Books I have read in 2017 (26 - 30).

25.11.17

#26 Letters To My Fanny - Cherry Healey 4/5

I'm going to be honest here; I bought this book purely for the funny title and pink cover because that's how I roll. I am not familiar with Cherry Healey as a journalist/celebrity but I am all for reading anything related to self-help / body image / being a lady.

This is Cherry's collection of letters to each part of her body, from head to toe (including her fanny, obviously). She has an open and comical way of writing and I genuinely felt more loving towards my body when I had finished reading this. I have a long way to go until I can accept my figure, face and brain as they are but this book definitely helped me along.

#27 The Letter - Kathryn Hughes 4.5/5

Sometimes you overdo the non-fiction and you need to get your teeth into a really good story, and The Letter was just that. It's a story of two women in different times; the 1970s and the 40s and how a letter hidden inside a jacket pocket can bring two strangers and their families together.

I really enjoyed this book. The time jumps were easy to follow and the experiences the women encountered were not your usual "chick lit" topics such as domestic violence and abortions. I genuinely wanted to know where each character would end up.


#28 Confidence - Katie Piper (audiobook) 3.5/5

Most of us are familiar with Katie Piper and the terrible events she encountered, leaving her scarred and in need of ongoing operations. I can't even begin to imagine the trauma she has been through yet she has come through the other side with confidence and I wanted to know her secrets.

I enjoyed this as an audiobook because listening to Katie read made it feel more personal, like I was chatting with a friend. There were lots of useful snippets and tips in this book, however, because I am a bit of a self-help-aholic I was familiar with a lot of the content already. That being said I would recommend this book for someone new to the world of self-help books as a perfect starting point. Perhaps a gift for someone who hasn't read much on the topic before.

#29 Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert (audiobook) 2.5/5

I really wanted to enjoy this but oh my, I did not. Elizabeth's voice grated on me to the point where it all came across as a little bit sanctimonious. I am totally on board with the concept of the book and I do genuinely feel like incorporating more creativity into my life because of it, but a lot of the chapters went way over my head. I definitely should have got the book version!

#30 Counselling for Toads - Robert De Board 5/5

I read this book in preparation for potentially studying counselling next year as I believe it is one of the recommended materials. I loved it! I plan to lend it to my friends and family as I really do think it could benefit everyone; whether you want to study counselling, have counselling, or you know someone who is struggling with their mental health and you want to know what to say and do to help them.

It's a twist on The Wind in the Willows which sees Toad feeling very depressed and his venture into counselling with Heron, and how his friends Rat, Badger and Mole deal with it along the way. 

Why "life plans" suck.

8.11.17

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking (you know, additional thinking on top of all the other unnecessary things I think about) about the timings of life, the pressure to do what everybody else is doing, and how different my life has panned out to how I imagined it would be. Did I think I would be 32 years old, overcoming a chronic illness, living in my mum's spare room, with a failed engagement under my belt, no kids to speak of, and resorting to an app on my phone in an attempt to find "the one"? Well, no. And when I say it all like that in one sentence it makes me feel pretty shit.  The Victoria of 10 years ago would have been shouting "future Victoria, what the hell are you doing?!" But it is what it is and no amount of worrying can change my current circumstances (I will still worry though, because that is my speciality). 

The purpose of this post serves no purpose except to reach out to anyone who doesn't feel like their life is the way it "should" be or the way other people tell them it should be. I tend to over-complicate life when really it is very simple. If you want to use Tinder and date a different guy every week, you go girl. If you only recently came out of a relationship and you were fine on your own, but you meet someone who sweeps you off your feet, you grab them with both hands! Forget this unspoken rule that after a relationship there is "x" amount of time that needs to pass before you're ready. If you want to be on your own indefinitely, then that is awesome. Embrace it! If you're in a relationship and it doesn't feel right, do something to change it or walk away from it. Don't settle because the alternative is too difficult. We are all beautifully unique and life is very short and I for one am going to stop feeling like a failure just because I have done things slightly different to how I imagined I would.


My new life plan is literally just to laugh with my friends, cuddle my dogs, feel content, and drink enough water. Beyond that who bloody knows!

CFS / glandular fever recovery mini-series: 10 signs I knew my health was getting better (part 2).

6.11.17

6) My random bruises disappeared. For a long time I was covered in bruises. I am a fairly clumsy person so at first this wasn't too odd but I came to realise that they were popping up left, right and centre. I did some research into adrenal fatigue and it's a common symptom associated with that (I was tested for my adrenal function and it wasn't doing so great). The random bruises hung around for a while but now I only get bruises when I walk into objects (which is fairly often tbh). 

7) Cravings for salt, salt and more salt reduced in intensity. I used to crave it like an actual beast and I couldn't get enough of salty foods, but this has subsided somewhat. 

8) Tolerance to sunshine / sunbathing / sweating improved. For a good year or so I couldn't sit out in the sunshine for long periods of time and, if I did, I would have to pay the consequences. I was a bit nervous about my recent trip to Kefalonia as I wondered how all the heat would affect me but I was absolutely fine. 

9) My afternoon crashes stopped. For the first 18 months of this illness I had daily afternoon crashes. At the beginning of this year my body and brain would just stop functioning, the flu-like symptoms would come crashing in. and the only thing I could do was go lie down / sleep. I do still get very fatigued in the afternoons and the occasional crash but nothing like it once was. 

10) Miscellanous body pains disappeared. One of the worst symptoms for me was the leg pains I experienced, usually in the night. It was like an ache I had never experienced before, like my bones were on fire and no amount of soaks in the bath or tablets helped. Thankfully this stage passed and now the only aches and pains I get are from my permanently stiff shoulders and sore muscles after exercising which feels kinda good now.

Sending love and positive vibes to anyone who needs them!

5 good things (Lincoln, long time online pals, and lots of self-care).

2.11.17

I am spoilt for choice with content for today's "5 good things" post because so many wonderful things have been happening to me lately for which I am truly grateful. I had been feeling a little down in the dumps and not quite myself but these 5 things, along with a host of others, have helped to put a smile back on my face.

This time of year is always tricky isn't it? The change of weather, the darker nights, the festive season approaching (which some of us don't particularly look forward to, but we must endure the excitement of everybody else). I'm trying to be a little kinder to myself and also filling my time with as many lovely things as I can. And sleep. All the sleep. 

1) A trip to Alton Towers earlier this week where I managed to be on my feet for the best part of 8 or 9 hours, did 20,000 steps and queued in the freezing cold having the MOST fun with the nicest boy I know. It has been so long since I've been on any rides and I did wonder if my body would be able to stand all that stimulation as it was really sensitive to noise and motion at one point, but I smashed it guys! Going on The Smiler first was possibly a schoolboy error but I enjoyed the day nonetheless. Jelly legs and all! 

2) Wrapping up warm and exploring. Me and my pal Steph frequent Otley and Ilkley for coffee, lunch and strolls and each trip makes me so happy. It helps that our favourite haunt - Salami & Co - is doggie friendly so every time we go we make friends with all the furry pups. You can't beat good coffee, good food and then a walk by the water and a mess about on the (kids) playground to raise your spirits. 


3) Visiting long-time Internet pals! I recently visited my friend Rosalyn (@rosalynoxer on Instagram) who normally resides in Valencia with her husband but was back "home" in Lincoln for a few weeks. I drove down to stay with her at her folks place and we had such a lovely time together. We have always been pally online but grew closer when Rosalyn was diagnosed with glandular fever earlier this year, and of course we all know I've been tackling it since 2015. So I've tried to be on hand with advice and support as much as I can. We are hoping to meet up again in December for a Christmas market so fingers crossed our energy levels allow us to do so! 


4) Enjoying the company of a certain man beginning with O who has restored my faith in men a little.

5) Building up a self-care routine. I have been massively slacking on this recently and some previous bad habits were creeping back in. So I have pulled my socks up and re-introduced: regular epsom salt baths (a good 30 min soak), less phone time, more reading, pampering, face-masks, painting my nails, body brushing, and general relaxation time. Oh and early nights. There is nothing wrong with an 8:30pm bedtime folks!

What are your 5 good things at the moment?