Monday, 31 July 2017

31 Days Grace: July.

Oh, July. You were a funny one. Beautifully hot one week, unpleasantly muggy the next, and then some days you were just grey. I still enjoyed you, though. You were a month of unique situations and new adventures.

I mentioned her departure in the last monthly wrap up; little sis was away for half of July. She returned home with two new tattoos and a shit ton of stories to tell us. 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Don't beat around the bush.

** This post features artwork by incredible female body-positive artist badasses.
All names etc. in captions **

There was a time when my friends and I would sit on the steep bank above the school games field, dressed in our summer PE kit of shorts and polo shirts, hair pulled back in elastic bands and our bare legs stretched out in front of us on the grass. We'd compare our leg hair almost weekly, and we'd see how long each of us could leave it before we caved, and shaved. 

At 13, I didn't care. Sure, it sometimes annoyed me that the fairly pale hairs on my shins would often peek out from under my navy tights, but that was the extent of it. Then suddenly, the other girls in my year started shaving, waxing and plucking. 
Why? Well, mostly because they'd heard a fable that boys liked girls with less hair, but also because some mums had told them it was more feminine to be free of fuzz. 
Soon I found myself doing the same - but not for a boy, or because my mum told me to. I did it because every other girl was, and I didn't want to be the only one not. I came home from school one day and asked mama to fetch some hair removal cream for me so I could sit in the bath tub and get rid of every little bit of fluff, which took a bloody long time and sometimes over the years led to me feeling faint due to the hideous smelly fumes that cream would give off. Just to feel...accepted? Ladylike? Normal?! 

Ayqua Khan, 20 year-old Pakistani-American artist, 
who I found via amazing Buzzfeed feature.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The 'Mid-Year Book Freak Out' tag.

Ooh look, another excellent bookish tag that one of my most excellent bookish blogger pals Bex invited me to do! Right, let's crack on and do this. The year is slipping by way too quickly as it is...

Best book you've read so far in 2017?

*panics already and opens Goodreads, checks Reading Challenge*

It's a tie between 'The Loneliest Girl in the Universe' by the mega babe Lauren James, and 'The Princess Saves Herself in this One', a poetry collection by Amanda Lovelace. 

'Loneliest Girl' is perhaps the most surprising YA I've ever read – partly because it does not read like it is publicised...not because the (amazing) press team at Walker haven't done their job correctly, oh no, because they've been extra clever in their marketing. Trust me, read this and you'll be surprised.
As for 'The Princess Saves Herself in this One', that was a badass awakening-type read, the kind I need more of at regular intervals throughout each year. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Is blogging dying?

Everyone seems to be saying that blogging is dying, these days. This news is sad, surprising and honestly quite...confusing. When did it begin its decline towards death? Who fired the kill shot? Did all the best URLs run out? Did Blogger and Wordpress finally throw down and battle it out in a back alley, both coming off fatally wounded? Ooh, or did it all kick off when Blogger deleted their app and spurned endless hate from users (still not forgiven them, tbh)?

Oh wait, I actually have an idea about what could have done it. Y'all may not like it, though. I can't help but content the cause of death? 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Dear you, for the last time.

Dear you,

Yes, she's writing about you again. After all these years – tell your friends to play that game they invented, 'spot him in her blog!', as this will be the last time they can. They'd crowd around a laptop in your dingy kitchen, poring over the words, they couldn't get enough. You couldn't care less, most of the time. 

Well, you'll be gone after this. Gone from this blog, and gone from my mind. You'll be merely the inspo in a series of outdated posts, a face in old YouTube videos and some faded T-shirts crammed in my pyjama drawer. A bow tie that I selfishly kept, and now plan on giving back through a mutual friend. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

How Not To: get a hangover! (The Olive Fox archive)

There's nothing quite like a morning after to really bring you down from the night before. It doesn't matter if you spent the night happily dancing, laughing with friends and maybe even flirting with a certain super-cute someone at the bar...waking up with a splitting headache, sore throat and swirling tummy will always dampen the memories and the whole mood of the morning. Ughh. 

Maybe this particular morning after will be it; the hangover is so bad that it makes you want to swear off alcohol, refuse any future nights out and have a hardcore detox. I mean, is there much point going out and getting crazy if it just means you'll feel like this every morning after?! 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

WELL, hold up. What if I told you that the feeling could go away? That if you follow a few of these simple steps (yes, I'm aware I sound like a fake health company internet scam right now, bear with me) you could bid farewell to those grim hangover feels?

I have always been semi-famous in my friendship group for managing to avoid or stave off hangovers. No, really. When I first started going out at 16/17, I would down alcopops, drain bars of Malibu and knock back £1 shots like there was no tomorrow – because, for me, tomorrow wasn't a problem. Then all through uni I'd be the envy of everyone in the 9am lectures in last night's clothes with makeup melting off and emergency sick bags stashed under their desks. And these days I can sink 5 double gins in the pub with my colleagues with an important 9am work call scheduled the next day, no sweat. My gosh, I love gin...

Wanna know my secrets? Read on!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Let 'em look.

I am about to say something quite controversial. It may incite shock, horror, or straight up anger. For that, I am sorry. But it's my opinion. Hear me out, please? 

Here it is. Ready? Okay. I feel that when it comes to making friends and finding love...looks can be as important as personality.

*hides, waits for storms to collide overhead* 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

What's in a name?

About a year ago, I wrote a post about creating characters when writing fiction. I had so much fun sharing writing thoughts and sort-of tips...that I thought I might do it again! But this time I'm gonna write about...naming characters. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Weekly warm 'n' fuzzies #2.

Every day lately I've been thinking how important it is to not just get happy, but to then stay happy. Grabbing hold of the good things, and sharing them with others, is a great way to do this.
So this week, the following things have made me happy:

Seeing my neurosurgeon and support nurse, two of the best humans I've ever met. Being told, again, that my misbehaving brain is 'stable'. Some really great coffee dates. A pizza with vegan cheese, made in a wood-fired oven behind the bar at the pub – by a very attentive chef – served in a cardboard box. The cat keeping me company all night long, snore-purring softly. Booking another tattoo with a lovely local artist. Meeting and chatting with a brilliant comedian who is delightfully rude onstage, and so far beyond sweet out of the spotlight. Staying up in my beloved Bethnal Green, for the first time in forever. A proper grown-up dinner with my favourite couple, after which I sat contentedly and quietly on the train home, happily all 'talked out'. Dad having to pick me up after missing my connection, this giving me unexpected time to chat with him, just us. Having my 'content' praised, and feeling so stupidly legit. A significant amount of the evening news suddenly being tennis-related. Visiting my secondary school, and chatting with my favourite teachers – trying, and failing, to call them by their first names, at their insistence. 

Stay happy, friends. Grab the good things and don't let go. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

What I'll be reading in July 2017.

July is here. The month in which Wimbledon takes over our TVs, eating outside becomes more or less normal, pubs with proper gardens get their time to shine, the seafront gets mobbed by DFL types, pale legs get pulled out of jeans and forced into shorts...

But July is also the time when we bookish folks all start properly prepping and scheduling for YALC. It's when we fill our suitcases with the latest bestsellers to read by the pool in Spain, or between trains in the unfamiliar city. We'll be celebrating Harry Potter's birthday at the end of this month...and mine, the day after. Obvs. 

This month I will be continuing my YALC prep, which I began in June...turns out 1 month wasn't enough! Surprise, surprise. Over the next 3 weeks I'll be tearing through (not literally – although I do sometimes turn pages over...) as many YA novels as possible, or at the very least those which correspond with the authors I desperately wanna see in panels or for signings (the YALC schedule is driving me a good way).

I'll be mixing it up a bit too. I feel too much YA could make it all blur in my mind; I would hate to get plots muddled or characters' names wrong due to excessive young adulting...

Sunday, 9 July 2017

My best dates.

Due to a recent tweet I posted concerning a moronic ex – wow, I haven't done that in a while – I found myself reflecting on dates. This particular ex doesn't really count as an ex, actually; we only went on the one date, and that was more than enough. I remember regaling my girlfriends the following morning with the disastrous tale involving O'Neills (worst first date location? I'd say so), lime and lager (for him, not me – his company eventually drove me to neat scotch) and karaoke (don't even). All my friends felt sorry for me, especially considering I'd fancied this guy for a while. We all had, in fact. We'd referred to him as 'Arms', the hot guy who could sing. He was a fantasy – and after that night in O'Neills, the daydreams about his arms had to end. 

At the time, I actually rolled my eyes at the sympathy from friends, saying 'I've had worse, and I'll have better. If nothing else, this will be a good story someday!'
And guess what? It is.
And also, I have had better dates since then. Some of which were so good, I decided to write about them right here, right now! (along with some from before then...) 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

30 Days Grace: June.

June 2017 came and went. We are now in the early stages of July, and over halfway through the year. How completely ridiculous is that? 

My June was mostly happy – I only went into hospital once, for just a night, I started making plans for the near future not just the end of the year, I had some yummy coffee dates, I spent actual money that I'd legitimately earned several times (this shouldn't be that big a deal, but trust me, it is for a poorly freelancer), and I ended the month in one of my favourite places, with some favourite people. 

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