Book review: The Switch by Beth O'Leary

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Beth O'Leary is an author I absolutely adore and I loved The Flat Share so much that I couldn't wait to pick up her other novels The Switch and The Road Trip (currently on my TBR pile.) I can safely say that The Switch lived up to every good expectation I thought it would be.

Beth has this writing style that I love in how she paces out a story and this was apparent as much in The Switch. If you're looking for a new, easy, and surprisingly deep read, here is my full review of The Switch by Beth O'Leary.

This post contains affiliate links.

Book review: The Switch by Beth O'Leary

Plotline

The plot follows the lives of Leena and her grandma, Eileen, as the book is split into both of their perspectives. Leena just blew a huge presentation at work and is asked to take a two-month sabbatical and decides to escape to her grandma's house up north for some much-needed rest. Whilst, Eileen, who is about to turn eighty and newly single is on the search for her second chance at love but her tiny village doesn't exactly have many options. This is where the life switch happens. 

Leena is faced with many unruly OAPs to contend with and a handsome school teacher that she soon realises, this switch isn't straightforward. Eileen on the other hand is thrown into the London way of life, who soon becomes a big hit with the neighbours and a gem in the new online dating world. However, is the love she seeks closer to home than she thinks?

Characters and relationships

My favorite thing about this plot is that it's character-driven and there is a huge emphasis on the growth of the characters and relationships too. I have to start by talking about Eileen. She reminded me of my nan the whole way through the novel as she's honest, fiery and fun, not a typical old biddy and I loved that. I loved reading her quirk and charm scatter through the pages as she talks to her family, friends, and new people along the way. Reading her navigate London life at first is so innocent and I loved that because there was a real authenticity about her experience and growth. Leena is a typical twenty-something-year-old woman and I related to her on so many levels, especially how she is always such a busy bee and needs to be doing something. Reading about her transporting from a busy way of life to the slow pace of a northern village is everything, as it's a great reminder that we all need to take a break and appreciate the little things.

Leena and Eileen's bond is iconic really. It was so interesting how by living each other's lives, they learnt more about each other and in turn, their relationship grew for the better and they became closer than ever. It was such a feel-good bond to read about. I also loved learning more about all the village characters including Betsy, Arnold, and Jackson, and how their lives all intertwined so much with Eileen's and then Leena whilst she lived there. It really showed the true reality of village life. Bee, one of Leena's best pals was also a favourite character of mine as she was everything you need in the best pal and that love shined through.

Leena's connection with her mum was also something noteworthy as moving to her grandma's village gave her the opportunity to reconnect with her and forgive, and it's a journey that adds depth to the book after the loss of her sister.

Overall thoughts 

Overall, this book was such a wholesome read and a story I didn't want to put down. I felt so invested in the characters' lives and the antics that went on with them. From arranging the village festival for Leena to going on a first date with Eileen after decades, the experiences felt so real, raw, and honest, and like there was a truly personal insight to them. It's one of those books where the characters felt like real people and there was a real connection between reading and learning more about them. This is one of the reasons I love character-driven plots as I can read more about the journey the character goes on and get to grips with the deepness of that, rather than a busy plotline.

This book left me feeling many emotions after each chapter but also one of gratitude as it really showed the importance of connecting with family, friends, and of course, love. I love how Leena learnt many life lessons and I was learning them with her as I kept reading on.

Ending

Like always, I'm not going to ruin the ending. However, what I would say is that it ended on a light and satisfying note in a way that was owed to both Leena and Eileen as characters. After going with them on their story, I wanted an ending that sat right for them and that's exactly what happened.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Switch - buy your copy here. Have you read any of Beth O'Leary's books?

Thank you for reading <3

How to let a friendship go - my top 5 tips

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Going into my twenties, I've learned to realise that not every friendship is meant to last for a lifetime. A lifetime is long and it's not sustainable to keep hold of every connection you've ever had and that's okay. Friendships are a wonderful thing but it's also important when to know it's time to let go.

If you're going through a friendship breakup or need to let go of a toxic friendship, here are my best tips on how to do so.

How to let a friendship go - my top 5 tips

Know that it's okay if your friendship doesn't last

Growing up, we always expect our neighbour, child best friend, or the group we have in school to be with us for life and although for some that can happen, it doesn't always and that's okay. Some friendships are for a season, some are for a reason and some are for life - and this is what you need to remember with all friendships.

Friends come and go at school, where we live, at work, when travelling, if we become a parent and in all aspects of life and that's normal, and what life is all about. It's important to make connections and learn from others as it helps us grow as individuals. But just because those connections are strong and deep, it doesn't mean they're a soulmate connection. They don't have to be with you for the rest of your life to make a lasting impact on you. It's okay to let go if a friendship isn't bringing you the same joy, it's okay to let go if you've grown out of a friendship and it's okay to let go of that friendship if it is toxic. It's also okay to grow apart as life gets in the way, it doesn't mean the friendship you had didn't mean anything. In terms of who we surround ourselves with, we sometimes need to be a little bit selfish (even though this isn't selfish), to do what's best for ourselves and that can mean letting go of friendships. It can be hard but for the best. 

Accept you haven't failed as a friend

We all fear failure and rejection, that's why a lot of us are people pleasers or do things for others to make them like us, when really it's not necessary. When we let go of a friendship or walk away, it can often feel like some sort of a failure as we weren't able to keep up the friendship or make it work, however, that's not the case at all. Walking away from something that isn't serving you joy is one of the strongest things you can ever do for yourself. It doesn't mean you failed as a friend and you shouldn't ever feel guilty for doing what's best for you. You are not a failure. 

Explain to them why you need to let go

Walking away from a friendship is not an easy thing to do especially if it has been a long and deep friendship or you've known each other for a significant reason. However, just because it's hard, it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Often, the hardest things in life are what make us better as humans. This point all depends on you and your connection with that person but I would advise you to talk to them and explain where you're at in terms of your friendship. They deserve to know why you walked away as in the long run, it could help them better themselves or make them better friends with other people. 

Do it gradually or all at once, whatever is easiest

This all depends on your relationship with your friend and why you're walking away, and what's easier for you. If you find distancing yourself gradually would work best then do that or if you'd rather cut ties quickly and effectively, go down that route. Each person is different in how they want to approach leaving a friendship but you need to do what's right for you and your mental health, and future. Do it cautiously and think the whole thing through and always ensure it's exactly what you want in life. As there's no point living with regrets.

Treat the healing process as a breakup

It's normal to grieve for a friendship, the same way you would for a relationship breakup because they bring that same level of love but in a platonic sense. They add value and fun to your life and you were friends with them for a reason so it's only natural to be sad and miss them. It's natural to want to reach out to see how they're doing or send your love. It's totally normal to go through the ups and downs of wanting them back in your life, but with most breakups, it's important to stay true to your decision in letting them go.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

How to have a sustainable period

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Let's talk periods, sustainably. On my route to being more sustainable, I took a deep dive into all of the sustainable options last year, after getting my period back from being on the contraceptive pill for a few years.

This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

sustainable period products

The sustainable period has become more trendy with many options now available, making the products a lot more accessible to find. Although they're at a higher price tag than standard period products, they're typically better for you (made organically), do their part for the planet, and for the most part, are reusable which saves you buying products time and time again.

However, I would like to point out, with any sustainable item or thing, it's not accessible for all, and buying into these types of products is a privilege, which I'm lucky to have. 

If you're looking to go down the sustainable route for your period, here are the best products to have a sustainable period.

Organicup

I have been an Organicup advocate since I switched to the cup way of life last summer. There are plenty of different menstrual cups on the market to choose from and I'm not really sure how widely they differentiate, but they all do the same job I can assume. I want to talk about Organicup in particular as it's the cup I use every month on my period.

The beauty of the Organicup is that it's completely reusable and can last up to ten years (like all menstrual cups). The cup is made out of organic materials (medical-grade silicon), it can be kept in for up to 12 hours and honestly, is very comfortable to wear. The Organicup costs £21 but despite the price, it is the equivalent of 528 pads/tampons.

Initially, the cup was scary to use at first as I have always been a pad wearer. However, after getting used to the process of putting the cup in, I fell in love with it. I never feel when it's in, often or not I forget I have it in and it has helped with cramps too. Plus, since using the cup, my periods have been a lot lighter and shorter.

Callaly

Before taking the leap into the cup way of life, I had a really great experience using Callaly for a couple of months. Callaly is a period subscription box that offers tailored boxes to your period with their organic range of pads, liners, tampons, and tampon liners.

It's the perfect alternative for those who aren't ready for the cup but still want to be using natural products for their period and it offers the ease of having the products delivered to your door. Their box prices begin from £7.30 but it all depends on what you choose to include in your box and how many of each item to what you pay. I especially love how you can tailor the box to arrive on a certain date each month so it's ready and waiting for you, for when your period arrives.

Flo

Another natural period brand I adore is Flo. I recently discovered them in Boots when shopping in the eco-friendly section and fell in love with their liners but also their whole ethics behind the brand. 

Flo is a shamelessly natural period care brand that offers a selection of different sustainable period products and also eco-friendly condoms. They have this amazing approach to our bodies and talk about normalising everything that has a taboo stigma like periods and I absolutely love that. I think it's so important to normalise periods and take away the shame that a lot of us women carry for menstruating, even though it's one of the most normal things ever. 

Wuka

Wuka is one of those genius brands that I adore everything about and I wish I had growing up. They're a female-led startup with the mission to make sustainable period products accessible for all and break down body and period taboos. I love the idea of period pants, as they're perfect for younger people, who are getting their period for the first time and are nervous about the whole concept of a period or are too afraid to try a tampon/menstrual cup.

The period pants are all sustainably made and I love how there are loads of different alternatives from boxers to hipster knickers. Plus, their range is designed depending on your period flow so you can choose your pants accordingly to that. The period pants are around the £20 mark but can vary depending on the collection, the flow, and what set you purchase.

sustainable period products

Other tips and tricks on how to have a sustainable period:

  • Do not flush your period products - Period products are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. It's important that if you're using disposable products, whether they're organic or not to throw them away properly, in the appropriate bins. This is to prevent any plastic or unnecessary waste in our oceans, as it's one of the things which contribute to plastic pollution.
  • Make the small changes where possible - If you're set on a period product that you've loved for years and don't want to change then there's no pressure to. Instead, why not change up parts of what you use. For instance, opting for organic panty liners as opposed to the normal ones. It's your body and what works for you is important.
  • Keep an eye out for packaging - If you're not into opting for reusable products, keep your eyes peeled for the packaging that your disposable products come in and see if it's easily recycled or disposed of.
  • Free bleeding - This isn't something I would promote to everyone as it's not something I go for myself, however, there are women out there who free bleed and use no products at all on their period. I admire that as it's a liberating thing to do and also a brave thing as well.
I hope you enjoyed this post! What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Reminders to hear on the days you don't feel good enough

 Well hello to you my reader chums! We all have down days, it's only human. We can't love ourselves always or feel on top of the world at every moment, that's not normal and it is okay. I'm the biggest advocate for self-love as I genuinely believe, it's the crux of feeling better about life - once you love yourself, love will radiate around you and you'll gravitate towards things that bring you joy.

Reminders to hear on the days you don't feel good enough

However, as an advocate, I'm also aware that self-love is a journey and it has its ups and downs, and the downs can be as strong as the ups. If you're feeling down or not good enough, then here are the reminders that you need to hear.

It's normal to feel this way

Emotions are normal, feeling down is normal. As humans our thoughts and feelings are like a rollercoaster all of the time, that's how it should be. Some people may be more positive than others, but it doesn't mean they don't also have down days, everyone does. Those with mental health problems, will typically have them more and feel them more but it doesn't make your down day any less validated if you don't have an illness. Our normal emotions are meant to be felt, they're what make us a person and this feeling of not being good enough is natural. It's sucky but it's natural and the thought can only get better.

You are worthy and good enough

When you're feeling like this, negative thoughts are naturally going to multiply as your mindset isn't a happy one, it's the opposite in fact. But this is why when you're having a day when you don't feel good enough, it's the perfect time to practice self-care, self-love, and utilise affirmations as much as possible. You are worthy and you are good enough. These feelings are only temporary and they will pass, and you'll be back to feeling your best self soon - or working towards feeling that way.

People project when they're not happy

This is something I've taken on board a lot lately and it has really helped me on the days I'm feeling down, I'm triggered, or not feeling good enough as a whole. If the reason you're feeling down is that someone has said something mean or hurtful, or invalidated you in some way, it's on them not you. It's nothing to do with what you've done. Hurt people, hurt people and this is the mindset that is important to live by - because once you realise someone's hurtful actions say more about them, than they do you, then you won't question your self-worth so much.

You haven't failed in your healing journey

Healing isn't linear, whether that's a mental health problem, trauma, a breakup, or anything that has caused you hurt. Your healing journey isn't meant to be easy, it's the thing that's going to help you process what has happened and make you stronger. When you're having a down day, not feeling good enough, or have been triggered, this doesn't mean you're a failure, it means you're human. You're still making steps in becoming your healed self, this is just a blip in the road.

Better days are coming

One of the greatest thoughts is knowing you haven't lived some of the best days of your life yet, and that's something I hold onto when I'm feeling down or not good enough. Hard days are part of life and so is feeling this way, but I can assure you, better days are coming. The days where you'll feel so on top of the world that you'll forget of the days you weren't feeling good enough.

There is always hope

Hope is the only thing stronger than fear, and that's something I always hold onto. Fear is an emotion that you can be feeling when you're not good enough as you're scared to be yourself or you're scared of what is to come, and a lot of these down feelings can come back to fear. But hope is so much stronger and there will always be hope, even when times are tough. Hope that things can get better and the best things are to come.

Your emotions are valid

You deserve to feel everything you're feeling. Your emotions are valid, whatever they may be. Often when we feel down or not good enough, we compare ourselves to those around us and think 'I don't deserve to be down as x is going through a worse time' or 'I don't feel good enough because of x y and z.' Whatever the thoughts that link with the emotions you're feeling are completely valid and you're allowed to feel them. Don't let someone tell you that they have it worse or you're being overdramatic because you're not. By feeling them fully, you can then help yourself get better rather than suppressing them as they'll become a bigger issue in the long run.

The right people will stick by you

On the days you're not feeling good enough, reaching out to others is so important for that little boost or some helpful advice. If those others are invalidating what you're saying or making you feel worse then they're not right for you. The right people will stick by you and help you through every type of emotion you're feeling.

This too shall pass

I say this in pretty much all of my posts but this too shall pass. What you're feeling right now is temporary, the feeling will pass soon, I can assure you.

You are uniquely you

And, on the last ad most important note - a good reminder when you're feeling like this is to know, you are uniquely you. There is only one of you for a reason and you deserve to express how you truly are. You may not feel good enough but you are good enough, you are incredible and the world deserves to celebrate you.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other reminders do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

5 simple things you can do to boost your confidence

Well hello to you my reader chums! Confidence isn't a quick win, it doesn't spring on you overnight or is something you can buy, it takes time and energy - but is the best thing you can ever do for yourself. We all deserve to feel confident and happy within ourselves as we are good enough and we are worthy.

If you're struggling with your confidence and need a little boost, here are 5 simple things you can do to boost your confidence.

5 simple things you can do to boost your confidence

Don't take advice from people you don't look up to

I've heard many quotes around this idea like 'only take advice from someone that is where you want to go' or 'never take advice from someone you wouldn't trade places with' and it has really stuck with me in a lot of ways. It's really made me take a look at who is around me and realise the people that are boosting me up and supportive, and those that are toxic and not worth my energy. I think it's important for us to all come to this conclusion because they say you're the average of the five people you spend the most amount of time with.

Who you surround yourself with has a huge influence on how you see yourself, how you value yourself, and your aspirations in life as you care about the opinion of those you spend your time with. However, to boost your confidence, it's important to be picky with these people and give your energy to those who are bringing you joy and reciprocating the same friendships energy and love as you are. And, also only take the advice from those with that reciprocated energy. If you're listening to people whose lives you're not looking to have, it's not going to help you grow as a person as they don't have anything you want and it can have a negative effect on your confidence. Listen to those who inspire you and how they got there and use their advice to help you feel more confident.

Learn to find love in everyday 

Gratitude has been one of the biggest things that is not only helping me love myself and appreciating life more but in my confidence also. Self-love and confidence go hand in hand in a lot of ways. When you learn to love every bit of you, you'll begin to feel confident in those parts of yourself and express that confidence in life. One of the ways I've been able to boost mine is finding the love in every day. This could be counting your blessings for the people you have around you, speaking to someone in a shop and wishing them well, or pointing out something that you love about yourself.

By practicing self-love and feeling the love all around, you'll radiate yourself in love and begin to see your confidence increasing day by day.

Do whatever you want to do with your life

It's your life, you deserve to live it how you like. Many of us refrain from being our authentic selves or not going for our goals in fear of what people may think of us. We live in constant fear of rejection and judgement that we don't do the things that make our heart soar, whether that's rocking an outfit or moving abroad. This fear makes many of us not feel confident in who we are because we're constantly scared of what people will say.

But my point to you is, just do it anyway. Life really is too short to care what other people think of you or their opinions to stop you from doing what you like. I can assure you, everyone is so absorbed in their own lives, they really don't think about you and what you're doing in a judgemental way as much as you may think. Live for yourself and the right people will gravitate and support you anyway - you'll feel more confident and the toxic people will phase out.

Stop paying attention to lingering eyes

You're wearing a banging dress and someone looks you up and down or you're laughing so hard in public and those lingering eyes look at you. The lingering eyes from judgemental people which we've all experienced or know. Those lingering eyes aren't important. You may never see those people again. When I see people do that now, I just think 'their loss' or 'it's so sad how they're judging someone else.' Because at the end of the day, judgy people aren't happy about themselves so they project that pain on others by picking at them, laughing at them, or pointing bad things out so they feel better about themselves.

Stop paying attention to the lingering eyes and enjoy what you're doing at the moment. Laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger, and realise you're brilliant in your own way.

Realising you've been put on this planet for a reason

This brings me to my last point: you're here for a reason. This may sound cliche but we are all unique and we were brought onto this earth for a reason and to be who we are authentically. Not everyone is going to change the world and that's okay. But your impact on others is larger than you think. The little bit of kindness you spread today could have saved someone's life, the time you spent with your pal could have made their day and a relationship you had with someone could have impacted them for the better. You bring so much worth to this world and everything around you, and even though you may not see it, others do and that's how you need to think.

You need to flip your mindset to focus on all the good attributes of yourself, what you're proud of and the value you bring to the world around you. I can assure you, you have value, you have worth and you're more amazing than you think you are. These constant affirmations and positive thoughts will help you see yourself as better, fall in love with who you are, and boost your confidence.

I hope you enjoy this post. What other confidence tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Let's talk about anxiety

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Anxiety is something many of us live with whether mild or severe and it's a condition that can be managed and understood with the right type of care and attention.

If you've recently been diagnosed with anxiety, struggling to deal with it, or need some advice, let's talk about anxiety.

Let's talk about anxiety

What is anxiety?

By definition, anxiety is a feeling of worrying, unease, or fear and can vary from being mild to severe. There are many types of anxiety such as social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

What's anxiety like for me?

Anxiety is something I've always lived with and has been a part of me in some way since I was little but grew a lot worse in my teens and early adulthood, where I spent those years trying to figure it out and overcome it. I have generalised anxiety, social anxiety and suffer from panic attacks, so a mix of it all and for me, they can vary in being mild to severe depending on when I'm triggered. 

Anxiety isn't easy for me, it never has been and it's still a daily battle. However, I'm at a point in my life that now I have more of an understanding of my anxiety. I know my triggers, I know how to cope with them or I've put things in place to prevent being triggered and have explained to those around me about it so they understand me and my anxiety a lot more. Although that makes it easier to deal with on a day to day, when the panic attacks happen or I'm triggered badly, it can still be hard to come to terms with and makes me feel like a failure that I'm backtracking all the progress I've made. But in the same breath in dealing with the ups and downs of anxiety, I'm learning that with any mental health problem, that is what happens: at times I'll be on top of the world and other days, my mind is in an anxious spiral and that's okay.

For me, it's about spreading awareness that anxiety looks different for everyone (and people can show that differently too) and my anxiety can be triggered in different ways. My main trigger is not feeling good enough (which is what the crux of anxiety is anyway) and not feeling safe, and it can spiral me into a negative thought process of thinking horrible thoughts about myself.

Examples of what anxiety can look like:

  • Asking for constant reassurance - When someone has anxiety, they have a mindset where they'll question everything they do and what they have around them including their self worth, relationships and friendships. This is why quite often, they'll ask for reassurance. It may seem unnecessary to you but to them, they have this constant pattern in their mind telling them they're not good enough - so offering them the reassurance time and time again can really help.
  • Fiddling with their hands - Have you ever noticed someone fiddling with their hands? It could be picking at their fingers or moving their jewelry around: that's usually a sign of anxiety. This is because when someone feels jittery, they need something to focus or distract with to help that feeling subside slightly. I have a massive habit of doing this and biting my lip too.
  • Needing external validation - This is similar to asking for reassurance. Those with anxiety often struggle with self love and self worth as it's not something that comes naturally to them when they're fighting with their mind everyday. This is why they may ask things like 'am I a good person?', 'do I look okay?, 'does x like me?' Questions like this linger in our mind and securing external validation can silence them in some way.
  • Cancelling plans last minute - Anxiety isn't something that comes at one time, it can be triggered at any moment. This means when someone has it, if they cancel plans last minute, it could be because they've been triggered of they've overthought the situation and worked themselves up so much that they feel too anxious to attend. It's a common problem for someone with anxiety and feelings of guilt also prevails afterward, which make that said person more anxious.
  • Avoiding social situations - This also leads onto avoiding social situations. When someone has anxiety, especially social anxiety, social situations are their worst nightmare. There can be nothing worse than being a room full of people and having to talk to them. This is why, they'll often avoid them instead of putting themselves in an uncomfortable situation of being social and then overthinking every small thing that happened.
  • Making excuses - Making excuses comes easy when you have anxiety. It can be easier to say you can't come or you're busy to see someone than actually explain the extent of how anxiety is making you feel.
  • Oversharing or undersharing - I find it's either all or nothing with someone talking about themselves when they have anxiety. Oversharing is something I do as I find it easier to overshare and make people realise the way I am rather than not say anything. It all depends how that person is and where they're at in terms of understanding their anxiety.

How can I deal with anxiety?

Dealing with anxiety isn't one given cure. One thing could work for me but not for someone else and as there are five types, there isn't a definite answer. However, there are many tips and pieces of advice I can share with you. I've previously spoken about the tips and tricks that work for me and shared bloggers' advice on the topic. Here are my top 3 tips:

Understanding your anxiety - My top tip for anyone with anxiety is to understand yours. As I've previously mentioned, anxiety is different for everyone so you need to figure out what your triggers are. Once you know your triggers, you can think of preventative way to stop yourself from being triggered or avoid those situations, then you can discover the things which help your anxiety. When I'm triggered for example, it depends to what I'm triggered about to how I cope with it. Sometimes, I need to be around people, other times I need to feel the emotion until the anxiety passes or utilise distractions, and working out for example can help. It's about finding the solution for you. 

This too shall pass - I talk about this quote in every post about mental health as it has really impacted me since a good friend once told it to me. This too shall pass. Whatever you're feeling right now isn't permanent. It's a temporary emotion and you will feel better - and that hope can help you get out of an anxious episode ever so slightly.

Talking to those you're comfortable with - Our support system does us wonders, especially when it comes to talking about anxiety. Not everyone will understand your anxiety and that's okay, as you'll find the right people who will give you the time and energy, and want to understand and help. Once you find that support system, confide in them, the way they would for you and it'll offer the support you need.

How can I help someone with anxiety?

Helping someone with anxiety can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don't deal with it yourself, but there is always something you can do. I wrote a whole post explaining how to help a friend with anxiety with all my top tips - and my best advice to you is:

Be a listening ear - If someone is dealing with anxiety, sometimes they don't want to hear a solution as often enough, they know what to do to help themselves, they just want someone to confide in. If someone is struggling, simply listen. Hear what they have to say and offer reassuring words.

Don't get annoyed when they ask for reassurance - People with anxiety need constant reassurance and if they've asked you several times, try to not get annoyed but offer them the same level of reassurance. They're not asking to annoy you, but for the validation needed to feel better.

Ask how you can help - Being a listening ear can really help but sometimes they may need more help, and the best way to figure out what that is, is to simply ask what you can do to make them feel better.

Help and support contact details

Living with anxiety can be hard and lonely but there is always help available. If you don't feel comfortable speaking to a family member or friend, or need further help, check out these hotlines:

Text 'SHOUT' to 85258 (UK-wide)

Samaritans - Call 116 123 (UK-wide)

Mind UK - 0300 123 3393

I hope you enjoyed this post. What's your best advice for someone living with anxiety?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm back with another book review, a book which I devoured in only a few sittings and absolutely adored. Malibu Rising has been hyped for a while now and I'm so glad I got the chance to read it as I absolutely fell in love with the book.

If you're looking for a book to hit you in all the feels, are a deeper thinker, and love a fast-paced plot, Malibu Rising is worth picking up next.

Book review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Read

This post contains affiliate links.

Plotline

Malibu Rising is set all around the famous end-of-summer-party of Nina Riva and everyone is filled with anticipation before the exciting event. Everyone who knows about the party is invited and many want to grab a glimpse of the famous Riva Siblings. There's Nina, the talented supermodel and surfers, Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer and the other a famous photographer and the youngest, the adoring Kit. The siblings are a fascination by many in Malibu with the known news of legendary singer, Mick Riva as their father. 

When midnight hits, the party is out of control, and by the morning, the mansion will be up in flames. But, the plot follows the family throughout the series of the night, the loves, the secrets, and the events that shaped this family.

Characters and relationships

The key of this plot that makes it so wonderful is the characters and their relationships, and how they have developed. Nina is the main focus of the plot and I really related to her character in a lot of ways because she is a giver and does a lot for everyone else, and often forgets to think about herself. She is the oldest of the siblings and you can see that in how the plot unfolds, and how she takes care of them all, their entire life. Jay and Hud are a similar age and Kit is the youngest and their bond between the four of them is what makes the plot so special.

Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit really show the true meaning of what it is to be a sibling and how looking after each other is the most important thing in life and that premise is kept throughout the writing of this tale. Their mother June is an icon in my eyes as she experiences so much hardship but offers all the kids' needs which is love and support even when she had nothing to give. Their father is a character I don't like, and you can see that map out throughout the story in his actions, and what he does to their mum, and how he acts towards his kids.

But it isn't just the main family characters that make this book special, what's great is how the author really dives into the many party guests. She gives many characters a voice and pages about who they are, their lives, and how they end up at Riva's party, and I loved that. I love how she painted a picture of people as a whole and how lives intertwine and why - it added a lot of layers to the book.

Overall thoughts

Overall, this book was a heartbreaking, refreshing, and personal read and I adored every page. The structure of the book was actually one of my favourite elements because it was broken up into the hours of the party and what went on during each hour, as well as going back in time to Riva's parents' past and how they ended up to where they are now. The switch between past and present is something I adore in a book and that's why I loved this one so much. 

The characters, I fell in love with and I could really connect with them, not only with the events of the party but what went on in their entire lives. The author has a way of moving the reader with her words and describing the story in a way that you really feel for them all. It's a book of complete emotion that explores the horrors of fame, family connection, broken families, sibling bonds, the sacrifices you make in life, all intertwined within the setting of sunny Malibu.

I love how Malibu was the location of the entire book as it brought everything together in terms of plot, how the characters lives mapped out, and added the escapism feel to the read. 

It's one of those books I didn't want to end with a purely character-driven plot. 100% would recommend.

Ending

The ending came together in a wholesome way, obviously, I'm not going to give it away with what happened. But, what I will say is that the characters received an ending that they deserved and the book ended on a beautifully metaphorical note.

I hope you enjoyed this review. You can pick up your copy here. Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3