Fashion inspired by musicians: Dodie

I’ve been wanting to do a series for a while now where I recreate outfits inspired by my favourite musicians (as well as my favourite films, TV shows, etc.) but I’ve always hesitated. What’s the line between inspiration and just completely recreating an outfit? Not that there is anything wrong with recreating your favourite outfits but I’ve been trying to find a middle ground, which also incorporates my own style.

This was definitely something I struggled when putting these looks together, especially since Dodie’s fashion is contemporary (compared to other inspirations I have, such as 90s TV shows like Friends), it’s easier to source some of the pieces she was wearing. In the end I’ve come to a nice hybrid where if I’d already sourced the item/ happened to own the item I’ve included it but for everything else I’ve bought second hand (in fact, the items I ‘sourced’ where all bought on either Depop/ Ebay) or are items I’ve already worn.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts I am trying to be more environmentally conscious with my fashion choices and shop second hand wherever possible. I also am conscious when picking looks for these lookbooks that I only want to pick up items that I know I would wear. Since, my body has changed recently I’m also in need of some new clothes so doing this series also works out that way.

Dodie’s style  

I’ve been a fan of Dodie’s style for a while now and I would definitely count her as one of my style inspirations. Palette wise, Dodie tends to keep to neutral colours, often with black and grey as accent colours, which means that her wardrobe is easily interchangeable. One thing I really like about her style is that she often wears the same thing over and over again but varies the matching top or accessories so she really gets great mileage out of her wardrobe.

Silhouette wise, she tends to wear a floaty or an oversized silhouette, with her waist often accented (with high waisted trousers and crop tops for example), which is quite similar to the silhouette I tend to favour!

For the looks I chose, I first of all obviously picked looks I liked and matched pieces I already had, but I also tried to choose a variety of looks and ones for different occasions (i.e. I’ve chosen one look from her latest music video, casual and Halloween looks).

Human music video look

When I saw these dungarees, I knew I had to have them. As a general rule I’ve been trying to keep my colour palette to either neutrals or pink and green (in an effort to get more mileage out of my wardrobe) so when I was browsing second hand dungarees on Ebay and I spotted what I thought was the same pair, still with tags, I knew I had to have them.

Fit wise, they could probably do with a little adjusting due to my height (i.e. the straps being adjusted so they sit higher on me because as you may notice in one of the pictures the crotch sometimes ends up hanging low, resulting in a unflattering fit) but they are really comfy and have fast become one of my favourite pieces. I usually wear them with a green stripey top but for this look I wanted to get a bit closer to Dodie’s look in the music video so I teamed them with a white frill shirt I picked up from a charity shop a while ago (which, is from Zara – coincidentally so are the dungarees!).

Accessories wise I kept it simple with small silver hoop earrings and simple eye makeup inspired by the music video (a little shadow on the lids along with lashings of mascara and a pink lip). Dodie’s brows were also really defined in the video but I don’t own any brow makeup so I was just hoping that mine stand out enough on their own! She also wears a beautiful pony tail but I chose the look where her hair is down, as I don’t have enough hair to pull that off!

I finished the look off with my trusty vegan Dr Martens (which, are from Depop!).

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when I wrote Human, I was so excited to get to know someone deeply. I wanted to be the special, emotional human to break their shell and share the gooey real shit underneath together. And it was perfect for that time and it can still exist there, as a song about deep connection and fascination, a capsule of something beautiful. But obviously life is complex, and time moves on. Looking back on this song, the lyrics mean something different to me now. I see desperation, obsession, codependency. “this night just can’t end”, and “tell me you can’t bear a room that I’m not in”. And yet; the two have a deep message that connects them so strongly; it’s just human. Human to want, to love, to lose. To know that it is human is to forgive. (It’s fun to develop old art, recraft into something new, a scrapbook of feelings. It forever reminds me that every feeling, good or bad, has a purpose.)

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Dodie Human 7

Dodie Human 3

Dodie Human 4

 

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Outfit: 

Blouse: Zara (from charity shop)

Dungarees: Zara (from eBay)

Shoes: Vegan Dr Martens (from Depop)

Dodie Human edited

Halloween look 

Anyone who follows me on Instagram may already have seen this next look, as I posted it on my stories a while ago. I’m not sure if this is the exact dress but I spotted it when looking for secondhand Urban Outfitters on Ebay (my top tip for second hand clothes buying is to type the names of brands you like on Ebay/ Depop, as it means you’re guaranteed to find some items you like) and thought it was definitely very similar, if not an exact match.

I paired my dress with a 3/4 sleeve black skater dress underneath (as the lace dress is completely sheer). I think in the future I’d like to pair this with a strappy or strapless dress so you can see more of the dress’s details (in fact, I’ll try to put something together and post some pictures of that too as well).

Although, I love the lace tights Dodie rocked; I tend to wear patterned tights only a few times and then always end up reverting back to black tights so I didn’t want to pick some up and not get a lot of use out of them.

Overall, I kept my look very simple and although I rocked a Dodie bun; I kept my makeup muted and accessorised differently to try to get a look that was a bit more my natural style.

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my Halloween costume is … tired??? Lol

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Outfit: 

Dress 1 (skater dress underneath): Borrowed my mother – originally from H and M

Dress 2: (lace dress on top): Urban Outfitters (second hand from Depop) 

Necklace: Present from my boyfriend (vintage) 

Shoes: Vegan Dr Martens (from Depop)

I also decided to put together a little bit more of a ‘going out’ look by editing the makeup I wore with the look (I went with a dark red accent on the eyes and a neutral lip) and trying a bun that was a bit less messy. I also paired the dress with a strappy one underneath with a lower neckline so the lace detail on the top was a bit more prominent.

Dodie black dress look

I wanted to take a picture with a coat I would pair with this look as well, so I also got a quick shot of the dress with my favourite green coat.

Dodie black dress

Outfit:

Dress 1 (underneath): Urban Outfitters (from Ebay) 

Dress 2 (over): Urban Outfitters (from Depop) 

Coat: House of Vintage London 

Necklace: Present from my boyfriend (vintage) 

Boots: Koi Footwear 

Monster Live look

Not only did Dodie rock this this performance but her outfit was the perfect blend of casual-cute while doing so. I’m a big fan of an oversized dress (and anything in green) and socks with boots so I absolutely loved this outfit. Luckily, I already had some cute oversized vintage 80s glasses (that freaked my mum out because she’s got so used to me wearing contact lenses) and a baggy green dress. Putting the look together really reminded me that I need some black chelsea boots but I was able to make do with a heeled pair that I bought a while ago from Koi Footwear (vegan and affordable footwear!) instead. They also came in handy for the above look as well!

Human Live

 

Human Live 2

Outfit:

Dress: Topshop (from charity shop) 

Jacket: Little Viking Vintage 

Glasses: Vintage 

Boots: Koi Footwear 

Necklace: Present from my boyfriend (vintage) 

Dungaree look

This next look is quite simple but it’s in fact one of my favourites. Sometimes, you just got to keep to your staples and rock a white t-shirt and black dungarees. However, I actually discovered when putting this outfit together that I don’t in fact own a plain white t-shirt (I really need to update the staples in my wardrobe) so I had to steal one of Martin’s.

Luckily, I did have some black dungarees, courtesy of Lucy and Yak and some brown boots from Will’s Vegan Shoes that I’d got second hand from Depop (though they do give me blisters so I can’t wear them for long – I really need to wear them in properly!).

I also attempted to rock a pony tail but I really don’t think I can pull them off (I usually either wear my hair loose or in a bun) but I tried! Maybe, they’ll look a bit nicer once my hair grows out a bit.

Dodie dungaree look

Dodie dungaree2

Outfit:

Top: Martin’s (thieved) 

Dungarees: Lucy and Yak (bought from their Depop and dyed black) 

Boots: Will’s Vegan Shoes (from Depop) 

Bonus funny image (because if you can’t laugh at yourself, how the hell can you laugh at someone else?)

Bonus funny Dodie look

I hope you enjoyed these looks and please do let me know in the comments or on any of my social channels what musicians, or TV shows, or films you’d like me to take inspiration from next!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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This post is entirely my own opinion.  

I’m on a journey to make my wardrobe more ethical and sustainable (luckily a lot of what I buy is vintage which helps) but I’m not all the way there yet so the clothes I mention will reflect this. 

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How I’m starting to combat letting my idolised self take over my life

I’ve talked to you about the highs of being a rainbow potato (which, if you haven’t seen my YouTube branding is basically what I’ve dubbed myself – I’m not sure why but it just fits) but I wanted to talk to you a little bit today about being afraid to start something.

All my life I’ve put off things. Usually, I’ll be honest it’s I’ll do this when I’ve lost weight… I’ll do this when my hair looks better… I’ll do this when I have nicer clothes… Essentially a lot of the time I live my life based on how I think my appearance is and this is something I’ve been fighting really hard to combat recently.

This week I posted what I thought was an unflattering photograph on Instagram. I loved my outfit and the shot but would never usually post because it did not paint what I thought was a flattering impression of my body. I decided to post it anyway. That however didn’t end the constant feelings of worry that people could see the image. All I could think about was what would people think?! The reason I posted it and fought with myself to keep it up as I wanted in a small, strange way to help people like me who feel like they can only post on social media or live life when they felt like they fit a desired standard. Life goes on day by day and actually the only way I’ve seen positive changes to myself in the past has been through grasping life (bizarrely enough, ha, ha) rather than letting it pass me by.

Now I’m not saying you have to pose incredibly unflattering images of yourself but what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to take the picture, write the blog post or film the YouTube video if that’s what you want to do.

I still am very guilty of not doing something or making myself feel like I can’t do anything because I’m not where I want to be, which consequently makes me feel like I’m trapped. To be honest I felt a little trapped in my content recently, as I felt it had become too focused on posts that were easier for me to think through – i.e. hauls or favourites posts. Don’t get me wrong these posts still take work but it’s a different kind of work then say book reviews or personal posts like this one.

After letting myself float along with this for a little I decided to take action this week and get to writing some more book reviews again because I did really enjoy those posts and losing myself in reading again. So I’m going to buy a few books and try and diverse my content a little bit again. I’ve already had some great recommendations through my Instagram but if you have any let me know in the comments below.

I guess what I’m trying to see is that I know what it’s like to spend all of your time fantasying about being a certain ideal instead of living your life but living your life might just put you on the path to being a little more like your ideal (because let’s face it you’ll never be 100% there).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

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Mental Health Awareness Week: How birth control affected my mental health

I hesitated writing this post for a lot of reasons but not least that I don’t want this post to feel like it exits only because it’s mental health awareness week this coming week but sometimes moments like ‘mental health awareness week’ force you to have that little bit of courage to speak up.

So today, I want to talk to you about my birth control journey. Birth control is something I’ve always been hesitant to talk to a large audience about because it brings with it connotations and meanings. Although I know I should say ‘who cares’ because I’d advise other people of that; this is a subject I’ve always felt uncomfortable with.

However, I’m going to try to be brave and talk to you a little about birth control and how it affected me. The first birth control I ever went on was the nexplanon implant and I started this in the January of my third year of University (so about 2016). It appealed to me because after the procedure was over, you didn’t have to think about birth control and it lasted for three years. During the time I was on the implant I didn’t have a period, which was also a bonus to me (although I didn’t know 100% this would happen going in though I suspected as such because of how people close to me have described it affecting them).

The procedure itself was quite quick. A lot of people are squeamish about it because it involves you being cut into and I’ll admit I was nervous, as I know someone who wasn’t numbed 100% before it was put in. Luckily, the nurse I had checked and it turns out I wasn’t completely numb so she numbed my arm further. It was a strange feeling, as I felt what the pain should have felt like (like someone is stapling you) but didn’t feel the physical discomfort. Apart from occasionally touching my arm and being surprised when I came across the implant; I largely didn’t notice it was there.

Also, I just wanted to write a quick note about where to get this done. If you look up the nearest sexual health free clinic in your area (looking up ‘sexual health clinic and then your county usually works) you can usually either book an appointment (if you know what you want done this is what I’d recommend) or go into a walk in session and discuss the different options. I would like to note as well this advice is for people in England, I’ve only lived in the UK so I can’t advise for how to access contraception anywhere else in the world.

Before, I begin the next part of my story I think is important to note is that at this point in my life I wasn’t in a great place to start. One of these reasons is that for around 6 months at this point I’d stopped running (consequently I gained a little weight but not an excessive amount – I could still fit in 90% of my clothes). I debated mentioning this at all  but there was another part of my life that affected me that I’m not ready to talk about yet (sorry for teasing but it felt wrong not to mention at all) that meant I was not in a good place to begin with.

I didn’t notice much of a change in my life when I started the implant. In those few months when I started my life was a whirlwind of deadlines, extracurricular activities and work, as I tried desperately to get my life in order. The first thing I noticed was that all of a sudden I put on a lot of weight (disproportionate to the amount I was eating). I could tell I put the weight on fast by the way it looked on my body as well – my body just felt strange.

It took longer to notice how it affected my mood. All my pent up emotions and angst became amplified by 100%. I was angry all the time, hyper emotional. Although, I would describe myself as passionate and maybe of a Hermione in the way I approach my work; I’ve never been one to just react/ snap. I could see myself reacting to things and it was like an out of body experience. I knew my reaction was irrational but I couldn’t stop it happening. The spiral would get worse because in the lucid moments afterwards I’d be so upset about how I’d treated people (and for this I am still truly sorry for).

I knew deep down something had changed in me when I started the implant but I became so scared that if I took it out nothing would change and I was just trapped as this angry person now. It was that fear that stopped me taking it out until 2 years later, as I only removed it early this year. The effect on my mood within just a week after it being removed was ridiculous. It sounds silly but I felt like myself again. I could react like I wanted to. Something else I noticed as well was that my concentration went up and my focus on tasks. It felt like the time before my brain had been wrapped in cotton wool – if I managed to get a Masters when my brain was suffocating – what could I achieve now?!

I also started to notice my weight shifted easier as well. Also, in case anyone is wondering I am on another form of hormonal contraception now in the form of the mini pill (not every mini pill is the same though as there are different brands). It’s only been a couple of weeks, as I gave my body a break before I started anything else because I wanted to make sure I was myself again but I feel a lot better so far. However, I am experiencing an irregular period. Normally, my periods last 7 days and I am on day 9 now (however, I think it’s basically gone now, fingers crossed), if this continues I’ll go to my GP because a 7 day period is bad enough; I don’t think I can cope with much longer.

I accessed the mini pill from Lloyds Pharmacy. You can get this service through the NHS and not pay but I found this method more convenient as the process was quick and easy (and there is a Lloyds Pharmacy literally 2 minutes from where I live). It was also not expensive, as it cost £10.00 for a 3 months supply (and I think you save if you buy a larger supply).

The implant robbed me of a lot the 2 years I let it take over me. And all I can think about now is that I should have taken it out sooner. But I’ve had depressive episodes all throughout my life so I just thought it was a culmination of that. This may have been true in one way but although I’ve felt low since having it removed and unfortunately I probably will again feel low in the future; I have never felt so low as I did in those two years.

I’m not saying don’t go on the implant. Just listen to yourself and your body. If it’s not working try something else. Don’t let yourself think it’s you failing rather than the method itself if it doesn’t work for you.

It took me a long time to remember that I’m a fighter and that I always been someone who tries to do as much as possible (and doesn’t take no for an answer); I hope this post can help someone remember this too. If you suspect your contraception is making you feel low, please, please see if other options are available to you. Hormonal contraception is that is the way you chose is never going to be 100% fun and pleasant but please don’t suffer unnecessarily.

Remember you have the right to demand a break from it as well. For Mental Health Awareness Week that is the big thing I want to stress is trust yourself.

On another note, I know this period can be stressful. It’s great that more people are becoming more aware about mental health issues and have the courage to talk about it but sometimes having lots of voices talking about a subject can be challenging too. I know I find it overwhelming to read about people’s mental health problems sometimes because it hits too close to home. Also, don’t feel like because everyone is talking about their mental health that you have to talk about yours too. There is nothing wrong with sharing something if you feel like it could help someone going through the same thing or if because you feel it will help you to process everything; but you don’t have to share every part of your mental health journey.

Sometimes, sharing doesn’t help. It’s ok to keep it private sometimes. Keeping it private doesn’t mean you are not suffering.

I do not share half of my struggles on here because I am naturally a very private person. It has took me years to get used to social media. As a teenager I barely interacted on the popular sites at the time because sharing things that happened to be seemed so unnatural – my MSN messenger chat game was particularly terrible. Over time I’ve learnt through observing how to communicate more after witnessing how it can help me and how certain bloggers and Youtubers have affected me (for the better). However, there are times like this post where I feel like I can process the pain I went though and I want to talk about it because I wish someone had written something that would have talked about it to me.

So here is me talking to you about how my contraception had a very crappy effect on my mental health. If you’ve had a similar experience please comment below. If you have any questions about my experience I’d be happy to answer them. I’m far from an expert on the subject but I will be honest and try my best!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

– Blog posts Thursday and Sundays- 

P.S. My friend Callie’s post made me remember that I should make sure I have resources at the bottom of this post for people who need them – please read her twitter thread as she says it better than me.

Book review: Ready to Fall by Marcella Pixley

I am more than a little bit late with my review of this book (this book was published in the UK on March 15th) but my life has been very hectic recently so I didn’t have time to properly sit down and finish this book till now.  I also just want to quickly mention at the start before I start this review that I was very kindly set my copy of the book by the book’s publishers*.

The plot of the book is as follows:

Following the death of his mother, Max Friedman comes to believe that he is sharing his brain with a tumour. As he becomes focused on controlling the malignant tenant, he starts to lose touch with his friends and family, and with reality itself – so Max’s father sends him off to the artsy Baldwin School to regain his footing.

Soon, Max has joined a group of theatre misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet. He befriends Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, a boy who refuses to let go of the things he loves. Max starts to feel happy, and the ghosts of his past seem to be gone for ever.

But the tumour is always lurking in the wings – until one night it knocks him down, and Max is forced to face the truth.

-Mild spoilers ahead. There are no big plot spoilers here but I usually keep my reviews almost spoiler free so I wanted to flag-

I’ll start by saying that it took a bit of warming up too but I did enjoy parts of this novel. It reminds me a lot of books I would devour as a teenager. After all, who doesn’t dream of going to an artsy school where the teachers are cool and there are loads of quirky characters. I think this is also my main issue with the book, it feels very much like what you expect a novel for teenagers to read like – it’s basically screaming no one understands you if you’re quirky! This isn’t a bad thing, and there is books I love that apply the same techniques (*cough, cough, John Green*); however, there is still a uniqueness to the writing style that this lacks.

Don’t get me wrong there is real heart within the novel. The bits of the writing that truly resonated with me and managed to cut through the teen novel stereotypes where the parts where Max discusses his relationship with his mother, father or grandfather. The way Max’s grief is depicted felt raw and honest and kept me going with the novel, even when other parts grated with me a little.

I also loved the advice in the creative writing class about use of the 3rd person instead of 1st in certain instances, as it pinpointed an issue I’d had when reading my own writing and others in the past but couldn’t quite put my finger on. It even has influenced the direction I want to go in terms of my own novel, highlighting why I will always love reading – there is also something new to be discovered.

The characters in the novel I may not wholeheartedly love as much, but I was not completely uninvested in them – I just thought they could be a little more. Fish, the main love interest of the novel for example, very easily falls under the ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ stereotype. However, I have always felt two-fold about these characters. Yes, they are often used almost as a prop for the male characters to project all the angst onto and ultimately to ‘save’ them, but they are often the best, more empowered and memorable characters. Fish is somewhere in-between, she is strong and resilient in the way she strives to confront her own emotions and helps others too as well; however she doesn’t completely shake the idea that she exists purely to help Max through his pain.

In regards, to Fish, her past relationship with Monk also wasn’t really explained enough for me to invest in it. I could understand why Max didn’t seem that fazed by getting in the middle of it. However, at the same time I’ve witnessed relationships like that where you’re always aware of a small spark between two people existing, but deep down they both needed to just let each other go because they just don’t work (it would have been nice for more detail of the ways Monk and Fish didn’t work).

Another part of the novel that didn’t sit right with me was the way in which Max was repeatedly drawn to Fish’s self harm scars. Self harm scars are not something anyone should be ashamed of or feel they have to hide; but it felt like the novel was implying that was something almost romantic about them. Especially by the way Max obsessively went back to them again and again.

Overall, while I definitely had issues with this novel; something about it made me not want to stop reading. The novel had sparks of greatness in the way it treated grief and mental illness; I just wanted that little bit more from the characters.

*To be clear I was not paid for this review, which I think may be obvious may be its content.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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P.S. SPOILER AHEAD

Max’s creative writing teacher, Dr Cage was completely in the wrong in regards to what happened at the restaurant. You shouldn’t drink in front of a pupil full stop, especially not to the extent where you’re a bit too drunk to notice that said pupil is taking massive gulps from your drink.

Blog: Dodie O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert 1/04/18

First of all, look at me spoiling you all with content so close to each other (I am going through a ‘writing’ phase so enjoy it while it lasts). Also, secondly welcome to my first ever concert review. Well, it’s not a review but more of a recap of my experience. So last night I went to see Dodie at o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It was my Christmas present from Martin – who also very kindly joined me at the concert despite it not having a mosh pit, which meant he consequently didn’t know what to do with himself the whole time.

My experience really started before the concert even began with some awesome food from VX London. I’ve wanted to try this place for a while and it didn’t disappoint. The food for London wasn’t too expensive; it had lots of garlic (which, along with spice I love) and it was quiet because it was Easter Sunday so we had seats.

VX London

I had the Meatball Sub (£5.50) with just plain chips (£2.50) and Martin had a Pulled Pork sub (£7.00) with cheesy chips (£3.50). Also, just because I realise not everyone will know everything at VX London is vegan! In terms of the food I’d definitely recommend the cheesy chips (I made a mistake not getting them!) and the meatball sub I had was great. The pulled pork sub was also nice but it was meant to be spicy (for me it wasn’t, ha, ha) and I prefer pulled pork options with bbq sauce.

Meatball sub
I don’t have a picture of Martin’s food because I was too scared to get in-between him and food.

We also shared a slice of rainbow cake (£4.20), which was amazing, the icing was beautiful and the cake wasn’t too sweet, which is sometimes an issue with rainbow cake for me. We couldn’t finish it because VX was just so filling (which I sometimes find to be a struggle with some vegan options because we both eat a lot!). This would be a great spot to grab some subs in the summer to take to have a picnic at Hyde Park or down at the canals near Camden. My only criticism would be is that it felt like something I could have made (minus the incredible cheese sauce on the chips, which I’ve been trying to crack in my head ever since) but that is one of my favourite types of food to eat out because I’m lazy. And by what I can make, I mean stuff I can cook but done in a lot of ways better.

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I’ve also been trying to pick up more souvenirs from trips out so I picked up this pretty awesome ‘I Love Vegan Junk Food’ sticker to stick on the side of my comics box.

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After the food we headed to the concert and arrived at around half 6 (doors opened at 7). Unsurprisingly there was a long queue and after walking for what felt like a mile down the queue we eventually got to the end, and parked ourselves outside a house that said ‘St Martins’ so I decided it was fate (for those not in the know my partner in crime is called Martin). We quickly felt very old as most people looked about 14 (and there was a lot of very ‘done’ parents waiting with people in the queue – but also a mum in a flower crown in flower crown solidarity with the people she was taking to the concert).

We also noticed the queue was generally older the more you got towards the back (I think with the decline of our youth us oldies also have lost the enthusiasm to queue). However, the girls in front of us in the queue I swore were like 16, but then started talking about university and smoking (I wanted to rip the cigarette out of their hand and tell them they weren’t old enough, ha, ha). Martin was also the tallest person there, which although is common at other places we’ve had contenders and I think it kind of highlighted the age of the audience. It was also unsurprisingly a female audience, as I think Dodie is brilliant in capturing the feeling of what it feels like to be a girl growing up. It did however mean once we were inside there was virtually no queue for the male bathroom in comparison to the ladies.

After going to the loo and listening to some of the first support act Fenn Lily (who I wish I could have heard more of – I’m going to have to check them out); I bought my merch (after a long conversation with Martin, which I’m sure he loved about what I should buy). In the end I went with the Party Tattoos jumper (£35) and pin (£5( because I love that song and I wanted to get things I knew I hadn’t seen on the online shop. The jumper however does run smaller than the Promises one, which runs quite large, so that’s something to take into account.

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The next support act Skinny Living were great and another one I’m going to have to listen to. I can only hope they bring the same energy to the recordings, as they do their live performances.

And then there was Dodie.

I’ll start by saying try as I might I couldn’t see a lot of what was going for the majority of the concert (perils of being small). Also, the bar was in front of where I was trying to see (why would you put the bar there?!). However, I will say the set was beautiful, there were flowers hanging from every mike stand and from the ceiling and it looked like a ethereal dream. The lighting was also brilliant and emphasised the performances, which I think can be a hard skill to do.

I also loved hearing Dodie’s songs with the weight of her band behind her (the violinist was also ridiculously good). The atmosphere was also a very nice inviting place (I saw lots of pride flags, which made me happy). Martin was very happy as well when Dodie closed on ‘The Middle’ as that was the only song he knew. I was just happy to hear the song meaning confirmed (it’s about a threesome).

My only ‘con’ was that sometimes it was actually difficult to hear the band over the screaming crowd (though they all could hold a note!). I can understand the enthusiasm though, I think it was just the oldie in me tutting whenever there were screams when Dodie spoke. I also think because a lot of Dodie’s songs are quite chill (or sad as she put it) I’d like to have had a seat (I can’t remember if that was an option – shoot me if it was). Also, the meanings behind of the songs obviously made me brew a little – after all, I am the queen of just letting life pass me by.

Because I’m me I was upset as well that I didn’t get to properly see Dodie’s outfit.

As for Dodie’s April Fools moment. I’m personally not a fan of April Fools at all so it wasn’t for me (I just don’t see why you’d want to raise someone’s expectations and crush them/ I wanted to see Demi Lovato, ha, ha). I think it didn’t help that Martin got genuinely excited for a minute as well, which upset me more. I managed to calm down by the time the next song ‘Absolutely Smitten’ had finished though. Overall, don’t get me wrong I can see why it’s funny and harmless – I just really don’t like April Fools (also it was after 12pm so my guard was down).

Other than that my only other con was the rain afterwards, which obviously was not Dodie’s fault but meant my merch got wet, as well as me. Plus, as I told Martin rain is only acceptable in Paris (though I will admit the noise is nice and I like the snuggling up in a blanket bit afterwards but that’s it).

Overall, I think I would love to see Dodie again but be able to have a seat (and hopefully see the stage more) or alternatively see her play at a concert in the park (I think Dodie and a picnic would be a great combination). It was though a deliciously good day and I am grateful for my annoying-but-wouldn’t-want-to-go-with-anyone-else company. The experience also made me love concerts again – I need to see Paramore and loudly scream Rose Colored Boy (I will use the American spelling only because Paramore are American).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

Turtles All the Way Down: Review

Turtles All the Way Down centres on 16 year old Aza Holmes who suffers from multiple anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder. The plot covers friendship, loss, living with mental health issues and a bunch of other random bits that make the book great.

Turtles all the way down

As I don’t suffer with obsessive compulsive disorder, I found the look into the mind of someone who is living with the disorder insightful. The way I have always obsessed over a event feels more like a dark cloud coming over me, which is then all I can loop back to for that day. The next day though a lot of the time the feelings are gone. Sometimes, it can only be for 5 minutes, like every time I see a new email subscriber (I’ve seen a lot recently for some odd reason) and for some reason I’ve decided that instead of it being a totally normal thing, it’s some sort of conspiracy where people laugh at my blog (even though that makes like zero sense). So basically if you’re an email subscriber please comment below and reassure me that’s not that case! I can’t imagine what it would be like being constantly trapped in that kind of thought cycle.

I loved the characters in this novel, particularly the fan-fiction loving, hilarious Daisy who reminds me both of me and a few of my friends at times, which is probably why I love her. There is though refreshingly not too many characters to stress over, as most of the plot is centred around a core group of characters- I’ll admit I’m awful at remembering names if there starts to be too many characters in something.

Maybe the small ‘cast’ is linked to the fact that John Green has described this novel, as his most personal:

“This is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal.”
Source: Penguin.co.uk 

I think this really shows. I feel much more like I am in Aza’s mind then I have felt with characters in other John Green novels though maybe that is also because Aza’s experiences in life are a lot more close to home for me than say Hazel’s experience in The Fault in Our Stars.

Image: The postcard that came along with my copy of the novel.

The novel however is not without faults. Like, all John Green books the characters are a little bit too philosophical for their own good. I’m not saying people that age can’t have those sort of debates because they most certainly can (and I think social media has brought an immense amount of pressure to have everything all figured out even younger nowadays) but in my experience this was something largely internalised or restricted to things like blogs (which, one of the characters does have).

I think this is probably my only criticism of John Green novels- I remember talking about  the topics that are discussed but always in a roundabout way. Everyone does not also always have amazing vocabulary. But as an English Literature graduate I’ll admit I don’t hate it though I can understand why people might think it might come across as pretentious.

My other not really a criticism because I loved the book regardless, but perhaps instead then a little quibble, is that the mystery that makes up the plot, for me (it’s on the blurb so I really don’t think this is a spoiler!) is a bit anti-climatic. It felt like it was there to tie characters together but this could have been done in another way- the bit where everything was revealed was also just a little bit rushed as well.

There are though elements of this book that are specular. As mentioned the novel does an amazing job at demonstrating what it’s like in Aza’s mind. At the same time though the novel is able to show and explain what it’s like for both the people who suffer from mental health and their friends and family. There is a scene in the book (which, I am going to try my best not to spoil) in which the lead character, Aza has to confront the effect her mental illness has had on her friends and family. Of course, the book stresses this is not something that Aza has deliberately maliciously done but I think it is refreshing to see the effect that mental health issues do have on someone’s family and friends. Without making the person at the centre feel incredibly guilty or selfish- just making them realise what is going around them and come out of the bubble that their mental illness has on them.

What is important to me is that we also get to see Aza’s mum and friend’s opinions- we see the importance of having an open dialogue, as it helps stop a cycle of both parties acting in a certain way because they don’t know how to do anything else.

In fact, for me one of the most powerful scenes of the novel (mild spoiler alert, maybe?) is when Aza demonstrates exactly what it feels like to think like she does. Sometimes, it does take a metaphor to help people to understand.

I’ll admit I thought one of the characters was being overly harsh at first but after a lot of thinking about it (mostly on my bus to work) I realised that it was a totally justifiable reaction. Yes, they could have brought it up beforehand but I’m not immune from letting such feelings bubble up myself and then all come tumbling out.

It also leads to some truly beautiful scenes between the two characters afterwards (and demonstrates something I’m trying to do more and more, take the time to see what your friends are doing and show some love towards it- especially in terms of things they create). In one of the scenes one of the characters says it feels like they are actually in the moment and not “watching a movie of our conversation”- something that I can definitely relate to (the feeling like I’m not quite ‘there’ in a particular moment).

Another amazing point about this book is that it talks about fanfiction. And it’s not making fun of it but celebrating it and from what I know about John Green I would only expect as much (though to be honest that is not a whole lot- I really need to go on a binge of his content). Most importantly, fanfiction is praised as being something that should have fans and does showcase really great writers and to be honest it reminded me of how I need to read more fanfiction again!

Before reading this novel my favourite John Green novel was Looking for Alaska. Since, this is the book I’ve read the most recently it is now Turtles All The Way Down but I think if I read Looking for Alaska again there might be a bit of a war going on there.

This also counts as reviewing a Youtuber’s book (though I don’t think a lot of people counts John Green’s novel as ‘Youtuber books’ even though he is very well known on Youtube) so I’ve put it under that tab. I’m hoping to try to have different tabs on my blog soon where you can click for book reviews, fashion stuff, etc. but my theme is making it a bit difficult.

I think the phrase ‘Life goes on’ has perhaps been used too much so maybe instead what you can take from the novel is ‘Life happens’. Your mental health problems are not something to be magically fixed, sometimes there will be bad, sometimes good but amongst all that life just goes on- so capture the good moments whenever you can.

April

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Year in review: The highlights and fails of my 2017

I chose this picture of green tea because I’m ‘spilling all my tea’ about the year (yeah, the expression doesn’t sound as good when I say it) and the only tea I like is green tea. 

Is this post a bit too late? Yes, but I’m going to do it anyway. Plus, I wanted to reflect a little on my 2017 (and decided a whole 13 days was enough time for that) and not write something in a rush. My 2017 was overall a good year, but then I kind of count 2016 as the worst year of my life for me both mentally and consequently physically so in one way it just kind of couldn’t get any worse! However, I did manage to do some pretty cool stuff in 2017 and the year was what I would class an as ok year, though I’m hoping 2018 will be a great one.

Highlights 

Completing my Masters 

I’ve done a few blog posts on this but I made it through another year of higher education (woo!) and got my Masters in Journalism and Media Communications. It feels strangely distant now but I met some really great people on the course and it made me feel a bit more confident in my academic abilities again, which is always a plus.

Graduation with mother

I got my first (professional) job 

First of all, I want to make it clear I don’t think retail is not a professional job or any minimum wage job for that matter- what I mean here is I got my first job that was actually related to what I studied at University. Also, having paid holiday and not panicking about money if I am ill is such an amazing feeling.

My first day
The picture Martin took to commemorate my first day.

Mental health 

In 2017 I really tried to work through a lot of my mental health issues, and like to think I went from decidedly off track to kind of strolling along the tracks. It’s never something that will come easy to me, but sharing on this blog helped a lot, as did trying to better look after myself physically.

Dodie 3

I started this blog 

For a long period of my life I have wanted a blog. What can I say I love to write and rant about the world and a blog seemed a brilliant place to do that. Although, of course it is nice if people read your blog, like your posts or comment (which, let’s face it I’ll be honest a part of me craved); I personally just like writing and getting things off my chest. So here’s to 2017 for being the year I didn’t just post one blog post to a blog, not promote it and then delete it a week later because I felt too exposed to the world.

Year in Review post

Martin and I got our first flat 

Since Martin and I have been living together in some capacity for so long I forget sometimes that is our first ever flat together where it’s just the two of us. And the flat is cold (single glazing is not our friend), expensive (though not for the area- we got a good deal!) and still bare because we haven’t got a lot of furniture but it’s ours, it’s not tiny and is a lot better than a lot of other people’s first flats. Sure, ‘adulting’ and paying the bills sucks, but at least I have someone else to whine about it with.

Martin flat

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

2017 was also the year I got my love for reading back and I’m so happy about this. I forgot what it felt like to be so inspired. I forgot what it felt like to delay finishing a book because you loved it so much. Or to be able to stop yourself reading it all in one sitting. I forgot how much I truly was a bookworm. Basically, I love reading, it’s in every part of me from the fact that I prefer to read something rather than have someone tell me instructions (hence why audio books unfortunately aren’t for me) to the fact that I can spend longer in a book shop than most other shops.

The Power
My favourite image I took of a book last year (and one of my favourite books I read).

Fails 

Money 

Living anywhere remotely close to London/ in the South is expensive. Consequently, despite earning a good wage we are perpetually broke. This is looking up this year however as Martin has started a better paying job, and I will be shortly booking my trip to Japan (and trying not to spend all my money on clothes in order to afford it). Also, a lot of the problem last year was that Martin and I were fed up so we spent money to fill that hole and so consequently never had any money either. We’ve finally managed to claw our way out of that cycle and once again learn the value of tins of kidney beans and sweetcorn, as well as meal prep- so much meal prep!

Mental health 

So although I put this in my highlights this was also a ‘fail’ as well. Working through things it turns out is kind of hard and I am still running away from a lot of things. As we speak I am letting those familiar nagging thoughts worm their way back in again. While 2017 was the most I’ve actually analysed my mental health (which was a positive thing overall); the journey that came with that was not exactly pleasant.

Hair/ how I felt/ feel about my appearance 

For a large part of last year I let myself get very upset over my appearance whether it be that my hair was not the colour I wanted (it still isn’t) to the fact that I no longer felt comfortable with myself generally. My body in 2016 changed a lot in a short period of time and I still have not quite got over that. This year I am determined to just dress how I want no matter what and let myself be healthy. Also, to have really great hair (any suggestions are appreciated).

I also want to give a big shout out to all my amazing friends and family. I hope your 2017 was great, and if it wasn’t I hope this year will be better. Thank you for putting up with my rants, bossiness and general weirdo nature for another full year.

April

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