My Attempt at a TBR Pile

For those unfamiliar with my writing roots I started out as a book blogger. Ah the days where I would obsessively read, review, and discuss books, take part in readathons and even host giveaways. I had so much motivation before University stomped all over me. But here I am, creating a post to one, pay omache to my origins and two, maybe actually get some reading done?

So, here’s my TBR list of books I wish to read before the end of 2019.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I still like YA, shoot me. Did I just graduate from University with a degree in English Literature, yeah. Did any of my studies improve my taste, heck no.

But, after watching the Netflix movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I needed to read this series. And, imma tell you now I am a soppy girl when it comes to cutesy romcoms. They’re easy to dip in and out of, full of low stake drama, and generally fun.

To All the Boys follows Lara Jean, a girl who feels love so intensely she needs to write down her thoughts in a love letter that she’ll never send. But one day those letters get out and she must deal with the ensuing romcom shenanigans. The first book is fluffy and heartfelt as Lara Jean struggles to understand her feelings for the different boys in her life.

So much of love is chance. There’s something scary and wonderful about that.

Jenny Han, P.S I Still Love You

I’m around 40% through P.S. I Still Love You and I’m loving it. The narrative progresses naturally from the first book and you quickly slide back into Lara Jean’s shoes as she discovers new relationships and experiences. This is one of those books I keep on my phone so that I can dip in during my lunch break or while sat on the train because it’s accessible and a joy to read.

Goodreads | Amazon

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

The first book picked for @theslowtravelersbookclub, Three Women is a non-fiction story 8-year-in-the-making. A significantly more adult novel than that above, this collection chronicles the sex lives of three women across America.

In a world where it seems that men are always open about their sexual desires, it’s rare to hear women discuss the matter. But in reality sex is just as important to us as it is to men, if not more.

Lisa Taddeo dedicated years to exploring feminine desire and how women of different religions and background experience it.

Sometimes there’s nothing better on earth than someone asking you a question.

Lisa Taddeo, Three Women

Sure to be a fascinating read, this novel comes to me at a time where I’m still trying to understand and become comfortable with my urges. It’s a long road and no doubt this book will allow me to explore it further. Plus, as a book club read I am extremely excited to discuss Taddeo’s work with fellow women come November 30th.

Goodreads | Amazon

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

For anyone who has been anywhere on the internet over the past few years you’ve likely heard the name ‘Brock Turner’, how he was painted by the media and the way his case passed through the court. You’ve probably also heard the name ‘Emily Doe’.

Well this is her story. Chanel Miller recently came forward as ‘Emily Doe’ after years of media attention on the case and name ascribed to her. Her case highlighted major flaws in the American justice system, the stigma surrounding rape victims, and racial bias.

We force her to think hard about what this will mean for his life, even though he never considered what his actions would do to her.

Chanel Miller, Know My Name

Before purchasing this book I first wanted to read the sample to determine whether I could handle to material. And, while the beginning of the book gets right into the immediate aftermath of that night, Chanel’s voice and turn of phrase keeps you engaged, sympathetic, and understanding. This is surely a read that’s going to affect me deeply and I’m open to recieving every message Chanel puts forward.

Also, I want to say how incredibly brave Chanel is to come forward, to put her name out there and share every detail of her experience for the world to digest. I am in awe of her willpower and do not take reading this memoir lightly. It’ll certainly be interesting to discover how her words have shaped the minds of others.

Goodreads | Amazon

There we go, the books I’ll hopefully be finishing before December 31st. I wanted to keep this list short and realistic, while also expressing how my tastes have changed. While I still love YA, it’s a genre I will dip in and out of in the future instead of marathoning.

As I am hopefully getting back into reading, I would like to shift my focus more to feminist/feminine experience texts. Right now, I don’t hear many female experiences in my daily life with a quiet office environment, male best friend, and no close relationship to females near my age. So reading literature like this will hopefully allow me to learn more about my own gender, our relationships and experiences.

Any recommendations? Share them in the comments!

The Playlist of My Life

Recently, I’ve been contemplating my music taste. What do I actually like and what do I actually listen to? What’s defined certain moments in my life? As someone who commutes for over 2 hours each day, I listen to a lot of music, so right now it’s hard to tell what best represents who I am. But, there are moments in my past that I remember through the music I listened to.

Most of the time I keep my playlists private as they have no theme or posses a theme so bizarre no one else will understand, but this one’s going public: The Playlist of My Life.

Music taste through the years

Before the age of 15, I never really listened to music much. However, it became my shield against the world, defending me against the anxiety of walking to school or catching the bus. Before downloading Spotify in 2017, I use to cram hundreds of songs on my shitty little phone to the point where if I wanted to add new music, I’d have to eliminate others.

In 2014, I really just listened to whatever was in the charts. Then, I’d look at the artist and explore their other songs. Simple. Safe. In 2015, my taste expanded as I googled recommendations and watched Youtube videos where people would outline their favourite songs. Rebecca Black I’m looking at you.

In 2016, I found Youtubers who were developing music and realised, ‘damn, that’s the stuff’. Tessa Violet, dodie, and Rebecca Black are just some amazing examples and everything kind of steam rolled from there. My music taste became broader, undefined as it strayed away from the UK’s Top 40.

Now, I listen to anything. If it’s a playlist created by Spotify, it’s probably indie/alt pop. But everything else is Youtube artists, musician’s from my childhood who have released new music, or gay millennials.

The Playlist of My Life

On the ‘Playlist of my life’ I’ve ordered the songs to represent the period of time they were most significant to me. Beginning in 2014 with ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons and ending with now, September 2019 with ‘Woman’ by Kesha.

This playlist takes you through secondary school depression, sexual coming out, and just asking what the heck is going on. It’s small, but will grow as time goes on and as more songs come to represent my life. The playlist is available to follow now, so give it a follow if you want. I promise things should get more upbeat soon (let’s pray together that my life gets better).

Shit, I’m a Lesbian

Back in December, I came out over Facebook with a pretty quick post.

I was drunk, conflicted, and curled up in my best friend’s bed watching the Captain Marvel trailer when it happened. So, it’s fair to say that my coming out wasn’t exactly planned. And, up until a few weeks prior I wasn’t even out to myself.

If you’ve seen my portfolio, you may have seen an article I had written back in March 2017 for ItEquals, ‘Being an Asexual in a Sexualised Society‘. At the time, I truly believed I was asexual and bisexual – also known as Biromantic. I discussed my experience in a 600 word article when I hardly new myself and was just trying to understand my body and my mind. What I said was true to the time; I had never experienced sexual attraction, and I thought I had crushes on men.

For years I thought I had to be into men. It was the “norm”. The expected. I find so many people handsome or pretty and I would confuse that for a crush because I didn’t know how to distinguish my feelings. Growing up, everyone would constantly ask me if they’re were any boys in the picture, crushes, boyfriends, other.

When I got my first proper boyfriend, my family were so happy. Like I had achieved something. They started talking to me like I was a proper adult (I was 15). I’d make-out, hold hands, and cuddle with this person and despite how lovely they were to me, I mean I still have a bracelet they gifted me on my birthday, something just didn’t feel right. Fair to say we broke up. I was relived, no longer having to lie and say “I love you” to someone I wasn’t attracted to in the way I was suppose to be. He was hurt.

Ever since beginning University, I’ve made it my mission to become a better person, to be as good as I can while still being true to myself. But, first I had to know my true self. In first year I made out with several guys on nights out. Nothing ever took. Then in second year, there was this weird period where something developed between me and a guy from work. I liked the attention, I thought “finally someone is into me”. Then, drama happened and that was over.

Not long after, I kissed a girl for the first time and oh my oh my! I wasn’t attracted to this particular girl, but damn did kissing her feel good. She was soft and delicate and kind in her touch. My fingers brushed her cheeks and caressed her hair and I felt safe, held, seen. It was amazing.

It wasn’t until 10 months later that I’d finally realise, “shit, I’m a lesbian.”

Why am I being so dramatic? Acting like the realisation of my sexuality is world changing? I mean, it is for me. But why should you care? Well, let me explain.

Change. That’s what I want you to take from this. Change happens. No your sexuality isn’t going to change at the flick of a switch: you are who you are. It’s the way you identify that changes. You realise something, admit it to yourself, accept it. Breath it in and sit with it. Nurture that identity until it flourishes and if it doesn’t? Maybe that’s not who you are.

I spent a good few years thinking I was biromantic: no experience of sexual attraction for either men or women. I knew people were cute, I told people I had crushes that I didn’t really have, and people believed I flirted with boys despite me just really wanting to be friends with someone I thought was cool.

Do I regret writing that article? No. It was honest to the time. That’s who I truly believed I was.

What does this say about asexual and bisexual people? Nothing. My experience doesn’t speak for them. So to that person who said I was misrepresenting the community, suggesting that because I came out as gay I was displaying the toxic notion that all bi people are in reality gay: I don’t represent the experiences of a diverse community, I was only a member. For me, the bi identity was a gateway to exploring my sexuality. It was a label I was familiar with and I genuinely thought I was into men.

But I’m not. I’m gay. And, I am so happy to finally be able to live with that part of myself. A part I use to ignore, neglect, reject.

I’ve felt so much more confident in myself since coming out. Like I can breathe. I can walk with back straight and my head held high. I look forward to a future where I’ll fall in love, watch my wife walk down the aisle, hold her hand, and say ‘I Do’.

Perhaps the aptest song for a newly out lesbian.

I Graduated and Now the Future is Coming for Me

Life so far

Well, it’s official. My formal education has finally come to an end after 19 years. It’s been 19 years of September marking a new beginning, having all of Christmas off so I can celebrate with family, and spending the summer just watching TV. Like most people, the majority of my life thus far has been spent repeating the same academic calendar. And now that’s finally come to an end. My calendar will no longer begin in September and end in July, but will open in January and close in December – on the same night each year, I’ll say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.

But, as of now, the new beginning is here. Graduation. Leaving my retail job and moving into full-time employment. I’m graduating from The University of Cumbria with a 2:1 in English and Creative Writing. My time at University has been insane to say the least. Up and downs galore. I’ve really, as cliched as it sounds, found myself over these past 3 years. Most of that change has come over the past year and a half after I made a new friend who I’ve come to love so intensely my heart may burst just thinking about him. In this time, I overcame my depression (it’s not gone, I just tackled the cause of it), worked on my anxiety, addressed my demons, and fell out of the closet. I’m still working out the kinks and trying to develop new, healthier habits, but we’re getting there.

The Future

As for the future, I’m looking forward to seeing what this next chapter holds. For the next year, my best friend and I are going to live together in our University town and take a breather…from immense pressure. Because after almost suffocating under stress and pressure for nearly a decade, I need a break.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be working. My original plan was to spend the year boosting my portfolio, dipping my toes into freelance writing, and saving the money I earn from my retail job. However, I interviewed for a marketing job and after a month long trial where I juggled retail and office work, I was offered the position.

But, this is where it gets complicated because I’ve also been offered an internship at my University. It’s a tricky situation I’m in, and I’m constantly weighing the pro and cons of everything. But, my heart knows what it wants and I can’t wait for things to work out.

Oh, I should probably mention that my original summer plan involved socialising with friends and going to garden centres – which I’m still doing, just less frequently than my plant obsessed brain would like. I am going to do a post all about my current plant collection, because I am a fiend and there is no taming me. My bedroom will become a forest. That’s perhaps my biggest goal moving forward.

Perhaps my favourite always and forever. Perfect for my current mood:

What’s Up? by 4 Non Blondes

Artists You Should be Following Online

Recently, I’ve made an effort to fill every part of my life with the things that make me happy. As a huge lover of art living with Fine Art students, there’s a constant channel of sharing the work of those we love.

Now, instead of my social feed being filled with how the world is falling apart (although some days that inescapable), it’s brightened by the art of skilled individuals who all manage to find beauty in this world and use that to create. Here’s a list of artists who will brighten up your feed, while imbuing you with a sense of hope and passion.

Jessica Andersdotter

Jessica Andersdotter is an abstract digital artist who takes inspiration from photography and other artists to develop her own unique style. She’s  constantly experimenting with Photoshop and photography to develop new works, which she shares online all the time. Her portfolio contains a wide variety of digital art, from edited floral compositions, to abstract waves of colour. One of my favourite pieces is Talia (left) in a series of works with human names.

Jessica often shares the work of other artists, those she takes inspiration from and those who she simply loves – either on her blog or on social media. Andersdotter frequently talks about her creative process, allowing her audience to experience what goes on behind the computer/in her mind. By following her, you get a personal insight into the life on an artist.

Twitter | Instagram| Website

Melissa McCracken

Melissa McCracken is an American artist with Synesthesia who paints music. By using a mix of oils and acrylics, McCracken creates a visual representation of the songs she is listening to, sharing with the world how she experiences music.  

In an interview with MyModernMet in 2017, McCracken said “the most wonderful ‘brain malfunction’ of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song.” McCracken’s art is best experienced alongside the songs which have inspired them.

Choosing a favourite of Melissa’s works is difficult as each painting resonates on a new level. ​ Though, that being said, “What Was It You Said About Luck?” stands out with it’s delicate purples, pinks, and yellows merging together like smoke into clouds. 

Instagram | Website

Viv Tanner

Viv Tanner is a Swiss Freelance Artist and Illustrator, specialising in 2D Animation. Primarily sharing work on her social media accounts, Viv has a unique 2D art style that appears simple at first glance, but incorporates complex colour grading that creates a visually stunning experience. 

Currently, Viv is developing content for her online collaborative comic, Heart of Gold, with Eli Baum. Some of Viv’s Instagram portfolio includes fanart for Netflix’s Stranger Things and Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Humanhowever, the majority of content is original.

Gris is a stunning 2D platformer currently in development [set for release on Nintendo Switch and PC this December]. While not working on the game directly, Viv created a piece (left) for #indiegzine. This piece is perfect at presenting Viv’s use of a mellow colour palette in her digital art.

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Leonid Afremov

‘The End of Patience’ is perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever seen. Incorporating the entire rainbow, Leonid creates a rainy autumnal scene; umbrella up, a lady walks away from a park bench, where she has seemingly sat for a while. 

Afremov is a cheat entry as he doesn’t actually have social media, that’s just where I found his work. He’s a Russian-Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works primarily with a palette knife and oils. One can only imagine the textures on the canvas. 

His work is free from cultural influence in that there are no hidden meanings or political agendas, just art that reflects his personal experiences and emotions.


Scott Naismith

Scott Naismith is an artist I found though Instagram’s explore page. I saved his painting of Ben Tianavaig, Skye (left) and completely forgot about it! Thankfully I rediscovered this painting in my saves and began following him properly. 

Naismith, like Afremov, uses vivid colours. However, Naismith adopts a vigorous application method to represent the fast changing light conditions of the Scottish landscape. He focuses on the sky, presenting hope and optimism through the skies transition from dark to light.

Simply put, his work leaves me in awe. And, if you look in your local T K Maxx, you may even be able to find some of his pieces for a good price!

Instagram | Twitter| Website

Georgina Harris

As mentioned above, I live with two Fine Arts students, which makes for quite a creative household. And, thankfully, Georgina was more than happy to be featured in this post.

When talking about her work, Georgina said she loves “working with vivid colour and big brushstrokes to describe an experience. Like the experience of being in a vast forest, or in a small room with someone, or just the sensation of hands touching.”

Left, we have one of my favourite pieces of Georgina’s. I adore the intimacy of the piece and how all the fleshy tones meld together. All her paintings seem to create an intimate atmosphere (even her landscape works) and present her connection to the subject. When discussing her work, she said she aims to “create…a narrative that captures these experiences in their essence.”

Instagram | Website

Check out all these amazing artists and share your favourite artists below! Filling social media with such beautiful things has improved the time I spend online. I completely recommend adding beauty to everywhere you can.