Mental Health – My Journey

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Huddle & Cuddle 

Set up by Sophie over at One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues by using the means of social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences with you. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to people, whether it be an influencer, family member or a helpline about their thoughts and challenges they may come across.

I was recently scrolling through Twitter (as you do) and I came across Sophie asking for people with experience of mental health to write about it. Now this isn’t usually something I would ever consider, for two reasons. One I blog about books primarily. Two I’ve never truly opened up about my experience with my mental health and I wasn’t too sure how you guys would take it. All that being said, I just felt this need – this urge that perhaps it was time to travel back and relive that part of my life. Although it was a horrific time for me, I think it needs to be aired and if I can help someone out there, then I’m willing to share.

So here’s my journey guys, it’s a long one – (WARNING if you are easily triggered then maybe you’ll want to bow out now).

Age 12-13

My first year of secondary school flew by without much cause for concern. I got my head down, made some friends and ended the year on a high.

I wish the same could be said about the following year. It started like any other, trying to find my way around the school like I was supposed to have memorized it the first time – yeah no – and easing myself back into school work. I began to have serious stomach pains a few months into the year, no clue what was causing it. I was in so much pain each morning that I cried getting dressed for school. Eventually we went to see the doctor and I was diagnosed with IBS and given medication. Weeks went by and I was in even more pain, I stopped going to school all together and had work sent home.

Another trip to the doctor and a different set of medication. Still no relief. Still no school. After the third time back and four months off school, the doctors finally did proper tests at the hospital. Turns out I had an infection called Helicobacter Pylori, that had caused an ulcer to form in my stomach, causing me severe pain. Finally I was given the correct medication and was on the right track.

After six months off school, I went back, I wish I hadn’t.

Everyone asked me questions, why have you been off, what’s wrong with you, I bet she just couldn’t be bothered to come in. I was harassed, called names, bullied. I stopped going to school after that and starting skipping school. My mum didn’t know at first. I’d go to the park and wait for hours until school was over, I hated it. Eventually she found out and tried to force me to go, I’d cry so hard, she’d give in.

This went on for so long, my mum barely spoke to me, my brother either ignored me or shouted at me. I began to feel very alone, I spent my days sleeping and my nights awake. My mum said I was a vampire, funny now.

I was severely depressed, I didn’t know it yet but I was spiraling lower and lower, until one day I had enough. I had some medication left from my ulcer and I took them, forty to be exact. I didn’t want to be here anymore.

I ended up in hospital, dazed and wondering what the hell was happening.

Shortly after my episode I was referred to CAMHS – Child And Adolescent Mental Health Service – and started some therapy sessions to help me cope. It did help, me and my mum started talking again and she tried to understand, but she’s stubborn, she still refuses to understand why I did it, that hurts.

I was also referred to a Bully Free Zone, a club for after school. After trying to adapt back to my old life in school, it was decided by my school that I would move on, they didn’t want me there anymore. I can’t say I blame them, but I was getting better and I believe it was the wrong choice.

Age 14-15

I made a friend in my new school, a bad one. I would frequently skip school with her, because I didn’t have anyone else and I didn’t want to be alone. I knew it was wrong.

I got in trouble a lot and my mum hated me, she believes I did it to hurt her, still to this day. But I just wanted to be free, free from the crappy home life where I felt like no one cared.

I knew I was still depressed, I knew I was running away from it. I started having dark thoughts creeping in again and I was scared it would happen again.

I had to push myself, get out while I was still sane. So I decided to go to my Bully Free Zone and ended up meeting a guy there. He was just a friend to me. I met him one day with his friend and I liked the friend, the friend that ended up being my boyfriend, the friend that is now my husband, the father to my children, my rock, my life. Without Tom, I believe I would have gone backwards, he helped me breathe again, I felt loved.

When we had our son, I knew I had to fight it, I had to be braver for him, stronger. He was something to live for.


I developed severe anxiety when I was seventeen. I didn’t want to go out because I had bad thoughts about myself 24/7. I thought I was fat, ugly and not worthy. I thought people were looking at me, talking about me, I became housebound. Trapped with my own thoughts.

I was pushed to do some therapy and was referred for CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – and attended about ten sessions. Looking back on it now, CBT really did help me and I would highly recommend it if you’re feeling the same way. I started going out by myself and getting the bus into town. I taught myself to think differently about people. Why were they looking at me? Maybe they thought I was pretty or had my hair real nice. It doesn’t always have to be negative, you have to learn to love yourself and think differently!

Another thing that helped me was an online forum called Elefriends. It’s a place to talk to people who are in your situation and to support each other. Somewhere to be yourself and talk about your feelings WITHOUT judgment.


I’m not going to pretend that I’m all better now, I still have bad days, bad thoughts. Sometimes I’m great and sometimes I want to crumble and that’s OK! I’m allowed to be human and so are you.

We are all different kinds of people, imperfect and that’s freaking awesome!

I have my family, I have my close friends and I have my blogging community, I’m not alone anymore. Please don’t let yourself be!


I want to thank Sophie for allowing me to share my journey and being so supportive. You can find more information on the Huddle & Cuddle campaign here and their Twitter here



Blog Tour – Fire Lines – Cara Thurlbourn – Review

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Book logoSynopsis

When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?

Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.

But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.

Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

Book logoMy Rating

Forbidden magick, secrets, lies, how do you know who to trust with your life, when your world is ripped apart?

Book logoMy Thoughts

When I signed up for the blog tour, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Fire Lines. I was enticed by the description, elephant riders, sorcery, I mean why not?!

The beginning was a tad too slow for my liking, I took a while to get into it, but once I did I was hooked (bookhooked ;)). Emi’s story was so heartbreaking, I immediately sympathized for her and felt a strong connection to her character. She works so hard every chance she gets to earn money to survive and endures the torment of the cadets for her mother’s sake. I think everyone would like to be a bit more like Emi, she definitely inspired me to be braver.

I am a bit bitter about Emi’s mother. I feel sorry for her in a way, losing her husband and forced to live among the ‘dregs’ of society. But being a mother myself, I would do anything for my children and expected her to do the same, unfortunately that isn’t the case in this book – let’s leave it at that.

I love the watchers! I had to warm up to Alyssa but she’s honestly one of my favourite characters now. Strong willed, brave and loyal all the way – girl power! I adore all of the boys, Garrett is the joker of the group, Tsam is the protector and Kole is the one who you’re skeptical about but end up loving.

The world building was brilliantly done, without being too detailed that it bores you. Some of the creatures were so eerie and creepy in the best possible way. Cara created such an immersive story, one that I can’t wait to experience again!


About The Author

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Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. ‘Fire Lines’ is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old.

Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.

She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.

Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.

You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for updates and an awesome giveaway that includes a signed copy of Fire Lines, postcards, a bookmark, a badge and a handmade version of Emi’s necklace. You don’t want to miss this, sign up here:

You can find Cara on Twitter and Fire Lines on Goodreads and Amazon.  It release’s on the 26th September 2017!


Sparked – Helena Echlin – Arc Review


Book logoSynopsis

Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy.

Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn’t always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.

Book logoMy Rating 

Sisterhood, family demons, supernatural powers, breathtaking crushes, and an ancient prophecy.

Book logoMy Thoughts

When I came across Sparked on Netgalley I just had to request it. The synopsis was so intriguing and I just loved the cover, it’s so right for the story too! Luckily I was approved to review it and was eager to get started.

The opening of the book is about Emi waking up and finding her sister missing, so you are instantly dropped in at the deep end and ready for the action to begin. I really enjoyed this opening, as I can sometimes struggle to get into a book. We start to gain a bit more information about the sister’s past as the book progresses and learn why they’re so close!

Emi is an undoubtably strong character, one that you’d not expect for such a fledgling age, and she goes to great lengths to unravel the truth and find out where her sister is being kept. She struggles with her budding feelings for new kid Jasper and is convinced he doesn’t feel the same, until she finds out the real reason he’s so distant.

I knew something was weird about Jasper but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. The truth about him really surprised me and I’m not often surprised. I’m the type of person who usually figures out the big secret and I did NOT see this coming, so that was a happy turn of events.

What really shocked me was the twist at the end, I thought I knew who the culprit was along with everyone else throughout the book, but the truth was a lot darker and more deceitful than anticipated!

I really enjoyed reading Sparked, it was a quick read and very fast paced which I liked. I managed to read it in a day so that says a lot. I really hope there is a sequel as the ending hints to one.


*I want to thank Netgalley for sending the book my way in return for an honest review*

Helena Echlin




Disney Book – Tag

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Since I was little I’ve simply loved Disney! Don’t we all want to find our prince charming and slay a dragon or some such?! You’re never too old.

I’m so glad that Rachel at RachelsRamblingReviews decided to tag me – thanks girl! The original idea was created by the marvelous Katytastic over on Youtube.

So the questions are Disney themed (obviously) and you pick the character/book that best fits the questions (in your opinion). Got it? Let’s go!

Q1: The Little Mermaid – A character that is out of their element, a fish out of water?
The first person I think of is Eragon from The Inheritence Cycle by Christopher Paolini. He’s a simple farm boy who finds a Dragon egg and suddenly his world gets turned upside down, navigating dragons and fighting evil dragon riders.

Q2: Cinderella – A character who goes through major development?
Feyre from ACOTAR series by S.J Maas. Feyre’s transformation is incredible, she’s a normal girl trying to survive with her family, who gets plunged into a magical world full of fae. She becomes a warrior, brave and bold, nothing like the girl she left behind.

Q3: Snow White – A book with an eclectic cast of characters?
The first book that came to mind is J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings series. There are SO many diverse characters in these books, from elves to dwarves to wizards. They all have different opinions and ways of doing things.

Q4: Sleeping beauty – A book that put you to sleep?
I think I’ve mentioned this book a few times now. Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis bored me senseless! I never finished it – that says a lot.

Q5: The Lion King – A character that had something traumatic happen in their childhood?
Oh Elva from The Inheritence Cycle. She is cursed when she is an orphan baby and ages rapidly, losing her childhood and gaining powers that she didn’t want and that cause her extreme amounts of pain.

Q6: Beauty and the Beast – A book that was a beast (a big book that you were intimidated by but in the end found beautiful)?
My favourite Harry Potter book and the one that intimidated me the most, The Order Of The Phoenix. With a whopping 766 pages, this scared the s**t out of me! It’s the biggest book of the series, but (in my opinion) the BEST!

Q7: Aladdin – A character who has their wish granted for better or for worse?Trudchen from Odd & True by Cat Winters. Tru doesn’t remember her parents and is told stories about her monster killing mother. All she wants is to find her mum and live happily ever after. She gets her wish – for better of worse I’ll let you discover!

Q8: Mulan – A character who pretends to be someone or some thing that they are not?
Rhysand from ACOTAR by S.J Maas. He is a total a** hole in the first book (I still loved him though) but you understand why in the second book – I won’t spoil it.

Q9: Toy Story – A book with characters who you want to come to life?
I can only choose one?! I’d love the characters in the Gamorrah festival to come alive, from Amanda Foody’s Daughter Of The Burning City. I’d love to see all of the different jynx workers!

Q10: Disney Descendants – Your favourite villain?
Voldermort from the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling. Voldi is so good at being bad! His story is so interesting and quite heartbreaking actually. Little soft spot for old Voldi!

I tag:

I hope you enjoyed! How would you have answered?


Wormwood – D.H Nevins – Review

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Book logo

Against a devastated landscape, a legion of one hundred fierce half-angels is hell bent on purging the Earth of all humans. But one of them, the tormented Tiamat, struggles against his mission, and when he rescues a beautiful woman name Kali, he finds the attraction as troubling as it is dangerous. Can Kali trust the one creature who could be responsible for her ultimate demise?

Book logoMy Rating

Angels, demons, destruction. The choice between your duty and forbidden love?

Book logoMy Thoughts

I always have trouble knowing where to begin with reviews. Someone once told me to write from the heart. So what do I write when my heart has taken such a beating? God it hurts so much! I didn’t anticipate such a painful experience with Wormwood (the good kind).

I was definitely wary of the book before I went in, the description is pretty vague so you really don’t know what to expect. I have to admit I was a little confused to start with, you really get thrown in at the deep end and it was a lot of imagery to lure you in. Danielle did a brilliant job of building the world around you and really sucked me in, like literal vacuum sucking folks!

Kali was like a kindred spirit for me. She loves nothing more than scouting out her environment and is completely at ease with nature. She is unbelievably strong and has to take a whole lot of sh*t throughout the book, but not once does she curl up into a ball and crumble and I mean I wouldn’t blame her if she did! She fights for what she believes is right and true and is honest with her feelings.

I didn’t warm up to Tiamat quite as easy. He was a little strange from the start and I knew something was off with him from their first encounter. He is such a pain in the proverbial rear throughout the entire book, going to extreme lengths to rub Kali up the wrong way! I seriously HATED him at one point, the point that had me crying – you’ll get it if you read it – like why do that? Why?! He does redeem himself ultimately and everything comes to the surface – I love him now.

I was totally caught off guard so many times, I didn’t know what was real and it completely messed me up for several hours – the back of my phone is still recovering from me flinging it across the room (thanks Danielle)! The author superbly twisted the story for me and I understand that some scenes could possibly upset some people, but they are a necessary evil.

I couldn’t possibly describe in entirety the amount of love that I have for Wormwood and Danielle! I communicated with her numerous times and she is honestly the coolest warmest person, who genuinely wants feedback for her book.

I’m so sad that the sequel is a while off! I NEED it now – can we work on that please Danielle?!


*I want to thank Danielle for sending the book my way in return for an honest review* (you are awesome 😉

D.H Nevins





Sunshine Blogger Award

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I am so honored to have gotten nominated for the award, not only once but twice! Thank you to Phannie and Danielle for nominating me! Go show them some love guys!

The Rules 

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Phannie’s Questions

Q1: What is you favourite genre (book or movie)? 
My favourite book genre’s are YA/Fantasy and I love a good horror or comedy movie. 

Q2: Do you have a daily routine?
I’d say I sort of have one. I follow my daughter’s routine for her, but myself not so much, except for my skin routine.

Q3: What are some of your all-time favourites?
Books – Harry Potter series.
Movies – Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Breakfast Club. Also Dirty Dancing (I love Patrick Swayze in that one). 

Q4: What is your favourite dish?
Chinese food, all day every day!

Q5: How long have you been blogging?
It’s just gone three months yesterday since my first post! The time has flown.

Q6: How do you stay motivated?
I wouldn’t be anything without my blogging group @GreatBloggersGC – They keep me motivated with their positivity and support. ILY guys!!

Q7: What was your least favourite school subject?
P.E for sure!

Q8: Do you prefer TV shows or movies?
Probably movies. They’re quick and sometimes TV shows drag on for too long.

Q9: Your top five TV/Movie adaptions that you liked?

  1. HP Series
  2. Peter Pan (2003)
  3. Coraline
  4. Holes
  5. Everything Everything

Q10: Your top five least favourite adaptions?

  1. Eragon
  2. Prince Caspian (Chronicles Of Narnia 2)
  3. The Cat In The Hat
  4. The Seeker The Dark Is Rising
  5. The Golden Compass

Q11: Do you have any reading goals this year?
I have my Goodreads challenge that I want to achieve! And a few books that I NEED to read – City Of Bones, Red Queen.

Danielle’s Questions

Q1: If you could live in any period and any place in time when and where would it be?
I’d like to visit many time periods, like Egyptian times and Henry VIII, but I’d like to live in this time, but in Alaska.

Q2: What is the last book that you hated and why?
Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis. I never finished this book. I couldn’t go on, the characters were so bland with no emotion.

Q3: What is your favourite book?
I can’t choose a favourite! I love the HP series to death, I also love Coraline, Wintersong, The Summer I Turned Pretty – What kind of question is this Danielle?!

Q4: What is something that you wish people knew about you?
I wish they knew that although I’m very shy and anxious, I’m a real B**ch when I get angry and not to take my kindness as a weakness.

Q5: What is your favourite type of character in a book?
I like the timid person who turns out to be more than you think – don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Q6: What is your favourite holiday?
Holiday as in easter etc? Christmas 100%!!

Q7: What is your favourite TV show?
Gilmore Girls.

Q8: What is your pet peeve?
Walking behind someone who is really slow. Sorry!

Q9: What author would you like to meet someday?
J.K Rowling of course!

Q10: If you could play any Disney character in a live remake, who would you play?
Belle in Beauty and The Beast – I love books like her and I wasn’t interested in boys! Also I love me a beast 😉

Q11: Do you plan posts ahead of time?
Sometimes when I’m really organised. I write what posts I need to write in a notebook. But I do end up writing it the night before, if not on the day of posting! I need to work on that.

I nominate some of my besties! (sorry if you’ve already been nominated, but ILY)


My Questions 

Q1: Where would you like to travel to most in the world?
Q2: Are you a sweet or savoury person?
Q3: Who do you look up to in your life?
Q4: What inspires you to write?
Q5: What movies/TV shows do you recommend?
Q6: Where is your chosen place to write?
Q7: What does your dream house look like?
Q8: What author would you love to collaborate with?
Q9: If you could do over a day, what day would it be?
Q10: What is your best childhood memory?
Q11: What book character would you love to be like?

I hope you enjoyed! Until next time.


Book Aesthetics – Tag

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Hey guys!

So I did a poll on twitter for what my next post should be and it leaned pretty darn strongly towards the Book Aesthetics Tag, so here we are!

The lovely Fernanda over at TheWanderLustReader tagged me in this one. Guys her blog is gorgeous, you should definitely check her out if you haven’t already, she’s one of my fav’s!

The Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you.
  • Credit the creator of this tag (Michelle!)
  • There’s no limit of how many aesthetics you can make for a question, but think of your poor readers.
  • Make your OWN aesthetics, please don’t steal them from someone else. Also what’s the fun in that?


Favourite Book Of The Year

Has to be Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I just loved this book! It got quite a bit of hate from other people, but it was just so magical and well put together, I can’t wait for the second book!

Caraval Aesthetic


A Character You Relate To A Lot

Probably Bronwyn from One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M.McManus. She’s a geek at heart and a real swat at school. But she also wants justice for her friends and tries to help everyone. She’s quite empowering.

Bronwyn Aesthetic


A Character You Look Up To 

This is easy – It’s got to be Hermione from Harry Potter! The girl has it all, she’s stunning, beautiful inside and out, clever, kind. I love Emma Watson too!

Hermione Aesthetic


An Underrated Gem

Nemesis by Anna Banks. I loved this book and I haven’t heard anyone mention it on social media! I can’t wait for Ally.

Nemesis Aesthetic


A Character That Deserves More Love

Mather from Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. I’ve only read the first book so I don’t know what happens in the next, but I LOVE Mather and so did Meira! I don’t understand why that changed, like why?! He’s only a friend now.. I’m not getting it! LOVE HIM! – Also Jamie Campbell Bower would be perfect to play him! – Also LOOK AT HIM!

Mather Aesthetic


An Underrated OTP

Neville and Luna from Harry Potter. This pairing is perfect and SO underrated! #NUNA

NUNA Aesthetic

How would you have answered? Link me to some of your Aesthetics, I’d love to gush over them!

I tag some of my beaut bookish friends:



Versatile Blogger Award

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I was nominated for this award out of the blue and I want to thank FayeJessica for nominating me! You rock girl.

The basic premise of the award, is to state seven facts about yourself and then nominate fifteen other bloggers who you think deserve it!

Seven facts about me:

1: I have been with my husband for eight years and married for one.
2: We have two children together.
3: I am a very shy and anxious person.
4: I have been writing a book since I was 16.
5: My favourite dessert is chocolate fudge cake.
6: I am a huge potterhead.
7: I am fascinated by stories of vampires and their mythology.

I am so honored to have been nominated and want to nominate some of my fellow bloggers, who I feel have good quality writing, unique blogs and who above all put so much love and effort into their blogs. I love you guys so much!

My nominees: