The Positives Chronic Illness Has Taught Me

You often hear people say ‘Life doesn’t give you what you can’t handle’. Other people say you are sent things to try and toughen you, ready for future trials – that’s a scary thought. As Kelly Clarkson so eloquently put it ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, is probably the one I resonate with the most.

Chronic illness has taught me a lot in our eleven years of courtship. I can’t even begin to scratch the surface with everything it has taught me but I wanted to share a few things that come to mind; especially as, in my opinion chronic illness has made me into a far better person.

What has chronic illness taught me?

Stillness & Peace

Oftentimes, I look like a completely healthy and functional human being however there are a few people who have learnt to see through the mask I so often put on and I feel as though I have also learnt this skill. I have learnt to remain still and calm in the face of adversity. I have learnt to stop and observe my surroundings, to listen -to truly listen. Theres often no need for any input at all. People usually just need a friendly face and a listening ear for their woes.

Perspective

My life was going down a specific road but in retrospect I realise that I weren’t truly living. I learnt to live for the little things -the warmth of a first morning tea, the way the dogs get so excited greeting me in the morning, the first sign of spring and the feeling of the suns warmth on your skin. There are so many things that I absolutely love that my boyfriend and family find bizarre. In those moments I have to remind myself that they have their health which means the mundane things I so deeply appreciate aren’t so special for them.

Perseverance

Chronic illness is a brutal motherf*cker but whether it be at the will of a higher power or that little voice in your head telling you that you can do it, you find a way forward; through the weaker, darker moments. We fight on, often with great hardship. We find a way because we know our voices still matter and we can still contribute something to this world. We don’t sit and dwell on our sufferings. We either allow it to control us or learn from experience and find ways to try to control it; or at least live with it.

Strength

There is so many variations of pain that can be felt – emotional, physical, relationships, financial, mental, etc and its so hard, near enough impossible not to be shaken by such intense pain. Your life completely changes and with that brings so much pain; however a benefit, is you also come across this immense, iron-like strength. Physically I struggle every second of every day but my mentality and spirit feels Herculean.

Empathy & Compassion

When you have felt the depths of despair and felt so helpless, like you’re drowning in a dark abyss you’ll never navigate your way out of you can’t help but feel empathy for others who have also experienced something similar. With great adversity and discomfort comes an understanding that is often more authentic given your own trials. You learns ways to recognise and support others in a way that is genuine and warm.

Purpose

Before my illness, I was laser-focused on a set path which was incredibly different to how my life is now. Yes, no one ever thinks they will be ill but my purpose and identity has completely changed. I was constantly chasing a career, monetary goals, the perfect body, and so many other generic life goals. Now I live for moments of joy with my animals, family, and friends. Moments outside, feeling the sun on my skin and breathing fresh air.

Acceptance, Self-love and Self-care

I will always be gut-punched by the realisation that my life is not how I envisioned. It usually happens at milestones like birthdays, specials occasions like graduations, weddings, etc. From having a chronic illness and so much of my life being drastically changed, I realise many of my worries before were trivial. I face a whole other set of challenges which have helped me accept other elements of my life. I celebrate the small accomplishments I achieve in my daily life. I have learnt to look after myself and to accept defeat. To treat my body kindly when I don’t manage even the smallest of tasks. Being chronically ill has forced me to prioritise myself and my wellbeing in a way that I never would have had to before. So many of us get stuck in the rat-race and end up becoming burnt out. By practising some self-care and tending to our own needs, we become so much better at helping ourselves in the long run and others around us too.

I could write about chronic illness for so long but I won’t -I’ll refrain this time around. Today, the 12th May is M.E. awareness day which I why I felt so compelled to share this post today. So often I read posts about M.E. which are so great at educating people about it and other chronic illnesses but I didn’t want to go down that route. Instead, I wanted to share the positives that have come with my chronic health conditions. I will just say though, I will be spending this Sunday having my own dairy-free and gluten-free tea party for Blue Sunday, and if you don’t know what that is I highly recommend you head on over here and have a read of what it is and how it came to be.

Cheerio for now!

self-care

As time goes by, I am increasingly reminded of the importance of self-care. I think it is one of those things as a teenager you deem as a face mask or lay in on a Sunday morning, but as you get older the meaning changes. For me, self-care holds immense importance for a number of reasons. The main two being when I’m stressed or feeling drained. I think self-care is being pushed to the forefront of a lot of peoples minds these days. Living in such a fast-paced word can often become exhausting and it’s important to look after yourself in your everyday routine, but even more so when you are feeling run down.

I think the pandemic and how we were forced to slow down, brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings for everyone. Right at the beginning, you know that odd period of time where everyone was a bit stunned and didn’t quite know what to do with themselves, we were all forced to be still and naturally that caused a lot of discomfort for so many of us. Looking back, I definitely indulged in some serious self-care practises throughout that period and I think some of them have really stuck with me since so I thought I’d share them with you all today.

Here are just a few things that I like to do when I’m in need of a little care:

Get the zzz’s: In my opinion, there is nothing better than heading to bed early when you are in need of some extra TLC. It honestly is one of my little pleasures in life: doing my nighttime skin routine, turning my phone on silent and plugging it in the other side of the room and then sliding into bed at nine o’clock (yes, I’m worse than a grandma). But honestly, I can’t recommend this step enough. It is truly luxurious.

Put the Phone Away: Not just in the evenings, but even at weekends or on your day off. I find technology extremely draining when I’m feeling low. It’s like a huge black-hole sitting waiting to suck me in. Checking my emails, leads to replying to ten, checking instagram leads to hours of dog videos and all around its not okay for my self-care. It is also really disheartening when you see everyone living ‘their best lives‘ on instagram while you are going through a rough patch.

Have a Bath or Pamper: Whatever you prefer, bath or shower, indulge a little and give yourself a pamper. I like to stick on a podcast and slide into a warm bath.

Read a Book: Disconnect from everything around you and submerge yourself in a fictional world for a few hours. Fiction not for you? Pick up an autobiography you’ve been meaning to read or if books aren’t for you put on a podcast, audio book or maybe just some tunes on in the background. My point is, it’s nice to tune out for a few moments.

Be Around a Furry Friend: There is something incredibly soothing about being around animals. The love and joy they radiate is just contagious and you can’t help but feel lighter and carefree around them. As annoying as it is to have three dogs at every angle of me, nudging me while I try to cram in an extra chapter of my book: I have now come to see that as their signal to stop for the day. They usually nap while I work so them coming up and nudging me is almost their way of saying ‘it’s time to play’. And as any pet parent knows, it’s not just having them around that is soothing it is also the fact that you have to be in a routine and take them out. With my three dogs, I have to take those breaks to let them out in the garden or get them to the park. This responsibility makes me get fresh air and see daylight which has such a restorative effect on all of us.

Eat Well: Think of your body like a vehicle, if you don’t give it the fuel it needs it won’t work. Giving yourself some self-care does not include binging on crisps and chocolates as you rewatch friends and wait for your pizza to arrive. Believe me, you will feel much more nourished by preparing a healthy meal instead -plus cooking is therapeutic too!

Keep Your Living Space and Bedroom Tidy: You can’t truly take those moments for yourself when you are distracted by the clutter around you. I think your bedroom should be the main thing to focus on. You want it to be clean and tidy so that when it’s time to switch off, you can slide into those sheets without tripping over piles of washing or your mind making a list of everything you need to tidy up. Your living space, as a whole, should be your oasis. Somewhere you can turn off the business of the fast-paced life we lead.

Talk to friends: Taking the time to switch off and simply catch up with friends is such a lovely thing to do. Nothing quite beats taking time out to see your friends, chat for a few hours and have a few giggles too. This is especially true if you have a lot on your mind and want to unburden yourself or even get another persons perspective on a matter. It also helps to remind yourself that you are not alone.

So those are just a few of my self care ‘go-to’s’. I hope theres some helpful ideas here. What are yours?

Cheerio for now!

knitting projects I’d like to work on this year

Knitting has definitely became a saving grace for me throughout the beginning of the pandemic and ever since has just become an inherent part of my life now. It has done wonders for my anxiety to the point where my hands now feel a bit restless if I try to watch Netflix without knitting.

While there’s a lot of projects below, I’m using this post as a bit of a landing page for me to remind myself of all the great projects I could start when I complete something but also to keep it real in comparing projects. I’m trying to be a more sustainable knitter and what that means to me is knitting things that I may already have the wool for but that also align with my style and what I would actually wear in my day-to-day life. Some of the items below I know I have the materials for but I would be making them for friends or family members and it would merely be for my own practise rather than my own wardrobe. Although I know that I won’t be able to make all of the below this year, I still wanted to share these patterns with you lovely lot incase there’s any budding knitters out there who might benefit from these patterns.

I should note that this is in no particular order of importance, etc – I’ve simply listed them as I thought of them.

The Projects

-The first project I’m working on this year is a piece commissioned by a best friend of mine. I got a message and photo over the festive period asking if I could make her a scarf like the one she had seen on instagram. She wanted pastel tones mixed with a bubblegum pink so I’ve been working on that for her and I’m working towards that being complete by mid-late February.

-For Christmas I was gifted two knit kits by Lauren Aston Designs; the ‘Simply the Vest‘ and the Dreamy Oversized Cardigan. I’ve done some knit kits by LAD before and love working with their super chunky yarn so I’m really looking forward to completing these kits. I’ll be making the vest in Emerald green and the cardigan in Ruby red.

-I have this unfinished project from last year, Miffy and her balloon; all I need to do is knit her dress and then that will be complete.

-I made this Bubble-stitch Cardigan last year but it turned out waayyy too big (my mom and her friend both fit in it at the same time!) so it was quickly unravelled it and stored away the materials. I’d like to try it again this year, paying more attention to the sizing and my tension gauge. I would say this is the main project that I would really like to complete this year.

-I got this pattern last autumn and then received pony beads for my birthday for this project so I really wanna get this made by early spring. The pattern requires Aran yarn which I find has more body and structure to it and while it’s only a simple stocking stitch, I wonder if it would be a good option for spring time. I have a navy wool I’d like to work with and then do multi-coloured beading throughout.

-I bought this cross-stitch pattern on Etsy just under a year ago to work on for my granddad who loves VW Beetles and is a huge Herbie fan. I started this project last year and I’m about two-thirds through it so it shouldn’t be long until it is complete now.

-I would really like to work on my colour-working a bit more this year. Last year I made this Rainbow Cardigan by Paintbox Yarns (the adult version though) which I love but it was definitely a learning curve for me with the colour-work. This year I’d love to expand on that a bit more. I made this Beetlejuice hat last year but I think I’d like to try this Grinch hat this year and then maybe take a go at making this stocking.

-Speaking of Christmas, I would really like to make the members of my family something for the festive season ’22. I’m not talking something big like ugly Christmas jumpers, maybe something like a bobble hat or even cracker crowns – I have a crown pattern from LAD so this would be a pretty easy project to do with minimal effort… and it could be something we keep for each year.

Extras

-I would like to make a cardigan or jumper to add to my collection but I’m unsure of whether I want it to be plain or patterned. I have a few plain options saved like this Basket Weave cardigan pattern and this Nonna Manmi cardigan pattern. I love how textured these pieces look, and I think it’s always good to practise different stitch patterns; especially factoring in gauge tensions, etc. I do however, really love the look of this Moon & Sun jumper (I’d probably do it in a navy and mustard), this Astro Vest but I have been going back and forth whether to take the plunge and do the JW Colour block Patchwork Cardigan that Harry Styles made oh so famous and fabulous. I go back and forth on this piece as the colours aren’t typically something I’d wear myself but I don’t know what other colour palette I would do it in – it does look like a really cozy fit of pattern though… what a conundrum.

-I have been following Alix Kramers work for some time. I absolutely love her Spoonie Top, but all her vest designs are so beautiful and on point for me. I would love to give either her checkerboard Grace’s vest a go or her Eat the Rich Vest – which always makes me smile. I do also love her Pop Art Cardigan Design. I just think she’s so insanely talented and would love to try her patterns out.

-Another great vest is this Space Face pattern by Andrea Arts on Ravelry. I’d really love to have a whirl at this at some point in the future.

-I recently bought this Coraline-inspired jumper pattern on Etsy. In some ways this is quite similar to the Moon & Star jumper that I previously mentioned – maybe I’m going through a star phase? I think before I do either of these projects, I’ll have to compare them and see which I’d prefer to do. I know this Coraline jumper pattern calls for use of both merino and mohair yarn which I believe I have only used two yarns at the same time once on a small project, so this is something I should think about.

-I’d like to try knit some sort of baby/child’s item like this cardigan… not expecting, just to try out some baby yarn work.

-And finally, I always have the goal of trying to learn how to crochet at some point. I say this mainly because I would love to be able to do granny-square projects but also I love the look of these patterns too: the last of us Ellie & Joel, Coraline Doll, and Shrunken Head Guy. We’ll see though. I’m so used to knitting now I wonder if I’d even be able to adapt to crocheting.

So that’s quite a long list – I definitely have some favourites and some patterns that I am mentally prioritising but I’m looking forward to just seeing how the year plays out. Stay tuned

Cheerio for now!

What is classed as Self-Care?

I think it would be an understatement to say that the past couple of years have been a bit of a stressful, and quite frankly, draining for us all at times. The spare days or moments I would get to myself here and there would soon be full of face masks, living off teapots and major relaxing (accompanied by binge watching Netflix). Netflix is sometimes (translation – always) enjoyed with tea and some form of treat. Whether thats a handful of Minstrels or popcorn, there is usually something to munch on. But looking back, I can’t help but wonder if it was really classed as self-care?

What is the definition of self-care?

I think self-care is an act which benefits your emotional, physical or mental health. Something which alleviates and nourishes your body leaving you feeling restored. The Cambridge English Dictionary’s website states self-care is an act of caring for oneself when they are ill or to prevent them from becoming ill. Clearly there are strong connotations pointing to health and wellbeing, and I think overall we are all aware of that: but the line between what feels good and what is actually good for us often becomes blurred.

Self-care has become very trend-driven for the past few years. These days it’s projected as more of a fad or hashtag doing the rounds on instagram. Portrayed through images of shopping deliveries, takeaways and numerous naughty treat yo’self snacks its no wonder we now assosciate frivolous online spending sprees with self-care. The root of all this comes down to two very different things: what feels good and what is good.

What feels good

For me what feels good aligns with our wants, desires, and what feels good in the moment. These things give us a satisfaction which is momentary and wears off quickly. It’s the late night takeaway, the pair of heels after you have reached a personal goal, or binge-eating junk while you marathon watch Gilmore Girls on your day off. These things are luxuries that you like to treat yourself with, and thats nice once in awhile but are they really classed as self-care? Self-love perhaps but I’m not sure I can say they fall into self-care.

What is good

What is actually good is connected to your wellbeing – your emotional, physical and mental health. Watching Gilmore Girls in the aftermath of emotional turmoil, like a break up, might help lift your spirits but you don’t have to bestow a ton of junk food on your body in the process. Instead grab a punnet of grapes to chow down on or plug the headphones in and watch it on your phone while your on the treadmill at the gym. I know it might not sound all that fun and it may not feel good in the moment but you’ll feel the benefits after and thank yourself later.

Ultimately, I think self-care is really all about making time for adopting healthier routines which will benefit all facets of our lives. Sure, treating yourself is fine and we all need it at times but lets not trick ourselves into thinking its self-care.

A few ideas for healthy self-care could be unplugging from wifi for a few hours and picking up your favourite book or mag instead, getting fresh air or exercising. Spending your Sunday doing meal prep for the following week, giving yourself an all-over body scrub or even just going to bed early. These things sound so simple and mundane but they truly are luxurious, and really epitomise self-care for me.

What do you class as self-care?

Cheerio for now!

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What a Digital Detox Taught Me

Way back, at the beginning of 2019 actually, I took part in what I can only describe as a digital detox. I had already deactivated my Facebook account months beforehand and had felt incredibly light since scrubbing that from my brain. The difference I felt in my mind and brain power after deactivating it was insane to me. I couldn’t believe it and so, I wanted to extend that to other areas too.

Since then I have done numerous digital detoxes. I typically do them whenever I feel overwhelmed and also, whenever I’m realistically able to do one. When I say digital detox I don’t exactly mean avoidance of digital devices. I still have my phone, my computer and tv but I delete my social media apps (no insta, YouTube, etc), my tv is only for a specific amount of time in the evening, and my computer is restricted to work and emails -no browsing anything online that could influence me. The only apps that I still use on my phone is audible and Spotify, which are where I listen to a lot of my podcasts and audiobooks. So it’s not an entire detox and some would probably say that I’m cheating but it’s important to be realistic and as a housebound Spoonie, I don’t think I could commit to a full detox at this time.

Having done a few of these detoxes now, usually for a few weeks at a time, I wanted to share some things that I’ve learnt from them. Some of these are quite obvious and then others really surprised me. Even just the experience of it and how clear my mind seems during a detox is amazing and something I would recommend everyone do at some point.

How much damn time I spend on meaningless apps

I always knew I spent far too long on apps like instagram and YouTube, even apps like Pinterest and Tumblr I could spend hours on. They’re like rabbit holes into the digital abyss that would take up so much of my time and before I know it an hour or so is gone and I really need to get sh!t done. By taking all those apps away, it made it all the more evident how much of my day is eaten up by mindless scrolling – it was an eyeopener! So much so that when I did finally have my apps back it made me more mindful of my use of social media and how long I spend on there.

Facebook doesn’t contribute anything to my life

While I had somewhat realised this before the detoxes, it became ever more obvious to me as time went on. Throughout the detoxes, I kept thinking about how I use social media apps and the roles each of them play in my life. I realised very quickly that Facebook just doesn’t contribute to my life. For people like my mom and her friends, its a way for them to keep up to date with one another’s lives even if they don’t have the time to physically see one another. For me, it became more burdensome. I’d be tagged in meaningless videos and status’ that really didn’t bring anything to my life, or if they did it was a more negative tone. I’d feel like I had to comment or acknowledge the tagged posts in some way, even if I didn’t like them which would feel tiresome but at the same time I didn’t want to be rude so it also felt somewhat fake.

Now I know this perhaps sounds very ‘first world problems’ and just outright rude of me, feeling burdened by having to comment to friends and families online, but I just realised that I much prefer seeing people. By not being involved on the Facebook scene I’m far more present when I do spend time with them and I really love that. When I ask about their trip away, I enjoy seeing how their face lights up that I remember and I’m interested in them and their experience. They usually pull out their phone and show me photos of what they’re talking about and telling me their funny encounters, etc. It’s far more fulfilling for me then swiping through and simply ‘liking’ them.

Instagram inspires me but also burdens me

I think there’s different ways in which people tend to use instagram, I have friends who use it in a very social way but for me it’s a little different. I follow a lot of independent businesses, especially those with a sustainable initiative and I absolutely love following activists and keeping in touch with the different ways in which they are striving the change this world. I find these figures so incredibly inspiring but while I love this kind of content, too much of it can be overwhelming; especially if something particularly poignant is happening in the social sphere such as the death of Sarah Everard. Instagram was inundated with posts of advice and ‘what to do’s’, and there was so much conversation around this topic that needed to happen. I know personally that this event and these posts conjured so many open conversations with my boyfriend. Quite often he would send me a post he’d seen with his thoughts which would open up a discussion about it. While I loved this and to my mind these conversations are how we will change society, it can get a lot. Every so often I find instagram too much and I need to take a time out. It’s not that I don’t want to interact or stay up to date with things, and I still care about whatever’s happening at that given time, but I also need to take time out to help my own mental health and I think that’s okay.

How valuable time is

Now it’s a bit of a cliché but digital detoxes have really taught me how precious time is. I’m not talking about time in the grand scheme of things but the little chunks of time. Those 10 or 20 minutes of scrolling here and there throughout the day when you’re on a break at work or between jobs or chores, etc. Those moments all add up and can make quite a sizeable chunk when you really think about it. I didn’t realise this until I scrubbed social media from my routine for the detoxes. Instead I’d spend those little moments doing other things like getting fresh air with the dogs in the garden, reading a few pages of a book, practising some mindfulness or even just doing a little bit of knitting. I noticed not only the difference in my time but also how that time spent elsewhere contributed to my mental health. It was refreshing to sit outside with the dogs, even when it was the colder months and I really loved those moments of stillness in practising mindfulness (the daily calm tracks with Tamara Levitt on the Calm app are godsends to me).

How many important tasks I can complete instead of being on my phone

This one is somewhat linked to the one above. It’s all too easy to get distracted by our phones and let the important tasks slip by. They don’t even have to be important but even chores and little things that need doing but all too often stack up until you need a full-on chore day. Instead of browsing my apps, I got into the the routine of doing a task off my list with a podcast or audiobook on. One of my favourite chores to do is set up my stall and try do some ironing while I have an audiobook on. I can enjoy the book while ticking a thing off my to-do list -which never would have happened had I still been sucked into all my apps.

While I know this list is by no means ground-breaking, I do hope that it gives you something to think about and maybe even inspire you to try your own digital detox. Everyone is different and uses technology in their own individual ways, especially since so many had to work from home during the pandemic, so be realistic if you want to try one and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Let me know your thoughts or your experience if you’ve tried a digital detox before.

Cheerio for now!

Three Books by Nikita Gill

Nikita Gill is one of the first modern poets who’s work I delved into when I first started getting into poetry. I remember seeing some of her work online years ago but it weren’t until I read Wild Embers that I really became entranced by her words. As I’ve mentioned here before, I got into poetry during the very beginning of the pandemic, when the world stopped and emotionally I just felt numb; and consequently didn’t know what to do with myself. Nikita Gill’s Wild Embers: Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty served as a welcome distraction and so I escaped into a new world of modern poetry.

I wanted to share a few books by Gill that I’ve read and fell in love with over the past couple of years

Wild Embers Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty

As I mentioned above, this was my first experience of Gill’s work: a collection of both poetry and prose. There’s a strong sense of validation and empowerment to her work. The language is both gentle and fierce, charged with so much emotion whether it be recognition, anger, rage, love, empowerment… I could go on. I also think her choice of words works beautifully in this work as it’s lyrical and there’s a musicality to the language which is incredibly moving at times. I love the themes she uses, especially those of rebellion and revolution; they definitely light that fire in you which is such a powerful thing. I also really appreciate Gill’s comparisons to nature and universe, an ongoing tool she’s also used in her other works, and how it relates to our acceptance and growth in personal ways. I think I’d characterise this work as very much ‘self-care-poetry‘: I cannot tell you how much solace and comfort that it brought me.

I had such a huge appreciation for her revisited, or should I say rewritten, fairytales and goddesses in her writing. She slightly changes the classic tales from mythology and princesses to show them in a feminist light and highlight how toxic society can be – which was so refreshing and truly enjoyable to read. I hate to leave this section on a bad note but my only little niggle was the fact that it was slightly repetitive in areas. Rather than a growing development and ‘journey’ through the different themes, it became tiresome as it flipped back and forth and dwelled on some of them. Ultimately though, I would say that this is a great first read to test the waters with Gill’s work and I’d definitely recommend it to any avid poetry reader or poet themselves.

Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing, and Light

This is Gill’s most recent book off poetry and my second read of her work. Written as the world went into lockdown, there’s strong themes of loneliness and mental health throughout it. I found it incredibly poignant as it explores so many emotions that we, as a collective society, experienced to such extremes through this period of time. It explored the moments of isolation, fear and despair, hopelessness and hurt, depression and darkness, and anxiety and exhaustion. As I mentioned previously Nikita Gill’s work always seems to have strong imagery of the universe throughout, but this book also included imagery of constellations and the universe which was a nice change. I think the majority of us had a tough time through the lockdowns especially the very beginning of the pandemic, however I think even if you had an easy time and breezed through it, you’d be hard pressed not to feel touched and emotional from Gill’s work depicting this time. I personally found it a bit too much at times. I read this as they started to slowly ease our third lockdown and while there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel, it definitely didn’t feel like we were out of the woods; so at times I had to put the book down for awhile to recharge before I could continue on.

I only had a few issues with this book. While I did find it inspirational and it created a sense of hope and optimism towards the end, at times it was a bit too spiritual and godly for my liking but I wouldn’t say this ruined my reading of the book as a whole. Also I’d say sometimes it read more so as affirmations than poetry which, while still powerful, wasn’t what I expected or wanted from this book.

Your Heart is the Sea

This is the most recent book of Gill’s work that I have read. I found it quite a cathartic read as it definitely explores a lot of wounds and trauma, especially that of mental health. I felt as though it took me to the darker, more damaged parts of myself and then gave me safe and more comforting words to heal. I definitely felt like this book was more of a journey than the other books above. It had a bit more melancholy to it and was very much a ‘wallow-hollow’; which looking back felt as though it tore you down to build you back up. Having said this, there’s a connection through the trauma and turmoil that these poems explore which I think many could relate to. It deals themes such as trauma, healing, self-care and hope so I think it would appeal to a wider range of readers, across all age-groups.

This book is split into eight sections, The Anguish, The Descent, The Acceptance, The Defiance, The Survival, The Worship, The Wonder, and The Beginning, which makes it a bit easier to pick up and put down as and when you need to. Gill also draws on the classic Greek Gods and mythology in The Worship section of this book too, such as Narcissus, the Minotaur, Athena & Medusa, Orpheus & Eurydice, etc, which is a nice layer to the book. Overall, I loved this book. The language was simple but used with such weighty subject matters and themes that it felt like an extremely profound experience. I think the simplicity of Nikita Gill’s language too adds to an effortless effect; it hits all the right notes without trying.

While I loved all of the books above, and no doubt will return to them at some point, I think Wild Embers was my favourite of Gill’s work so far however, that is probably more so to do with where we all were with the pandemic and how that started my love of modern poetry at the time. I look back on it fondly and even now still have a flick through it’s pages occasionally, reading a piece here and there. I’d recommend any of these works, or any of her other works too – she is truly talented!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Cheerio for now!

((If you are a Nikita Gill fan, I’d recommend you listen to her as a guest on the Saturn Returns with Caggie Podcast, hosted by Caggie Dunlop. I love the podcast anyway but listening to Nikita Gill talk about poetry as a form of self-expression and how you can create beautiful things through your more painful experiences was so inspiring. I’d definitely recommend you give it a listen)).