book review caitlin moran how to be a woman
Books, review, thoughts

#CurrentlyReading: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

book reviews

If you know me, you’ll know that I have something of an addiction to books. I own roughly 350 books spread across 4 bookshelves around my house, and I have absolutely no intention of stopping until I get my own Beauty and the Beast style library. Am I asking for too much? Possibly. Will I give up? Unlikely. Anyway, unhealthy obsession aside – I’m starting a series of blog posts called #CurrentlyReading – essentially book reviews before I’ve finished the book, just because the book in question is just too damn good to wait (or  too terrible to continue).

caitlin moran how to be a woman

To kick off this literary love-affair, I’m excited to share Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, published in 2011 by Ebury Press.  I first heard about Moran through one of my favourite BookTubers (Leena from JustKissMyFrog), and put her on my to-read list along with another 20 or so books. I completely forgot that I wanted to buy How to Be a Woman until I saw it at Blackwell’s in Newcastle (also known as my second personal nirvana after Waterstones) and quickly snapped it up before my little brain could forget again. I am now hooked. This book is part-memoir, part-humour, and 100%  pure wit. She takes us through her own life, from awkward childhood through to impossible puberty and that mysterious thing called Womanhood in a seemingly effortless thread of questions, like:

  • Why do women get Brazilians?
  • Do we have to get Brazilians?
  • Why is everyone asking me about babies?
  • Why is everyone asking me about my love life?
  • Why is everyone getting married?
  • What about porn?
  • Why do bras hurt?
  • Is there a better name for ‘the vagina’?
  • What are the worst names for ‘the vagina’?
  • What’s this ‘fashion’ thing?
  • Children?!

And so on and so forth, hilariously mingled with Moran’s very relatable personal anecdotes. I rarely laugh-out-loud when reading, but this one has had me snorting cappuccino out of my nose in the most unattractive way possible. One of the blurbs on the cover is from Grazia and describes the book as, “The book EVERY woman should read.” Quite frankly I’d like to take this further and say anyone who is or indeed knows a woman should read it, even if it’s just for the laughs. We do our best learning when we’re laughing anyway. I like to think so, at least.

Let me know if you’ve read this book or anything else by Caitlin Moran in a comment below! What are your thoughts? Is this something you’d read?

-Kelly

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sunshine blogger
Uncategorized, Writing

Sunshine Blogger Award & Nominations

lifestyle blogger

Well hello there, you. I know I’ve been relatively quiet recently (life stuff) and this blog post has been a long-ish time coming – Claire (From Claire’s POV) was sweet enough to nominate me for a Sunshine Blogger award! Thank you. I didn’t know this was a thing, but here are the ‘rules’:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer
  • Notify your nominees and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post

So here are the answers – better late than never.

1. What inspired you to blog?

I work as a writer full-time and do some freelance work too, so I felt like I needed a space of my own where I could write the things I wanted to write and be my (very) opinionated self online. Did I mention I have a lot of opinions? I do. I also do gifs and memes.

2. If you had to stick to one make-up brand for the rest of life, which would it be and why?

Well this is harder than expected. I think I’ll have to say Kiko! I tried them for the first time in March and I’ve been converted.

3. Which is your favourite blog post?

My own? Hmm. I think I’ll go for the one where I wrote about 10 Things Women in Malta are Sick of Hearing, because f*ck the patriarchy.

4. If you had to be one person – dead or alive – who would it be and what would be the first thing you did as this person?

Is it bad if I said I’d just be myself? It’s comfy in here. Alternately, I wouldn’t mind being Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and slaying audiences with an incredible TED talk.

5. What’s your favourite place in the whole world?

Tough one – tonight I’ll say the Waterstones in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

6. If you had to travel to the past in a particular decade, which would it be and why?

Tudor England. I have no real reason why other than the fact that the dresses look fabulous and I find the history of that period particularly interesting.

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Give less of a damn about what people might think because it doesn’t matter. Also ditch the fringe.

8. Name three people you look up to.

Meryl Streep, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood.

9. What is the one thing you never leave home without?

A book.

10. What is your all-time favourite song?

Hotel California by The Eagles.

11. What advice would you give to beginner bloggers?

Don’t worry too much about what your friends will think or do or comment when you share your blog. Just get your blog up and running and produce content that makes you happy.

My Nominations

Christa Boffa, Claire’s Chronicles, Dyna, Kezzie’s Corner, What Sarah Writes, Zeza’s Things, Maltagram, Diva Inside, Splashes of Looks, Grazielle Camilleri, Blue Jeans and Red Lipstick.

My Questions

  1. Why did you start blogging/Youtubing?
  2. What has been your proudest blog-moment so far?
  3. What’s your writing/video process like?
  4. How do you unwind after a stressful day?
  5. What are 3 things you could never leave home without?
  6. What’s your favourite book (or film if you’re not a reader) of all time?
  7. What’s the one song you’ll never get tired of hearing?
  8. Where’s the last place you travelled to?
  9. What’s your favourite season and why?
  10. What’s your favourite quote?
  11. What always cheers you up?

sunshine blogger

That’s it for now!

-Kelly

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T.S. Eliot the love song of j alfred prufrock
thoughts

Thursday Thoughts & T. S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot the love song of j alfred prufrock thursday thoughts

So I’ve never written anything like this (i.e. thinking out loud) before, but hey – why not? I was going through some photos I took yesterday, and stopped at this one. It’s nothing special, just a photo of the sea – something which we have in abundance here in Malta, a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, sandwiched between Europe, Africa, and everyone else. Something about it (don’t ask me what or why, because for the life of me I don’t know) reminded me of T.S. Eliot, one of my favourite poets, and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock – a beautiful poem I studied when I was reading for my master’s. It’s a pretty long poem, and I’d recommend listening to it here, but here’s the ‘full’ quote in all its poignant glory:

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

Something about this part of the poem resonated with me. Maybe it’s the sense of apprehension Prufrock feels, the ping-ponging of ideas and lukewarm decisions that plague and terrorise those so unsure about what to do next or how to do it, scaring themselves out of taking action in the process. Maybe it’s the potentially-maddening routine he captures in his ‘evenings, mornings, afternoons’ and coffee spoons. Maybe, being a coffee fiend, I just remembered the coffee. I don’t know, but I just wanted to share this particular poem on my little piece of internet in general, and with you in particular. Read it. Enjoy it. I won’t go into any more detail about the poem or my thoughts on it because I don’t want to colour your own interpretation, but I would love to hear what you think about it and how it makes you feel. Hit the comments if you’d care to share, fellow literature-lovers.

Have a great Thursday!

-Kelly 

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Adult Life, thoughts

Positively Body Positive

“The Body Positive Movement is a feminist movement that encourages women and/or female-identifying people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.”

– The Body Positive Organisation 

I remember a particular moment when I was young – around 13 years old. It was summer, and I was sitting down in my characteristically ungraceful way, when I suddenly felt a sense of absolute horror at the way my thighs filled the seat when I sat down. Why do they look like that? The ladies on TV and in magazines didn’t have legs that did that. Look at them! They’re huge (they weren’t). I must be fat. I’m definitely fat and ugly. That’s why that boy in class doesn’t like me. And my TEETH – they’re not straight enough! Oh my God this is a disaster. My hair never looks right either. I don’t want to go to the beach with the boys, my tummy has rolls when I sit down! 

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Above image is not the same Kelly I’ve just described

And then came the inevitable comparison against my friends’ bodies (especially the petite ones), not just that day but for quite a few years to come. The thing is that, despite being a healthy weight for my age and height, I’d repeatedly find myself staring at my reflection and sucking my stomach in to see what I’d look like, or physically flattening my stomach to see how it must feel to look like girls ‘should’ look. This sort of thing happened for years and year and influenced what I wore, how I felt and to a certain extent, how I acted.

It’s only around 3 years ago that I slowly started pulling myself out of this damaging yet widespread mindset. I did start exercising regularly (later taking up kick boxing), and that did help me feel better about my body, but losing weight didn’t necessarily mean that I felt positive about how I looked. I could wear the clothes I wanted to wear, and shopping completely stopped feeling like a trial by fire in the changing room. There was still, however, that obsession with sucking it in and comparing myself to the other beautiful women around me.

Enter, BodyPosiPanda – aka the stunning and vibrantly-coloured Megan Jayne Crabbe. I don’t know how I discovered her on Instagram, but I’m glad I did; she describes herself as a ‘body positive feminist ed warrior’ – and she certainly is. I’ve learnt to be kind to myself and be positive about my body; to change the horrible things being said in that inner-monologue. To resist looking at myself through the eyes of someone being paid to photoshop the hell out of an image of a woman into what society has taught us is right.   We are so much more than numbers on a scale, or calories in a chocolate bar. Be healthy, but also be happy. If there’s one thing I regret, it’s the outfits I didn’t wear and the time I spent agonising over bits of my body that I had been taught to hate and wished I could just cut out with a big pair of scissors.

 

That’s why I want need to share this with you – because we need body positivity to be everywhere, and this is just how I’d like to do my bit. Do follow bodyposipanda and spread the body-posi-love.

Kelly

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Adult Life, thoughts

The Importance of Being (Okay) Alone

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Over the last year or so I’ve probably written and re-written and deleted this post a dozen times; maybe that’s because I know the whole subject of being alone versus loneliness is quite a sensitive one to many. I’ve been away for a while, busy flitting between work and a trip to the UK to visit family, but I’ve had some time to myself to think about this. Let’s give this a shot. 

The world is saturated with quotes and films which lead us to think that we’re perpetually in search of some other half, implying some sort of lack on the part of the single person. There’s a sense that you should be looking for someone to complete you because as things stand you’re incomplete. You need to go out and hunt that ‘other half’ down before all the available men and women are taken by more fortunate parties. If you’re alone, then you damn well better be feeling lonely because that’s just how things work. Right? Wrong.

Now before I start to sound cynical, here’s a quick disclaimer to let you know that I’m all for the romance and the fluttering feeling you get when that guy you like looks at you, talks to you, or likes your latest selfie on Facebook. And don’t get me started on when the date happens – I’m a sucker for all of that good stuff (especially if said date involves excellent food).

What I’m not a fan of is perpetuating the idea that a person isn’t complete unless they’ve got a significant other. The anxiety and misery that this type of thinking creates is not just unfair but bordering on the ridiculous – and I regret not having realised this sooner (which explains why I’m writing this, hoping that it might help someone else realise this earlier on in life than I did). If you’re constantly in search of an ‘other’ to complete you, you’re walking around feeling like you’re not good enough, like there’s a big hole in your chest; that’s just not right and definitely not healthy. Instead of embracing the notion that you should be out there looking for ‘the one’ why aren’t we helping people realise that being okay alone is what comes first, before getting into a relationship? Why aren’t we helping people value themselves as whole, complete human beings who don’t need someone else to function on a day-to-day basis?

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When that special person does come along, then what you’ve got is a really great partner to go on adventures with. I don’t mean Indiana Jones style adventures (but I’m not discouraging that) – I mean life in general with all the possible experiences waiting at every turn, whether it’s trying out that new Indian restaurant or planning your next trip together.  What we need to look for isn’t another half, because we’re already whole. What we’re looking for is another whole to complement your own complete self. And when that happens, it’s beautiful and you are ridiculously happy.

But don’t forget that you are okay in solitude. Your time alone with yourself is valuable – use it well. We spend so much time giving our energy to the world out there that we need the down-time to recharge and build ourselves up as individuals. It’s about having time to read a book, do something creative, exercise, unwind, or simply reflect on the week’s events and write a few lines in your journal. Invest time in yourself. Be kind to yourself and be okay alone because you deserve to feel whole and there’s nothing wrong with it. At the end of the day, you might end up giving yourself the space you need to see that you’re not really as alone as you felt in the first place.

That’s my 2 cents, anyway.

Kelly

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