Lifestyle, Of Pens & Paper

the secret to survive the holiday season like a MINIMALIST:

PLAN AHEAD.

Straight up, this is all I need to say. Make sure to LIKE this post!

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Discussion, Of Pens & Paper

where i’ve been 🙈 + what’s coming 🙉

*waves*

Hello again, internet!

It feels like I haven’t posted in months. My last post was a week ago, but before that I didn’t post for about two weeks, which explains this feeling of coming home 🙂

So I’m back, and here to explain why I disappeared, plus what you can expect – for the rest of 2017. Because yes, we’re almost at December (which is f*cked up – where did the year go???), which means there will be a final round of posts before preparing for the new year ahead!

So, first off:where i've been.pngBasically, it was school.

Don’t get me wrong, I like school, and I know I’m extremely privileged to be able to have an education. However, because we’re coming up to Christmas exams – and we’re really getting into the swing of things since the start of school is over – it means an extra study workload on top of my usual two-hour homework. i.e. ZERO blogging time.

Our exams start this coming Thursday and continue until the next Wednesday. I plan to not post at all apart from on the weekend until the exams are over (keep reading to find out what’s in store!), so I can focus on getting good grades – you won’t be seeing me until next Saturday, I’m afraid!

Once the exams are over, I plan to go back to my regular schedule of posting three/four times a week. School should be quieter, and the holidays are coming, anyway!

what's coming.pngDeep stuff, I can assure you.

  • Next Saturday you’ll get some tips on how to survive conquer the holiday season like a true minimalist.
  • Once exams are over, I’ll be talking religion and spirituality, as I want to write more posts that connect with my beliefs. This will amount to around three posts (in a week).
  • I’m then planning a series on preparing for the new year ahead. You can get your life organized, plus be ready to achieve all your resolutions for 2018!
  • There may also be some diverging posts here and there, such as a book review, wrap-up, minimalism post, or a post connected to my religion and beliefs.
  • The final post of the year will be a 2017 wrap-up. I’ll talk to you about how my goals went, how the year was for me, plus what I’m hoping to achieve in 2018.

Sound good?in the comments...Tell me the one major thing you plan on doing before 2017 finishes – be it for your blog, health, fitness, reading, school/uni work, or just general goals!

(also, don’t forget to hit LIKE – it lets me know you want to see more posts like this)

Of Pens & Paper (1)

 

 

 

Beauty, Discussion, Of Pens & Paper

my no-shampoo story

The whole “no-poo method” has been pretty big on the internet lately. And being the hippy/spiritual/natural type person I am, I decided to try it.

Want to find out what went down?Keep Reading

For those of you who don’t know about this no shampoo method, let me explain.

Basically, you stop using shampoo and conditioner when you wash your hair. You can use rinses like apple cider vinegar and baking soda, but the aim is to be just using water.

On top of that, apparently your hair won’t require as much washing as usually would – you can go for over a week according to some people.

In short, it sounds brilliant.

(well, not to those of you who are going “Eww, no shampoo? My hair’s gonna be gross!”)

To be honest, I actual do lie the concept. After all, didn’t our ancestors the cavemen go without soap of any kind for hundreds of years?

As well as that, the majority of grocery store shampoos nowadays tend to strip your hair of natural oils, and overall wreck havoc on your scalp. I love he idea of going all-natural and returning your hair to its original state.what went down.pngInitially, I was absolutely terrified to try the method. I’d read up beforehand, and people were discussing the “two to six week adjustment period” when your hair adjusts to having no shampoo. During that time, your hair is a lot greasier that what it normally is.

Also, I’d read about the different washes and rinses you could do with your hair; the most common one being apple cider vinegar and baking soda. My mother stocks baking soda, but I’d never even seen apple cider vinegar in a store, never mind in our cupboard.

After much deliberation, I jumped in headfirst (no pun intended). I ended up not actually using any rinses/washes for my hair, and just scrubbed my scalp and rinsed it with plan ol’ water.

I stuck this out for two weeks.result.pngFAIL. There’s no other way to put it.

Here’s why:

  • I had some sort of buildup on the back of my scalp. Gross, I know.
  • My hair just didn’t feel clean. I mean, it felt like I’d rinsed it, but not like I’d actually given it a full wash.
  • My hair was pretty greasy. Well, it wasn’t too bad, but it was definitely worse than when I used shampoo.
  • The ends of my hair were really dry. My hair isn’t exactly the healthiest with no split ends, and I wasn’t giving it the moisturizing that came from conditioner.

no regrets.pngBecause believe it or not, this has actually been pretty restorative for my hair! I’ve never seen such good results from shampoo and conditioner, and plus? My hair now takes at least two days to start looking greasy, so I can last without a shower for longer.

I actually recommend that you try the no-shampoo method. If it works for you and you want to kepp it up, great, but if not, maybe you’ll get an effect like I did.

in the comments...

What are your thoughts on this no-shampoo method? And have you tried it out? If so, what were your results?

Of Pens & Paper (1)

Blogging, Books, Discussion, Of Pens & Paper

DISCUSSION: can you make money as a book blogger?

Whilst working on some fun stuff for my ecourse, the following question came to mind:

How can you make money as a book blogger?

I like to think that I’m somewhat of an expert blogger. After all, it’s been over a year since I first started blogging, and since then I must have tried every topic, niche, and strategy available to have a successful blog.

After discovering the secret to a successful blog (which I’ll be revealing in my next post – subscribe to be notified!), I decided to go back to book blogging. A short while later, the question arose to me: can yu actually make money as a book blogger?

The short answer: you can.

In this post I’m going to discuss several ways in which you can start earning a little extra cash from your passion. After all, if you’re putting effort into it, why not start gaining something?book merch.pngYes, I know that you probably know. But I’m still listing this for the people who aren’t familiar with Etsy or Society6.

Basically, you can create anything you like – candles, device covers, shirts, mugs, notebooks, jewelery… the list goes on – and sell it on a website such as Etsy.com. It’s a pretty standard way of making money as a book blogger – just visit a few book blogs and you’ll see what I mean.editing services.png

If you have some language skills, you can offer editing services for authors. This can be beta-reading, sensitivity reading, blurb writing, or just plain editing of novel. You can charge authors per word or page, and if the manuscript is of a decent length, you can get a pretty good payment!

The only catch here is that an author will be less likely to hire you if you don#’t have some qualification – at least, all the editing services I’ve seen have been offered by people who’ve either taken courses or who have actual college degrees.

But don’t let that put you off! There are no actual rules for when it comes to editing – really, it just depends on the author.

If you’d like to see examples of offering editing services, I recommend checking out this page from Arctic Books.create a course.png

I’ve seen countless bloggers do this, especially women like Krista from Blog BeautifullyThere are social media courses, blogging courses, writing courses, photography courses… it’s down to what you think you have the most expertise in.

Courses re totally customizable depending on the person. There are no hard and fast rules as to what you should create, how much it’s worth, how to promote it and so forth. One person could value their course for €10 and another person could value the same course at €100.

Quick tip: if you want to create a course, take a course! There are plenty of free courses online, and even if you may not need to take it, you can see how it’s done and get some ideas for yourself.

This is exactly what I’ve done. In August 2017 I decided to have a go at offering an ecourse, and so created Blogging For Better. At the moment it’s free, but I’m planning to expand it and then decide on an (affordable) price. Want to grab a spot before there’s a price? Click here!ebook.pngAgain, this is very basic. Write an e-book – be it fact or fiction, a guide or a story. It’s relatively easy to do, and once you have an idea, all you need to do is write it.

E-books are something that can always bring you in a little “coffee cash” (i.e. €10 to buy your coffees for the week). People will always buy them, especially if they’re not too overpriced and are useful for the readers.

Plus, they don’t have to be long. I’ve seen e-book for blogging, social media, health, fitness, etc. that are no more than 30 pages. And yet the prices!

Remember, you don’t always have to rely on money just from a single book. Write a few short e-books, and create an ecourse. If you want to really draw in buyers, offer something at a discounted price when something else is purchased. For example, a person can get 40% off an ebook on social media marketing if they pay to do an ecourse about blogging.

Just make sure the book is something you have knowledge about. Don’t write an e-book on internet marketing when you’re a professional photographer. You know what I mean?

(P.S. Speaking of e-books, I’m in the process of creating something special for y’all! Make sure to subscribe in the sidebar to be notified of the reveal 😉)

social media management.png

I know next to nothing about this, but it’s something I’ve heard of a few times.

Basically, you manage someone’s social media account for them and optimize it for views/likes/shares/etc., which should in turn bring them traffic, which should in turn bring them revenue. And you’re paid a wage, not a commission (while, the people I know of anyway).

While I can’t really advise you on this as I don’t know much, you can try visiting Blog Beautifully, because I know that Krista (used to, anyway) do Pinterest Management.in the comments....png

Tell me the one method that has worked for you in monetizing your book blog!

Of Pens & Paper (1)

 

 

Of Pens & Paper, Wrap-Up & TBR

october wrap-up + november plans

We’re almost in November.

Where in the name of all that is holy did 2017 go?!

So that means we’re going to have a look at my experiences in October!

Keep Reading

 

books.png

I actually read a pretty interesting assortment of books this month!

"Hunger" by Roxane Gay Photo - 6 extraordinary feminists ...French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille GuilianoThe Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle — Reviews ...Homegoing : Yaa Gyasi : 9780241242735Book Review – ‘How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are’ | Bits ...Waiting on Wednesday: ‘They Both Die at the End’ by Adam ...Announcing the First Read in Brit + Co’s New Book Club ...David Levithan – A Review | The Book WarsGenuine Fraud by E. Lockhart — Reviews, Discussion ...POPULAR FICTION | Daily Mail OnlineWitch Child (Witch Child, #1) by Celia Rees — Reviews ...Sorceress - Celia Rees Junior Book product reviews and ...Marie Kondo to 'Spark Joy' with new bookI, Coriander - WikipediaOn the Smugglers' Radar | The Book SmugglersThe Book Smugglers

Hunger: a memoir of (my) body – Roxane Gay ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

French Women Don’t Get Fat – Mireille Giuliano ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½

The Accident Season – Moïra Fowley-Doyle ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

[x5] How To Be Parisian – 

Caroline de Maigret, Anne Berest, Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai [did not finish]

They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Every Day – David Levithan ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Dear Ijeawele, Or, A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions –

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ⭐  ⭐  ⭐  ⭐  ⭐

[x2] Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Witch Child + Sorceress – Celia Rees ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Spark Joy – Marie Kondo ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I, Coriander – Sally Gardner ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

blogging.png

Let’s have a quick throwback to this month’s posts:

As you can see, there wasn’t the whole lot of content this month, but what there was, I tried to make it as good as I possibly could. Personally, I think this was the best post, but I also talked about an issue that’s important to me in this post.

life.png

Pure Peppermint - 20 Single Tea Bags (Image 1)I’m trying to think back, and now that I actually consider it, October wasn’t exactly an eventful month. I was sick a week or two ago, because #tistheseason for colds and flu, but on the bright side this means I’ve had my winter illness for the year! (i.e. I hopefully won’t be sick again this year).

I’ve started drinking tea an awful lot more lately, and it’s so nice to start my morning with a soothing mug of peppermint! I highly recommend trying this – and in case you’re wondering, I’ve been drinking Twinings’ Pure Peppermint.

November Plans.png

In case you didn’t know, I have a blogging ecourse! I’ve been experiencing a lull in people signing up recently, so if you want to sign up and grab a spot with no waiting list, click here.

Anyway, the reason I’m mentioning this is because in the course, there are opportunities for you to snag free printables/worksheets/guides. And right now I’m in the process of creating some new freebies, which I’m really excited to announce the release of.

So if you sign up in November, you’ll be one of the first people to try them out! But places are limited, as 1 week is required per client. Get your place now! 

As well as that, I’m participating in a blog tour this week! On Saturday I’ll be posting a review of Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal, as well as doing an author trivia game – subscribe at the sidebar to be notified when the post is up.

In the comments...

  • Is it just me or did you also blink-and-miss 2017?!
  • How was your October?
  • Tell me what’s been going on in your life!
  • What are your reading stats for this month?
  • Any good books?
  • Or what about general favourites – beauty, fitness, lifestyle, etc.?

Please like this post if you liked it – your likes let me know what posts I should be writing for people to enjoy!

Of Pens & Paper (1)

 

Discussion, Feminism, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Of Pens & Paper

i’m finally talking about it.

I promised you several weeks ago that I would share the story of my skin – how it started, what happened, and how it is now. Along with that, I’ll be giving you my honest thoughts and advice on how to deal with problem skin.

I’ll also show you the products I’ve used – scrubs, toners, cleansers, oils… I’ll tell you how the products works and list the benefits of it, as well as the – non-benefits? of each product.

Just a little side note: for privacy reasons, I will not be showing any pictures of my face. However, I’ll show you the products I use.

my story

My skin problems go waaaaay back. Since I was… nine? Ten? No, nine. Since I was nine I haven’t had fully clear skin, and have been battling for a clear complexion since then.

So if you think I don’t know what having bad skin is like: think again.

I can remember when I was nine and ten feeling so horribly ashamed of my skin. I was disgusted with myself, and some nights I’d think I didn’t even deserve to live. And some people might look at my skin and say that it’s fine, compared to what they have, but in my own eyes I was a hideous monstrosity.

And remember: I was nine. What nine-year-olds do you see with problem skin?

Somewhere that year my wonderful mother entered, introducing to one of many facial products: rose water. And it did help, I’ll grant that – before this I hadn’t been using anything on my face, simply because I didn’t even know that’s what people did for problem skin.

The rose water helped a little, but not much. Then around a year later I was given this:

Image result for clean and clear blackhead clearing cleanser review

(Clean & Clear Blackhead Clearing Cleanser – photo from here)

And wow. You knwo the way all those skincare products say things like “results from day 1”? I sh*t you not, I saw results from Day 1.

I used this cleanser, as well as the Clean & Clear Deep Action Cream Wash.

(photo from here)

I wasn’t really a fan of this, because it didn’t really do much, apart from just clean like a soap, but I used it occasionally nevertheless.

I continued to use the products on my face for a while, but then I started to notice that my skin was getting slightly worse. I figured that my skin had probably gotten used to the products or something, and they were getting less effective, so debated about purchasing something new.

Then I got a tablet – it was the first time I had such easy access to the internet, as I didn’t have any devices (excluding my Kindle). About a month after that, my skin was going through some rough periods, so I Googled “how to get clear skin.”

It was mindblowing.

I discovered some simple hacks like tea tree oil, and toothpaste (but never use toothpaste because it’s full of chemicals). And… I was also told to eat a healthy diet.

Before that, I thought the only reason people ate healthily was because they wanted to lose weight. And I’ve always been skinny enough, I guess (it’s in my genes though),so it never really occurred to me to eat particularly healthily. And besides, my diet at the time didn’t seem too bad, so I never thought of eating differently.

Yet here I was being told about the concept of “what’s on the inside shows on the outside.”

So I tried. At first, when I read online, I was told to cut out sugar and dairy. I didn’t really pay much attention to sugar, as I knew next to nothing about it at the time and how it’s in pretty much everything. Dairy, however: the idea that milk was full of hormones seemed logical at the time, so I told my mother that I needed to cut down on dairy for my skin.

Her response was “You need to cut down on bread, not milk.”

For a while, I ignored her advice – I gradually saw how much bread I was eating on a daily basis, so no wonder I had breakouts.

And then this year, I tried cutting down on bread for a week – and I just went “Woah” at the end of that week – my skin was almost fully clear. But then of course, I ruined it a short time later by binging on sweets.

Since then… I guess it’s been a yo-yo. I’ll eat okay at home, but then we’ll have a family holiday/getaway/event and I’ll eat sugar and bread, undoing my hard work. Then I’ll vow to never eat bread again, until another holiday/getaway/event comes along. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, but I’ve decided to be more careful when it comes to eating outside of home.

in my head

I’ve talked to you about the physical aspect of this story – now it’s time to get down into the mental side: how this affects me psychologically.

The answer?

IT’S FUCKING HARD.

When my skin is more or less clear, it’s great, but on days when I have really bad breakouts all I want to do is curl up in bed, have no contact with anyone, and cry until my skin is clear again.

But of course, there’s school, friends, extracurriculars… as much as I want to do that, I can’t. I have to go out acting like the happy, friendly, clever girl friends and classmates see when they meet me.

When really,

And I’m not trying to be funny. The worst part is that I know I can have clear skin – I don’t have any special acne or anything (you’ll notice I haven’t actually used the word acne once in this post until now), so clear skin is from what I do to myself. Which is absolutely killer – come a breakout, and I’ll think “Oh, why did I have that dessert on Friday?!”

As if feeling disgusted with myself wasn’t bad enough, all around me I see tall, beautiful girls with porcelain skin, who are clever, sporty and popular.

That certainly doesn’t help – I’m not trying to be the whiny-bitch-in-the-corner girl, but sometimes I look at other girls and think, “They get to eat bread and sweets and dairy with not a single spot. How is that fair?”

On a lot of bad days, I look in the mirror and debate if I deserve to live. It’s that bad. And the worst part is, I feel like nobody identifies with me because it’s all “Oh well, just give it a week of eating healthy and your skin will be fine again!”

There’s not really anybody I can talk to. Well, I mean, I probably could say something to my mum, or a good friend, but in all likelihood my mother’s response would be to just wait and eat healthy, while friends would think I’m being whiny.

That’s a reason why I love blogging. I can talk to you people without you seeing my face, only my words. No matter how bad I’m feeling, blogging helps as it’s a way to express things that I can’t with the people around me.

This is going to sound pretty cheesy, but: you really have no idea how much I value blogging, and all the internet friends I’ve made. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you people so much.

Today.png

Now we’ve covered the story of my skin’s past, let’s talk about the present.

I want to tell you that today my skin is fully clear, and I’ll never rebound again. Oh, I really want to tell you that.

I can’t.

In truth, I’m still battling breakouts. They happen every few weeks or so, but I’ve managed to limit them with a healthy diet and exercise. And when they do happen… well, just read “In My Head.”

In the comments...

  • Do you struggle with your complexion?
  • Do you have skincare tips?
  • How do you deal with breakouts?

Of Pens & Paper (1)

I appreciate that you read this post. Thank you.

Please share it to spread awareness about people’s struggles with acne and skin problems, because together, we can change anything. ❤

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Of Pens & Paper

let’s take a challenge!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Recently I’ve been browsing YouTube, and have come across a few beautiful “morning routine” videos. These videos are created by vegans, yogis, fitness enthusiasts… they are full of happiness, health and light.

These videos have inspired me to change my (slightly boring) regular morning routine, so let’s take a challenge!

Every day starting tomorrow, I am (and you are, if you want!) going to try to make my morning routine as fulfilling as possible. This means:

  • Hydration (drink plenty of water, and cut out the caffeine)
  • Exercise (yoga/stretch/run/workout/gym/etc.)
  • Mindfulness (meditation/journaling/prayers/affirmations/etc.)
  • Natural beauty (less makeup & products/natural products/moisturizing)
  • Healthy eating (a nutritious breakfast)
  • No internet (give yourself some personal, deep time)

I’ll be more likely to put in extra effort if I make this public, so I’ll check back with you at the end of the week with an update.

And if you want to try this challenge too, feel free! You don’t even have to make it public, but if you want comment below telling me your thoughts and aims for the coming week.

Of Pens & Paper (1)

Sorry this post wasn’t as exciting as you might have expected, but join in on the challenge! And if not, I’ll have a minimalism post coming on Monday, so make sure to click SIGN ME UP at the sidebar 🙂

See you soon! ❤

 

 

 

Fitness, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Of Pens & Paper

5 simple tips to be mindful + stay healthy & fit AT THE SAME TIME

Really, being mindful and staying healthy + fit go hand in hand. But it can sometimes be  pretty hard – after a long, busy school or work day, you have thirty minutes to either bust a leg in some cardio, or meditate and journal.

Not to mention the fact that takeaways are just so much faster when you flop in the door, ready to eat your own arm.

Believe me, I know it can get hard sometimes. But in today’s post I wanted to share 5 ways in which you can be mindful, and stay healthy + fit AT THE SAME TIME. Does it get any better?

Read on to find out!

Tip #1.png

Do yoga.

Yoga is the best way to exercise and practice mindfulness at the same time. You’re getting in a good stretch and workout, while at the same time yoga also has a focus on breathing and feeling calm. What better way to spend 15 – 30 minutes when you come home, or just when you wake up?

Plus, it’s a great way to stretch your muscles after sitting all day at a desk or computer, or rising from a long sleep!

Tip #2.png

Wake up earlier.

If you’re the type of person who find themselves rushing around in the morning, with barely enough time to get to school or work, getting up a little earlier can make a huge difference.

Even an extra ten to fifteen minutes can mean you don’t forget anything, you have a chance to take your time with breakfast, exercise, or you can shower/do your full beauty routine.

Or something, that absolutely love to do because it’s so peaceful, is to stand/sit outside for a few minutes with a lovely warm cup of herbal tea. This would be a good thing to do first thing when you wake up, because (a) the tea will hydrate you after sleep and (b) the fresh air will wake you up.

Tip #3.png

Walk, walk, walk!

It’s exercise and mindfulness combined: exercise because of walking, and mindfulness because walking is a great de-stresser. Walking can help you to achieve mental clarity as well (you can run through tasks that need to be done, upcoming events, etc).

I enjoy either an early morning stroll (see previous tip) or a walk after dinner – after dinner, it can be a great way to allow your food to settle before you start doing your tasks/chores/errands again.

Tip #4.png

Spend less time on the internet.

I know, I know. You either have been told this a hundred times, or can’t imagine not logging onto your computer every single day (or both). But I really do urge you to take even a day off the web – and you’ll be astonished at how life moves on! When I first started taking regular no-internet days, I found I was much happier.

And if you’re worried about having nothing to do, don’t worry. When you realize that you can’t use your computer, you just automatically come up with other things to do (hint: now’s the time to sort that massive mountain of laundry, or do that quick gym workout).

Quick tip: if you think you might not have very good self-control, put your device in a place it’s hard to reach. For example, on top of a high cupboard. If you have to go to so much effort as getting a chair to take your device down, you’ll be less likely to quickly “check your emails” or something.

However, I understand that for some people you can’t always take a day off. Maybe you run an online business, and have to constantly send/reply to emails, edit posts/videos, create new content, etc.

So why not set a specific time for internet? For example, have the morning to yourself, and then at ten or eleven o’clock, you can open your laptop. Then reserve the late evening for yourself – switch off at five or six o’clock.

Tip #5.png

Keep track of your food.

I know, I know. This may seem like a weight loss thing, but I ca assure you, this is for health and wellbeing.

I started food journaling on Sunday – today’s day 4. And I must say, it’s really opened my eyes. For example, on day 1 I ate 5 pieces of salami, so I knew I had to watch and cut that out.

Food journaling is quite simply one of the best things to stay healthy. You can see your eating patterns and habits, and if you’re trying to lose weight this can also be a big game-changer.

Of Pens & Paper (1)

I hope you enjoyed this lifestyle post – I plan on bringing out more content that involves fitness, health and wellbeing, so stay tuned for that!

Much love ❤

 

Book Reviews, Books, Feminism, Of Pens & Paper, Self-empowerment

BOOK REVIEW: hunger

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

TRIGGER WARNING: child rape, fat shaming

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Hunger is a book completely unlike anything I’ve ever read.

Roxane Gay’s latest memoir is a raw, poignant, heartbreaking and completely unforgettable tale in which she talks about how she was raped when she was twelve, and her never-ending struggle with body image afterwards.

I can’t really write much of a review for this, because it’s someone’s life story, but I’ll do my best.

Side note: I’m not going to summarize the entire story, just the main points of it.

We start with Roxane as a child. A few paragraphs of her family, likes, dislikes, appearance, etc. Then we learn how she was raped by a boy she thought she was in love with, and who she thought was in love with her too.

From then on, Roxane starts eating and eating. The phrase “comfort food” is applicable here – she eats to make herself bigger, to hide herself from the outside world. She moves to a boarding school, and when she comes home she’s much fatter than when she left (sorry, I don’t know the exact weight). Her parents try to get her to diet when she’s at home, but when she gets back to school she undos all of the work.

After school, we see her various jobs, as well as her relationships with both men and women. And always, always her constant struggle with her weight. She doesn’t become anorexic, but she does become temporarily bulimic… you have to read the book to find out more.

The writing is just on flique (is that the phrase?). It’s told slightly detached from the reader, and yet it still manages to convey Roxane’s emotions perfectly, and at the same time tell her life story.

I’ll warn you: it’s not a happy ever after.

Roxane didn’t finally change her mindset and “lose those three hundred pounds she’s always wanted to lose!”

There was no incredible trainer who helped her achieve her dreams.

She’s still fat (I’ll be honest), she’s still never fully recovered from the rape (but who recovers from a rape?) and she’s still eating… I’m pretty sure it’s the same.

And she hasn’t come to terms really with herself yet, but the book ends with this quote:

I was broken and then I broke some more, and I am not yet healed but I have started believing I will be.

I think that that’s beautiful. And not because she could lose some weight, but because she knows it’s possible to heal from the traumas in her life, and that she can repair herself, and try to move on.

After all, if life one must move on, for if we all never recovered from losses and traumas in our lives, where would we even be?

I’m telling you, if I ever meet Roxane Gay in person, I’m actually going to bow to her. She is completely and utterly an incredible person, and she deserves complete respect.

*applause*

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Book Reviews, Books, Discussion, Of Pens & Paper

3 reasons why i didn’t finish THE HANDMAID’S TALE

For those of you who don’t know, about a week ago I picked up the book The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve seen it all over the internet, and people are saying it’s brilliant, revolutionary, etc. So I ordered it from the library, and began reading it-

Wait! I’ll give you the synopsis first.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead.

She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read.

She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge.

But all of that is gone now…

I will admit that I was pretty intrigued by the description. And I’ve seen five-star reviews everywhere I go, which doesn’t hurt. Then I ended up starting to read this, and not finishing it.

So today’s post will give you three reasons why I didn’t want to finish this book.

The writing was very bland and unemotional.

I get that this is the way the story is meant to be written. But I wasn’t a fan – it felt extremely bland and boring. I was trying not to put the book down, because it was one of those books where I had to actually tell myself, “Right, you’re to read the next bit.”

We’re not really given much of a backstory.

We’re told what happened to America (sort of) as the story goes on, but at the start, please expect to be extremely confused. We don’t really get much of a background story (on anything) for about the first ten pages or so.

(Note I could have miscalculated. I’m not bothered to hunt out the book from wherever I left it last– oh s*** it’s a library book. I actually will have to find it once I finish writing this. Keep reading)

It is extremely boring.

Quite honestly, nothing actually really happened. I mean, bits and pieces of what previously happened are given, but nothing happens to Offred, or anyone around her. It’s like just watching a ordinary woman go about a boring day in her life.

BUT…

Don’t get me wrong; the book wasn’t completely terrible. The whole idea of the future America was a brilliant one – I just think it could’ve been executed a little better.

More importantly, this book also reminded me of the privileges I have. Even though I am a girl, I am white, straight, cisgender, and live in an area that has never been touched by a terrible war (unless you count the 1916 Rising).

And I am so, so grateful for that – I plan to use my privileges in the future to help those who aren’t as privileged as me, and maybe help the world somehow.

In the comments...

  • Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale?
  • Watched the show/film?
  • What are your thoughts on the idea of this particular futuristic America?

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