Friday, 17 November 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Secrets for the Mad (Dodie)

"When I feel like I'm going mad I write.
A lot of my worst fears have come true; fears that felt so big I could barely hold them in my head. I was convinced when they happened the world would end.

But the world didn't end. In fact, it pushed on and demanded to keep spinning through all sorts of mayhem, and I got through it.And because I persisted, I learned lessons about how to be a stronger, kinder, better human - lessons you can only learn by going through these sorts of things.

This is for the people with minds that just don't stop; for those who feel everything a thousand times more than others around them.

Here are some words I wrote." 

Dodie, or doddleoddle is a musician, songwriter, YouTube personality, and she writes. 'Secrets for the Mad' is a beautiful book, a collection of thoughts and photos, lyrics and words, and some truly stunning artwork. 

So this book is split into a few sections - 'my bad brain', 'obsessions', 'confessions', and 'life lessons'. Now I'll be the first to admit that reading about mental health is hard, especially if it's something you struggle with. But Dodie has written about it in a hopeful way, which is tricky to do if you feel as though you're stuck at the bottom of a well. She's included her darkest moments, but also how she's gotten through them - with her list of small but important things, and her friends and family. As someone who sometimes struggles with getting lost in my own mind, the fact that I can do something small like writing a list of happy things that could really help is a wonderful bit of information. 

In 'obsessions', we learn of Dodie's struggle with food, with alcohol, and makeup, as well as more. I think for younger people to see how damaging the media and social networking sites can be - we're all encouraged to be happy, to be skinny and this chapter just perfectly highlights these issues. It can't have been easy to write about these things, and it was tough to read about them, but as I've already mentioned, it's important. 

'Confessions' speaks of love and heartbreak, abusive relationships and how to process and deal with these. It was insanely difficult for me to read about these, having just gone through a break-up myself, but it was helpful to see someone else's perspective of the emotions and confusion I've been feeling. Loving is a part of life and to open up about the things in this section must have been incredibly hard. But again, it's processing, it's healing and I really respect Dodie for doing this. 

And finally, 'life lessons', what would we do without them? Learn how to cook with Daniel J Layton, find out that why you should understand and embrace your sexuality, and how families can change and recover from what they once were. This is, in my opinion, the most important section of this book because it highlights just how much a person can grow and learn from everything in their life. For someone only just in their 20s, Dodie knows so much and while she still struggles with things sometimes, I think she's someone for younger girls to look up to - she's kind, she's caring and she understands what it is to grow up. 

So yes, if you want to be inside the head of someone who doesn't understand what they're thinking, definitely pick up this book. It's emotional, but you'll fall in love with it. 

- Dottie x

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Autumn Hair and Skincare ♥

Hey all, 

With the colder months starting to creep up on us, it's about time to start switching up our hair and skincare routines to ensure we stay nice and soft and supple, hahah!
So, I'm going to divide this post up into a few sections: hair. face, and body. It basically makes it a bit easier for you to read and understand, and a lot easier for me to write! 


Shampoo and Conditioner: Sometimes with hair care products, I just use what my mum buys, so that can be anything from Herbal Essences to the (really nice!) Alberto Balsam range from Tesco. But, my favourites are as follows: 
Dove Intensive Repair shampoo and conditioner - great for heat-styled hair, it leaves your hair soft and shiny and smelling great.
Lush Daddy-O shampoo - smells amazing, again soft and shiny hair, and it also makes your blondes look blonder. Win-win!
Lush Fun - it's got a Play-Doh consistency, but it leaves a lovely sweet smell in your hair and leaves it so shiny! 
I also tend to use whatever shampoo and conditioner is on offer for just everyday, but the ones above are my favourites. I also heat style my hair a lot, so I use a VO5 heat protect serum which can be used on wet and dry hair, or the Superdrug heat protection spray if I've used a heavy conditioner or shampoo as I feel the VO5 one can weigh my hair down and it gets greasy quicker. Cool. 


Shower Gel: I tend to use anything from the Sanex shower cream range for everyday, but my favourite treat-yourself shower gels are The Body Shop's Satsuma shower gel, or Lush's Plum Rain, as it smells amazing and leaves your skin really soft without moisturising. 

Moisturisers: I use a few, mostly on my arms and legs, and they are: Lush's charity pot (on my tattoo), Holland & Barrett's aloe vera gel, or Avon's family moisturiser. I have also recently started using a massage bar from Lush on my legs and it leaves them softer than anything else! (Pro tip: if you exfoliate after shaving your legs, and then moisturise too, your skin will be so soft, and it's a really nice self-care thing to do). 


I'm trying to use up a lot of products that I purchased a while back, so I'm using a lot of products on my face right now. Here are my favourites...

Simple's Light Hydrating Daily Moisturiser 
Simple's Oil Balancing Day Cream
Superdrug's Vitamin E Eye Cream
Aloe Vera Gel (good stuff this)
Nivea Soft Moisturising Cream
Nivea Creme
I use quite a few moisturisers because my skin gets really dry around my eyes, and really oily on my t-zone and cheeks, so I use the oil balancing one there, and the hydrating one in my dry zones. I use the Nivea ones at night, because even if you have oily skin, you do still need to hydrate it!

The last product that I have a lot of hype about is Lush's Tea Tree Toner Water. I use it after cleansing my face in the morning and after showering in the evening and it both removes any traces of cleanser left on my skin, and I feel that it's improved the appearance of my skin. Plus, the tea tree really helps with combating any spots which is a bonus! 

My skincare routine is something that I've been working on for a while, and these are just the products that work for me and my skin. Obviously everyone is different and what helps my skin might not help yours but it's definitely worth trying some different products and routines and finding what helps your skin. 

I hope this was an interesting read, I've linked all of the products that I use so you can check them out. 

Happy autumn loves ♥

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman)

"Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life.
She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. 

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn to navigate the world everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life." 

This book caught my eye when browsing in my local bookshop; there was just something about the white cover and the title that I found intriguing. By the title, I assumed it would be a typical mental health type teenager-y story, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

Everything about main character Eleanor Oliphant is perfectly just-so, and the way the book is written is suits the story and character so well. I didn't find this to be a sad novel, it was punctuated by funny parts, and heartwarming parts that just seemed to make the more negative parts a little more bearable. 

I must say that it took me a little while to get into this book, as it sometimes does when my head is stuck in another story, but once I reached a certain point (I won't give any spoilers!), I found it impossible to put down - I loved it that much! 

It's almost written in the same style as The Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but with a much more grown-up feel to it (of course due to the age of the character). 

As you can (sort of) see from the sticker on the cover of my book, this novel was included in the BBC Radio 2 Book Club, and you can click here to download a free chapter to see if this is for you!

So anyway, this book was quite different to any other I've read, due to themes and the way of writing, the 'voice' of the character as it were. I did enjoy it, and would totally recommend it to my friends!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I Saw Suzanne Vega...

Yep, that's right folks, I saw the real Suzanne Vega! If you don't know who she is, she's a rather obscure 70s/80s singer-songwriter with a beautiful style of acoustic guitar. My music taste is partly something I've picked up off of my dad - Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Suzanne Vega, so it was incredible to get the opportunity to see her live.

She was touring because it's the 30th anniversary of her album Solitude Standing (which, for those of you who don't know, is my favourite of her albums), and the 25th anniversary of the album 99.9°F. So the evening was split into two, one half for one album, and the other for the second album, with a little break in between. 

The first song on Solitude Standing is 'Tom's Diner', which is sung without music, just a vocal. The whole room was deathly silent as this song was sung and it was incredible. This was more than just a gig, as I wrote on my Instagram after it finished - it was a performance, a celebration of music and it was wonderful. 

The special thing about this concert was that it was seated - something I've never experienced before. I meant that I could close my eyes and forget where I was and just let the music unfold around me. It was magical, and I didn't get hurt or pushed over or anyone dropped on my head! 

One thing I found absolutely staggering was the progression in just five years - the sound had changed and evolved and the music became more accessible. Suzanne Vega wasn't just an obscure guitarist singing of goddesses, she made it to the charts, and even got a single higher than Nine Inch Nails! 

I left the venue feeling so inspired to play guitar again, and to write and to learn and it was wonderful. Words cannot describe this experience but it was incredible. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

A Funny Old Time


A funny old time.
It feels as though the whole world is tucked up in bed asleep.
Even the sun is safely hidden away,
The morning cold.

Everything is quiet.


A funny old time
Halfway between awake and asleep
And here I am
Not halfway but all the way
100 per cent
Completely there

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

My Favourite Nail Polishes...

I like painting my nails, it makes me feel more put-together and stops me from biting my nails. Instead, I pick at the nail varnish but that's beside the point. I've been quite busy recently but I thought I'd share a few snaps of my favourite nail varnishes, all from Barry M. 

The 'Plumpy' top coat is honestly amazing, it really does make your nail varnish last a lot longer, and the 'Iron Mani' base coat has repaired my nails and made them much healthier!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

♥ Five Happy Things ♥

I've seen so many bloggers writing posts like these (especially Jemma at, and I think it is a beautiful thing that can be so grounding and wonderful. So, here are five things that are making me happy right now...

1. I've finally decided on what to do at university, and now I just need to gather the motivation to go through the steps to apply. 

2. I've finally decided to quit my job, because it's making me stressed and anxious, and I feel as though the nine months I've been there are enough - I need a change, something closer to home. I wrote a little more about this in my most recent post on 18 Going on Eighty.

3. Once I get home from work tomorrow at 12:30, I've got all day to relax. Four-hour shifts are both a blessing and a cure, but I'm really looking forward to my relaxing afternoon/evening tomorrow. I might bake some yummy cookies and curl up with a book.

4. I've got so many lovely Lush products to use up, and I love that! You may scoff and tell me how expensive they are, but I believe in treating yourself and Lush does that well!

5. A good cup of tea makes everything a little brighter. I don't know what it is about the magical healing properties of tea, but it works. You can't beat a good book and a nice hot cup of tea.