Mental Health and Wellbeing as a Postgraduate

me3From 2012 to 2015, I was having the time of my life at Falmouth University, meeting new friends, studying a subject I loved and enjoying being in the moment for the first time in my life. However, even during my second year I could feel a cold sense of dread following closely behind me, and the future would now and again whisper in my ear, ‘What about when this is all over? What are you going to do? What job do you want? Where are you going to live?’ If you are or have ever been a student at university, you will most likely know exactly what I’m talking about. As I moved from second year and into my third and final year of study, the fear got even worse and became a constant anxiety.

I remember welling up if I thought about it too much; my best friend would be going back to her home in Scotland and wouldn’t be just down the road if I needed her, my boyfriend would be living back in London and I would be moving back home with my family in Cornwall.

And sure enough, at the end of third year, my friend moved back to Scotland, my boyfriend left for London and I moved back home. This wasn’t something that I had ever minded. I had been living alone for my third year, and had grown to appreciate having the company of my family around me. However, this does have it’s limits. I liked my independence and my freedom, I enjoyed buying my own food, and doing my own washing. I would go out at night for long walks to clear my head if I couldn’t sleep, and suddenly there were people around asking where on earth I thought I was going at midnight on a Thursday.

Searching for a job is, of course, a cause of major anxiety for many graduates. It depends on your course; I studied English with Creative Writing in the hopes of going into the publishing industry. However, if you live in Cornwall, don’t have a trust fund and can’t afford to go for an internship and eat at the same time, this becomes unobtainable. Applying endlessly for jobs can make even the most positive people depressed. Of course, you start by applying for the jobs you really want, then after a month of rejections you start to lower your expectations, and you go for work your overqualified for, roles you don’t even need a degree for. And then you start to wonder why you bothered racking up £40,000+ worth of debt for a part-time job in your local supermarket. There is nothing at all wrong with this, but it’s probably not what you had planned and this can have a detrimental effect on your mental health.

Money is another issue. You don’t have the security of your student loan popping into your bank account every term, and unless you have a job lined up, you’ll have to get used to watching the pennies. Luckily, I’d put enough away from my student loans to pay my phone bill and a little in case of an emergency.

me4It took me almost five months to find my first post-university job, as an Administrative Assistant in Radlett, about 45 minutes outside London. My main reasoning for going for an admin/HR related role was because the experience was necessary for any entry level publishing jobs. The role was paid hourly, so not a salary based role as I’d hoped, but it was better than nothing. I moved in with my boyfriend at the time, and his family. It took two buses and over an hour each morning and evening to get to work and back. The job was horrible. I was sat alone in a room for eight hours a day whilst my boss worked from his home. I went back home to a place I was deeply unhappy and felt trapped. Although I  finally had a job, my anxiety and depression grew worse and after seven months I found a new job, and after a year I left my boyfriend.

Having spoken to my graduate friends, I was somewhat reassured to realise that I wasn’t the only one incredibly unhappy not enjoying life. I’d lost all motivation, things that made me happy a year ago no longer held any interest for me. Sadly, this is still the case for me now. Today, I met up with one of my university friends, and we went for a long walk along the Cornish coast. It is only on days like today I feel like I can think clearly about my future, and what makes me happy, and I’ve compiled a little list of things I’ve found can help. Even if they haven’t worked for me, I hope they will work for you!

  • According to my mum, exercise cures everything. Not feeling well? Go for a walk. Period pain? Go for a walk. Feeling low? Go for a walk! I love walking, hiking and exploring, but having grown up in the Cornish countryside, living near London means that the scenery is grey, concrete and uninspiring. Some days, getting out of bed seems impossible, let alone going for a walk. But even a quick trip to the corner shop on a sunny day can help (sometimes).
  • A friend recently suggested yoga; she’d discovered Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and recommends it as an easy way to help both body and mind in one. For someone with no motivation and has essentially become incredibly lazy, I was tempted by yoga. My friend makes a very good argument for yoga helping mental health and wellbeing, “You don’t have to leave your bedroom, you don’t have to buy a yoga mat or social media ready yoga clothing, you don’t have to be flexible or strong, and your body doesn’t have to be a prescribed size, you just have to be willing.” Even I can’t argue with that, and I did try following the yoga on the YouTube channel she suggested; it was very relaxing and I loved it!
  • Finding a hobby is really, really important. Since I could read, my hobby was reading. Then it became photography, and now blogging. I feel like I’ve achieved something if I finish a book, take a good photo or get around to publishing that book review I’ve had in the back of my mind for weeks. Sadly, the no motivation issue has really ruined all of this for me (sleeping and afternoon naps have become my new hobby). However, whenever I do feel inspired (like today) I have to push myself to actually be productive.
  • Talking to someone can really help, particularly with mental health. I don’t mean counselling necessarily (personally this doesn’t help me) but talking to a friend or making plans and having something positive to look forward to can massively boost your outlook on life for the better.
  • Diet is an important factor. I’ve put weigh on since leaving university, which is a massive source of upset and depression for me. However, I now live alone in a tiny space and so can’t always afford to buy healthy food and fruit and veg, which goes out of date faster than I can eat it, and it all ends up in the bin. I also like chocolate, what can I say? But all of this means my skin is really bad, and I have more spots than freckles sometimes, and I’m tired all the time. However, small steps in the right direction can begin to turn things around slowly. I’ve started taking multivitamins and the sun is (hopefully) helping my spots clear up.
  • Write about it. Personally, writing this post has really helped me come to terms with how I’m currently feeling, and I can only hope it has helped at least one other person in the same position. Sometimes even knowing someone else is going through the same thing is a help. So, take comfort in my unhappiness hopefully soon I’ll be writing a most positive update!

If you have any tips or suggestions that you’ve found help mental illness and wellbeing, please do share! And if you found this post helpful, or want to know more about my time after university, let me know!

 

 

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Organisation Tips & Tricks for Students 

Moving away from home is a massive step in the life of a young adult, and for the vast majority of students it is the first time they will be living without parents or family. You are dropped off and suddenly you’re an adult. You have your own room, your own clothes to wash and iron, your own dishes to clean and put away. It isn’t an easy transition, but it can be helped by having things organised.

A student room is usually small, so you need to utilise all the space you have. Below are a few tips and tricks I have learnt from my university time (which sadly came to an end last year – I miss it!)

Under Bed Storage

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The lonely space you have below your bed (providing you don’t have a box bed) is the best place to throw your belongings such as bedding, big jumpers/ coats or spare clothes, extra bottles of things like hand wash that you may not need to use just yet.

Buy a few big storage boxes to organise your things into, but remember to make sure the boxes will fit under your bed before you buy too many! I’d suggest buying around 3, one for bedding, one for clothes and one for spare toiletries/cleaning products or for maybe for any food you might want to keep in your room.

Don’t rush out and spend loads of money on storage boxes, you can use a simple cardboard box (you’ll probably have a few left over from moving in) or for something a bit sturdier, pop to ASDA for a cheap plastic box. This won’t be too costly, and will make a big difference when you need to change your bed, and already know exactly where everything is!

Vacuum Seal Bags

These things are brilliant for freeing up space when you have a lot of clothes to store. I usually put my ‘winter clothes’ such as jumpers, vests, scarfs etc into a couple to shrink them down and throw them at the bottom of my wardrobe throughout summer. Again, this is a quick and easy storage solution. I purchased mine for Argos about a year ago for £15-ish. You can also use them for packing more into a suitcase when travelling! Just be careful of the weight, and try and remember what you’ve put into the bags – it can be hard to see once you’ve vacuumed the bag.

General Room Storage

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£3.50, IKEA

You can get boxes like this one (left) to throw all sorts in, and they can sit on a bookshelf or tuck away out of sight. I’ve even purchased shoe racks before, painted them and used them as book stands. It’s a nice idea, if you want a little project, to paint or decorate storage boxes, and it can add a little personal touch to your room.

You’ll also want large a laundry basket, or bag. I opted for a large bag with a zip, because I had to carry it to the other side of campus to get to the laundrette, and no one wants their dirty laundry blowing down the road!

There are also some really lovely storage boxes and duvet covers in ASDA’s home section at the moment. Best of all, they are really cheap and good quality!

Bathroom Storage

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£5, ASDA

Whether you have an en-suit or share a bathroom, you’ll want to invest in a few storage baskets to throw make-up, deodorants and the like in. You can, again, get these from supermarkets relatively cheaply, or places like The Range or IKEA.

Remember, you’ll want something waterproof, and not too big. Student bathrooms tend to be on the tiny side.

 

Make-Up Storage

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£11, ASDA

It’s a great idea to use kitchen or household storage to organise make-up. I use a small version of these drawers (left) to store my eye-shadows, lipsticks and make-up I don’t use everyday. I also have kitchen pasta storage jars, which I use to put cotton pads in, and pencil pots for make-up brushes.

Craft-storage and organisation is also great for make-up storage, as it’s on a smaller scale and usually cheap buy.

 

 

Using the Library 

If you have an academic-heavy course, think of the library as your second home. Best of all, go early and grab the books you will need before everyone else gets them, instead of buying them all at ridiculous prices online – yep, I’ve been there! You can also leave them there at the end of the day, instead of having books piled from floor to ceiling in your room! However, if the library isn’t really your thing, check for Kindle versions of your reading list.

 

I hope this list is helpful for any students moving into university, or anyone trying to organise their house this autumn! If you have any handy storage tips, let me know in the comments! 🙂

Clarins Hyrda-Matte Lotion

wp-1473002406756.jpgI’ve been using Clarins Hydra-Matte Lotion for combination skin for about a month now, and felt it was time for a review.

I’ve not used any Clarins products before, usually sticking to my old favourite moisturiser, Clinique Dramatically Different Gel, also for oily skin. The Clarins product feels similar, the consistency of the lotion is soft and airy, it absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving no residue, and a little goes a long way. The product is also packaged well, with a pump-dispencer to easily access around a pea-size amount per pump. For an expensive product like this, I expect a lot, and so far I have nothing to complain about.

My skin has had a few small breakouts recently, which I don’t think has anything to do with my moisturiser, and more to do with stress, but if you are looking for an anti-blemish moisturiser, the Clarins lotion isn’t really going to help in that area.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this product, and my sister – who has also been using it – would also recommend it. I would say it is a strong contender when tried and tested against the Clinique equivalent.

Northern Italy on a Budget

The end of July this year saw my lovely boyfriend and I head out to Northern Italy. It was a trip we only planned two weeks before leaving, as we hadn’t found the right place and wanted our holiday to be outside the school’s summer holidays, to keep the cost down.

We found a lovely hotel package through Thomson, and stayed in the large resort of Lido di Jesolo, which is around an hour’s travel outside of Venice. The town is much larger than it seems on a map, and cycling from one end of the resort to the other would take around 3 hours. The main strip has plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and gelaterias.

We stayed at a lovely 4 storey hotel called Hotel Milton, which is set only a 2 minute walk from the beach, and has an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, gym area and a lovely list of cocktails.  We were very lucky with the weather, and temperatures were in the low thirties the whole week, which meant plenty of factor 50 for me, and time sat in thimg_20160715_201144.jpge shade. The staff at the hotel speak English, and are extremely helpful. It was a great base for us, and the room was kept clean and tidy every day which made coming back to rest after a long day of exploring bliss.

By booking through Thomson, we benefited from the excursions they arrange for holiday makers. On our trip, we had the option to visit either Venice, Verona & Lake Garda, try wine tasting at Treviso or head out to the mountains and explore the Dolomites and Cortina. Each trip was between €50-60 pp, and because we were only there for a week, we decided to book two trips, Venice and Cortina & the Dolomites. There are pros and cons to going on pre-arranged excursions like this; you can relax and let the guide take control knowing everything has been taken care of for you, you learn a lot from your guide who will be someone who knows the area, and you will probably be saving yourself some money. On the other hand, you are with a group of around 40 people each day, and are pretty much limited to going where the guide takes you. You do, of course, get time to go off and explore on your own, but this is only for about an hour or so, deepening on which trip you take, and no matter where you go, you’ll need more time than that to really get a feel for the place.

The first trip was Venice. We left at 13:30 and travel via coach and water taxi to arrive about an hour later. This was quick and easy, and the views from the water taxi as we pulled into Venice were amazing. Our guide took us into the Basilica of San Marco, telling us about the history of the islands and pointing out the amazing architecture all around. We the had the opportunity to book a gondola or water taxi which would take us along the Grande Canal. This was €18 pp, per trip, and we decided to go for the gondola tour. Well, you can’t really go all the way to Venice and not go on a gondola!

We were told the gondola tour would be about 30 mins, but it was really about 20. We were taken with 2 other couples on the trip. So, it’s cheaper to book the gondola through your guide, but you don’t get it to yourself, and share with four others. If you wanted one alone, you’d have to book the rest of the seats, which overall would be around €20 each. The tour is amazing, but the gondola driver’s all shout across to each other, laughing and joking, which makes it really unromantic, and no, ours didn’t sing – much to my boyfriends disappointment.

After this, we were given some time alone. We could pay €14 for a three course meal near the Grande Canal, or go off alone. We decided to do both, and went off to find a cute coffee shop where we had a quick coffee and admired the scenery, then we went back to have our meal which was lovely.

As the evening closed in, we sat outside a lovely café, enjoying a latte, listening to the live orchestra playing, then headed back to the water taxi to go back to the hotel. We arrived back at 11pm. This is a long, tiring trip which cost us €60pp, and around €36 to our preset meal and gondola trip.

We took the next day off, and stayed in Lido di Jesolo to get our energy back before the next trip out. We walked over to the Tropicaruim, and found a Serial Killer exhibition (not something for everyone, but we love that kind of thing). To do both was €30 pp, not cheap at all, and we didn’t really see very much, but the experience was good and it was something we knew we wanted to do.

Our trip to the Dolomites and Cortina was the next day, and we had an early start at 7:30am. The coach journey out to the mountains takes around three hours, however we had the most amazing coffee stop on the way there. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was a spectacular view and I’d love to go there again just to explore that area.

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Cortina itself was also a magical town. It’s little shops have handmade goods including Christmas ornaments, fabric and lace, paintings and other home decorations. On this trip, the extra was a cable car up to the top of one of the mountains, which was €18.50pp, and I would not recommend to anyone who has a fear of heights, but the view form the top might just be enough to persuade you to take the risk.

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I can’t write enough about how much I adore this entire area of Italy. The scenery is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. There is also plenty of snow in the winter, and it’s a great skiing spot. Not the cheapest town, but somewhere everyone needs to discover.

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Before heading back to Jesolo, we got back on the coach and drove about half an hour north, to Misurina. This was a smaller town, with air so clean and purifying, the government built a hospital there for children with breathing difficulties. Again, the view here is spectacular,  and there is a cafe by the beautiful lake. Musician is only 20 minutes outside Austrian boarder, and so was an ideal spot for me to have some apple strudel!

We only had limited time here, just less than an hour, but again there was plenty of exploring that could have been done. It will just have to wait until next time…

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Our last day in Jesolo was a day to relax and enjoy the beach before travelling back to London, Gatwick. The sand was silky soft, almost too hot to walk on in the afternoon but perfect for an evening walk after dinner. Our hotel also had a great deal, offering 15% off the bar tab for anyone paying in cash, which was a real lifesaver when money was low at the end of our holiday.

This is most definitely a trip to remember, and a part of Italy that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a summer holiday that’s not over-priced. I’m sad to be back, but perhaps next time I’ll make it a two week holiday…

If you have any questions about my trip, or would like to know more, please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading.

[Closed] GIVEAWAY: WIN a copy of Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong

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To celebrate the paperback release of  Kelley Armstrong’s Deceptions I have teamed up with Dutton to launch my first giveaway!

Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite author’s, and I’m excited to share her fantastic writing with one lucky reader! To win a copy of her new book, Deceptions, read below.

 

 

Olivia Jones has come a long way from the first book, ‘Omens‘ and the second, ‘Visions‘. She learnt that she was adopted, and her biological parents are in fact serving life sentences for murdering a number of people in a horrific way. Not only that, she has fae blood in her, from one of her decedents, and she must work with her lawyer and friend, Gabriel, to find answers from the fae folk that live in the unusual town of Cainsville.

In this third book, Olivia (Eden) discovers more about her involvement with the fae, and why they are so interested in her, Ricky (her new boyfriend) and Gabriel. Her journey takes her further along the path of seeing visions, and back to places she’d rather not revisit. Along the way, she struggles with her feelings for Ricky and Gabriel, and must understand whether her fate is already set, or if she is can shape her own path.

HOW TO WIN

To win your own copy of Deceptions, all you need to do is:

  1. Follow my blog (Jade’s Library)
  2. Like this post
  3. Leave me a comment telling me what your favourite book is, and why.

RULES

  • Only open to US and UK readers due to postage costs (sorry!).
  • Closing date is Thursday 14th July, 12p.m GMT time.
  • I will pick one winner at random from the comments, and then will contact you privately for your name and address and get your prize posted out.
  • You have to be following my blog to win.

GOOD LUCK!!

Yankee Candle Spring review: Black Plum Blossom & Strawberry Lemon Ice

I’ve recently purchased a few candles at the new Yankee Candle store that has opened up nearby. I brought a small set of Christmas scents, which were lovely, and then thought it would be nice to try out some spring smells to spruce my home up a little.

The first one I tried in the living room was Strawberry Lemon Ice, which is lovely! I have the larger size, which is roughly £25, and if you’re after a sweet smell this is the best one I’ve found so far. After about 10 minutes, you’ll notice the smell spending around the house, and it really does smell great. However, if you prefer a more subtle scent, this is not the one for you.

It is a noticeable, standout fruity smelling candle, and it burns for a long time.

The most recent candle I’ve managed to get my hands on is Black Plum Blossom. This was a bit of an impulse buy because the shop was closing and I really wanted a candle to add to my bedroom to go with some new furniture. I smelt most in the store, but after 5 they all seem to blend into one, and I didn’t want a smell too potent for such a small space. This one is much more subtle, and isn’t as flowery as you’d imagine. It has a more musky scent, with sweet undertones. This is perfect to light in the evening if you don’t want to overpowered by the smell.

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It has a more musky scent, with sweet undertones. This is perfect to light in the evening if you don’t want to overpowered by the smell.

I did also like the cherry scented candle, but again, I think it would be a bit strong for the bedroom and is more suited to an open space. So far, so good with the Black Plum Blossom though! I have this in a smaller size, this is the medium, and was £18.99.

If you have any favourite candle scents or brands, let me know! I’m always on the lookout for more goodies to try…

 

 

Top 3 Affordable Beauty Favourites

I was thinking recently about how I often try out new brands and products, whether it be make-up, haircare or general skincare, and see no results. I’m quite good at doing my research before making a purchase, and even then only would really impulse buy something if it was on sale, but I do often listen to the recommendations of others and find myself let down.

But there are three products I have used for years, and I can only say good things about them. So, today I thought I’d share them with you! Of course, everyone is different and something that works for me may not work for you, but with so many products available in stores and online today, it’s good to know what’s out there.

 

One.  MaxFactor Colour Correcting Cream, RRP.£6.99 approx.

max-factor-01-1This is one product I use instead of a heavy foundation. I don’t have a lot of time in the morning so I need something I can quickly rub on and get some good coverage. This is perfect because it is light, doesn’t leave any streaks, and does a great job of hiding any red spots (perfect if you have problem skin like mine.) The formula also has SPF 15, which should be included somewhere in your skincare routine to avoid ageing via skin damage.

The main plus point for me with this products, and the reason I have used it for many years now, is the colour. I am extremely pale, and often have spots or red marks on my face. I use this CC Cream in Fair (the lightest available colour) and it is the perfect colour for my skin tone. I’ve never managed to find a closer match, and the fact that it goes on so easily with a great result makes it a must-have for me. If I’m going out in the evening, so need more coverage, I just add a heavier foundation on top, and keep the CC Cream as a base layer.

Unfortunately, MaxFactor now sell their CC Creams in 4 colour sticks, and not in this liquid form, so I’ve had to buy it online. I really hope this returns to the shops in the future so I can stock up!

 

Two. Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm, RRP.£1-2.50 approx.

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My sister recommended this particular lip balm to me years ago, and it is the only one I’ve used since. I can’t recommend this product enough!

It has no smell to it, and it’s lovely and light. It almost feels as though you aren’t wearing anything at all, but it still does an excellent job of moisturising! There is no sticky layer or horrible aftertaste I usually find with other lip balms.

I always buy one when it’s on offer, and I keep one in my handbag and one next to my bed. I use it daily after brushing my teeth, morning and night, because this is when my lips feel the driest. It’s also a great base coat/primer for wearing underneath lipstick.

This is currently on sale in Tesco, Asda and Superdrug for £1, but I’ve never seen it sold for more than £2.50.

 

Three. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel, RRP.£35 approx. 80145ce4-e0cd-49b0-a096-056242375740_41Qv6lzC32L.jpg.ashx

This final recommendation is more expensive, but I’ve found that it lasts for a long time, and is great for my skin. There are two options for this moisturiser, the gel or the lotion. The lotion is for drier skin, and the gel for oily/combination skin. My skin is usually on the oily side so the gel works perfectly for me.

I used this for the first time years ago, in a set I received for my birthday, (from my sister if you hadn’t guessed) and I really liked it. It is so lightweight and again leaves no thick layer you’d find with other moisturisers. This means that make-up can be easily applied on top, and it didn’t leave my skin too dry or oily at all. If you don’t want to purchase the whole bottle, I’d recommend trying it out with the small bottle in the set, which comes with a cleanser/toner and a face wash. All of them work really well together and really improved my skin. The sets are usually around £29.99, and you can talk to the sales representative about which skin type you have. I’m number 3, but for drier skin you’ll want one or two.

 

So, there we have it. My 3 products I’ve repurchased, and loved. If you have any questions, recommendations or have tried any of the above, do let me know! 🙂

 

Top Five Autumn/Winter Reads

Autumn is upon us ALREADY (I know, this year has flown by for me too) and as the evenings get longer, I tend to find my taste in books changes to suit the time of year. In summer, I like to read short romances, light comedy and holiday related books. But at this time of year, my choice of books are all about gloomy gothic houses and cold, blustery moorlands. So, I’ve put together a list of five of my favourite autumn/winter reads. None of these books are new releases, which means that they’re available for you to go and buy right now if anything appeals to you!

3ab972a1a9ba2ddea906f86f04cc161eJANE EYRE BY CHARLOTTE BRONTË

Everyone who knows me knows this is my all time favourite book, but not one I can enjoy as much in the warmer summer months. Thornfield Hall, with it’s eerie corridors, rural location and gothic themes, is all about cold evenings, snuggling up by the fire with a hot chocolate as you work your way through Jane’s story. This is primarily a romance novel, but the mystery of Edward Rochester’s past gives it a wonderful balance that not many new author’s manage to achieve.

The dark, reclusive Mr. Rochester is my ultimate hero (or anti-hero) and he is perfect for the shy yet fiercely independent Jane. Don’t be put off if classic books aren’t really your thing, Brontë writes in a timeless manner that is as easily understood today as it was back in 1847.

(If you’re more inclined to watch a TV/film adaption, the 2006 version is, without a doubt, the best one to date.)

crimsonpetalTHE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE BY MICHEL FABER

This is an unusually addictive book, and at 800+ pages, it’s not a quick read. Faber tells the tale of Sugar, a nineteen year old prostitute who tries to better herself and her position in society by become mistress to a bumbling factory owner, William Rackham.

I first came across this diamond after watching the BBC’s adaption a few years back, but only picked up the book earlier this year (and went on to write my dissertation on it). With themes of sex, madness, treachery and the dark side Victorian London, it quickly became one of my all time favourites. Michel Faber is an excellent writer, and I left the book believing that his characters could actually be waiting for me in the real world. The true star of this tale is Agnes Rackham, William’s apparently deranged wife. There is also a book of short stories available, which follows some of the characters after the events of ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’.

rebecca-2REBECCA BY DAPHNE DU MAURIER

Another book which has a great film adaption, ‘Rebecca’ is one of du Maurier’s more well-known novels. Again, there are eerie characters, mysterious pasts and, of course, Manderley. Second Mrs. Maxim de Winter (we never learn her fist name) recounts the chilling events that she lived as a newly married woman. Forever living in the shadow of her husbands first wife, Rebecca, de Winter lives in the house that  Rebecca made her own, before her death. She must uncover the true fate of her husbands first wife, and the events that led to her death. ‘Rebecca’ has plenty of gothic themes as well as a great story, this is perfect to immerse yourself in on a chilly autumn evening.

10-5-281x417NORTHERN LIGHTS BY PHIL PULLMAN

A book aimed at a younger audience, this is a wintery story that can also be enjoyed by adults. If you’ve seen the film and were put off, like me, then take this as a sign to give the book a chance. An adventure book, Lyra leaves Oxford to follow her destiny, which takes her on a long journey to the frozen North in search of her kidnapped friend. A great adventure book which reminds me of the Christmas season.

5161UaVKhFLGRAVE SIGHT BY CHARLAINE HARRIS

Book one in Harris’s Harper Connelly series, this is a fantastic urban fantasy series in which follows Harper as she learns to use and control her unusual ability. She can find dead people. With the help of her step-brother Tolliver, she travels around, re-living the last moments of the dead, and helping to solve their murders. This is a great read and is very well written. ‘Grave Sight’ definitely has a wintery feel to it, and will have you wishing for snow before long.

A Day at the Beach (Crantock Beach, Newquay, Cornwall)

11846499_10153210763298500_542776408_n  On account of it being summer and because I am lucky enough to live in such a wonderfully beautiful place, I decided to share my day at the beach with you.

Today Cornwall lucked out on the weather front, and everyone flocked to the beach. The traffic caused by such a massive amount of people was not pleasant, but once we arrived, we concluded it was well worth it.


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Crantock beach is situated on the outskirts of Newquay, and is the largest and (in my opinion) the best beach in the area. I have been visiting Crantock beach my whole life, all year round, sun or snow, and it’s always a happy experience. It is also one of the few beaches that allow dogs all year round.

Sadly, the parking seems to increase every year, and reached between £3/£5 this year, as it is run by the National Trust, but it’s definitely worth it.

The beach has toilets near the car park, a hut which hires out wet suits and surf boards, and of course there is a place to purchase ice creams and drinks.

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