Some Thoughts on Sex and Relationship Education

You may or may not know this but almost a month ago now Conservative MPs voted against plans to make SRE (sex and relationship education) compulsory in schools. In other words they voted against making teaching pupils about LGBT+ issues, the importance of consent, online sexual content, as well as the emotional and social aspects of sex and relationships compulsory. I know all schools tackle SRE differently; some cover a wide range of topics in an inclusive manner regarding religion and the LGBT+ spectrum. But at the same time some schools will only teach it from a biological point of view.

I myself experienced the latter. In year 6 all the girls in my year sat together in a small room with our head of year and the biology teacher; we discussed (and when I say discussed I mean they spoke, we listened and were too embarrassed to ask any questions) periods, body changes, and how we might start “seeing boys differently”. That was it until year 9, when we had one lesson in which we were shown a presentation showing symptoms of different STDs, shown how to put on a condom, then given condoms which were promptly taken off us. Honestly, I still don’t know why they bothered giving them out in the first place. In fact, there is a lot I still don’t know regarding SRE full stop!

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Getting Through the Mid-Winter

“It’s easy to fall into the mid-winter blues. Drink hot cocoa to warm your soul and stay in good spirits.” – Mary-Frances Winters

Midwinter is undoubtably the worst time of the year; it’s cold, foggy, and windy practically all of the time yet there’s no snow to play in and the Christmas lights were packed away long ago. Add to that returning to work, school and having mock exams and you really do get quite a horrid part of the season. So it’s no surprise that many people struggle at this time; it’s stressful and miserable. But there are some things we can all do to make it a bit better.

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Five Fantastic Non-Fictions

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nɒnˈfɪkʃ(ə)n/

noun: nonfiction

noun

1. prose writing that is informative or factual rather than fictional.

 2 . the genre that is most like marmite; either you love it, you hate it, or you’re too scared to give it a real taste.

When it comes to non-fiction I was the one “too scared to give it a real taste” for such a long time; the only non-fiction you would see me paying any attention to would be my school text books. However (you all knew it was coming) about a year or so ago I decided I had to give it a try and it’s safe to say, when I find a non-fic book on a topic I really love, I will plough my way through it! So I wanted to share some of my favourite non-fiction books, as well as a couple that I am desperate to start reading!

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Halloween Recommendations 2016

I’m always that friend who gets overly excited for Halloween; pumpkins will litter my bedroom throughout the month of October, every detail of my costume will be planned for, and I’ll have a precise template for my pumpkin ready to carve! So I couldn’t wait to share some of my favourite halloween reads and watches.

If you’re looking for some spooky books then check out my video, if you want some ghoulish films and shows to watch then keep on reading!

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Delving into… Crime

Delving into… is a new series I wanted to start here on my blog to give book recommendations for people wanting to start a new genre!

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You may know that I am currently studying the genre of Crime at school – we’ve read Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by S.Coleridge and  When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson. Before I started this course I really wasn’t a huge fan of crime novels myself; I’d pick them up from time to time and I did enjoy them but they weren’t the books I would naturally gravitate towards. However I decided to read some more before I started the school year and now it’s safe to say I’m hooked! (Last year around 10 of the 50 books I read were crime!) Before I came a crime-fiction-addict (Crifidict? No? Okay then…) I remember feeling this dread, “Which author do I begin with? What type of crime do I want? WHERE DO I START?!” This genre is so wide and so can definitely be pretty daunting. If you feel like this then fear not, I’m going to give you 5 recommendations to help guide you into this weird and dark world of crime!

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5 Graphic Novels You Should be Reading

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I have loved graphic novels, comics, and manga ever since I can remember. My childish enjoyment of picture-books has stuck with me and has since developed as I’ve got older. There are so many brilliant things about graphic novels; the main for me being how easy they are to read without sacrificing a decent story. In recent years there has been a sort of boom in the popularity of graphic novels which is so pleasing to me! So I thought I would share some of my favourite graphic novels!

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1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This quirky debut graphic novel started out as a web-comic and since it’s physical publication has gained masses of praise, and rightly so! The art is gorgeous, the colours work so well with the story and the plot is utterly gripping. Not to mention it’s also bad-ass, feminist and absolutely hilarious!

2. Anya’s Ghost by Vero Brosgol

This ghoulish graphic novel takes some really interesting twists and turns. Following Anya, a girl just trying to get through high school, meeting and befriending Emily, a ghost. The friendship takes a darker road and yet Brosgol takes the story in such interesting directions and pretty much avoids all the clichés!

3. Saga by Brian K Vaughan

I think this graphic novel series is a perfect example of how far my graphic novel journey has come! This series is utterly mind-blowing. Targeted at young adults+ these graphic novels contain everything you might want from a Sci-Fi / war / love series. There are hardcore fights (involving a lot of blood!), pretty strong language and nudity!

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4. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll 

Now this one is definitely darker; in both the graphics and the story. I should really say stories as this graphic novel actually contains five different bone-chilling stories all based around the woods. The stories are all so distinct from one and other so there will definitely be personal preference. The art style is really unique and the colour palate of darker shades with the occasional pop of blood red is so creepy!

5. Beautiful Creatures: The Manga by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and Cassandra Jean

I’ve never read any of the Caster Chronicles books but this graphic novel is absolutely fantastic! It has a wonderful manga art style and there’s a sort of beautiful roughness to it that mimics a sketchbook. The story is very gripping but the art is definitely the stand-out aspect of this graphic novel!

 

Bookish Boxing Day Buys

Before we start,

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I hope you are all having a wonderful day; enjoying quality time with the people you love, sharing gifts and, of course,  eating lots of lovely food! Christmas has always been something I’ve loved dearly. I take such enjoyment in giving gifts, every gift has so much thought put into it and I love seeing people’s faces as they open them! But of course the day goes so quickly. So I’ve decided to give you ___ bookish recommendations for those Boxing Day Sales! Go on, treat yourself!

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1. Asking For It, Louise O’Neill 

 

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I’m sure you’ve already heard a lot about this book; it’s been winning award after award and rightly so! This harrowing YA novel following the life of Emma O’Donovan after being raped is so important and so incredibly well written. Definitely one for you shopping list!

2. Read Me Like a Book, Liz Kessler

 

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Firstly Liz is such a lovely person (she was kind enough to do a Q&A with me for my review which I’ll link here) and this book is a very endearing novel about Ash in her last year of college trying to deal with school, family and her own sexuality. The writing is beautiful and the characters are so relatable; it’s just wonderful to watch them all grow! And of course, how can you resist that stunning cover!

3. Nimona, Noelle Stevenson

 

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This graphic novel works as both a really sweet and moving introduction to graphic novels as well as a powerful and beautiful story for graphic novel enthusiasts. This is kick-butt, feminist, subtly subversive and utterly hilarious!  If you’re looking for a light read to aid you through the journeys to family in every corner of the world then this would be a perfect choice.

4. The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene

 

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I had to include this fantastic classic novel as it has one of the best settings I have ever read! (Full review here) The “whiskey priest” travels around a poverty stricken Southern Mexico in attempt to escape the Red Shirts whilst pursuing his own redemption and humanity. This book is honestly breath-taking and is just so different. I’d also recommend this book as a little escape from the après-Christmas blues!

5. Some funky Funko Pops! 

 

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I love these little guys but for almost over £10 each their sometimes hard to justify. So Boxing Day sales are the perfect excuse! You can find characters from fandom; Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones and they are only some of the bookish ones! They’re so adorable and are lovely little decorations for your shelves.

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas 

 

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This book is seriously steamy! The connection between the two main characters -Feyre and Tamlin- is so adorable! This YA Novel is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast featuring faeries, curses, dangers and incredible world building! The plot is rich and perfect for fans of Disney, high-fantasy, and forbidden romances! Nothing more needs to be said!

7. Nerdy Notebooks 

 

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Personally I’ve been trying to cut down on buying notebooks as I have a HUGE collection of beautiful (but empty) notebooks. But how am I expected to walk past all these lovely notebooks with Wonderland prints, Hogwarts crests and Game of Thrones sigils at half-price?! Notebooks are always useful of course; this year I’ll be buying one for the sole purpose of planning out blog posts!

 

 

Don’t Read These in the Dark!

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It’s Halloween! The vampires will be on the prowl and the ghosts will be flouting about in the darkness; so if you’re planning on staying safe and hiding in your homes (which is where you’ll find me!) then here are six creepy reads to get you through the night:

Through The Woods by Emily Carroll

This graphic novel tells five different scary stories that are centred in or around the woods. Each one is told in a slightly different way but are equally eerie. Initially you might find yourself a little confused after finishing the stories but that’s the real horror of it; the ambiguity lets you fill in the blanks with your own fears and you won’t be able to stop yourself thinking about it!

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Although this isn’t necessarily a ‘horror’ there are a lot of elements in this book that are quite horrific. Shelley writes with such detail; a lot of it is utterly beautiful but some will chill you to the bone. This well known story follows the life of Victor Frankenstein as he creates – and later hunts – his monster and by the end you’ll wonder who the real monster is.

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Hollow Pike by James Dawson

I read this book years ago but there are some bits that still haunt me now. This story about nightmares, forests and witches is bound to keep you up all night. It is written brilliantly and is so sinister and addictive. It reads with this spooky purple hue (which I think comes from it’s awesome cover) and it’s so easy to imagine yourself there in the forest with Lis.  If you’re looking for a book that will give you shocks rather than nightmares then this one’s for you.

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Jekyll’s Mirror by William Hussey

Okay now this book is scary. Strange, and scary. As a modernised re-telling of Jekyll and Hyde there are some really unexpected gruesome moments that seemingly pop out of nowhere -but are later explained- that, for somebody like me who is pretty squeamish, made me put the book down and just breath for a little bit. This is a nice short book and would be a perfect read on a Halloween eve. As long as you’re up for a good fright!

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This is another book that I’d recommend to people who aren’t huge horror fans. This books has such a unique story; following a mysterious family tragedy occurs, sixteen year old Jacob makes his way to Wales to uncover some ghostly secrets. One of the best and spookiest parts of this book is Riggs’ use of weird photographs. Each one ties in to the story and – here’s the creepiest bit – were merely found by Riggs at car boots and the like. Take a look at some and then proceed to freak out.

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

A halloween recommendation list is not complete without the infamous Dracula. This frightening tale of the solicitor and the vampire is a classic. It is truly terrifying but absolutely fantastic! As it was written such a long time ago it’s old-time language really transports you there into the Transylvania Castle and with such vivid descriptions you half expect to see the notorious vampire every time you take a glance from your book. Fingers-crossed that he doesn’t actually appear though!

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Let me know what your favourite books to read at Halloween time are and I hope you survive the night! Mwahahahaha!