Winter Favourites! // 2016-2017

As stated previously, due to the fact that I am poor, my favourites tend to be seasonal, rather than monthly, like many of my blogging buddies. But that’s okay! It just means they’re meatier and chock full of stuff that I’m going to peer pressure you into buying! (Kidding)

So, here are my 2016-17 Winter Favourites!

Fashion

Blanket Scarf – Primark

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I got this scarf for Christmas and I honestly have worn it every single day since. It’s so cozy and soft, and is perfect for when the heating at work packs up and when I’m too tired to function.

Box Jumpers – New Look

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One of these jumpers was featured in my Winter OOTD post from Blogmas 2016, and I actually have three of these. One in black, one mint and one dusky pink and I am obsessed. They are so cheap, easy to wear and style and so comfy for the cold days. I honestly really hope these come back next winter too.

Dressing Gown – Tesco

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Another Christmas goodie, this time from Mum. It was her personal mission to find me a new dressing gown that I liked for Christmas (I’m v fussy). And safe to say she did well. This dressing gown is honestly the softest, cosiest thing I’ve ever felt, it fits perfectly and the hood even has little bobble ears on. What more could you possibly ask for?

Beauty

Supercat Liquid EyelinerSupercat Liquid Eyeliner – Soap and Glory

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Once again, a Christmas gifted item. I was absolutely not expecting this one from a family friend, but they did so well with it. A proper review will be coming soon,as I’ve been meaning to write one since Christmas Day, but you’ll already know that it’s a favourite!

iDivine Eyeshadow Palette in ‘All Night Long’ – Sleek

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I wasn’t into eyeshadow at all until I purchased my Revolution 12 Days of Christmas Box on Black Friday last year, but since then I’ve had a bit of a spend on more drugstore palettes, including this one. The colours are beautiful and blend and match so well and the pigmentation of them is incredible value for money.

Brightside Bubble Bar – LUSH

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Yes, I’m still  raving about this bloody bubble bar. And yes, I did get three for Christmas (and another for my birthday this week…). What can I say? I’m a citrus lover.

Music

Bad Behaviour – The Maine

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I’ve loved The Maine for about four years now (wow) and even though my emo phase has somewhat passed, this band never will. I’m seeing them live for the second time in a few weeks (March at the Electric Ballroom, Camden) and I couldn’t be more excited, especially for the upcoming album Lovely, Little, Lonely. Everything this band makes makes me happy, and they’re like a warm hug to my emotions.

Last Cigarrette – Darwin Deez

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I discovered this song while listening to The Hannah Witton Show at work, and it just grabbed me, you know? It’s one of those songs that makes me want to dance and sing to in the car and I don’t know. It’s just catchy. Go listen.

Night People – You Me at Six

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I first listened to the Night People single when it was released in the autumn and found it good, but not enough to be really excited. It was only when I found out that YMAS are doing a UK tour (which I am going to!!) in the Spring that I decided maybe I should listen to their latest album. And I honestly love it. Every song is awesome, and YMAS are one of the bands that I think only get better.

Other

The Hannah Witton Show – FUBAR Radio

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What gets me through those long, dark days stuck in the office, you ask? Well, here’s your answer. I got into Hannah’s content after finding her YouTube channel, and resolutely identifying with everything she stands for. When I found out she hosted a podcast/radio show every week that I could listen to FOR FREE, I got even more obsessed. Every one of Hannah’s radio episodes are absolute gold, and you’re never left bored.If you’re a fan of sex jokes, rudeness and familiar YouTube faces, check this out!

Driving!!

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So, as some of you may know (and some of you may not) I passed my driving test at the start of December. Yessssssss. Being able to drive my little Edna (my KA) around just us two, blaring the ‘tunes and generally being awesome… it’s a good feeling. And also not having to get lifts all the time is nice.

 

So there you go, my Winter Favourites. Honestly, the past couple of months have been very up and down, life-wise, and I’m so excited to get into spring as there are some really exciting things coming up.

What were your favourites from over Christmas and New Year, and are any of yours the same as mine? Let me know! And I’ll see you again at the end of the week for a special birthday post! Thanks!

Jess x

The 5 Unexpected Benefits of Having Trichotillomania // A Beginner’s Guide to a Trichy Life

For about the past decade, I’ve suffered with a disorder called Trichotillomania. Here’s the NHS definition if you want to know more about it, and here and here are my past posts about the subject, if you want to know more from the horse’s mouth (or mine. whichever).

I’m not going to spend time explaining the whole thing again, so if you don’t already know, then do some learnin’, then come back to me. If you have any questions about Trich, mental health, or just want to chat, send me a comment.

Until then, here are the Five Unexpected Benefits of Having Trichotillomania…

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REVIEW: If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

Honestly, I don’t know where to start with this. I’ve always just told myself that I’m awful at reviews, and to leave them far far away, for other people to write, and honestly I’m a little scared to attempt this. But you know what? 2017 is the year of facing fears, I think (maybe) and I’d like to start writing reviews. So here goes (cue superior-sounding and intimidating review-er voice)…

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

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If I Was Your Girl tells the, frankly overdone, story of a young girl who has to start a new school, and her struggles through making new friends, first loves and parent troubles. It’s one of those basic story premises that’s been done and done a thousand times over, the world over. I’m sure that no matter the culture, religion, race, every teenage girl has once wanted to read about the life of another teenage girl.

But with this, there’s something different.

And it’s not something that you have to wait until the last page for, either (which is something I personally don’t have the patience for). From the get-go (even the blurb, actually), we – the audience – are aware that Amanda, our beautiful, smart, nerdy and mysterious protagonist, used to be known as Andrew.

Meredith Russo’s debut novel details the post-transition Amanda’s life as she tries to make it safely from high school to the World Beyond – something of which I’m sure we can all relate to. But Meredith’s life as a trans woman has enabled her to transform a somewhat over-done story into one that I think – honestly – everyone should read. Or at least read about. The simple fact of the matter is: there aren’t enough stories about trans people.

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Now, as much as I could, I’m not going to make this post about trans issues. It is not my place, nor my right to address issues faced by those in the trans community.I have never faced gender identity issues, and I can’t imagine ever doing so, and that is where I will leave my knowledge on the subject. However, if a trans person, or someone struggling with gender identity issues is reading this: I support you, you are brave and amazing and you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, I am here.

Now that that is out of the way, I’m going to continue by saying that this review is not going to address the serious matters of gender identity, transgenderism and social inequalities, as I simply haven’t got the words – or the authority – to do so. I will, however, review this book as a book. 

If I Was Your Girl, while hugely important and eye-opening for someone who is cis-gendered and uneducated, could have been better, book-wise.

The subject matter, while fascinating and wonderful in its modest glory (Amanda’s brief descriptions of the transition process I felt were a nice way to satisfy reader’s curiosities, while remaining steadfast in her secretive nature, and were well played-down by the author), could have been paced much better.

My biggest problem with IIWYG was simply the pacing. I felt this book could have been light-years longer. It felt rushed, and because of this, characters and their actions often felt unrealistic, and it could sometimes feel as though Meredith – the author – knew things that the audience didn’t, but forgot, and described scenes and emotions as thus.

While I can see the advantages of trying to write a book – particularly a YA book, as this is intended – that is long enough to be a story, while being short enough to keep young reader’s attentions, I felt this was just not long enough. There simply wasn’t enough space to put all the emotions of someone who has been through so much, on paper in just under 300 pages. I often felt as though, if I were in Amanda’s situation, I’d need a hell of a lot more time to digest some information and make some decisions, than she did. But that’s just me.

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Some may complain that IIWYG was too shallow. That it only tread the very shortest of depths that LGBTQIA+ fiction could do, but I think that’s enough. For now, at least. The general public may still be wary of literature that dives too deep into the minds and bodies of those who aren’t “normal” (and I use that term sarcastically, if you didn’t guess), and, while some of us may be ready to dive deep, the world might not be yet. Baby steps.

But, If I Was Your Girl did exactly as it was supposed to, and for that I commend it. It made me laugh. It made me sad and angry. It made me love Amanda and Virginia and Layla and Grant. It made me hate others. It made me feel that first-love, first-kiss, first-everything feeling that we all crave sometimes. And it made me more aware. 

And for a mainstream, published, printed and talked about book (If I Was Your Girl has actually been featured in Zoella’s book club with W H Smith for this year, which is incredible and huge for the author, to have someone as influential as Zoe recommending this story to her millions of avid fans…) to hold such power and knowledge. The power to turn attention towards this issue that the world faces (by issue I mean transphobia and homophobia, etc), is fantastic.

I urge you all to pick up this book (or download it.. whatever you fancy), and just try it. Your age, your gender, your sexuality, your reading preferences do not matter. You should read this, for your own education.

Thanks guys, let me know if I did OK for my first book review (that’s been published on this site). Also let me know what’s on your reading lists for 2017, I need recommendations!

Jess x

Goodbye 2016!

I wanted to have completed this post by the close of 2016 but, as you can tell, that didn’t go so well.

Especially in terms of this blog, the end of 2016 for me was nowhere near as productive, exciting or fun as the rest of the year certainly was, which is a shame. I think after so many months of strict routine, 9-5 and motivation, this holiday took it out of me and I just sort of crashed, especially towards the end of blogmas. I’m actually severely disappointed that my blogmas plans didn’t work out, I had it all ready and rearing to go but by the middle-end of December I sort of fizzled out. Read More »