Thursday, 21 June 2018

Bookish News; June/July.

Lovely readers, I have some fabulous book news for you, and recently realised that it all really needed to be thrown together in one big blog post! 

Firstly no, sadly there is no big book deal news in this post (that's still a way off yet, tbh) but I am probably just as excited about these things as I'll be someday when I am taking numerous uncool selfies with my book when it's on shelves in shops. 

I have three big things to tell you about: two book events (one now done, another still to come) and a book contribution...!! 

Panel event at Waterstones TCR, 22.06.2017.
Authors (L-R): Tanya Landman, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Lisa Heathfield.

Friday, 15 June 2018

i-D Beauty Week, 2018; 'Behind the Scars'.

About a month ago, I went up to Peckham to see the wonderful Sophie Mayanne and take part in a shoot for i-D. The enormous online platform wanted to feature Sophie's work – and some of her models – in mini-doc video form for their 2018 Beauty Week.  Hell, yes. 

Make your wedding 'the party of the year'! *

Your wedding should definitely be the party of the year, if not the decade (that depends on how confident you’re feeling)! But if you want your wedding reception to be a party that everyone involved will remember for all the right reasons, and for a very long time, you need to start planning ASAP. 

We’ve got some great ideas for what you should do to make your wedding party more fun, and more memorable. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Prideful parents.

I have no time for parents who measure themselves on their children’s successes – or are ashamed if their kids aren’t quite keeping to the plan they set out for them the second they were born. 

Yes, I know this sounds blunt – yet also very pointed – and, well, it is. 

This isn't tea. This post is, though.

Monday, 11 June 2018


My name’s Grace.

The hit song ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ will never not make me emotional and nobody knows why, I’ve got tufty hair, I love broccoli, I wear too much blue, I’m a feminist, my massive book collection is both wonderful and terrifying, I know way too many Instagram tricks, lilac is my favourite colour, I keep telling people I'm 25 when I'm not quite done being 24, I’ve now seen 2 of my friends get married, walking is my favourite way to exercise, vegan life is treating me well but I’m nervous to blog about it, I want to do more work hosting book events, this weekend I’m throwing a party to celebrate my brain’s continued health, tomorrow I’m seeing my neurosurgeon and hopefully getting my life un-paused.

(Photo: Paris Tate)

Friday, 8 June 2018

What's my 'type'?

'So, that's the one you went out with?' Dad asks, nodding towards the bar where a lovely, lean fellow is pulling a pale ale. 'But...he doesn't have any tattoos, and he's white!? Not quite your type, Grace!'

We all have a giggle at this, and I quip; 'yes, but he smokes and works behind a bar. That’s two boxes ticked!' 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

'Heathers' live lounge event, 5/06/2018; a review.

I was very privileged to see a cheeky little preview of what is set to be an 8-week treat for the West End, starting this Saturday 9th... 'Heathers'!

Greetings, salutations. Welcome to Westerberg High, where Veronica Sawyer is just another of the nobodies dreaming of a better day. But when she’s unexpectedly taken under the wings of the three beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity finally start to come true. Until JD turns up, the mysterious teen rebel who teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it’s murder being a somebody…

Monday, 4 June 2018

Recent Reads: The 18th, 19th and 20th of 2018!

I have recently read three very different books; a novel by one of the best YA authors on the scene right now, a memoir by a fabulous, body positive friend of mine, and a funny, illustrated sort-of self-help non-fic. 

These books fit together perfectly, one after the other, in my mind. The themes and messages were similar in some ways, but different enough that I felt each one separate and stand alone on my mental bookshelf. One inspired me endlessly to be more vocal about my scars and positive about my body; one reassured me that not everyone 'adults' all that well...and one showed me the true darkness behind the scenes of a world famous fictional boy band. 

Saturday, 2 June 2018

You're just like a Pill...

~ TW: Blood, guts and female angst. ~

Recently, I did the thing every other blogger, vlogger and influencer seems to be doing, these days – I came off the Pill. 

--- why do we capitalise the P in Pill? Genuinely wondering. Does that give it weight and make it obvious what pill we specifically mean? Well, in case it wasn’t clear, I mean the Pill as in the pill that stops me making babies and keeps my bleeding under control. Yeah, that one. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I was pondering giving it up when I first saw the wise Hannah W’s video series about coming off the pill. I then began to seriously consider it this time last year, when I began to get some freaky feelings and irregular periods (turns out that was just my bowels being bitchy – ah, well).

Friday, 1 June 2018

Circolombia, 31/5/2018; a review.

Last night, I saw 'Circolombia' at the Underbelly. This was my third circus experience at that festival this year, and it may be a bit cheeky to say, may have been my favourite. 

This show is no ordinary circus. It celebrates diversity and brings song, dance and a big personality in with the insane feats of strength, balance and creativity. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Consent, 29/05/2018; a review.

TW: rape.

Last night I saw Nina Raine’s ‘blistering new play’ (New York Times), Consent’. The play, directed by Roger Michell, has opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre after a sold out season at the National.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

What not to say.

TW: cancer.

Words are powerful. It's quite amazing how many we have at our disposal when writing, reading or conversing; how we're sometimes able to write our feelings down perfectly in letters, directly quote books or authors that have inspired us, and express ourselves effectively when talking with loved ones. 

And sometimes, we simply have to grab a pen and highlight a snippet of prose that speaks to us. We call our best friends after a few drinks to tell them how much we love them. We create a blog when we're crippled by the most intense crush on the cutie in our college Drama class (just me? Okay...). 

But it's also astonishing how sometimes, words can fail us. How quickly we can forget what's been said. And how some words can stop us dead. 

Words like 'cancer'.

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Friday, 25 May 2018

A beginning.

~ January 2018 ~

So. It sounds like illness has dominated your life – been your definition, almost – for years. And now, you’re coming out of it, and you’re wondering...who am I?’ She says, putting the folder down and looking at me kindly over a pair of glasses. 

I give a shy smile. I can feel myself opening up, and I’m excited. ‘Yes, I think so.’

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Later, I sign myself out, I thank the receptionists, and I walk outside. The cool air hits me, and I pull my jacket tighter around myself, pressing my woollen hat down on my forehead. I stop as I do it, hold my head in my raised hands, I gasp, and cry. Just for a few seconds. I feel the enormity of what's about to happen, and how badly I need it. I wonder where I'll be in 10 weeks time. Somewhere better, I think. 

Then I straighten up, stick my chin out, and walk on. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I wrote this not long after my first counselling session, back in January. My 10 weeks of therapy ended in March, and just the other day when I was really struggling again, I was offered another slot with my counsellor - and I grabbed it. I'm still working on me. ~

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Matilda the Musical, 23/05/2018; a review.

I saw 'Matilda the Musical' at the Cambridge Theatre on Wednesday, the 23rd of May. This show has been in the West End for almost 7 years now, after opening in October 2011, and is currently booking until February 2019. It's safe to say it's a West End staple, at this point. The RSC (one of my all-time favourite companies) absolutely nailed it with this one. 

(source: Matilda Musical UK)

Matilda the Musical tells the story of a young girl of incredible intelligence who is determined to change her own story, even if it means being a little bit naughty...

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Some very morbid plans.

Does anyone else ever think about how they’re going to die? Or maybe, what will happen when they’re dead? Just me? Okay then…

I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit, after my last appointment with my wonderful neurosurgeon. He confirmed that I am still stable (yay!) and then said, quite confidently, that he thinks it’s more likely I’ll pass away due to old age, rather than my t-word finishing me off. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Friday, 18 May 2018

An ending.

~ February, 2016 ~

After it happened, a burst of wrenching fire tearing through the air above us as we drank coffee – well, I did, after I said the words you pushed away your mocha and left it to go cold – we walked to the station together in near complete silence. I wish you’d seen inside my head, then; I was full of words I didn’t dare utter, I almost took it all back, because I couldn’t stand to see you so hurt. Hurt by me. It was stamped hard on your lovely face. It looked like someone had thrown you off a bridge, and run away laughing. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Recent Reads: The 16th and 17th 2018!

My recent reads have brought me out of a nasty slump, and for that I am so grateful. I also admire both the books' authors, for very different reasons...we'll get to that. 

'Places I Stopped on the Way Home: A Memoir of Chaos and Grace' is a beautiful collection of essays by Meg Fee (and the other night I got to see her in conversation with Laura Jane Williams at The Owl Bookshop; it was a DREAM) about her life in New York; her at times desperate search for a home to call her own, her great loves, and more turbulent relationships. It was a total treat to read. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Strictly Ballroom, 15/05/2018; a review.

I got to see 'Strictly Ballroom' at the Piccadilly Theatre last night. I took Mama Latter; she seemed the best choice for this theatre date, as she's an Aussie and major fan of the film. She also insisted I take her, or else...

I personally am a major fan of Strictly Come Dancing, the brilliant 80s soundtrack, and Will Young. So before we even went in, I was sold.  

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Am I vain?

'I often find my mind wandering,' I said to my counsellor, 'when I'm talking to someone, or meant to be listening to something, or driving, or running errands...and I am almost always thinking about myself.'

Right, so....I think about myself. A lot. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I've already written about my Busy Brain; how often I worry that the inside of my head is just a swirling vortex of terror made up of my most unpleasant memories that surface at the worst possible times and awful thoughts threatening to spill out of my mouth for all to hear...while at the same time it's constantly streaming warm and cosy episodes of 'Gilmore Girls' and conjuring up sexy scenes with Chris Hemsworth, in which we eat the very best vegan food on the planet before turning in for a night of mischief...but also, my brain is obsessed with me

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

SOAP @ Underbelly, 8/05/2018; a review.

I went to see 'SOAP' at the Underbelly Festival last night, with my fellow theatre nerd Ella, and it was...completely ridiculous. 

(source: SOAP - The Show FB)

I don't know when exactly I became a circus fangirl...but I'm not complaining. Seeing contortionists and aerial artists twist and turn, and watching funny skits with audience members, is fast becoming one of my favourite forms of theatre. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

The things I can't ignore.

I came across Kelsey J Barnes’ TinyLetter some time ago – and miraculously, it seems to be one of the few that actually land in my inbox, despite subscribing to several since? Gmail, sort your sh*t out.  

Anyway, Kelsey wrote a little something entitled ‘10 Things Ex-Lovers Ruined For Me’ (‘because of their need to introduce me to songs, books and other things that now appear at random moments in my life without warning’). It of course moved me, and inspired me to write something similar. 

But I won’t be writing a list. Because when I settled down to actually pull together all the things I remember, and am now somewhat sensitive about doing/seeing/ didn’t all come to me in a neat little list. It flooded in like a storm at sea, throwing everything up around me and trying to suck me in.

These are the things I cannot ignore. The things I think of, and the things I miss. 

(Photo: Lex Brookman)

Friday, 4 May 2018

Dating myself.

I go on solo dates very often, these days. Sometimes they’re small – just a quick coffee and a few pages of a book, or a drink in the pub before my friends arrive. Sometimes they’re bigger – a trip to the cinema, the odd gig, a lunch out in London between meetings...

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The pin-tastic Old English Co.!

So, you all know I absolutely love cute and quirky accessories, right? Well, over the past few years I've been splashing out on adorable enamel pins for my backpacks, dungarees and jackets. I have a whole collection of bookmarks on my Instagram profile entitled 'perfect pins'! 

(source: Old English Co.)

Every single one I've ever bought has reflected some element of my personality – a cup of coffee, a cat, even little words I particularly like, and my cousins got me a perfect bookish one for Christmas. 

I recently discovered Old English Co., a brilliant company specialising in prints, homeware, stationary...and pins. Their enamel pins are absolutely brilliant; I think when I first browsed that area of the website I bookmarked approximately 20 of them to buy on a future payday...! 

So I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you  and any fellow pin lovers...

(Click the images for the links!)

(source: Old English Co.)

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Body (in)security.

The road to body positivity and self-love isn't a smooth one. Recovery is not linear. We are our own worst critics. When you hate what you see before you, remember how far you've come and how much you've left behind you. 

I go through phases of disliking all the little parts of me. Then a little while (sometimes, mere hours) later, I love myself and my body so hard, it almost hurts. 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I hate how broad I am across my ribs. From the front I look fairly slim, my waist nips in beautifully and I love love love that - but from the side, I'm big. Awkwardly so.

I've decorated my ribs a little over the years, with words and flowers. I love breathing in deeply, placing my hands just at the bottom of the rib cage, and feeling my lungs inflate and the bones holding them in; strong, almost impenetrable. Almost.


Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams @ Underbelly, 25/04/2018; a review.

I must confess, I've come in and out of London so many times over the years, and seen the enormous purple Underbelly as I've gone through Waterloo and across the bridge into Charing Cross...but I've never, ever actually been to the festival.

Well, I can tick that box now. I went to see Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams in The Belly theatre yesterday evening, and all I can say is...WHAT!??

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Recent Reads: The 14th and 15th of 2018.

I am so happy not to be keeping to a Reading Schedule any more. It's opened me up to any and all forms of lit - as you'll see in the next few of these posts!

Now, here's what I read recently...

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

'Chicago', 23/04/2018; A review.

Last night I went to see what has been one of my favourite musicals for many years; the dazzling, scandalous 'Chicago', at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End!
I've always loved Chicago...despite never having seen it performed live. You could say its reputation precedes it – but I've also seen a few of its musical numbers performed by local theatre companies ('The Cell Block Tango' in particular has been done to death, but I'll always love it!) and of course I've seen the film a few times, too. 

How To: Travel AND do good! *

Travelling is one of the best ways to soothe the soul. It lets you take a break from your regular life and see what else is out there. Meeting new people and learning about certain cultures and sights is a real joy...but sometimes it can feel a bit selfish. 

Tourism is usually good for people as it gives economies a boost and offers new experience, but it can be bad for the environment and some travellers may fail to see the bigger picture. So while Jeeps crowd around the same animal in a nature reserve or boats follow whales just wanting to breed in peace, are there any ways that you can make your travel experience good for everyone?

Image Credit: Stock Snap

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