An Idea For Insomniacs.

It’s no secret that I have trouble sleeping. Just last night I was up until after 5am. This is a frequent occurrence. Despite the many different medications I take that apparently make you drowsy, it’s rare that I get an uninterrupted night or even close my eyes until gone 3am. Reasons range from racing thoughts, ruminating on things from forever ago that cannot be changed, to me just not being tired. I’ve tried breathing techniques, no caffeine, baths, lavender oil and all of the so – called ‘Sleep Hygiene’ tips and tricks given to me in therapy and from various people from the mental health team in my region. Nothing works.

But………I think I may have found something that will help. Especially with the racing thoughts.

IMG_4509[1]

It’s called Can’t Sleep Write Now a nocturnal journal for tireless thinkers. I will link some places to buy this at the end of my post but first I would like to talk a little bit about it.

This is made by ‘Chronicle Books’ and is a hard backed book. It has a satin ribbon bookmark attached to it to keep your place. Before you get to the journal aspect of this book, there is a small introduction which tells you a little about the how day and night affect our thoughts. Peppered through the book you will find quotes about the power of night time. My favourite is one by Marie De Rabutin-Chantal – “There are twelve hours in the day and above fifty in the night”. It certainly can feel that way when you can’t sleep.

The description of this book says that this guided journal turns sleepless nights into a source of inspiration and features dozens of provocative creative writing prompts. Skimming through my copy I can see prompts ranging from a simple ‘why can’t you sleep?’ to ‘write your own operating instructions’ and ‘write the shortest story ever written’. There are also some pages with no prompts, leaving you free to write down whatever you are thinking that particular night. Of course you are not bound to fill out the pages in any particular order. If you wish to you may search to find something that captures your interest or you could flick to a random page and dive in there.

As a self confessed over thinker, I have my fingers crossed that this will both help to empty my mind of racing thoughts  and also give me something interesting to look back on when it is completed. I don’t know about you but as it gets later my thoughts get stranger!

If any of you decide to try this do let me know how you get on. I hope you’ve all had a very merry Christmas ❤

I bought my copy for £7.69 from HERE (Amazon UK)
If you are in the USA you can get it HERE (Amazon US)
And The Wordery has it too with the bonus of free international shipping!

 

Advertisements

We Need To Talk About… by Kevin Bridges.

kevin bridges

 

 

Publisher

Penguin – Published October 9th 2014.

 

Synopsis

Aged just 17, Kevin Bridges walked on stage for the first time in a Glasgow comedy club and brought the house down. He only had a five-minute set but in that short time he discovered that he really could earn a living from making people laugh.

Kevin began life as a shy, nerve-ridden school-boy, whose weekly highlights included a cake-bombing attack by the local youths. Reaching his teens, he followed his true calling as the class clown, and was soon after arrested for kidnapping Hugh Grant from his local cinema on a quiet Saturday night. This was a guy going somewhere – off the rails seeming most likely.

Kevin’s trademark social commentary, sharp one-liners and laugh-out-loud humour blend with his reflections on his Glaswegian childhood and the journey he’s taken to become one of the most-loved comedians of our time.

 

My Review

This is one autobiography that I am eternally grateful did not have a ghost writer. I’m not sure anybody else could capture Kevin Bridges quite as well as Kevin Bridges. Ever since being introduced to him on ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’ in 2009, I have loved his self-deprecating humor and his ‘realness’; not being ashamed of his working class roots and even building his early routines off of them.

Fame is known to change people and not always for the better, but in this book, Bridges shows himself to be a humble man with an affection for his family that is obvious when he talks about them. Cleverly taking inspiration from the title of another book (We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver), Bridges not only tells us about his upbringing and journey into stand up comedy, but throws in his views on controversial issues such as benefits and immigration. One of my favourite quotes from his book is “We were the ones dropping bombs on them, so we couldn’t complain when they were looking for a place to stay”. 

Bridges story begins when he was a nervous little boy in nursery and there is a particularly hilarious anecdote involving a wendy house that had me crying with laughter. His reluctance for his mother to leave him continued into primary school and he soon found his escape at home playing various football games with his dad. Going into high school, he was a bright boy but was very much an old head on young shoulders. Over thinking everything was a major problem, even when, at 17, inspired by Frank Skinner’s autobiography, he ventured into a Glasgow comedy club and did his first 5 minute set.

I could relate to a lot of the stories in this autobiography as Bridges and myself are the same age. I too remember staying up late to catch Eurotrash on Channel 5 ( I think everybody around my age will admit to that! 🙂 ) and chatting for hours on MSN messenger (RIP). The anxiety and feeling like being funny was all you had – without it your friends would obviously drop you right? Because what are you if you’re not funny? – is also all too familiar.

‘We Need To Talk About…’ showcases not only Bridges comedy talent but also his flair for writing. (I feel like an ass for continually calling him ‘Bridges’ but ‘Kevin’ makes it sound like we’re BFF’s or something!) He shows himself to have many endearing qualities, the most obvious being his humility. When taking part in two competitions early on in his career, he says that he struggled feeling that he had to impress the judges. That the opinion of what is funny is completely subjective and worrying about catering to one person is not what he got into stand up for (I’m paraphrasing there but that’s the gist of it). He also states many times that although this book could be a ‘f$%k you’ to the teachers that advised him to drop out of school because of his class clown persona, it is not and I honestly cannot picture him writing this with that in mind.

Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. The quality of writing along with Bridges modesty, even when talking about his roaring successes, make for a read that is full of laughs and showcases his family values and down to earth attitude perfectly. Despite this being a hefty read at over 400 pages, I would recommend this to not just fans of Kevin Bridges, but to anyone interested in a ‘boy done good’ story that will make you smile and reminisce along with him.

 

Rating

∗∗∗∗∗

 

REVIEW – Lush ‘Dashing Santa’ Bath Bomb.

As a recent convert to Lush products, on my first visit to their Preston store I went a little crazy! If you check out my Instagram  (link in the sidebar) you can see a little video of what I purchased. One of the bath bombs I had to have was the adorable ‘Dashing Santa’.

IMG_4240

Lush describe it as having a cheerful and uplifting scent of satsumas and their product description says that it contains mandarin oil, bergamot oil and orange flower absolute. Of course it is also vegan. There are bits of glitter on his boots but they aren’t noticeable in the bath or on your skin when you get out.

This bath bomb is not my favourite. It’s a slow fizzer (mine took almost 15 minutes to fully dissolve) and the scent, while pleasing, is not very strong. It did leave my skin feeling soft but I did not notice the scent after I had dried off. However, what disappointed me the most was the fact that it didn’t have any fun colours layered through it. It is red all the way through and though you do get a little of the gold colour off of his boots, your water just turns red. I like the fun aspect of bath bombs such as ‘Golden Wonder’, where after the outside has dissolved, you are treated to a rainbow of colours.

Overall, I would recommend this bath bomb as it has a very nice scent and leaves your skin soft and smooth. I would probably say not to buy this if you a looking for a show like you get with ‘Northern Lights’ for example. If you just want a nice smelling soak in the bath but don’t want the scent to linger afterwards because you use a scented body butter or something similar then this is definitely the bath bomb for you. Personally, I don’t think I shall buy this again though, as I do enjoy watching them dissolve and put on a fun colour show.

If you want to watch a demo of this bath bomb then check out my YouTube channel. You’ll find the link at the top of the side bar. 

What is your favourite Lush product?

Jackie x

‘Memory Stick’ UK & European Giveaway – ***Closed***

mem

Win ‘Memory Stick’, a journal by Huck And Pucker where you can record your thoughts, happenings, hurrahs, ideas and conversations. (If you loved ‘Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith you will love this.)

Many thanks to Huck And Pucker for providing this journal for the giveaway.

The giveaway will run from 12am on 22nd September 2014 until 12am on the 4th October 2014. The winner will be notified within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway. The only mandatory ways of entering are to follow myself and Huck And Pucker on Twitter. The rest are entirely optional ways to give yourself more entries.

Good luck guys xxx

Click Here To Enter

Trust In Me by Sophie McKenzie.

trust in me

 

 

Publisher

Simon & Schuster UK  – Published May 8th 2014.

 

Blurb

Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy’s sister, Kara, they’ve always told each other everything.

Or so Livy thought.

So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as.

Troubled by doubt but alone in her suspicions, Livy sets out to prove that Julia was in fact murdered. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend’s private life will cause her to question everything she thought she knew about Julia. And the truth that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart.

 

My Review

I received and e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Uk and Netgalley.

The structuring of this book reminded me of  ‘This Is The Water’ by Yannick Murphy. We have chapters narrated by Livy, the main protagonist, as well as chapters told as memories by the killer.However, unlike ‘This Is The Water’, we do not find out who the killer is until close to the end.

Livy is a character I can relate to in that she has a busy home life and is devoted to her children. She’s very likable, if a little neurotic, and is already in turmoil before Julia dies as her marriage is failing due to her husbands past indiscretions. I wish McKenzie had told us a little more about Will, Livy’s husband, as all we knew was he was a hardworking professional who had been unfaithful in the past. I feel like he was defined by his mistakes and we didn’t get to know much else about him.

The killer, who describes himself as a “psychopath” is pretty well hidden in this book. For a while I was completely convinced it was a certain person, then in the middle of the novel my suspicion switched to somebody else and only about three quarters of the way through did it actually click with me who the killer was. I found the killer to be very cold and calculating, describing the murders with no emotion. He also only actually killed out of perceived necessity 4 times, the rest being purely for his pleasure. It was almost like he was claiming the victim as his own by killing them and keeping mementos from each person. He also claimed that he loved Kara, despite killing her, saying that she was his ‘angel girl’. Why kill her then? Why not try and be her boyfriend if you love her? I mean, he wasn’t rejected by her. He never even tried to be with her so what’s with the brutal murder? I would also have liked, at the end, to have some sort of reaction by the killer’s family instead of being left with no clue about the fallout.

Julia is a character that confused me greatly. We hear one version of her from Livy, another from Damien, her ‘Dirty Blonde’ and a third from her twin brother. I can believe that Livy and Damien’s versions of her were both true but her brother’s nastier version of her was neither proved or disproved and I would have love to know either way if he was telling the truth and if not, why. I feel that there was a lot more to Julia than we were told in the book.

Overall the book is gripping, although very repetitive in places. We hear Livy obsessing over Catrina it seems like every other page. I get that you would be worried about the woman your husband had an affair with but I think McKenzie over-egged the pudding a little. Also, I think that some of the action was maybe a little far-fetched. The one thing I really don’t like, not just in this book but in any, is any sort of violence or murder involving children. There isn’t a lot of it in there but it makes me really uncomfortable to read about it. I’m just really sensitive over anything to do with children or the elderly. Not the authors fault, I know, but if I had known about certain things that happened in the book before reading it then I would perhaps have thought twice. I’m going to give this book a solid 3 stars. I honestly would have given it 4 had it not been for harm coming to children in the story. That’s just a personal thing.

I would definitely recommend ‘Trust In Me’ for any fan of crime novels and thrillers. If, like me, you are sensitive about violence towards children, I would suggest proceeding with caution.

 

Rating

starstarstar

If You Lived Here, You’d Be Perfect By Now: The Unofficial Guide to Sweet Valley High by Robin Hardwick.

svh

 

 

Publisher.

Amazon Digital Services – Published February 13th 2013.

 

Blurb.

If you were a teen during the mid-eighties to to mid-nineties, chances are you have read a Sweet Valley High book. You may have discovered them at your local library Their soft-focus pictures of beautiful, blonde twins beckoned you. They seemed sophisticated. Dangerous. You probably were on the cusp of starting high school and couldn’t stop reading anything and everything about what high school was like. You dreamed of boyfriends, dances, adulthood!

If You Lived Here,You’d Be Perfect Right Now chronicles author and retro pop culture enthusiast Robin Hardwick rereading the entire series and documenting a grown woman’s view of the angst and absurdity of the lives of the perfect Wakefield twins Each book of the series is revisited with equal parts sociological lens, parody, and sardonic nostalgia.

 

My Review.

As a girl in her late twenties, I am the right age to have been completely obsessed by the Sweet Valley books in the mid-nineties. And obsessed I was! I longed to have a twin sister and have – as Francine Pascal or one of her ghost writers used to say – “golden blonde hair, aquamarine eyes the same colour as the ocean and classic So-Cal good looks.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only girl who wanted a best friend like Lila Fowler or a hunky boyfriend like Ken Matthews and a social life that consisted of hanging out at the mall or in your friend’s parents mansion.

This book takes us right back there to the adventures of the outgoing, popular Jessica and the shy, studious Elizabeth, but reading it through the older, more cynical eyes of Robin Hardwick. Through these eyes, the once popular, spoiled Jessica comes across as having more than a few sociopathic tendencies. Manipulating everyone around her and taking no responsibility for her actions, she is a lot less appealing and I no longer wish I was her! Elizabeth, once endearingly shy and always a sympathetic ear for her friends, now appears to be nothing more than an interfering, uptight shrew. (Harsh? Maybe, but fair.)

The book itself is edited poorly. Too many errors spoil the read. That, coupled with the fact that Hardwick, while undoubtedly witty, re-uses her quips almost as often as Francine Pascal re-uses the “one of the Wakefield twins is kidnapped” plot line, makes it a disappointing read. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sorry that I read it. It was fun to re-visit my childhood for a while. I very much doubt I will read it again, though. I’m giving this book 2 stars, purely for the nostalgia. If you, like me, were a Sweet Valley fan, you might enjoy it. Just don’t go in expecting too much.

 

Rating.

starstar