that, as I had a fair bit of annual leave to use up. It was time I was really struggling with being myself and looking back it's not hard to see why the relationship I was in ended shortly after.
Anyone watching the video will likely see someone having a quiet albeit dull day at home. To me it was so much more. The filming was an attempt to take some control of my life again.

The difference to me now is astonishing. Days off, I have plans. I'm busy. I'm exercising. I make plans and I spend time with my friends and family. Days spent in are a choice and a lazy luxury. I really am starting to feel like a different person.
Now, on the surface that should make me feel happy to see such a change. And it does, to a degree.
Yet, I found it really distressing seeing myself at that point of time. It evoked those same feelings of loneliness almost instantaneously. It's a fact that I live in fear of feeling like that. It's something I struggle with, trying to keep myself busy and motivated yet maintaining my own space and time to recharge.

I still have those feelings inside, but they've been losing their intensity and frequency the past 8 months or so. In general, I feel a lot happier with my life and the person I'm becoming. But it's hard not to mourn the person I was, whether or not that was the me I wanted to be.

I think, even though I find it really hard to talk about how I feel at those times, those kind of feelings are something I don't talk about on my blog. I try to keep it a place where I can be lighthearted and escape from them. The times when my posts become pretty scarce are often the times when I do feel low in mood, and my motivation is in my boots. It's something I still struggle with and probably always will.

So, I'm using this opportunity, while it's still fresh in my mind to be honest about it. I hope you as a reader, can appreciate just how uncomfortable I feel even typing this, in attempt to be honest to both you and myself.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Round up: #carnlival

So I was lucky enough to attend my third #CarnLIVal event just the other week. The event is growing to be one of my fave days of the year thanks to Katy and Sam.

This time we all descended into the depths of Yard and Coop for party games and fun. 
Once everyone had arrived we were all given a pin to pop a balloon and receive a raffle ticket. It was hilarious way to hand them out and everyone had a good giggle.
I made quick work of their £5 cocktail list, my favourite of which was the Bubble Butt...literally my mouth is watering thinking about it again haha...

We had the infamous naughty and nice bags, in which I came away with enough condoms to last me for years and a load of yummy sweets!  

When the raffle rolled round, the prizes including everything from Wax and Wicks candles, to a sex box full of supplies! I was lucky enough to win a voucher for a meal at Gustos restaurant, a restaurant I've been before and loved.

Every #carnLIVal event brings opportunities to meet new bloggers and catch up with old friends. This time round was no exception. Keeping with the party theme we all played stick the camera on the Blogger. Technically I was the most right as I "accidentally" stuck mine to Sam and not the bogger poster on the wall!

To cap off a great afternoon, the whole blogger squad was invited to Breakout Liverpool for a challenge. I was placed in a team with fellow bloggers Kiah and Danielle to breakout the tough Classified room. We only just did it with minutes to spare but I'm super proud of our teamwork and success!

Everyone was lucky enough to leave with a goody bag,  I've included a few pics of some of our goodies here. Everyone had a big surprise by far when they pulled out a vibrator! Still the bags were padded out with more PG items like yummy lip balms and tea.

I loved attending #carnLIVal, so thank you for having me! 

Abi x

Roll on next time!! ;)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Film challenge: no tears!

Waaaay back, when this blog was only a fledgling thing I wrote a post about things that make me cry. In tribute to the blog surpassing the grand age of 2 back in September (belated birthday...) I wanted to have a little challenge.

I took to twitter and friends to come up with a list of films guaranteed to make me cry. I wanted to see if I could last the films in question with a clear face... Hardcore or what?

The Notebook 
I’ll be honest I avoided watching this for so long because I fully expected it to make me cry. Turns out I was correct. A heartwarming tale of a woman who has dementia in her twilight years, being told the story of two young lovers. The topic of dementia always hits hard for me. Between treating patients and helping families those who have it, and seeing my grandad struggle with it, it really twists me up.

Crying moment: 36 minutes.
Rating: 10/10, beautiful film.

Forrest Gump
This is a film that I hadn’t watched before, to the disappointment of several of my friends... I simply knew the story so well that I never really felt the need to watch it.
Due to that I was genuinely surprised that I didn’t in fact cry. Although it took a lot longer into the film to set those wee tears off.
There was lots of parts of the film that I genuinely heard of, so I’m really glad I finally watched it!

Crying moment: 2hours 9 minutes
Rating: 8/10, still felt like I knew what to expect...

Marley & Me
I think if you've read this far into the post you've gathered that I have no issue with shedding a few tears... This particular film tells the story of a family as they grow and develop along with fellow canine family member Marley. Now, if you haven't seen the film then look away but we see the whole of Marley's lifespan, including the end if you catch my drift.

Surprisingly, I actually stayed tear free. Not that I wasn't incredibly sad but it didn't quite bring me to tears( was close though). Maybe because I've never really had a pet, so it didn't have the full emotional effect on me. Or maybe my heart is made of stone(or at least a 1/3 of it...)

So there you have it!

Have you seen these films? Did they make you cry?

Abi x

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Travel review: Poznan!

The title says it all right? I went to Poznan in Poland at the end of October and had such a chill time I had to share it on here. I was there all by myself, which was a pretty scary experience for me. I'm not a great flier at the best of times and going solo really challenged me. I booked my flights through the Skyscanner app and got great deal. I then used Air BnB to get a lovely guest room for one for the three nights.
Have a peek of some of the lovely sights I saw!

The town square was probably my favourite part, it looked like it had just stepped out of a fairytale.

The food and drink were insanely cheap, I changed way too much money. So ended up spending it on sweets in the airport home...oops!

I've actually been trying to branch back into doing more vlogs and made two up from my time out in Poland. Check them out here!

I'm not going to be putting lots of videos on the blog but just wanted to re-introduce them on here, so bear with me haha.

What do you think of Poznan?

Abi x

P.s. sadly not sponsored but I actually found the Skyscanner and AirBnB apps really helpful.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Book review:White Lies

Do you ever read a book at a certain time and then forever more associate it with then? That happened to me with White Lies by Ellie Holmes on my recent trip to Edinburgh. Although I was kindly sent the book to review some time back, it took several train journeys to give me the time to read it.

The fact that one of the main charachters(David) is Scottish had me seeing him in the men I passed. The story premise is simple. While struggling through a wearied marriage, a collision occurs that only serves to  the test that same marriage further. 
The books draws the reader in from the start, the first chapter sees strained married couple Sam and Neil driving home after birthday celebrations. The car collides with motorcyclist David and the story kicks off from there. 

We're led along a journey in which we see Neil attempt to atone for a past infidelity, Sam try to reconcile her marriage and David recover from his injuries. It's clever and doesn't always take the route that the reader expects.

I'll admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, the current of under tension from the constant white lies coming from the characters means I'll be giving it a 8/10.

The book was released in July 2017 and kindly sent to me for reviewing unpaid and under my own steam.

Would you read White Lies?

Abi x

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Travel review: Edinburgh

One of my favourite things about being a lifestyle blogger is the versatility we get in our posts. I've never really talked about travelling or reviewing new places on the blog before, so it's great that I can dip my toes in as and when it's appropriate. Let's be honest what better way to kick off this type of post than with one of a beautiful city such as Edinburgh?

I recently spent a weekend in the historic Scottish city with two close friends. It's only the second time I've been but the first was only a few hours. While I did enjoy that visit, it wasn't until the recent one that I really got the feel of the city.

The city is a contrast of old beautiful brick architecture with more modern pieces. The first day there was spent exploring around the Royal Mile, the castle and the main shops on Princes Street. The area is steeped with history and quirky, old buildings that make for very pleasant walking. As well as this you can see plenty of tourist aimed shops and attractions.

We only had two nights in Edinburgh, but both were spent sampling the nightlife. Not necessarily the cheapest night out, we experienced a good mix of bats, clubs and pubs. My favourite has to be a Wetherspoons I went to. Yep, a Wetherspoons! 

It's called The Caley Picture House and is in fact an old picture house turned pub. The decor was amazing with lots of nods to the original use of the building.

Finally, the last thing I'd recommend to anyone visiting the city would be try walking Arthur's Seat. It a large hill pretty much in the middle of the city. Part of the dormant volcano system that makes up the surrounding area, the views are spectacular. You can even see well out to sea and the nearish tor of Berwick.

If you do decide to go up Arthur's Seat, then be more prepared than me who did it in a skirt and boots(nope not walking ones..) and ended up with very sore blistered feet. Manageable but would be a lot nicer in anything slightly more appropriate! 

Edinburgh is a city that really caught me, to the point that I'm already scouting Air BnB for some good deals...

Have you ever been to Edinburgh?

Abi x

Monday, 25 September 2017

Playing the dating game

A little while back I wrote about a big life change, the end of a  long term relationship. One of nearly 5 years in fact. It seems a lot longer than 6 months since that happened. A period of 6 months can change a person a lot. This past half year has seen many changes within my life:

  • I ran not one, but two races.
  • changed team in work
  • grew closer to my friends and family.
  • failing my driving test and prepping for the second attempt
  • moved out of my parents(AGAIN)
  • went abroad for the first time since I was 16
  • booked my own solo trip abroad
  • Dyed my hair red, twice
  • new piercing

Quite a few things crop up without too much thought. It feels like I've spent the last half year getting to know myself and explore my own wants and desires. There's one big change that I've talked about briefly here, and that's getting back to dating again.
Truthfully I hadn't ever been dating before. The relationships I've had in the past have all developed from previous friendships. So to say it was new water, was well, the only way to phrase it. 

I've tried out three different apps now, to varying degrees of success. It helps I've found, to have an idea what it is you want from dating apps before you start swiping. Believe or not there are people on there who are only looking to meet new people, and of course there is the other end of the spectrum(yep people only after one thing!). Theres everything and anything in between.

So the apps I've tried out each have different selling points. I want to talk about the pros and cons of each. All the apps have a free version and a paid upgrades version. I've tested out he free option on all of them(cheapskate or what?). 
The first, is an app called: HER. It's a dating app for lesbians and bisexuals. It's a LGBT QIAAP friendly app.
  • There's a wide mix of open minded people
  • Has multiple options for what you're looking for
  • Can search far and wide for like minded people
  • In app social feed
  • Notifications for if people liked you
  • Can upload lots of pics to your profile
  • No age range. Comes under the upgraded paid app
  • People don't seem to chat. I don't quite get this one but the silence rates where much higher on here than I'd expected.
  • Can be harder to arrange meet ups. Between the silence and the large search radius, it can be hard to find someone willing to meet in person
  • No option for a bio on profile
Overall give this app a 6/10.

Next up is one called Bumble. The premise is simple, the girl needs to chat first, and within 24 hours or you'll unmatch. The other person has 24 hours respond in return, or again it'll be lost. If you both do then the match stays open. 

  • Extra prompt for initiating contact with the 24 hour deadline
  • People seem more inclined to chat. Yep actually had some decent conversations through this one.
  • Cute little honey logo, yep I got caught in by the design...
  • No backlog of potential matches, if you don't chat then it's bye bye!
  • I'll be honest this is definitely geared up for Herero couples. Although I had the option set for "likes men and women" only a tiny percentage where women. I'm pretty sure I never chatted to any gals on this app at all.
  • Surprisingly I found the time limit off putting rather than pushing me to initiate conversation. I definitely prefer the other person initiating.  
Bumble was probably my leafs favourite of the apps, only gets better a 5/10 for me.

The final app has to be Tinder of course. It's the one that I've probably used this most and probably has the bigger recognition in the dating app scene. 

  • App is easy to use
  • Able to put a "bio" so not just swiping based on looks.
  • Big user base, plenty of potential people to swipe
  • Allows option of liking bob "men and women" and actually had some women come up on screen albeit still a poor ratio of profiles to the men.
  • Option for group dating, can be both funny and reassuring having your mates in the chat.
  • No 
  • The app had a tendency to not tell me I had messages... yep sorry people, not just being a dick over here...
  • Sometimes people skip the hello all together and just go straight to propositioning you. Fair enough if you're only there for some casual fun, but a greeting or two goes a long way.
  • You can "superlike" people. It's meant to be a pro for the app but honestly the only time I use this feature was when I accidentally pressed it...
I've probably had the best run with Tinder. Found some genuinely nice people and even succeeded in arranging a few meet ups. 
Scores a 8/10, could be that little bit better.

Have you used any of these apps or are thinking of trying then? Let me know your thoughts!

Abi x

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Book Spotlight: Stories for Homes

Today's post is talking not just about a book but one for a good cause. Yep making books even better!
The ebook in question is called Stories for Homes and is an anthology due out on the 28th September 2017.

Published and unpublished writers come together to create an anthology of stories about what ‘home’ means.

55 writers are included in a second charity anthology that brings issues around housing, poverty and crisis to life through the power of storytelling. Volume One of the Stories for Homes Project raised over £3K for housing charity Shelter and raised awareness of housing issues.  Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to the charity.

Praise for the Book

Emma Darwin, author of The Mathematics of Love, commented on the quality of writing in the anthology as: “A cornucopia of witty, tragic, elegant, raw, heart-warming and terrifying stories that take the idea of Home, play with it as only truly talented writers can, and all to help those who have no home at all."

Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, said: “Stories give our imaginations a home. It's good to see them helping to give people shelter in the real world, too...” reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it.

Sally Swingewood, who also edited the collections, commented: “The Stories for Homes collections would not be possible without the generosity of a huge number of volunteers. By working together we have produced a book which will not only delight but also help address one of the biggest humanitarian crises facing modern society. In a world where migration, identity and belonging are in the news daily we have a duty to help everyone have a home in which they feel safe and settled. Stories for Homes is one way we can be part of the solution”

Volume 1 and information including the names of all the contributors for Volume 2 can be found 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Overwhelmed? Me too...

I came to a bit of a realisation the other day. Often when I'm feeling overwhelmed, low or just generally tired with life it is my blog that suffers. I find that those last bits of energy go into other things at such times. Mainly work, driving lessons, and so forth.
Blue Striped Square is a bit of a moodmeter for me for how well I'm managing things at any given time. 

Take this past month. I've had a close death within the family. Not going tp lie it really fucking hurt and I've really been struggling to accept it. Even after the funeral it still doesn't feel real. I still cry. A lot. I'm working on it.
 The day after the funeral I failed my driving test. It seemed I was bit distracted after all. I couldn't focus enough and now I'll have to retake the test. Naturally that knocked my confidence. 
Add to that in work I feel like the proverbial swan whose feet are paddling a 100miles a minute. 
Unsurprisingly my blog commitment has dipped during this time. The meter is on its lowest. 
I tweeted about how I felt I'd lost my blog mojo and a friend kindly pointed out that maybe that's what I should be writing about. Except I really couldn't find the words to describe what I've been feeling. Now I know that I've simply been overwhelmed with my life.

It's taken a holiday and a whole lot of time by bodies of water to help me get a handle on things. I've had chance to think about what I want to be doing. I'd been exercising less and feeling even worse for it. I want that to change. 

After time away from work I feel renewed again. It won't be any less busy when I return but I can approach it feeling more positive. Before I left the country I was spending my working day wishing away the minutes. I'd forgotten how much I actually enjoyed my job from just plain being swamped.

It's amazing what a bit of distance will do for your perspective. I guess what I'm saying is that it's been a successful holiday... 

I feel ready to face my life again.

Abi x

P.s. Holiday post to come... ;)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Blog tour: I Know Where She Is by SB Caves

It seems whenever enthusiasm for blogging dwindles, it's almost always a book post that sparks the fire again. This time we look to a cracking thriller I was kindly sent to review called I Know Where She Is by SB Caves as part of the initial book release blog tour! Cool stuff eh?

Book blurb:
On the tenth anniversary of her daughter Autumn's abduction, Francine receives an anonymous note containing just five words: I KNOW WHERE SHE IS.
When a young woman approaches her the next day claiming to have sent the letter Francine wants to dismiss it as a cruel, twisted joke.
But the stranger knows things that only Autumn would know.
It soon becomes clear that Francine must go to dark places in order to learn the truth about her child’s kidnapping.
She will discover that danger comes from unexpected sources. She will do things she never imagined herself capable of.
But will Francine get her daughter back-or is it too late?
Publisher: Canelo 

About the author:
 S.B. Caves was born and raised in North London. He loves crime and thriller novels, classic horror movies, Korean/Japanese thriller films and true crime documentaries. He is also a huge boxing fan.

The story is a great psychological thriller as promised, it really does hook you in early on. The depth of Francine's loss of Autumn is understood so deeply. What she has undergone is horrible for anyone but the reader really feels her grief and lack of closure throughout.
Overall the book rates a decent 7/10. It has a plot that is enthralling but felt that the characters outside of Francine and her mysterious letter writer didn't uplift the story enough. Just needed a little something more for me to rate the last few points out of 10.. Enjoyable read in the end!

Read it fo'yo self here:

Abi x
p.s. was sent a copy for review purposes. So despite the phrase a penny for your thoughts, all thoughts and opinions have come free of charge and off my own back.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Christmas showcase with Circo!

Last week I was kindly invited below ground to a very special evening at Circo. An evening of Christmas shenanigans showing the best the club has to offer for later this year!

On arrival we were greeted with gorgeous Christmas cocktails which are as yet unamed.  Let me warn you though they were lethally good. They were gin based with pomegranate, grenadie, sugar syrup and more included. Garnished with blood orange, rosemary and a dash of icing sugar they went wayyy too easily..

We were served various tasters off the Christmas menu, including a starter, a mini roast dinner and a wee trifle! My favourite by far was the butternut squash which came out in shot glasses with tiny straws. Purely for the taster evening but I had a good laugh trying to eat it.

As the evening went on we got to witness some aerial acrobatics by the trapeze artists. This was honestly thrilling and I couldn't help but get caught up! Tried hard to get a decent pic but they moved so fast!

I did manage to get pick of these two lovely ladies who even let me try the headpiece on. Won't lie to you it weighed a bloody ton after a minute or so. Credit to them for wearing them the whole night.

The night drew to an end with a "Guess that tune" mini quiz courtesy of resident DJ Les Calvert. He was certainly lively and tbh I was a bit gutted I only got to have a taster of the quiz, my competitive side was raring to go!

The whole club had a great fun feel to it, with showgirls and acrobats around. The decor is kooky and random and must be a great hit on a night out (think of the Insta!).

The club offers a range of events, from a crazy afternoon tea(with bare butlers!) to weekly dinner shows and extravaganzas. Check out the place further on their twitter tag #CircoIsBack

Abi x

p.s. I've never been Circo prior to receiving the invite to the Showcase. All opinions within the post are my own! Thank you for having me.