The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Matt Zoller Seitz

This post is about the book, which is all about the film and how it was made so there will be spoilers ahead! …also, as the natural-born overwriter that I am, I do go on a tangent about the film and why I absolutely love it. You have been warned.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is quite honestly one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the perfect tale within a tale within a tale; with multiple layers to its storytelling which make it such a rich film. There’s so many reasons why it’s such an amazing film, and they differ so much depending on who you ask. For some it’s that iconic pink hotel front and the funicular, the exquisite Mendl’s pastries, that pristine purple uniform that cuts such a dashing silhouette, or even that dresser-top fully stocked with L’air Panache (and how effortlessly that rolls off ones tongue). For others, it’s the darker elements of the film. The chase scenes with Jopling as dramatic music pounds in the background, his skull-shaped knuckle-dusters, the prison scenes and a seemingly never-ending rope ladder; not to mention, a head in a delivery box, a dead cat in a hessian sack, and four-missing fingers. While I love all the above, The Grand Budapest is my favourite for other reasons.

The writing is amazing. There’s a familiarity to the language and a warmth that’s unparalleled for me. It has a musicality to it that just gives me all the warm and fuzzy feels, and are just so unforgettable. I think the way that the writing has been performed also has a big hand in why I love it so much. The quick-fire way that it is reeled off, especially from characters like M. Gustave; so poetic and thoughtful yet sometimes steers into sounding more like a ranting sailor than his usual gentleman-fashion.

I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it… but, I will say: he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvellous grace!

Mr Moustafa

If you look further than the facade of the aesthetically-pleasing colour schemes and whimsically, fantastic characters, you realise the events at face-value are quite dire but there’s much more blood and gore involved. My boyfriend is a movie-lover and often mentions the films his dad introduced him to, and what ones he will one day introduce our kids too. It was only when I thought about this myself that I realised this film, while wonderfully colourful and somewhat comedic in areas, it’s actually probably a bit too much for a child to watch.

Now to the book…

This book is almost a window into how this masterpiece film was made. It’s a behind the scenes look with conversations with everyone varying from Anderson himself, to the actors, set designers, cinematographers, costume design, the film’s composer, and so many others. It also includes stunning photography, personal accounts and funny anecdotes as well as some amazing illustration and artwork.

I absolutely love the detailed costumes and vibrant colours, mixed with laid out backdrops in a perfect, symmetrical fashion. Anyone who knows Andersons work knows he’s so visually precise and meticulous with his cinematography. The film has different stages to it, all with frame changes depending on where or what era that portion of the film is set in which is something I think you enjoy and notice more when rewatching it. Each time I watch it I notice something else I missed before so reading about the cinematography and the decisions concerning all the camera work was really interesting for me.

This book is a must for every Wes Anderson aficionado! It contains so much insight when it came to not only the inspiration and sources for the story itself but also the process of storytelling, art and film-making too. It truly discusses every single element of the film and the inner-workings of making something great.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Cheerio for now!

((I must apologise for rambling on for soo damn long, but if you couldn’t tell-I bloody love this film! It is and probably will remain one of my absolute favourites forever!))

things I’ve found solace in lately | april

Life has been beyond hectic lately. I’m sure come October time I will go into more detail on my life lately and what the past year has brought about for me, but for now I’m looking for every and any distractions available to me. I’m so grateful for anything light I can seek a little solace in and as usual always think of instantly sending it to all my loved ones. Naturally, they usually don’t ‘get it’ and most the time just get outright annoyed with my pestering and don’t bother looking (yeah, I’m looking at you bearded boyfriend). To that end, I like to turn it out to you guys and hopefully you’ll find something you like too.

this post As a knitter myself, this was really entertaining and on-point for me. It had some more serious points which I think are really on the mark but it also hit some humorous notes which I really enjoyed.

This video of Never Fear Truth Art by Johnny Depp, with him discussing it in a very raw, candid way is soooo inspiring. I have always loved him as an actor but watching him in interviews is so telling of who he is behind all the characters he portrays. He’s such a natural creative and really quite a beautiful soul I think. We all know he’s been put through the ringer lately so watching and seeing him in this capacity is really quite beautiful. I also loved this short clip too, of him discussing his long friendship with Tim Burton.

-After reading Best Wishes, Warmest Regards I went on a bit of a tangent and listened to so many podcasts that Dan Levy appeared on, one of which was David Tennant Does a Podcast With…. While there haven’t been any new episodes with guests since late 2020, I’ve been absolutely loving going back through the episodes and listening here and there. Obviously I loved the Dan Levy one but I’ve also really enjoyed the Catherine Tate, Olivia Colman, and Jim Parsons episodes too. I think Olivia Colman is such a delightful person and so enjoyed listening to her bond with David Tennant.

-writing… getting back into a routine of writing daily has really helped my mental health. Whether it be journalling or using prompts, or even just writing morning pages or a stream of consciousness; it has helped me a lot and I have found so much comfort in that recently. I’m hoping it’s something I can maintain as time goes on. My life is becoming increasingly chaotic so I think it’s something I’d really find helpful to continue as part of my everyday routine.

-I’ve always loved the content that Vogue’s Youtube channel churn out but I especially love their Inside Home… videos. I loved their Hamish Bowles one, he’s such a fascinating character to me and I love how maximalist his home is. It’s a true representation of such a full, colourful life. I also really enjoyed the ones they did on Karl Lagerfeld’s French home and Iman & David Bowie’s one too. What I love also is how they highlight sentimental objects in their home and the stories behind them, which is quite special.

-I loved this article-rant about people-pleasing on the Frankie magazine website. Frankie is one of my absolute favourites and I love all the writers, photographers, contributors, etc. It’s just such a beautifully curated publication. I also adore their penchant for all things colourful and crafty, often with a touch of whimsy -like these charming felt frogs (honestly I’ve swooned over these guys so much since discovering them through Frankie) and these really cool knits. I have a digital subscription to Frankie magazine and as you can tell, love everything about them but do check out their website too. They always have such great, uplifting content that can always bring a smile to ones face!

I should probably wrap it up there or this could grow a bit too long.

Cheerio for now!

Sustainable Shopping | Clothes

Sustainable shopping has been on my mind a lot lately. Anyone who knows me knows I use to have a tendency to buy a lot of fast fashion, never get round to wearing it and throw it out two years later with the tags still attached to the garment. I can feel your dagger-looks and hear your huffs of anger from here. I think my routine of doing this was rooted from my upbringing and local environment. Growing up in a single-parent household, we never had a lot of spending money for the new clothes or ‘niceties‘. Through secondary school I got used to saving what pocket money I had and spending it in Primark with my friends at the weekend.

Now being older, and a little wiser, I’m aware of the impact a lot of industries are having on our planet – one of them being the fashion industry. We consume a vast amount of clothes which we probably don’t wear more than a handful of times. The items find themselves in landfills and we move onto the next.

For the past four or five years – or ever since I started reading Peppermint magazine – sustainable shopping has constantly played on my mind. It’s always there niggling in my brain as I hand over my debit card as well as when I get home with those bags of shopping laid out in front of me. Because of how this issue has played on my mind, I have got myself into the healthy habit of thinking about some of the things below when shopping:

Shop your wardrobe

Before shopping for new items, I like to take some time really analysing what I already own. I ask myself which pieces do I wear the most? Which do I feel drawn to? and then ask myself why? I analyse the cut and fit of it, the tones and textures, its’ versatility, etc. I like to do this not only to remind myself of what I own, but also to remind myself of the items I feel comfortable in and the shapes and cuts which truly suit my body. By doing this, I also remind myself of the ‘winners’ in my wardrobe. The pieces I wear once a week which go with anything and everything, and will no doubt still be in my wardrobe in a decades time.

Find your base colours

Sticking to neutral base colours for your wardrobe can help the longevity of your clothes as well as make them coexist with other items perfectly. I consider base colours to be the neutrals, so that is your black, grey, white, linen white, navy, brown, and olive tones. A great way to establish your base notes, as I call them, is by standing in front of a mirror and assessing how they suit you. Note how they make your eyes and skin glow, or does it wash you out? See if it suits your hair colour, etc but also see if you are drawn to it. Be open-minded, sometimes the colours we are drawn to do not align with what we feel comfortable in or do not physically suit us. I find that Black is a great colour because it goes with anything however, it can also be too harsh on my skin tone and sometimes appears to wash me out if I’m not careful.

Some people like to choose two of these tones, one for Summer and one for Winter however, I like having three and for me that is black, grey and navy (sometimes). I sometimes step over the line and don some olive or khaki tones, purely because I feel drawn to earthy tones and it compliments my complexion, eyes and hair colour so well. It is also worth noting that these base notes may change over time, either due to age or simply because you changed your hair colour.

Alter and Adjust

I never used to think of altering garments – I know, I’m stupid – but since making even the slightest alterations, like pinning the strap of a top, I have noticed the world of difference it makes to the fit of an outfit. Further more, even altering hemlines or the fit of an item can give it an entirely new lease of life. I know some things are beyond repair and just simply no longer work for our bodies however, whenever you can – I think adjusting items is a great option.

Add Accessories

When entering a new season, or even if you have an event coming up, don’t feel compelled to buy new clothes instead look in the accessory section. Adding a statement necklace, bold earrings or even minimal bracelet can completely change an ensemble. It is often too easy to keep adding clothes to your wardrobe – instead play dress up in front of your mirror, dabbling with different accessories and if you really feel the need to freshen things up, head to the accessory area first!

Invest in quality pieces

It is quality over quantity always! Although things can often seem pricey at first glance, in my opinion it is far better to spend a lot of money on something well made than a lot of items that are cheap and will become worn out faster. This is often the case with fast fashion so I think it is better to establish what you need and what you want, write a list of these items and spend some time looking around before buying. Really mull over each purchase and question if it is a quality product that will still be in your wardrobe in 5-10 years.

So those are just a handful of the things I like to think about and address when contemplating whether or not I want to add items to my wardrobe. I think it is really important to stop and think before you buy, and with a few little pointers, it can make the world of difference to your lifestyle and wardrobe.

Do you have any tips or tricks you use?

Cheerio for now! 

Book Review: The Loch of the Dead

The Loch of the Dead, Oscar de Muriel

**I just wanted to add a little note here. This is one of the many posts I have had in my draft section since before my hiatus but with the fifth Frey and McGray book, The Darker Arts, being released today, I figured now is the perfect time to get this baby out. Enjoy.

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If you are a long time follower, then you will have already seen my reviews of the previous three books in the series of cases for Frey & McGray, by Oscar de Muriel. If you haven’t read them or even heard of these book, I’d encourage you to head on over here, and give the reviews a read to get the gist of these characters and the genre these books fall into. Now onto the book itself…The Loch of Dead starts with a death threat against an unknowing heir, which leads the inspectors to the remote Loch Maree. Isle Maree, one of the islands perched in the middle of the loch, is known for its ancient burial ground although that is not the only thing the Inspectors should be aware of. The highland area is cut off from the rest of the world, and the few souls who do reside there are strange – causing many questions that need answering. On arrival, and with little time to find a stable footing, the heir’s guardian is brutally murdered which makes everyone a suspect; especially that of the Koloman’s, a mysterious family whom the young heir and detectives must stay with.

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I have to admit it was incredibly difficult to type the above section without giving away major spoilers and divulging some of the many plot twists. I must also say that, out of the collection of Frey & McGray books, this one included -this has without a doubt been my favourite. The previous elements of the grim Victorian era of the 1800s mixed with the surreal crimes and the hint of humour this duo creates, alongside the folklore element of this book makes for a terrific read. The plot lines are so cleverly interwoven with one another that even though they are there, with so many clues as to who the culprits are, you can never truly pin it on anyone.

As previously mentioned, there are three books in the series preceding this. I think this book could standalone however, I don’t think the reader would experience every part of the book at it’s best. Especially that of Frey & McGray’s relationship, which has evolved leaps and bounds, or that of McGray’s never-ending guest to cure his sister so I would recommend reading the three previous books before this one.

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All-in-all this was an amazing read and I throughly enjoyed every second of it. I would highly recommend it to anyone and if me rambling about it doesn’t make you pick it up, maybe the 100% and five-star reviews on Amazon will.

Have you read this new addition to the series yet?

Cheerio for now!

Photo Diary | Bodiam Castle

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Places like Bodiam Castle, the sites that hold remnants of the past, always seem to capture my heart. The places you go and explore, and can’t help but feel immersed in history. It’s all around you and you feel a sense of pride that it’s been protected for all these years.

While wandering around these sites, I think everyone often thinks about what the place would have looked like entirely intact however part of me also wonders about what it will look like in a few hundred years time. Will it still be protected? Will humanity respect these sites in the same way we do today? Or will the history that we know now have vanished and been replaced with other places and sites? It’s a thought-provoking process but nevertheless makes these sites a little more special.

Cheerio for now! 

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The Silent Companions

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You know those little recommended reads based on books you’ve bought on Amazon? Sometimes they really are amazing. This was one of them. This was an impulse buy and to be honest it was money well spent. 

 Elsie, newly married and newly widowed, finds herself sent to her husbands estate, The Bridge, to see out her pregnancy. She finds the servants of the estate indignant and the locals suspicious and unwelcoming. Elsie’s only company to see her through the dismal days ahead of her at the estate is Sarah, her late-husbands cousin. Within her first few days in residence, she discovers a locked room with beyond it holds a two-hundred year old diary and a wooden figure (a Silent Companion), resembling Elsie. What follows is a string of unnerving and terrifying events, including peculiar events and horrific deaths which is so vividly written it will give you chills. 

I can’t recommend this novel enough, especially for those who love plots revolving around the Gothic genre. It plays around with the supernatural and black magic, which set against the nineteenth century adds a darker and more sinister effect to it. 

*Spoilers Appear Beyond This Point – Proceed With Caution* 
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This gothic read was a quick read, not only because of its’ plot but also its’ writing and setting. Framed by a narration from an asylum, it drew you in to the story and made you crave the knowledge of events and what happened to Elsie. Another element I really loved was the sections throughout the book rewinding back two-hundred years to the first ancestors of Bainbridges’ at The Bridge. This essentially represents the information and events within the two-hundred year old journal which illuminates what is happening with the Silent Companions in such a vivid way. It honestly sends chills through you, and adds to the pace of the novel and events. 

 
Have you ever read The Silent Companions? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now!

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Tropic | Haircare Discovery

The day has finally come – Tropic have released hair care! I cannot tell you how long I have waited for this day. As much as I love Kind Natured haircare, I have been so eager to see what Tropic produces in terms of hair care. I made a pretty large order from Tropic a few weeks ago and in there I got the Hair Care Discovery & Scalp Massager kit.Processed with VSCO with a4 presetNow first I must start with the kit itself before going into the individual products. You can buy the products individually in full size or Tropic produce kits where they give you travel size versions of the products. I personally love these kits because you get to test trial the products without wasting money – more bang for your buck! You might wonder whether you get enough product to truly test it in a fair way. For me, it has been the perfect amount and as you can see from the photographs, I still have plenty of product left and I have been using it for *three to four weeks now* (…I wash my hair 2-3 times a week).

On to the kit itself. You receive a little Tropic drawstring bag which contains a mini Hair feast (50ml) , a mini Hair Smooth (10ml), a mini Clarifying Hair Wash (50ml), a Mini Nourishing Hair Cleanser (50ml), and a Scalp Massager. This kit comes to £20 or alternatively, you can purchase the kit without the Scalp Massager for £15. I think the pricing of these kits is amazing when considering the quality of Tropic products as well as their ethics. Anyway, enough chit-chat – lets get on to the products themselves.Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Photo 15-06-2018, 13 27 48 (1)Nourishing Hair Cleanser (50ml/250ml)

The cleanser is essentially your shampoo step, however it is not abrasive to your scalp which as someone who has a super dry scalp, this element of the product is so perfect for me. With mainstream shampoos I find that by the time 12-15 hours has passed my scalp becomes super dry, itchy and starts to flake. With, not only this cleanser but all the Tropic haircare, I find I no longer suffer from this issue which is amazing to not have that worry or be self conscious.

Like many of Tropics products the hair cleanser is 100% naturally derived. With Macadamia oil it restores dry hair, while also claiming to hold ingredients which protect hair from the damaging effects of hair colouring. To use: apply to wet hair, working it into the roots and scalp – and then letting it smooth through the rest of the hair. The scalp massager can be used too, helping the cleanser be more effective in removing dirt as well as being pretty relaxing. Rinse off thoroughly, and then follow with the Hair Feast Conditioning treatment if extra hydration is needed. I personally really love this product and think that Tropic has done a great job perfecting it.

Clarifying Hair Wash (50ml/250ml)

Now this is a bit like the cleanser but more so targeted for a deep clean. You know when you’ve been studying for days and although you have showered to freshen up, your hair still remains in that top knot, partially matted with dirt? Well this product was made for those times. It is a ph-balanced hair wash, which gently cleanses the scalp and hair without drying it out.

Made from only biodegradable ingredients and 100% naturally derived, it contains Aloe Vera juice to hydrate your hair while Coconut cleansers provide a deep cleanse to buildup. Bonus points for its super light consistency and I’m convinced it smells like Jelly Babies! To use: simply apply a small amount to wet hair, massage into scalp to form a lather and then rinse away. You can follow up with a conditioner or the Hair Feast to condition.Processed with VSCO with a4 presetHair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment (50ml/250ml)

You know that film your hair gets when you have used way too much conditioner and you just can’t manage to wash it out? Thats what my first time using this product was like, and then I realised that I had followed all the steps, I had dried my hair and that film-like feel was gone. What was left? Perfectly silky smooth hair. Words cannot describe how amazing my hair felt, and still feels, after using the conditioner.

The conditioner holds a lot of natural protein which works to strengthen hair as well as both jojoba oils and tamanu to hydrate the hair. This product is also incredibly versatile being able to be used either as an everyday product or a leave-on mask, either for a 10-minute period or overnight. To use: Simply apply as required to hair (I personally never apply to the roots but rather lengths and especially the ends), leave for around 5 minutes and then rinse out.Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetHair Smooth (10ml)

Hair Smooth is essentially a styling oil, taming hair whilst also hydrating and nourishing it. I must say that I was initially on the fence with this product – so many hair oils have made my hair appear greasy and really built up a lot of dirt. This oil was very different and completely went against all my expectations.

The Hair Smooth formulation is incredibly lightweight with some hefty ingredients. Vitamin E oil is one of the major ingredients the product boasts, with its nourishing properties which both hydrate and repair hair. Now this product is also very versatile with a multitude of uses to its name. To use:

  • As a hair treatment: apply a few pumps to dry or damp hair, let it sit for 20 minutes and then wash as usual.
  • As a pre-cleanse: apply and work a liberal amount through hair before washing as usual to remove excess styling products.
  • As a pre-blowdry treatment: apply a very little amount to towel-dried hair and then continue styling as usual.
  • For the finishing touch: apply to the ends of hair to smooth and tame fly-aways, allow it to absorb and then your good to go!

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetThe Scalp Massager

The giveaway is in the name – it is simply a scalp massager. It can be used on both wet or dry hair, to stimulate circulation as well as aid relaxation. To use: on wet hair it can be used with the Nourishing Hair Cleanser or the Clarifying Hair Wash, and then simply rinsed off. Once using the massager, rinse off any product and leave it sitting on its tips to air dry. In all honesty I haven’t used it too much, I could probably count on one hand how many times I have. There’s nothing wrong with this product, I think it is quite innovative however, I do not seem to have the co-ordination in my hand and wrist to use it effectively so it becomes more so a challenge than a relaxing experience (#chronicillness).

Overall I think Tropic has really raised the bar with these products. Not only are they effective and serve their purpose but they’re also super luxurious. I would recommend everyone give them a go, especially this kit that I tried as you can try them all without breaking the bank or committing to the full-size versions.

Have you tried these Tropic products? What did you think of them?

Cheerio for now! 

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Updates | We Have Moved

Around two months ago I changed my blog name, domain, and all my social media handles. Why? Well, there is a lot of reasons so I thought it best to sit down and address it all right here: in the new home.

 

Moving to WordPress

As much as I have loved using Blogspot over the past few years, I really felt restricted in many ways on that platform. I wanted to experiment with layout and coding, and that was something I felt as though I couldn’t really delve into on blogspot. I made the transition to WordPress and to be honest, haven’t looked back or had any doubts since. I am really looking forward to what’s in store for this space in the future and I feel like I finally have the freedom to do all the things I want to.

The ‘Look’

As I have changed blogging platform, of course I have changed the theme of the site. As I mentioned above, I really wanted a bit more freedom with what I can do with this space and I feel like I have that with WordPress. I hope that you all like the layout and it’s easy to manoeuvre. I looked at a lot of themes with different alignments, image layouts, etc. Ultimately, I wanted something simple and minimal that wouldn’t be too busy or noisy to the eye. I feel as though this layout will be functional and has the longevity to last for years to come.

Coding 

Since moving to WordPress, I have been dabbling with coding which has been a little iffy from time to time but I think I’m finally getting my head around it and hopefully it’ll show in the upcoming posts. I’m enjoying the versatility that comes with coding and hopefully I’ll just improve at this with time.

What happened to whatsinadeck?

Last but not least, and most noticeable, is the change of name. whatsinadeck has served me well over the years but I definitely started to experience some growing pains with it last year. The name whatsinadeck came about due to severe health conditions and trying to find the good within the bad. It was very much a ‘highlight reel’ of my life and I didn’t feel as though I could share some of the nitty-gritty details there.

I also found myself wanting something more personal and what’s more personal then something everyone in my personal life calls me? -Jam. With this blog name being my personal name, that I have had for twenty-two years already, I know I will never outgrow or tire from it. And of course, if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will know I have also changed my name over there too -uniformity people!

I think that is everything I wanted to cover in this post however, if there are any questions just comment below or email me, over here. Posting should resume in the next couple of weeks. I am currently drawing up a posting schedule so I will update you guys when that is finalised.

See you soon! 

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My Mental Health Since Losing my Dog


Whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend never owned a dog

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I have never written a post, or really ever gone into depth with anyone, about my mental health so I should probably give you some background information. I grew up in a lone parent household, an only-child with one cousin who lives on the other side of the world. I was always around adults, and as a result also exposed to the harsh realities of life: I definitely wasn’t an only-child who was wrapped in cotton wool. Because it was only my mom and I, we were always together, so wherever she went, I went too. I suppose that is the main reason I was always around adults, because I went wherever my mom went. When I got to eleven years old, we got our black Labrador, Myles. It was a dream of mine, to have a black lab, ever since I was a little girl and my mom finally agreed we could get one. There’s actually a super old post here stating how we got Myles, here.
Photo 06-02-2015, 20 56 10Photo 30-08-2014, 13 11 46Last year we had to have Myles put down, I mentioned the details a bit more in my Autumn post. It was heartbreaking, to say the least. I’d never felt heartache like I did that day, in that vets room. Feeling his body still, his fur cool down, and his eyes slowly drift shut was the most helpless I have ever felt. It felt like a piece of me had died with him that day and after that it was harder to function.I’m sure some people would find it hard grasping these intense emotions that I went through from losing my dog -because to some people it’s just a dog. That’s not the case for me. Myles was so much more than a dog, or even a part of the family. He was my saviour –quite literally. When I became ill I had to give up everything, and I mean everything. With that, I lost a sense of purpose. My identity and who I was, had vanished, and life didn’t have any meaning. I became severely depressed, I left notes for my family, and my mom feared leaving the house because she didn’t know what she would be coming home to. Yes, it got that bad. But there was one thing through it all that kept me going -Myles. He gave me a purpose.Photo 29-04-2018, 22 20 38Photo 29-08-2017, 13 00 21
When it came time to have him put down, I’d say I was somewhat prepared. It wasn’t a surprise and we knew it was time to go through with it but that didn’t make it less harder. I walked in that vets office with my best friend and came out without him and half of me missing. The first week was hard but I suppressed the grief to get through an important uni assignment. Around eight to ten weeks later, I had my next big assignment and that was when I crumbled. I was burnt out but I was also emotionally drained. I couldn’t complete my assignment and so I had to forget about that and everything else, and just take a moment for me.

Christmas and all the preparations leading up to it, kept me going, They kept my spirits high and upcoming plans gave me something to focus on. I was studying the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the time, subject matters that I really enjoyed: which definitely helped my mental state. This enjoyment filled some of the hollowness within me. Another thing which helped around this point was taking our other dogs out. I had been trying to make the most of the daylight hours a bit more, and help my mom get them some decent exercise, so seeing our other dogs, Vinnie and Alfie, get out really helped. I think it wasn’t just seeing them run around and simply getting fresh air that helped, but also the fact that even in such a low mental state, I could still be of use to my mom.
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Christmas came and went, and I had enjoyed myself far more than I had anticipated. Then came Dooms day: Myles’ birthday on New Years Eve. Every year we would cook a meaty Pukka Pie, let it cool down, pop a candle in the top and then sing him Happy Birthday. I was supposed to be going out on New Years Eve with my best friends and boyfriend however, I came down with a sickness bug the day before and my boyfriend came down with the beginnings of a major cold/ear infection so that was bye-bye to our plans. Instead we ate Chinese food and watched the fireworks on telly. Even though it didn’t work out as planned, it still kept me occupied and kept my mind off Myles.

January and February were a bit more tricky, especially January. There was a period of time lasting about three or four weeks where it was really hard and I kind of withdrew from a lot going on around me. I needed to wallow. I was studying like crazy, budgeting like an accountant, trying to stay on top of my health, I kept mysteriously throwing up, and really just wanted to curl up constantly because I didn’t have my best friend by my side to keep me going. One day I mistakenly called one of our other dogs Myles which caused an avalanche of tears for the rest of the day. Emptiness overwhelmed me once again and I was gone. What didn’t help around this time, was that I was also experiencing some awful mood swings from my contraceptive pill which didn’t help my mood or anyone around me. Seriously, I became a monster in January -ask my boyfriend!
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March was a brighter note for me. My boyfriends birthday kept me going and I also started to realise how ‘bonded’ I was with our other dogs around this point. Alfie, our red lab, loves coming in my room as soon as I’m awake. He curls up on a blanket on my bed, while I have my morning tea and start working – while Vinnie, our brown labradoodle, curls up in the sliver of space beside my bed and conks out for the day. Although, they’ll never fill the hole that Myles left, I started to realise that the bond I have with them is also filled with love but in an entirely different way to Myles. I also read the book Make Your Bed (read review here) which had a profound effect on me and really changed my perspective on so many areas of my life. It made me really accept the bad things I was going through and definitely helped confront some passed demons head on.

When I say demons, these weren’t ‘end of the world problems‘ but they somehow felt so much bigger and harder to deal with, at the time, because I didn’t have my best friend by my side anymore. There is something so incredibly soothing about having a furry friend around you through tough days – it’s pet therapy. 

As we come to the close of April, the sixth month without my best friend, I feel as though I can finally exhale a huge breath and say ‘I’m doing Ok’. I know that each day will vary and there will be things or memories which hit me hard without him but I also know that ultimately, I have everything I need to survive within me: as well as some amazing people around me to help if I reach for it. 

Cheerio for now!

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed: Small things that can change your life… and maybe the world, William H. McRaven 


Have you ever read a book and had to just sit and take a moment for its powerful words to sink in? Have you ever thought to yourself that you’ll just read another chapter? And another? And before you know it, it’s gone 1am and you only have two chapters left to complete it. You realise it will end soon and you suddenly feel sad -that’s what this book did to me. Part of me wanted to soak up every ounce of his inspiring words and part of me didn’t want it to ever end.

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In this book, McRaven shares 10 lessons he learned during the 37 years of his life as a Navy SEAL. These lessons, as he shows, aren’t just applicable to a life in military but to life in general. They really are simple yet life-changing. His words have an authenticity to them which I have never experienced in anyones writing before. It provides timeless advice, that is so simple however it’s told with such encouragement and optimism that you can’t help but feel moved and motivated. Each chapter states its lesson, goes onto to give you a bit of background about how he came about this lesson, an example of this lesson being practised and then finishes off with a strong summary: that quite honestly sets your soul on fire. -I know, I sound corny, but it really does happen like that. You feel pumped and like you could kickass! A quick snippet…

Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden, and never, ever give up-if you do these things, then you can change your life for the better… and maybe the world! 


Now, to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered this. I’d came across it in Liv’s, from what olivia did, youtube video about the books she wanted to crack open this year. This was one of them and I just felt drawn to it. With a little summary from her and a few days later an Amazon package in hand, I was set to go!
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My personal favourite is Chapter 5: failure can make you stronger (don’t be afraid of the circus). This chapter had me overwhelmed with emotion (and let me tell you, I can be a real cold b*tch -so thats saying something people!). This chapter told us how McRaven and his swim partner kept falling short on their swims in their SEAL training, and when you were letting the rest of your team down you were slung in the circus -essentially extra training in the evening, but the most badass, and hardcore training sessions ever! McRaven states that most people end up quitting from the circus because the next day your not only exhausted from your normal training but the extra circus sessions too. It becomes an endless cycle of exhaustion and the weak fall off from this routine. However, he and his swim partner were determined not to give up and they didn’t. Instead they pushed through the pain and the exhaustion and something better happened. They became better, stronger, and faster than the rest of the team. So much better than they’re team mates that they would finish first in their swimming training with the second pair not even in sight! (I probably didn’t do that story justice, and McRaven would probably throw me into the circus for how poorly I described that -but I just love that chapter!).

Overall, I loved this book. The chapters are short and easy to read and because of that, I know i’ll be flipping back through certain chapters when I’m in need a boost. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of where they are in their lives. I truly believe theres something everyone can take from this incredible book of wisdom.

Cheerio for now! 
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