I really enjoyed On The Come Up by Angie Thomas about a young female rapper named Bri.
The story covers the pressure to live up to a parents past reputation; love and friendship; institutionalised racism; taking a stand whilst simultaneously trying to keep out of trouble; drug dealing and past addiction and struggling to pay the bills and keep the refrigerator on.
A realistic description of life in a dangerous neighbourhood, which is also a place where Bri has grown up, where she has family and possibly the best chance of realising her dream.
There are a lot of light hearted, funny moments between Bri, her family and friends which balance out the struggle and worry of everyday life.
This novel really is brilliant at showing the confusing choices presented and the emotional strength it takes for a young woman to remain authentic and respected when coming up in the industry.
This time two years ago I posted the photo below to Instagram and said I was having a girly-night to myself and made it sound so positive.
What I didn’t say was that I’d had to go on Just Eat to find somewhere local which sold food and beer/wine because it felt like an overwhelming physical AND mental impossibility to go to the local shops. I was so hungry and really needed something to cheer myself up too.
I’d gotten into the habit of not getting (dragging myself) out of bed until 4.00pm (sadly after it had gone dark) so I hadn’t seen daylight for five days. I’d stopped being bothered to get dressed or comb my wildly frizzy hair or to tidy up.
The bloke had to be elsewhere and he was so stressed and busy he really needed to get on with it and I was trying to be as supportive as poss. But I was on my own all week, until weekend and felt really lonely. But I also felt guilty and silly bothering him.
I realise looking back that the Depression had crept back but at the time I was kidding myself that I was having fun enjoying not having any responsibilities or structure.
Ironically that is exactly what helps me, as it stops the endless days and nights all blending together. Plus someone to bounce my thoughts off so they aren’t swimming around in my head and growing more negative and repetitive is vital for me.
I wish I’d put an honest caption on Insta about how I was feeling at the time or told my Dad or my bloke how I felt. BUT I’d been fighting for decades to have my disabilities and chronic illness recognised and to get on ESA benefit so I could rest at home all day. I felt guilty that I wasn’t now happy and thought I must be being ungrateful or overly-dramatic. But actually, when you can’t or aren’t doing much, whole days and nights alone can seem like an eternity.
After doing this on repeat for about a month (literally just living for the weekend when my bloke would be able to come back basically) I phoned him in floods of tears.
We talked for an hour and worked out a better way of doing things and it made a vast amount of difference to my mental health.
There isn’t always a reason though. Sometimes clinical depression can hit you for no reason at all and that’s perfectly normal, not your fault and just as valid.
If you are feeling crappy or apathetic to stuff you normally love doing or are struggling to keep your head above water, please don’t fool yourself you are ‘fine’. Admit to yourself that you aren’t feeling okay and then tell someone else, even if it’s just one other person (i.e. a considerate family member, a friend, an empathetic friend of a friend or your GP for instance) IRL or online.
You don’t have to be fine all of the time and forcing yourself to try can do more damage than good. Being open and honest about your feelings can lift a huge weight.
The Hip-Hop Chip Shop has gone mobile! They are parked throughout February at The Carlton Club in Whalley Range, Manchester.
We decided to book on their pop-up website (which I now think is mostly booked up) to make it easier ordering food from their pop-up van. You can visit the van but you might have a bit of wait so (as they advise) wrap up warm!
This is the Vegangstarr Sausage Meal
Skin-on chips; Mushy Peas; Battered Sausage and Tartare Sauce; with a side of Battered pickled gherkins and a Chocolate Brownie by Lush Brownies (Chortlon) for desert.
They also have a battered halloumi meal if that’s more your deal.
The fact that people peel potatoes when making chips now amazes me. Battered gherkins have some real bite to them in texture and flavour. The inside of the sausage has a soft consistency like sweet potato pakora but it tastes exactly like a chippy sausage – whaat?! The choccy brownie is perfection.
FYI This is enough food to last me for my tea tonight and breakfast and dinner tomorrow.
I was having a very Dyspraxic day (knocking everything over/dropping everything/getting stuff tangled up/bumping into stuff/tripping up/behaving more drunk than when I’m actually drunk!) so upon arrival to his flat, my Bloke surprised me with (gluten free, dairy free) Mac n’ Cheese to cheer me up.
This Pepper and Cute 2021 diary (£19.95) is a diary, organiser, planner and journal. With extra pages for TV, book and music lists, motivational illustrations, a zip-lock keepsake pocket, pretty post-it notes and stickers it’s a fun combination!
There are four different covers so I chose this one as it seems rather apt for someone living with disabilities and chronic illness like myself. I’m just that much of a diamond!
The lettering is rose gold, violet, sparkly rose gold or rainbow sparkly depending on how you tilt it. How clever is that!
Some of the Serious Bits
Some of the Fun Bits
My only complaint is that, even though this diary comes with several sheets per theme, you can’t buy extra refills so you have to be selective/frugal with how you use some parts of it.
This would make such a lovely, thoughtful present for someone. I’ve not been as excited to start a diary since my Smash Hits Magazine one which I got for ‘Crimbo’ as a teen in the 90’s, hehee!
As you probably know by now, I’m Dyspraxic so faffing about with eyelash glue and false lashes has extremely messy, if rather amusing consequences. Not a realistic option!
This is why I jumped at the chance of reviewing Lola’s magnetic lash kit £35. The lashes ‘stick’ to the metallic eyeliner which comes with the kit. Afterward the just gently peel off (they are reusable) and liner removed with oil (which also comes in the kit).
I’ve been given two styles of lashes (there are six in total, with different options for kits, colours of eyeliner and bundles): The thick, fluttery Diamond style which look fabulous (above) and the more subtle Sapphire style which pass for my real lashes but prettier. I prefer the latter because I can wear these quickly and easily, every time I go out, with hardly any other makeup.
I struggle with the Diamond lashes but the Sapphire one’s are perfect as they don’t crowd my mono-lid or drag down the look of my hooded eyes.
Quite a difference between my normal lashes (left eye) and the falsies (right eye)!
The eyeliner brush is incredibly easy to use and I draw the best flick I’ve ever done but I still manage to get eyeliner all over (and even inside) the inner corner of my eye. After I’ve spread that everywhere by trying to clean it up with the oil on a cotton pad, I let it dry. The lashes themselves are fairly easy to apply. I think they actually lift my hooded eyelids too!
What do you think? I would love to hear your comments as always.