'Prozac Nation' by Elizabeth Wurzel

Wednesday 18 May 2022

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The memoir that influenced confessional writing opened up mental illness discussion and divided critics is one that definitely needs to find its way into your TBR pile. 

Prozac Nation didn’t just uncover her experience with the dark looming shadow we associate with depression but the thoughtless decisions and reckless moments that truly highlight someone's lack of esteem for life. 

From a young age, mental illness took over Wurzel’s life, Prozac Nation accounting for her self harm from the age of 11 before a depression fog of adolescence, in what could be read as a highly functioning depressive. 

Throughout her turbulent life, Wurzel struggled whilst still maintaining good grades, attending Harvard and later becoming a reporter. Fuelling everything not swollen in mental illness into making sure she appeared to be ‘succeeding’. When she wasn’t wrapped in despair, she was focused on achieving or finding escapism in drugs, sex and bad decisions. 

Prozac Nation honestly reflects depression, which in the current era of ‘self-care’ shows just how much power this mental illness has, regardless of how many bath bombs you use. This true account is difficult, self-indulgent and dark. 

A true account of debilitating depression all whilst maintaining a life, trying countless drugs and therapies and fighting to afford treatment in the US. However, this can be difficult to read where Wurzel lays the blame for her illness. Everything from the time, to her parents, friends and therapists is the cause rather than the root itself. A continuous loop around acceptance and blame. 

Prozac Nation is now a cultural landmark in terms of confessional memoirs, mental health and coming of age, compared contemporarily to HBO and Lena Dunham’s Girls. Although its self-absorption is part of its legacy, Prozac Nation has laid the foundations for frank, open and honest accounts of life with mental illness. 

Have you read Prozac Nation?
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April HMV Book Haul

Tuesday 26 April 2022

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HMV Book Haul

It may not be a big haul. But I spent a lot of time dwelling over what I wanted to buy in the book section of HMV recently. 

Not only are they predominantly 2 for £6 but also the staff informed me that they get new deliveries all the time, so now I'm going to have to visit more often - as not everything is stocked online with HMV and I just love going and looking through the shelves. I always feel like I pick up books that I might scroll past online and miss!

HMV Book Haul Requiem for a Dream Hubert Selby Jr

Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.

The film may be a cult classic but I'll be honest I didn't even know it was a novel. So when I spotted this on the shelf I had to pick it up. 

The novel follows four New Yorkers as their addictions cause their lives to spiral out of control. Following the descent and impact of the life that happens under the immersion pressure of the American dream and expectations. 

HMV Book Haul Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain 

I have had Susan Cain's Quiet on my wishlist for a long time so when I saw it in the deal I had to pick it up. 

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking brings the focus back to those who are often overlooked. In a world of short attention spans and the loudest getting heard it is about time that we sought out the strengths of introverts and how we can use our naturally quieter selves to our advantage. 

It's time to listen instead of waiting to speak. 

HMV Book Haul Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Carol by Patricia Highsmith

Originally published with the title The Price of Salt - Carol by Patricia Highsmith is noted to be one of her only novels to have a conventional happy ending. 

Carol is known to be an anxious and addictive love story with the backdrop of fifties New York. Defying lesbian stereotypes common in 1950s for widespread notability. 

Following Therese, working in a department store as she meets the alluring Carol  -  both shocked and unprepared for their love and what they could stand to lose. 

HMV Book Haul The Craft by John Dickie

The Craft by John Dickie

John Dickie's The Craft - How the Freemasons Made the Modern World was the second non-fiction book I picked up in HMV. 

I really do not know that much about the Freemasons, so this piqued my interest in coverage of the movement's history, influence and traditions that bring membership the world over. 

HMV Book Haul

Have you checked out HMV's book section recently? Let me know if you find any bangers!

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Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar | Gifted

Saturday 23 April 2022

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Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

This beautiful bank holiday weekend we headed to Sheffield's Meadowhall to the lovely Flannels because nestled at the back of the beauty floor is the remarkable Sienna Kitchen and Bar

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

Adorned with plants, pink ombre chandeliers and iconic coffee table books, Sienna Kitchen and Bar is a haven from the bustling shopping destination of Meadowhall. 

We were warmly welcomed into Sienna, asked how our days were going and shown to a cosy corner of the restaurant. Warm tiered lighting brought depth and a level of cosiness alongside immaculate furnishings and complimentary prints that could have left me propped up in the corner with a book all day. 

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

We started with cocktails whilst we perused the menu, enjoying an espresso martini and a Japanese whisky and plum highball. Sienna's menu takes inspiration from the world over from Sri Lankan curries to Taiwanese chicken and sashimi. But we were there with brunch in mind... 

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

Between us, we ordered the french toast and eggs royale...

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

The french toast came, soft soaking in macerated strawberries with a cooling vanilla ice cream. The stem ginger, candied lemon and biscoff crumb bringing crunch and texture to the sweet treat. 

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

Then decadent smoked salmon on English muffins with perfectly poached eggs on top with dill hollandaise sauce and keta caviar for the eggs royale. 

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

and as if that wasn't enough we were then treated to a chocolate bomb...

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

As white chocolate sauce melted a chocolate sphere filled with brownies and surrounded by chocolate jelly and passionfruit. The perfect fresh fruit to cut through the chocolate. 

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

The service at Sienna was impeccable, our glasses were never empty and every member of staff was attentive, friendly and informative. A lovely extra touch was the Sienna postcards, advertising their light plate and cocktail offering whilst also alluding to their global theme. 

Brunch at Sienna Kitchen and Bar, Flannels, Sheffield

We cannot wait to go back and try their mains, or even enjoy a little cocktail for a shopping interlude.

Follow Sienna Kitchen and Bar here or book now - you won't be disappointed! 

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Audiobooks of 2021

Thursday 31 March 2022

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Where a crux of a book holds you to a spot, audiobooks have a tendency to hold you to the activity you are doing when you are around them. So as a book ramps up I find myself walking or cleaning for longer or just waiting those few extra minutes to finish listening to a chapter before I swipe my fob into work. 

Anyone else get like this? Like even though you could carry on listening as you move, you find yourself sitting in your parked car for the end of the book?

how to own the room by Viv groskop

How to own the room by Viv Groskop

My first listen of 2021 was Viv Groskop's How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking. Not just on public speaking but what to do and how to react to those things you fear most when doing so. 

Public speaking isn't just about hundreds or thousands of people in an audience, but how to hold yourself in a meeting or speak in front of 10 people! Highlighting not only how to react to anxious instincts when speaking, but how as women we can recognise what to do when made to feel small. 

Something that really drew me to this book was the analysis and development of famous female speeches and the beauty in growth and learning that are clearly visible. From Oprah and Michelle Obama to Virgina Woolf, Groskop's made me take notice of how women own the room with their words and their stance, commanding ownership of the room through their own art and no one else's. 

My favourite audiobook of 2021 was Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House. I have never read anything like it nor do I think I will ever come close. 

This is a memoir like no other - using narrative tropes to delve deep into their abusive relationship. Taking the deep-rooted emotions of loving and being loved into unspeakable horror and delicate hope.

The dream house as a haunted house, as a dream house, as a noir, as an unreliable narrator. 

Giving us something painful and tangible in a framed construct that seems to seep into one and other. 

High rise by J.G Ballard

High rise by J.G Ballard

A tower block filled with the richest of the rich descending into madness within its own confines? 

You got me. 

Read by Tom Hiddleston. 

You got me more.

How does modern architecture and technology effect the human psyche? The novel follows a series of months as the inhabitants of the building descend in mass psychosis on tribal levels as the three egocentric men at the centre of the story fall into their own. 

The tower itself falling into a microcosm, a city within itself. Taking with it, rules, ranking and regulations. With the liminimal space of the car park isolating them from rationale and reality. 

“Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.”


Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo 

Listening to Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other was an incredible experience. Narrated by Anna Maria Nabirye bringing life to the 12 incredible stories. 

Spanning time and locations through a collection of exquisite characters, perceptions and longing Girl, Woman, Other is all-encompassing in these women's voices and urges everyone to find the time to read it. 

Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Somehow it has taken me this long to get round to reading Kurt Vonnegut, and you know, I sodding loved it. 

Lost in this strange sci-fi satire as a representation of post-traumatic stress disorder I found it difficult to get into the rhythm at first, especially with Franco's drawl. But as I got into the flow I couldn't stop listening. 

This American classic brings a new light to World War II writing for me and I find myself seeking it out more and more...

The Collectors by Phillip Pullman

The Collectors by Phillip Pullman

Beautifully short and sweet, Pullman's The Collectors is narrated by Bill Nighy and follows a discussion between two men at college in Oxford about two pieces of art. 

What they don't know is their connection is part of a story that transcends time and location.

For another touch into the world of His Dark Materials, I highly recommend it. 

Lunar living by Kirsty Gallagher

Lunar living by Kirsty Gallagher

Gallagher's Lunar Living brings moonology to modern audiences. 

Drawing on ancient wisdom to empower and bring you more entune with the cycles of the moon. Lunar Living is a soothing support system to help you understand the moon and its effects. 

Imaginary friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary friend by Stephen Chbosky 

At a hefty 24 hours and a half, Stephen Chbosky's Imaginary Friend was one of the longest books I read last year.  

I chose the novel due to my love of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but the similarities end there. This novel got under my skin in a different way, with veins akin to Stephen King. 

Following Christopher and his mother as they escape her abusive partner, they settle in a new town before Christopher goes missing in the woods. What follows is a voice, a secret that came with him from the woods, with a history stemming 50 years back. 

Imaginary Friend crept up, building strangely and intensely which I loved, however I did struggle with some of the religious allegory. 

After 8 audiobooks in 2021, I wonder how many I will have time for in 2022! 

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Intentions for 2022

Monday 17 January 2022

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Jenny Hval Girls against God

I had a right laugh looking at the past years posts and reflecting on what I thought were intentions. Not only were we in the early stages of a pandemic, but I think I was really lying to myself because I know deep down I want to put my energy and space into writing, but it is like picking a wound through therapy - it bloody hurts. 

Maybe this year... 

From wanting to use my energy better and create more to moving my body more, sleeping better and treating myself. I realised everything I wanted to achieve came back to giving my body and my mind what it needs. 

Charlotte Lunn Metamorphosis Rachel Long my darling from the lions

So 2022 is going to be about:

1. Saying no. I am awful for doing everything for anyone who asks, then ALWAYS being surprised when they act like an arse. So 2022 is the year of the no. 

2. Reading. I typically set a number, but really it is about making it a priority as it quietens my brain. I tend to reach for the same shows over and over again to fill my brain with noise, but reading does this too - in a healthier way and it gets me thinking, learning and broadening my world. 

3. Work hard. I put my all into everything so why am I not putting it into me?

Keeping it short, simple and to the point. 

To simplify -  be kind, work hard but take no shit. 

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