Helene Fermont, ‘His Gulity Secret’ (review)

I am lucky enough to be part of Hélene Fermont’s Blog tour for her new book, His Guilty Secret, which will be out on the 27th November. Being sent His Guilty Secret last month was such a pleasure as I’d never before come across the author and I wouldn’t say it’s the kind of genre I would typically go for; certainly, though, it’s made me want to broaden my horizons.

Hélene Fermont is an author born into an Anglo-Swedish family, who claims her ‘writing is inspired by Nordic or Scandinavian literature with strong characterisation and morally complex elements.’ She has two other books- Because Of You and We Never Said Goodbye- making His Guilty Secret the third!

Synopsis

Secrets & Lies Are Dangerous

When Jacques’s body is discovered in a hotel room his wife, Patricia, suspects he has been hiding something from her.

Why was he found naked and who is the woman that visited his grave on the day of the funeral? Significantly, who is the unnamed beneficiary Jacques left a large sum of money to in his will and what is the reason her best friend, also Jacques’s sister, Coco, refuses to tell her what he confided to her?

Struggling to find out the truth, Patricia visits Malmö where her twin sister Jasmine lives and is married to her ex boyfriend. But the sisters relationship is toxic and when a family member dies shortly after, an old secret is revealed that shines a light on an event that took place on their tenth birthday.

As one revelation after another is revealed, Patricia is yet to discover her husband’s biggest secret and what ultimately cost him his life.
His Guilty Secret is an unafraid examination of the tangled bonds between siblings, the lengths we go to in protecting our wrongdoings, and the enduring psychological effects this has on the innocent…and the not so innocent.


Review

His guilty secret is a story you never quite expect… you never know what to expect but are always anticipating some new form of drama. 

The writing has you not quite knowing who to side with; with more characters being introduced with their own secrets and insights, you find yourself in a love/hate relationship with most characters, but mostly find yourself totally in love with Fermont’s writing and characterisation. 

This characterisation is only aided by her Scandinavian influence. Never have I seen the traumas Patricia faces written in such a way, and for sure, it has you gripped. 

I found the movement of settings (London, Paris, and Mälmo) really interesting as the cultural changes really bring out different aspects of the different characters. I also found it interesting as I’ve grown up in London and been to Paris many-a-time (it’s one of my favourite cities for sure) but Mälmo is a place I’m unfamiliar with so it was a real eye opener; it gave an insight into where the author grew up and how it may have influenced her writing.

I also find it intriguing that there is a strong psychological aspect to Fermont’s writing; she has past claimed that this aspect has been influenced by events in her own life (though it is fiction and there is no actual link between the story and her own). This aspect has such a positive impact on the characters and story’s development. 

I found myself totally gripped to Hélene Fermont’s His Guilty Secret within the first few pages, and couldn’t find myself putting the book down. I was desperate to know who had what other secrets, presents, and pasta each character- even seemingly innocent- had. 

The book is beautifully written and has me longing to get my hands on her other books as soon as possible!

I definitely think all of you should read His Guilty Secret even if it’s not necessarily your genre. It wasn’t mind, but I couldn’t help but find it a great read. 

Love always,

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How to support Children in Need (without being triggered)

Tonight is Children in Need, and despite being at home, I won’t be watching. My family (who should have understood) had a go at me when I asked if we could turn off a segment of The One Show re: CiN; “That’s so insensitive”/”ignorant”, I could throw a whole lot of the arguments they threw at me in here, but there is no relevance of doing so.

I’ve grown up in a world where CiN exists and has surrounded me; tonight, 12 years ago, I’d be partying at the fundraising school disco, and up until 5 years ago went back to volunteer. As a kid, a teen, and almost into adulthood, I would stay up late watching  the programme even if I was reeeeeeaaaaally tired. I owned endless Pudsey bears, eye patches and dressed up many a time. I have used the BBC’s ‘fundraising kits’ to fundraise at school, dance, you name it.

This year I won’t be watching Children in Need.

What is Children in Need

“We provide grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. We are local to people in all corners of the UK and support small and large organisations which empower children and extend their life choices.

We are currently supporting 2,400 projects all across the UK. The projects we fund help children facing a range of disadvantages for example poverty and deprivation; children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect or disabled young people.

Our grant programmes are open all year round for applications. We give our small grants awards four times a year and main grants three times a year. Click here to find out more about our grant programmes, to apply for a grant or to hear about some of the differences made to children’s lives by grants from BBC Children in Need.”

Why won’t I be watching?

Personally, I find it difficult for me to watch CiN due to the ‘stories’.

Last year I recall there being a teen on CiN with the chronic illness my best friend had and it showed the raw struggle. This is the sort of thing it would be amazing for abled people to see, but for someone who has massively been impacted by the effects of said illness, of course it shook me up, and I was shaken up in a bad way; Full launch breakdown. Children in Need is great for showing the best, but also easily portrays the worst case scenario of struggles and the end of life… which when you know it too well, and do not want to think of the worst case scenario*. All I could think of was my friend’s suffering, and what more could happen to her. I believe she was in hospital at the time, too, so I was more worried than anything.

*Heck, i’m a worrybot, i’ve thought of it, but what can I do? I just need to do what I can and hope it doesn’t happen.

How can I support CiN without getting triggered?

As i’m now earning, my way of support will be financial. I’m not a gold mine, so it will only be a little bit. Although this year for the sake of my own wellbeing I haven’t had a chance to ‘fundraise’, now is the time I plan to begin fundraising for next year; something big, if I can. I’m also going to use my social media platform to get others able to donate aware of the evening and hope they donate, but also for awareness. I will still be sharing bits on my social media.

I may tune in for parts, as I love to hear the amazing work not only the BBC, but the nation does, I am just not well enough in myself to risk a trigger when nothing happening can trigger my upset and worry for her and others suffering.

This does not make me evil or insensitive. I still support CiN, just not in the same way as I used to. Situations change and I am now working with my new situation. I just wanted to make a point that we don’t all have the same situations, brains etc… this charity and the accompanying show is wonderful and i’ll always fully support it but in what way has changed.

I hope you are able to support it too, and if you too are easily triggered due to a situation, you don’t feel a pressure to watch the show; there are many other ways of charity support.

Love always,

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Travelling light, travelling right.

By travelling light, I do not mean bagless. Heck, I am the worst at packing and if you saw my lugging my bags around, you’d think I was trying to move in.

By ‘light’, I mean freely. Without condition. Spontaneously.

I’ve always loved travel, but recently my etching for it has rocketed. I love to be anywhere, everywhere, and I don’t like sitting at home, truly. It stresses me out. It’s bad for my mental health. I need to be on the move, move, move. I mean, I also have to be sooo careful with my ME tiring me out and general mobility RE: hEDS but I do like to try and push what I do to the limit.

Regardless of not leaving the country since May for Paris, I have been to many-a-place since;

  • Poole
  • Cardiff
  • Swansea
  • Blackpool
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Gloucester

and more…. Including many more local places (that unless about specific things in the town or certain experiences, have little worth of me mentioning. Reading being an example).

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My grandma and I en route to Blackpool for the illuminations
I absolutely love travelling and it was expressed by a blogger’s influencer site that my instagram  somewhat mirrored that of a travel blogger’s. This has really got me in gear as I’ve always wanted to blog about my travels, and between this and connecting with other travel bloggers, it has influenced me to be more travel-orientated on here. Of course, this will be alongside primarily having this as a lifestyle blog, cruelty free and sustainable living blogging, beauty blogging and the many other words that come out of my head and end up on your screen, but I would love to start blogging about my adventures more. After ages of dillying and dallying, half written posts and never posting/not even knowing how to fit said posts into my scheduling I have decided to kick it off with a ‘travel week’. Typically, I commit myself to 3 posts per week, or 2 if my health doesn’t allow it, but the week after next (commencing 27/11) I will post one blog every single day. Every. Single. Day. I guess this is a sort of ‘soft launch’ into blogmas, too, as from December 1st I will be posting every day for blogmas!!! And that begins just days after this travel week ends…

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My trusty cup of coffee that accompanied me for the journey to Gloucester
I think it would be hard to choose between my favourite out of all of these, as so many factors come into play… the people, the place, the activities, my own state of mind…

I think I have discovered something I love is being by the water, and not neccesarily for the sea (though that’s great too), but for the fresh air. On Saturday night we were out for a meal in Symonds Yat and I had a bad moment of anxiety and felt very… lost. It’s very hard to explain this sort of thing to my family but instead of sitting there aggitated (my grandma got aggitated herself at noticing my subconcious habit of shaking my legs under the table), I left for just a moment. I went to the waterside and for a moment I just stood there. It was pitch black due to the lack of non-natural lights but I spotted a boat, some houses on the hillside near me, a slip, the water. I felt lured, at home, in the moment. What was going on inside didn’t matter for that moment. I’d escaped meal anxiety and soon enough felt enough courage and normality to return. That freedom did me good.

I also think cities by the water aren’t quite cities in the same way. They’re no less of a city, but they’re more… peaceful. When I have recently said in the (near-ish) future I would like to get away from the city, I don’t view Cardiff as part of that. Heck, i’d love to move there. I guess it’s about mindset.

Where’s the best place you’ve ever been?

DC made me SO happy. I also loved Egypt.

Where would I like to go?

I would love to go to so many places, but i’m going to list my top 3.

  1. New York
  2. Budapest
  3. Malaysia

New York

I’ve always wanted to go to NY. I’ve always wanted to explore America, but more specifically… I love musical theatre. I would kill to see a Broadway show.

Budapest

As I recently blogged about, not long ago I turned 19… on my birthday, I recieved a card from my grandparents and at the bottom, in my grandma’s handwriting it said “I can’t wait for our trip.” We had recently discussed how much I wanted to go to Budapest and my grandma knew how much my face would light up upon seeing this. I can’t wait to go to Budapest next year! We haven’t planned dates or what we plan to do yet, but I have so many ideas in mind. I am SO excited, i’ve always wanted to go to Budapest.

Malaysia

I don’t know what drew me to Malaysia, but something did. I look at the country and am in awe. It may be the colours, the scenery, the food… but I am so drawn to the country. I really am hoping to go there some day; I’ve never visited Asia before so would love to and Malaysia would be a good first.

Edit: I earlier said that next week would be a full on week of travel-inspired posts. Due to circumstances outside of my control, I no longer will be posting every day. This kick-start travel series will be postponed to a new year’s travel series! The travel blogger in me will see you after blogmas! 

Do you like to travel? Hopefully you will enjoy my next few posts or feel inspired to get on the move!

Love always,

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Matte lips more of the time (Lipstick Transformer by Hema review)

Hema is one of those shops that doesn’t seem to have a massive media plug, but you are totally attracted to the moment you see it. I discovered Hema one late night post-coach journey (it was closed by this time) in Victoria Plaza. Even though the lights were off, I was automatically drawn to it and thought ‘I’m going to come back here’.

Ever since, I’ve been back many a time, mostly for homeware, stationery or food, but last weekend I decided to delve into their make up section. This totally was not just because I was feeling sorry for myself due to having to drop Jadey off the the coach station moments before…

To give you a little background on Hema, they’re a company from The Netherlands who have a purpose of making everyday life and practicalities more fun! They are totally for a sustainable future so sell many sustainable products, and are cruelty free. They are also super reasonably priced.

Hema reminds me of a mix between Ikea, Tiger and Muji and that’s pretty much my wildest dreams.

Hema have so much choice for make up and spent ages looking around. As there was so much I truly wanted, I nearly left empty handed! But on the walk out, spotted a beautifully autumnal lip collection with something right by it…

A lip mattifier.

L: SHADE ‘Nightwatch’, R: Lip Transformer (matt)
This has quite frankly saved me this past week. I found a beautiful colour in Hema, but it was glossy. No issue with that, of course, but I really do not suit glossy lips (and have my fair share of non-matte lip colours I adore and can’t wear). Now, I can wear them.

I have been living in Hema’s Nightwatch for the past week, and for the looks I’ve had going, it’s done me well.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, pictures I have of myself don’t quite do it justice as my skin is ridiculously dry at the moment (including a lovely patch below my lip, at it’s worst. It’s pretty raw, red and flaky. Not fun). You can still see the colour and how easy and non-messy it is to apply. It would just look better on someone’s lips who weren’t completely ruined by the winter air.

Forests have better lighting than you think

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As you can see, this totally glossy tone does not represent a glossy look at all. It truly does produce a Matt effect.

Retailing at £4.50 for the lipstick, and £4.50 for the Matt transformer, and adaptable to any shade and your pre-purchased home lipsticks, this is more than certainly a reasonably priced product.

I would say, however, I haven’t quite mastered the amount I need. I feel like I’m using too much per application, and therefore it will run out quicker than anticipated. Sounds stupid, but I wish there was some kind of guide on how to use it; am I to apply this to my lips directly post application? Or to a make up brush? Or even the lipstick. How much am I meant to use?

Even though those questions are very personal answers. We all apply different amounts of lip product for colour or due to the size or shape of our lips, and working for a cosmetics company myself it is easy to get frustrated when people ask the more obvious questions (I kid you not, I get asked how to use a hand cream on a daily basis), but I think I want the validation I’m doing it right, and I’m so in love with it I want it to last.

Hema do a full other range of mattifying products; A nail polish mattifier (i’m way too excited to try this as I remember I had a phase of being obsessed with Matte nails- when I looked after them- and would love to fall back into it); More generally, more matte lip products and matte foundation etc.

I think overall I would give this a 4/5 review, however considering the price it would be a 5/5 within it’s own right.

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The main reason I would place it within the 4 would be because I have used better beauty products (though have never come across a lip transformer before) but they have been priced a lot higher and I would say on a totally different scale to these.

It was still an amazing product and I honestly wish I had this in my life earlier. It’s not only transformed my lips, but it’s transformed my life.

In the UK, there are only 6 Hema stores (3 of which are in stations) and these are:

  • Euston Station
  • Victoria Plaza (Victoria Station)
  • Birmingham New St Station
  • Stansted Airport
  • The Glades Shopping Centre, Kent
  • Kingston-Upon-Thames

Their store locator will help you to find other stores worldwide, and of course, if you don’t have one nearby (they aren’t very sparce and all seem to be located in the south-mid UK), online ordering is always an option!

I hope you get the chance to try this amazing product and I cannot wait to try more of their beauty range out (and probably spend alllllllll of my money on it).

Love always,

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A night at the illuminations 

“Have you been anywhere exotic recently?”

“Blackpool?”

“Not quite what I meant, but I guess it is to some!”


The above is a little encounter I had whilst stuck in hospital upon my last admission. I was in a hospital in Scotland mid holiday, and the nurse was just trying to keep the feel light, but we joked and joked as much as I could handle. She asked me about my most recent holiday, and I told her it was Blackpool. Though a wonderful place, we agreed, medically, Blackpool is not ‘exotic’. The illuminations sure are, though.


I tell a white lie in the title… I spent two evenings, infact, indulged in the Blackpool illuminations!

It’s been 4 years since I last visited the Blackpool illuminations and I have spent a majority of those years begging to go back. It’s not as if I’ve not been back at Blackpool, as oh, I have many a time (to say it wasn’t one of my favourite places would be a lie), but not at this time of year; hotels are extortionate, trains… also extortionate, and I’ve since had other commitments like, in the past, A levels, and now, working full time. Finally, when I’d given up on the idea of going back, my dad pitched to me that we went. I was shocked and over the moon, so of course, instantaneously booked the time off work.

The 7th and 8th October… that was the weekend. We would stop over in the Lancashire town of Preston for a mere two nights and spend two days in Blackpool en route to Scotland, to appreciate the town and it’s famous, yearly illuminations.

There are many things I’d love to do in Blackpool again; go to St Anne’s, go to the Pleasure beach, go to Cleveleys, and much more, but when you’re there for the illuminations, doing just that is more than enough.

Day 1.

Our train was not direct, and infact, caused us a few issues due to lift issues and lateness. We had to, first catch a train from Watford Junction to Milton Keynes, then hop from Milton Keynes to Crewe, then head to Preston from there. The journey was okay, apart from when my travel sickness kicked in.

Our train didn’t leave until three (my dad had working commitments), so we popped down to ‘Spoons for lunch before our train. Being the weekend before I turned vegan, I had an avocado and egg bagel (but later discovered they have a whole veggie and vegan menu so i’ll be totally safe for future!)

What else do you need in life when an avo bagel sits in your belly?

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It really was delicious, and I enjoyed it with a filter coffee.

I was also, even with a fully belly, feeling super body confident that day, so I 100% feel it’s a necessity to share that with you…

Feeling v positive about how I look today. Embracing my body and sense of style 🍍

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As usual, I was strapped up with braces but decided to take the only visible one (my knee brace) off for the photo. I regret the shame I felt wearing that. My disabilities mean I need it.

Straight after eating, we walked the short journey to the train station, and stood for about 20 minutes for our first train to come. That was convenient as we got prime place on the platform to hop on and get some seats (even though those arriving at the last minute will always try to push you out the way. Always)

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My grandma and I on the train to Milton Keynes
The journey to Milton Keynes was successful; I admittedly took full advantage of London Midland’s recent inclusion of wifi. I haven’t had a chance to use their film and television service yet but was fascinated by it; for me I mostly caught up with the works of other bloggers (and admittedly, consistently messaged Jadey who was too, mid-travels, but to a much more exotic place than I).

The journey was pretty quick, and when we departed the train our next one (to Crewe) was only across the Platform, which was pretty handy. The only problem was, it was late. I don’t know what it is about the Virgin service from MK>Crewe, but every time i’ve got it, it’s been late and subsequently, we have almost missed our connection. Almost, being the key word there though; thank god we didn’t!

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My Dad and I at Preston train station en route into Blackpool.
Aside my travel sickness, the multiple journeys went smoothly and we arrived at Preston station nearing on 6pm. It felt like a long day of travelling despite it only really being 3 hours, but I guess that’s what happens when all you do beforehand is eat and sleep.

We took a wander back to the hotel room with our bags and dumped them all after checking in. The plan was to see ‘Cabaret’ at the Winter Gardens, but we were pushing it for time so I compromised (I could see another show) and gave it a miss (despite the amazing people in the show!). Instead, we turned the night into a fully illuminations based day.

Here is a collection of images of the illuminations over the two days:

If you couldn’t tell, I was totally over the moon about my flashing Micky mouse ears! They were my pride and joy even when I was FREEZING. And only £3! Not as much of a rip off as you’d get with street sellers* conning kids on fireworks night down here in London.

*Disclaimer: This is not an attack on street sellers. Not all street sellers are bad. My local ones are toxic and financially exploit children.

So, what else did you do?

  • On Saturday night I went to the famous fish and chip place, Pablos, for chips. I also had a milkshake (as it was just before going vegan, as I mentioned) and though sickening, it tasted lovely.
  • I went beach raking. I love searching the beachfront for all kinds of shells and glasses so took myself off on an adventure on Sunday. My family thought it was totally childish, but it caused me immense euphoria. I’m a curious soul.
  • We found this really lovely place to eat! We expected Bruccianos to be a sort of greasy-spoon, but step inside to this How glamorous! The customer service was wonderful and food, lovely. They had a range of choices for veggies, vegans and those who eat meat!
  • Went shopping. I’m quite familiar with shopping in Blackpool, but we decided to spend our Sunday morning in Preston! I found a lovely shop (not dissimilar to tiger) and spent a fortune in there, mostly on stationery…
  • Of course, I had to visit the Lush. A lovely supervisor with blue hair served me and we had a lovely chat. She mostly questioned my idea of a holiday when I informed her that’s why I was up there.
  • I made a furry friend
  • I made TWO furry friends
  • Speaking of furry friends… my grandma also got to meet my doggos before we left for Blackpool

How adorable!

If I’m honest, that was it. It feels like we did everything and nothing all at once, but I had an amazing time.

Blackpool is my happy place, and I’ve not been for the lights in years. Even though I was only there in April, it feels a lifetime since I was there before, so I’m just more than happy to be back.

If you get a chance to have a look at the illuminations, I urge you to! My grandma lived in Blackpool many years and is a more-avid fan of the place than I, and was going about telling people ‘this is the year’. She thought it was much more stunning this year than other years.

I hope you enjoyed this post and love the light show as much as I do!

Do you have any autumn holiday places?

Love always,

A reflection of the 18th year

 

As of today I have been 19 for a whole 5 days. Scary, huh? Especially when you really didn’t think you’d make it to 15… 16… 17… 18… and especially the last year, 19.

Now, I am 19. And I wanted to reflect; to reflect on the future; to reflect on the past.

I very much intended to past a solid 2-3 posts this past week or so, but quite frankly, poor mental health, fatigue and other commitments have held me back from sticking to the (rather overly optimistic) schedule I prepared for this blog (particularly, for you guys).

Regardless, here I am.

I’m back, I’m blogging, I’m alive. I have had longer hiatuses and I’m sure, truly, it’s no big deal.

From 3rd November 2016 to the same date in 2017, a hell of a lot has happened. A hell of a lot.

My mental health has been a significant thing over the past year. The impact it has had on my life has been huge; One defining factor being the fact I did not complete my final year at sixth form or sit my a levels. I have also been medicated for mental health reasons. This actually occurred before I turned 18, but dosage has increased a lot throughout this year, and I have now been branded as ‘medication dependant’. Unfortunately now, it’s stopped working, so I’m in the process of medication adaptation along with the rest of my care plan. It’s also taken me time to realise that taking medication for mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Being medication dependant is not a bad thing, as my friend Izzy said ‘if it’s keeping me alive’. Mental health has given me an experience this year, and I currently feel as if i’m on an only-falling-into-the-pits-of-hell rollercoaster, but I do have some plans for the future:

  • Staying alive and as well as possible
  • Recovery. Recovery is my focus, recovery is important, I AM IMPORTANT.
  • Getting back into education. When I am well enough, I’m planning to sign up for an access course. This will bridge the way into uni for me and get me enthused by learning again.

Physical health, too, has given me a fair dump this year. If you’ve read any past posts in which i’ve mentioned chronic illness, and are planning to follow my Spoonie Saturdays*series you will know my body’s not been treating me too well. I shan’t go on too much as I do have whole posts dedicated to my own issues and raising awareness for such, but since December 2016 (the beginning few months of my 18th year) I’ve had flare ups of chronic illness and many subsequent illnesses. I’m sitting writing this with a heart monitor on, after a long day of back to back appointments. Again, I want to work on recovery with that. So much is out of my hands but I vow to myself to bring up anything of relevance, not downplay pain, and realise that my disabled ass is deserving of help.

*Spoonie Saturdays will be about both physical and mental health. If you’d like to get involved, see the linked post.

 

I mentioned earlier that I dropped out of school and subsequently am not at uni. You may be thinking… what the hell is she doing with her life? Well, I am committed to the wonderful company that is Lush Cosmetics. I got promoted in the summer to ‘supervisor’ and chuffed doesn’t cover it. I have such a purpose now, being a supervisor, and get to work around 5 days a week for somewhere I’m immensely passionate about. I have aims for the future, too; I do hope some day i’ll be able to progress in the company and, I guess you could say really have an impact.

I’ve also noticed something recently. My long term goal (in the near or distant future) is to become an English teacher, and cheesy as it sounds, to make a difference. This is something the past year has almost pushed me away for (a bad relationship with education and toxic experience with a teacher has more of an impact on one than imaginable- especially not being neurotypical), but what has helped me? Books and writing, of course, but my role as supervisor. Having an impact (even on a smaller scale) on my colleagues, new or old, makes me feel great. Having a duty of care makes me realise how much I want/need that in the future, and heck, that i’d even be good at it, for sure. Lush is full of opportunities and whether internal or not, it is going to be so beneficial (and already is) to me personally.

Hit our store up on social media! Here:

 

I may get attacked for including this in a year review due to only actually practicing it for a month, but between turning 18 and 19, I also turned vegan! As you may know from way back, I have been trying to transition for a while (my only limitations being money and being warned against it for health reasons) and finally did in October. It has been a month since I went vegan and i’ve never felt better! I am so happy to know i’m impacting and caring for the environment and animals, and if i’m honest, the idea of cow’s milk now makes me feel sick to the stomach. Another great thing i’ve noticed about veganism is that i’ve had a better attitude towards food than i’ve had in years. People thought it may cause further restriction, but truly I feel so much better about what i’m putting in my beautiful bod!

God bless Bill Potts' body suit ✨ #birthdaysareforfeelinggood #bodyposi

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There it is, my beautiful bod. Gotta add some body positivity in here.

Veganism has been great for this past month, and financially and medically, I really do hope it is sustainable as I can never imagine not being vegan, now.

Oh, the irony. I’m Coming Out just came on shuffle as I began writing this. I’m sure you know this, but I’m not straight. Hell no I’m not. I identify as pansexual, and it’s been two and a half years since I truly had my gay awakening (I would like to thank my best friend Kas for turning the rainbow on in my head). Although you’re probably thinking… ‘that’s not this year’, well, it is. I still have not been able to attend my first pride, but I, in myself am full of so much more pride. I tweeted and instagrammed about my sexuality a lot more, popped it in my bio even, shared a blog post with the declaration on facebook with my family! I guess you could say i’ve almost come out. I wouldn’t say it’s 100% true as of yet as, well, I haven’t, but my parents know. My mum saw it in my bio and keeps trying to slide comments in here and there (which I kindly ignore but would love to address soon) and my dad liked a clear declaratory tweet of mine and just… hasn’t mentioned it. Apart from talking about the LUFC LGBT Soc every 5 minutes and saying ‘I thought you might be interested’. Regardless of familial ties to my sexuality though, I’m a lot more accepting in myself. I’ve had a few wobbles and feared anything beyond a kiss up until recently due to past trauma, but I now am happy. I accept who I am. I am proud. I’m proud of who i’m with, too. I could shout it from the rooftops (and metaphorically do on twitter), and feel no shame in a goodbye kiss in the bus station despite the looks. My sexuality is valid, my relationship is valid, and i’m proud of my indentity.

Embracing my sexuality

Hearts not parts 💗💛💙 #pansexualpride #pridemonth #loveislove

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Here she is. She’s cute. We cute.

happy daze ☀️

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This past year I also was able to speak out a lot too. I’ve been a member of momentum and the Labour Party for 2 years now but pre-general election went campaigning with the wonderful Rebecca Lury in RNP and West Harrow for Gareth Thomas. I like to believe my work with Gareth helped him stay in his seat, and despite Rebecca not gaining the Tory-stronghold, her vote was phenomenal! I was so proud of her (as someone who looks up to such a lovely human, and someone who went to her school) and can only hope for better things for her in the future. Alongside this I went on many-a-political march re: the rat haired wotsit and other horrible things in this world. I love to make a difference, or try, at least.

Speaking of out, as well as ‘coming out’ and ‘speaking out’, I also bridged the ‘moving out’. It’s not quite a uni-half-way-across-the-country situation, but i’ve lived in the same house with my mother since I was a child (despite a period of partially living elsewhere) and it became a very toxic environment for me. Heck, I spent a fair amount of time partially living with a friend this time last year and by may was sofa-hopping and seeking help from HYH (via school). It’s a lot to go into and not the sort of thing i’d like to talk about, but it caused me many-a-struggle ontop of many more and has made me a stronger person. It was a severe downsize, which was hard, and it is difficult to live where I do now, but it’s better; the company; the situation. I am looking to move again in the near future for the sake of my mental health but I am much happier where I am than I was at what once was my home.

I do think, as well, that (not trying to big myself up too much) I have drastically improved my blog in the last 12 months. Not even that, but 6. Regardless, I have put more work into this and am now a self-acclaimed blogger (without feeling guilt in calling myself a proper blogger) and have a schedule.I spent the end of this mentioned year sorting my first professional collaboration with a publishing company (watch this space)! I do, too, hope to arrange more collabs in the next year with both companies and other bloggers.

Mind, due to the above I can not always stick to it (as evident from the fact this was due up 4 days ago, at least) but I try much harder. I am committed and I love it. I have such a purpose and love all your feedback!

There are some smaller, but important goals I want to adhere by in the next year:

  • To support more freelance artists!
  • Support more disabled people in Bonfire campaigns
  • Travel more
  • Review more books
  • Make somewhere mine and comfortable
  • Get a little more organised
  • Get back into stationery
  • Watch more films
  • Get back into anime
  • Try to save up, even a little at a time.

This year has been quite a year and I don’t know if I can really put my finger on a word to describe it, but I only hope for a better 19th year.
How were you when you were 19? Or if you’re not yet, what do you plan to do by that milestone? Let me know!

Love always,

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Happy World Vegan Day

November the 1st, today, is World Vegan Day, and on this day, I declare I am a very happy and a very proud plant-munching earth child. In other words, yes, I am vegan.

Though I have not been vegan for very long (we’re edging on a month) mostly due to health concerns, I am happier than I have ever been and my relationship with food is much better.

This post is not going to be long, nor ‘preachy’, but let me pitch one thing to you: please, please, even for just a day, consider making a few little changes:

  • Have a dairy alternative in your morning coffee; one less milk purchase screams out to the dairy industry and making this one step could make a huge difference to the means of production and inherent abuse in the industry.
  • Try a veggie alternative; veggie or vegan, it will make a difference. I say this because, yes, quorn (frequently made with egg) is generally more accessible than some vegan foods, but of course, purchasing these fuels the free from industry rather than meat. Also, if it is money or accessibility you’re worried about, the more people fuelling free from industries, the more accessible, and cheap, free from produce will get.
  • Shop cruelty free; get your make up from MAC? Consider shopping at Kiko. Body lotion from L’Oreal? Try a Lush lotion. I can assure you, it will change your life as you won’t want to crawl back to the animal-testing industry, but even if you do in the future decide to shop maybelline, that one purchase impacts the industry.
  • Consider our opinions and choices. Please don’t argue. People too frequently will nit pick at veganism for an unknown reason. Just consider us, and if not, over all, respect us. We are humans and causing no harm, so please don’t cause harm to us.

Of course, above all I am an advocate for fully vegan and cruelty free lifestyles, but would love you all to just make one change, even for one day. I understand accessibility; heck, it took me longer to transition due to this fact. I understand it’s maybe even just a daunting concept to people raised as a meat eater, and in a world where we are desensitised to the meat and dairy industry’s abuse, but please… just consider veganism. Be aware. Know harm is the opposite of what we want.

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Look at how happy and content I am to be a vegan
I would love to connect with some more vegan bloggers. Drop me a comment or a follow here, or a message me  on twitter  or instagram with your blogs!

You could also drop me an email at storiescanmakeusfly@gmail.com

Below, if you would like more info, I shall link you to some fab sites to gain info on veganism and the many reasons people go vegan, along with some vegan facts:

Environmental: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-environment/

Abuse (the dairy industry): https://freefromharm.org/dairyfacts/

‘Reasons to go veggie’: https://www.britishmeat.com/49.htm

GAME: meat is murder: http://features.peta.org.uk/meat-is-murder-game/GamePage.html?skiptitle=1&language=en

VIDEO: Factory Farming in 60 secs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2dGvZiHUJ0

Veganism explained: https://www.vegan.com/what/

Thank you so much for reading,

Love always,

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