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May 2018

Lifestyle Mental Health

The Love/Hate Relationship With My Smile

Smile

I saw on Twitter that it was National Smile Day and, though I would love to pop something on Instagram with me smiling, I actually find it very difficult to show any selfies with either a full-teeth grin or even a little smile. There are many people out there like me who don’t like being in front of a camera because of the way I look, but I come from a family of ‘camera haters’. Both my parents, my uncle and my two cousins hated having their pictures taken and my dad hated so much that I don’t have one picture with him. I never really understood why he wouldn’t smile for a picture or let me take a photo, but I discovered later on from my mum that he was pretty embarrassed over the fact that he didn’t have many teeth and it made him feel really self-conscious.

I definitely get those feelings!

I feel exactly the same.

From a very young age, my teeth have been pretty dodgy. I actually ended up with way too many teeth inside of my mouth (I’d had 10 teeth out by the time I was 12) and my two front teeth were crooked. I was always told to smile more when my family tried to take a picture but I’d only smile with no teeth showing. I even hated that smile! I look like I’m constipated or like a face drawn on a balloon. It sounds stupid but it’s true!

I have had braces which I wore for 3 years and then a retainer, but my teeth didn’t even bother to straighten. Stupid mouth.

I may be in my 30s but I still hate having my picture taken or taking a selfie because of how I look when I try to smile. I have been trying to post a couple pictures of myself on Instagram to try and combat this self-hate but I haven’t found that happy middle ground where I can take a picture of myself and share it. I’m hoping that I will eventually get better over time as I try to work on my confidence and inner demons but, for anyone out there who feels the same as I do about their smile, here is one of my favourite quotes:

“If today, a smile should appear on your face, it’s because at this very minute, I’m thinking about you and I am smiling too.”

What are your thoughts about your smile?

Fandom Harry Potter

Letter To Cursed Child Year Two

Cursed Child

To all the cast and crew of Year 2 (yep, that rhymed! Haha!),

Tonight is your last ever performance. I’ve been reading your tweets all day and they’ve had all of your fans in pieces and we’re not even part of you guys! I never thought I’d connect so well with another cast after seeing the original the year before but I was very pleasantly surprised. You found your way into my heart and, even after you’ve gone, you’ll be stuck there forever. It sounds cheesy but it’s true!

Jamie:

I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for you to take on Harry after Jamie Parker, but you did so much for Harry in the year that you played him! You honestly felt like such a dad yet you managed to show the obvious struggle he still had with the idea of family after everything that happened to him as a kid. The awkwardness you showed with him dealing with Albus reflected how much growing up with out his own parents affected him! Thank you!

TOM:

Oh Tom! You were the perfect choice for Ron especially since you seem to be like him out of character as well! You brought a different kind of humour to my favourite Weasley, but to me, you showed that doubt hidden beneath his comedy. It’s like he wore a mask of confidence in front of other people but you could tell that he still lacked it compared to his friends. His best friend was Head Auror and his wife was Minister of Magic. I wish I could have hugged you during those moments! Haha! I can’t wait to see how you bounce off the new Jamie!

Rakie:

I’ve made it no hidden thing how much I loved your Hermione and you personally as an actress. I was so happy when I discovered that you were taking over from Noma and knew I couldn’t wait to see you growing the closeness between Ron and Hermione. They had such a complicated relationship but you never have any doubt how much these two love each other. I’m so sorry to see you go last minute; however, I know that the future for you will always be magical!

EMMA:

Fiesty Ginny! It was about time we saw the Ginny that was more evident in the books than in the films. The Weasley girl who had been brought up with six older brothers and knew how to hold her own against males and getting her point across! That scene with Draco in the kitchen has to be my favourite because there is nothing more scary than a terrified mother. Where Poppy had shown Ginny’s frustration with Harry constantly getting things wrong with Albus, you showed a kind of sadness and smoldering fury. You could tell that she was trying to be patient with her husband since she knew his lack of family experience, but she knew that he was still to blame for how he carried on handling things. Thank you!!

JAMES:

Whoever said that they could never love a Malfoy clearly never thought they would see you as Draco. You showed everyone that he had a heart regardless of what he did back at school. People grow up when they have children of their own and that’s what you did! I loved your moments with Sam and I sometimes forgot that I was watching a play and not seeing a proper interaction between father and son!

THEO:

I will forever how much of a teenager you made Albus be: hormonal and moody! That said, you were able to make me love him as a character and see past all that moodiness. At the end of the day you showed him as the child that he was wanting nothing more to be loved just as much as James and Lily and to maybe even be protected from himself. Thank you for bringing him to life for this year and I can’t wait to see what else you perform in the future! You have a bunch of fans now!

SAM:

Ughhh! How did you make me love Scorpius even more?! I honestly didn’t think that was possible. Scorpius is one of the characters that I feel more connected to than the others. We both lost our mums, both put up with bullying at school and both questioned themselves. I’m still stunned at how you managed to balance your comic performances alongside the scenes where you almost had him in tears. I wish I could have seen you perform more but I know that you’ll be onto something big!

Helen:

You really could have been the daughter of Hermione and Ron! Haha! You seemed to bring all the lack of tact and foot in mouth of a young Hermione along with the stubborness and ’emotional range of a teaspoon’ of Ron! It must be so hard to start as an eleven year old and age up to fourteen/fifteen in two parts! You kind of broke me with the scene with her mum and I was genuinely so happy to hear that you were coming back for another year. I can’t wait to see how you build upon Rose and what other things you’ve yet to discover about her.

Annabel:

YOU BRILLIANT PERSON YOU! I wish I could have met you more at stage door because I needed more time to tell you how perfect you were as Delphi! I loved you as Moaning Myrtle in the first year and, when I heard the news that you were being almost upgraded up to Delphi, I may or may not have squealed. I was so excited to see your take on this super complicated woman and you did not disappoint me. You surpassed my thoughts and took every audience on a rollercoaster that we sometimes wished we could get off. Haha. I like to think if she hadn’t been brought up the way she was and had been given the chance to live a proper life, she would have been more the girl we see at the start and less the shattered soul she became. I’m trying so hard not to spoil in this gush so…yeah…thank you!!

TOM (MACKLEY):

WHY ARE YOU LEAVING US?! You made this play whether you took on the big parts as an understudy or as part of the crowd scenes. I could never take my eyes off you in the big scenes and you were my reasons for getting seats near the front to see what else you had to shout. How you came up with some of the calls I’ll never know but I loved them! I never got the chance to see you as Albus and I’m really kicking myself. I think understudies don’t get enough recognition. You have almost twice the amount to learn than the rest of the cast! You have your usual characters/ensemble parts to retain as well as all the lines of Albus in case Theo got sick! You didn’t just make an impression on the stage but off the stage too. Your friendliness and openess with us fans made seeing you after the show the ultimate pleasure. We tried not to push everyone since we knew you guys were shattered but you still made time for pictures and a chat!

I’m sad that the majority of people have to leave but understand that you have to take the step on a new journey. I really hope that you have the best of luck in whatever happens to you next and, for the others, I can’t wait to see what Year Three has in store for us!

Break a leg and thank you!

Lifestyle

My ‘Royal Wedding’ Book/TV Choices

Royal Wedding

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that today marks the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I’ve personally been really excited for this day as Harry has always been the one royal that made me smile. He’s the cheeky guy who is known to be a little mischievous, seemed amazing with any children that he’s met and so relaxed. I cannot wait to see him at the top of that aisle waiting for his bride!

I knew I wanted to do a post on the day of the Royal Wedding but didn’t want to be overly cliche with union jacks thrown everywhere. I decided to write about what I know best and that is books. I could talk about another Harry that I love (can you imagine Harry Potter as a prince?!) but there are so many YA books out there that seem to fit with today’s occasion.

princess diaries: royal wedding (meg cabot)

I’ve been a massive fan of Meg Cabot’s ‘Princess Diaries’ series for years now and there is something a little more special about this with Meghan being an American marrying a prince. Both she and Mia seem to have that amazing sass and, even though Mia was a born royal with her dad being a prince, it is still an incredible match!

ROYAL CRUSH (MEG CABOT)

Yep, I’ve added another Meg book to the list because she’s an amazing author, okay?! This is a spin-off of the Princess Diaries based on the adventure of Mia’s little half-sister Olivia! It’s so cute and has all the adorable awkwardness of a young girl at school discovering that she’s actually a princess and never knew it. I love how Meghan is bringing a new element to the Royal family with being from America and being mixed-race. It’s amazing to see!

THE PRINCE & mE

AHH! This film! It’s full of all the early 2000s goodness! I love watching this film and admired Paige’s strength and not allowing herself to be bought by a handsome face. She knows what she wants and focuses on her career of becoming a future Doctor! I think Paige and Eddie are rather similar to Harry and Meghan. Both fought to live their own careers, one fighting to be an actress and the other to fight alongside his men in the Army. They were able to find the balance of knowing when to have fun and when to be serious.

the crown (netflix)

This is one of THE best dramas on Netflix and that’s been shown by all of the awards won by Claire Foy. It features of the biggest royal wedding to-date of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten. I’m constantly watching vintage footage that was taken of the wedding online and I think that this series will brought that love and humour that couple shared and still shares to this day.

the royal wedding crashers (Clémentine Beauvais)

I think everyone is hoping that this Royal Wedding is gate-crashed by anyone but I think this is a brilliant childrens’ book to introduce any child to the idea of a royal wedding. Of course alongside all of the Disney films out there! Haha! Love the fairy-tale wedding! It’s something very silly and will definitely get some giggles from your little boy or little girl! I

undercover princess (connie glynn)

I’ve spoken so many times about this book since I was already a big lover of Connie (aka Noodlerella) on Youtube. She was always a really creative person with her impressions of different characters and you can see all of that creativity shine through her writing and through her main characters Lottie Pumpkin and Ellie Wolf. It’s a beautiful story and I cannot wait to read the sequel which I think is coming this August! YAY!

Which fictional royal weddings have you loved to read/watch?

Mental Health

Why I’m Not Ashamed Of My Mental Illness

Mental Illness

This week, from 14th May until 20th May, is classed as Mental Health Awareness Week. As one of my favourite mental health campaigners said yesterday:

While it’s amazing to have an entire week dedicated to mental illness, please remember that mental illness is long-term and doesn’t end when the awareness week is over. We need to keep talking beyond that. (@HatttieGladwell)

You guys know that I choose to speak openly about how much I struggle with my mental health but someone left a comment on my Twitter the other day asking why and whether I mind that there is a stigma attached to it. First off, I wanted to say that there is no stigma at all. Maybe there was in the past but compared to then, we are living a much better life. However it’s because of what happened to us in the past that some people are still too scared to chat about whether they have a mental illness or not. It could be due to their religion or where they life such as people in Japan.

I think one of my advantages is that my mum was a nurse and so I was exposed to different aspects of nursing including mental health. She raised me up to see past what was wrong with people and not to judge them for what was happening to them. I’ve had a couple of people in my life who have suffered from depression and paranoia so, when I was diagnosed with my own mental illness, I knew that I had to be open. Sometimes our own mind creates a stigma! It’s such a pain in the butt all round. All that said, I will admit that my Mum did struggle when it came to mine since I think it’s different looking after your own daughter instead of just a patient.

It is super nerve-wracking to be honest about these things. I do worry that the trolls will suddenly hit me and target my mental health but the fact that I’ve been tweeting for years about it and have managed to get away with only a couple of pokes is a good sign. Though, this is Twitter we’re on about so you never know when they might pick the moment to strike. One of my relatives said that I should probably be less open as someone could use my illness against me and trigger me on purpose. I’ll tell you what I told her: “If I thought about that, then I would never step foot on the internet out of fear of triggering myself or triggering my friends.” That is what trigger warnings are for!

If the internet is too much, then I make sure to stay offline.

Having an mental illness is a 24/7, 365 days a year gig so you try and grab moments of the day when you’re able to function. Like yesterday, for example, I had a pretty good morning where I was able to get out of bed, get changed and go get some food. However the afternoon went right downhill after something happened and I ended up having to head up to bed in a bit of a state. It’s another reason why I’m not ashamed. Would you make someone in a wheelchair or any other physical disability feel ashamed about themselves? No. The same goes for someone like me, whether it’s hearing from other people or from yourself.

Never be ashamed.

Are you doing any posts for Mental Health Awareness Week?

Harry Potter

My Harry Potter Resolutions

Resolutions

Back in January I came up with some Harry Potter resolutions in the place of your normal bog-standard resolutions. Have I done any? Erm…one? That counts as progress, right? Unfortunately I’m in the process of moving to a new flat and adding that along with my typical mental health has made completing any of these impossible, but I still wanted to make a post on here. I didn’t have my blog when I made these so I made a Youtube video instead! YES, if you follow my blog then you may not know I also have a Youtube channel. I haven’t posted anything in a few months due to the same reasons but I’m trying.

  1. Visit Gloucester Cathedral in Hogwarts robes (you can’t be at school without your robes!)
  2. Ride across the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the Jacobite (the real Hogwarts Express!)
  3. Get a photo with Eddie Redmayne and get his autograph.
  4. Get a picture with Emma Watson!
  5. Fangirl at a Fantastic Beasts premiere.
  6. Attend the Celebration of Harry Potter in Orlando (more of a 2019 goal but adding it!)
  7. Go and say goodbye to the 2nd Year Cursed Child Cast at stage-door.
  8. See the 3rd year cast in action!
  9. Cosplay as more Harry Potter characters.
  10. Visit Oliver’s Brighton so I can fangirl over everything and see the bunny!
  11. Visit Warner Bros Studio to see Dark Arts and Hogwarts in the Snow.
  12. Get a RT or a tweet from J.K Rowling herself. (THIS HAPPENED! AHHHHHHH!)

I do have a lot more that I wish to do in regards of Harry Potter resolutions such as meeting up with Vegard, Laura, Sophie and Seamus again because they are freaking adorable! At least I wouldn’t be weird anymore. Well…I am very weird but I know that they can handle me this time. Haha!

I’m already planning my trips to Gloucester (hey Shauna!) and to Edinburgh (I’m coming your way, Fiona!) so hopefully I’ll have some interesting stories and pictures to share here and on my Instagram!

Have you got any Harry Potter-related resolutions?

Fandom

10 Books To Read If You Love Harry Potter

read

Everyone knows about my love for Harry Potter, but I have read books that are similar to it! If you ever find me in a book shop (which is extremely likely), you’ll more than likely to see me in the Childrens’ section. I am one giant adult child! It’s me we’re talking about. That and these books just interest me more than books that I probably should be reading for my age. Haha! I think my local Waterstones thinks I secretly live there or something. A couple of my choices were discovered on a holiday so nice and varied for you!

chronicles of narnia (c.s Lewis)

Before Harry Potter, this was a world of magic that I loved! I actually discovered it through an old BBC series that got me interested. It’s a really old show but still very magical! I then saw the film (which I adored so much) and then I read the books. Yeah, I kind of did it a very back-to-front way but I got there eventually and I loved all of the different ways they were done! My favourite character has to be Edmund because he starts off quite sinister and moody, but then becomes a hero! Best redemption story!

THE CHARLIE BONES SERIES (JENNY NIMMO)

One of the booksellers at my local store actually recommended this to me and I surprisingly really enjoyed it! It was definitely a different take on a magic school and did have some similarities to Harry Potter with its own twist!

THE WORST WITCH (JILL MURPHY)

BEST STORY EVER!! What’s better than a witch at a magic school is a clumsy witch at a magic school! Mildred Hubble was so innocent and precious! You could tell that she really tries but everything ends up being difficult for her. She’s practically a female Neville Longbottom. The books are really easy to read  and fun fact: some of the new CBBC series was filmed at Alnwick Castle just like the Potter films were!

PERCY JACKSON SERIES (RICK RIORDAN)

There are different types of magic in the world! You have the wizard/witch and then you have the Greek Gods like in Percy Jackson! It’s actually set in modern times and gets pretty creepy at moments, but I’m totally into shipping two of the main characters together: Percabeth (Percy x Annabeth). Read the books and you’ll know why! They’re adorable together! I know there were a couple of films made recently but I just can’t get into them at all. You know when you have a book turned into a film and it doesn’t stick to important parts? Yeah…that happened with these. Could’ve been amazing too!

the lost years of merlin (t.a barron)

This was one of the books I discovered around the same as I discovered Harry Potter. I’d been wandering around Pointe Orlando on my first ever trip to Florida when I stumbled across a book-shop. I’d always wanted to get a book from America so I saw this book about Merlin and grabbed it. Safe to say that I absolutely fell in love! It wasn’t your average take on the Arthurian legend since it was about Merlin as a boy and how he was slowly coming into magic. Basically an early version of BBC Merlin with no Colin Morgan.

the magicians’ guild (trudi canavan)

Yeah…so…haven’t really this book yet but it’s on my to-be-read pile and I thought it sounded perfectly in-sync with a Harry Potter so I added it to this list. Sue me!

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Ransom Riggs)

One of the weirdest books I’ve read in a little while but it still had an amazing plot with twists around every corner! All the kids are a little different or should I say….peculiar…but they’re really adorable! My favourite has to be Claire because she’s so cute even if she has teeth at the back of her head. She tries to be one of the cheerful kids but gets really shy eating in front of new people because she has to eat through the back of her head. Bless her! I really need to read Hollow City but haven’t got round to it just yet!

the power of five series (anthony horowitz)

You know when you fall in love with a book after the first couple of chapters? That’s what happened to me with this series! I already loved Anthony’s style of riding after having read his Alex Rider series but when I found out he’d written a new YA novel, I had to investigate! These series of books are obviously about five kids who have powers! It’s also similar to Number 4! You get a book per person so you get to find out all about their back history. You have to love the twins. They have such a difficult beginning but still have such a cute closeness…eventually.

HOUSE OF NIGHT SERIES (P.C CAST, KRISTEN CAST)

There aren’t just witches in Harry Potter. You also have werewolves and vampires involved too and, even though I’m not a massive fan of vampire novels (there are just too many!), I did love the House of Night series. It’s nothing like Twilight other than being set in the US and involving vampires. Haha! It’s about a girl called Zoey who is a fledgling vampire and ends up having to attend a boarding school to help her cope with her new gifts. There are 12 books in total so if you were looking for a longer series to love, then here you go!

The Mediator (Meg Cabot)

Everyone has to have heard about Meg Cabot! She wrote the incredible Princess Diaries!! I love her books so much especially since I love reading fictional diaries. They’re just super interesting and I’m just a nosy kind of gal! This series is a little different to the ones she written in the past. This is all about a teenage girl who can see ghosts as well touch and hear them too. Though she ends up actually falling in love with one called Jesse who died in the nineteenth century! It is very cheesy but it is very cute and there is more to the series than you think there is. You just have to read it to discover what I’m on about.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my lists of what books to read if you love Harry Potter. Obviously not everyone will be interested since these are my personal choices, but obviously you’ll have discovered some books that tickle your fancy!

What books have read because they reminded you of Harry Potter?

Fandom Harry Potter

Why The Battle Of Hogwarts Still Affects Me

Battle of Hogwarts

It’s May 2nd and, for all my fellow Harry Potter fans, today marks the 20th anniversary since The Battle of Hogwarts! I’ve had a few friends who still can’t believe that I remember this day and mark down as something special in my diary!  I mean…it’s there alongside September 1st and April 1st! I like my special Potter days! With today being what it is, I thought I would explain why the whole Battle of Hogwarts story-line in Deathly Hallows still affects me to this day.

First off…

ALL OF MY FAVOURITE CHARACTERS WERE KILLED IN THIS BOOK!

Who wouldn’t have this date etched in their mind after reading all of the characters you’d grown so close to through the series suddenly being targeted one by one. It will sound insane to anyone else, but I’m even tearing up  now thinking about George discovering that Fred was killed. The Weasley twins were (and still are) the characters that I loved with all my fangirl heart. They were that comic relief who played pranks, made Filch’s life hell and added grey hair to their parents every day. They literally adopted Harry from the very first moment they saw him and I never forgot that moment. I’ve never had a twin but I can only imagine what it must be like for one twin to lose another. Almost as if they had lost one side of themselves.

This one death broke me and I’m still all shattered now!

Not only did Fred go, but Jo killed off Tonks, Remus, Dobby, Hedwig and Colin Creevey!

Everyone forgets that Colin died too!

I see so many pieces of fan-art with everyone else but Colin and he mustn’t be forgotten! If you don’t believe me that he died at The Battle of Hogwarts, here’s the moment from Deathly Hallows:

“Then Neville nearly walked into him. He was one half of a pair that was carrying a body in from the grounds. Harry glanced down, and felt another dull blow to his stomach: Colin Creevey, though underage, must have sneaked back just as Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle had done. He was tiny in death.”

Colin may have been the annoying little Gryffindor that kept bothering Harry and trying to take photos but he was more than that. He was a muggle boy who came into a world he had never known existed until he was 11, was Sorted into the house of bravery, managed to survive being Petrified by the basilisk in his first year, joined Dumbledore’s Army in his fourth and snuck back into the castle (even though he knew it could be fatal) to help fight the Death-Eaters. He even tried protect his little brother Dennis! If this boy doesn’t deserve to become a hero, then I don’t know who should!

Hedwig was the first person we lost in the books and, even though she didn’t die in the Battle, she died protecting Harry from Voldemort. She was his first and only pet and been through so much of his life as he survived the Dursleys during the summers. Hagrid definitely knew how to pick the perfect owl!

Unless you’ve experienced growing up with a book series and its characters, then you won’t understand how utterly attached you become. These people are just fictional characters. They’re friends, almost family, to the fandom. It helps that Jo does an annual tweet where she apologies for killing off any of the characters who were killed during The Battle of Hogwarts. This year, you said sorry about Dobby! (*sniff* DOBBYYYYY! *sob*)

I was always remember the lives that were lost during the battle and those who have fought to keep peace in the Wizarding World since!

Which characters who died at the Battle of Hogwarts upset you the most?