The Ultimate Reading Mix

This was always going to be a tough post to write: the one that came after the first weight loss post. I didn’t ever want to post all of those in one go so the question was “what the hell do I write next?”

I find that whenever I am doing something difficult or unpleasant (like washing up or cleaning the kitchen, because no one likes doing those things), music makes it that much easier. While blogging is not unpleasant, it can be difficult, especially the first post after quite a heavy one like my last entry so I thought why not make it a little easier and a little more chill with some music.

I am blessed with Spotify Premium (thank you, other half, once again you make my life fabby), so I have access to a hoard of really good music ad-free wherever I go. It’s great.

My playlists tend to be massive sprawling things (I really need to sort them out every so often) which works great for things like reading, or writing, or generally creating things. I can pop on one of my massive playlists and it will never run out of music. I can get engrossed in a book for hours at a time and never have to fiddle with my music, I get uninterrupted reading time with hours and hours of my personal perfect reading soundtrack. Bliss.

I’m one of those people who prefers scores while reading and creating so that I don’t get distracted by pesky lyrics. However, some of my scores do have wonderful choral parts because I am a sucker for them – especially if they’re in a language I don’t understand, it makes everything sound that little bit fantastical.

So without further tomfoolery, here are my top songs from my ultimate reading mix (the whole playlist will be at the end of this post if you find that it’s exactly your kind of thing!):

1. Dance of the Druids – Bear McCreary (Outlander)

This is an absolutely incredible piece of music, and the scene it’s from is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the pleasure to watch. If you’ve no interest in watching Outlander, look up the Dance of the Druids scene and just watch that – it’s magical.

2. Prologue – James Newton Howard (Lady in the Water)

I think this song is what made me want to watch Lady in the Water in the first place. It’s another magical one (I am going to be using that word a lot in this blog, sorry). Generally, on soundtracks, if there is a track called ‘Prologue’ which happens to be playing while a narrator of some description is getting the viewer up to speed with the story, it will be my favourite. There’s just something about knowing that a story is being told and that the track is specifically composed to make that story sound incredible that really pulls me in.

3. The Woman in White Suite – Julian Lloyd Webber and Sarah Chang

This is a super long one and lasts for about half an hour. It’s an instrumental suite based on the musical The Woman in White (based on the book of the same name). It’s got tension, it’s got drama, it’s got sweetness and it makes my stomach feel a little bit funny at times. (I take that as a good thing.) The other track, Phantasia, which was on the same release, is also wonderful (it is a homage to all things Phantom of the Opera, which you may have guessed already).

4. The Half Killed – Dario Marianelli (Atonement)

For a little drama and sadness. Such a beautiful track. It builds and builds and builds. This has been one of my go-to tracks for a very long time. Even before I saw the film.

5. Statues – Alexandre Desplat (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two)

Alexandre Desplat was easily the best composer they used in the Harry Potter films. His work is phenomenal and this track has always been my favourite. (Possibly because McGonagall is my favourite too. Let’s face it, the two things are probably, almost definitely related.)

The Playlist

If you like these, you might like the whole playlist. There are over 1,500 songs on it, and I am hoping no random non-scores made their way on there but you never know. I periodically add more to it one album at a time, so I always recommend playing it on shuffle for the full effect.

To listen to the playlist click here, while I try to work out why the embed widget isn’t working. Booo.

 

Advertisements

My Weight Loss Story, Part One: The moment I started ‘having issues’ with my body

I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for almost a year now. I’ve been coming up with excuses not to post it from ‘I’ll post it when I’ve finished my journey’ and ‘I can’t post it yet, it’s not the right time of year’ to ‘this is garbage, I will never post it’. I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go for it (and close my eyes really tight and hope for the best).

I’ve referenced my on-going weight loss and self-love journey in a few posts but I’ve never actually sat down and written about it. So I’m going to. It’s a break from the normal bookish and occasional creative posts and I wouldn’t be offended if you skip it, but it’s an important post to write.

It’s important for two reasons: 1) so that I can look back at it and see how far I’ve come, I would like to have a record of it and 2) because things like this should be talked about. So many people struggle with body-image and weight and eating, the more stories that are out there, the more people they can possibly help.

On that note, I am going to include a TRIGGER WARNINGThis post will talk about body-imageself-love, and eating habits. If reading about these things affects you, please don’t read on. Out of courtesy for those who might be triggered by my story, all of my journey posts will continue under a cut.

Continue reading

What’s on my Wishlist #1

I have a vast Wishlist on Amazon, which I am constantly adding to and removing from when I eventually get round to buying a thing or having the thing bought for me by lovely people (mostly my parents at birthdays and Christmas). My Wishlist is quite an eclectic thing so I thought it would be fun to chronicle some of my favourite things-I-want on my blog!

I say ‘my favourite things’ but I don’t actually own them yet so they could be utter crap. We may never know.

41O3NhRd1yLThe Body Shop Vanilla Chai Shower Gel. If it’s Vanilla Chai scented, flavoured, or even vaguely hinted at, I want it. I have so many Vanilla Chai related things on my Wishlist. It is my ultimate favourite scent. I mentioned it in my last post and I will definitely be mentioning it again.

If I could get every scented product I own in Vanilla Chai, I would. My boyfriend would hate me but I would do it anyway. (He has no control over my pretty smelling things, even though he hates most of them. Ha.)

I bleed Vanilla Chai now, that’s how obsessed I am. I am not ashamed.

41r7x3nKHxL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Bernstein’s Reverse Dictionary. I love the idea of this. Can’t think of the word you need? Look up the definition! It would be so handy, I am always losing words. I know exactly what they mean but I cannot think of the word itself. There is a word for that and I have forgotten what it is (update: it’s Lethologica). It’s also a fairly old book so I am sure there will be some amusing outdated definitions that no longer apply.

I’m a big fan of all things wordy. I love dictionaries. I love gimmicks. Give me all of the gimmicky dictionaries. All of them. I don’t care if they all have the same words in them, I will have them anyway, gladly!

I may never own this one. I would imagine it’s quite hard to find nowadays. A girl can dream.

51paPsszjULDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Boxset). I just finished watching the show on Netflix, I loved it. I know the books are very different and follow a different plotline but I need to read them. The show was exactly the sort of thing I fall in love with, and exactly the sort of thing I wanted to watch at the time. (At any time, really. It is incredibly good.)

I love weird shows. Weird shows are great. I really enjoy watching a show that surprises me at every turn, a show which is so ridiculous that everything makes a sort of sense and it is kind of impossible to find any kind of plot hole because literally anything can be explained by the weirdness of it all.

41RLkXQOrxL._SX412_BO1,204,203,200_Pantone 20th Century in ColorIt pains me to spell ‘colour’ that way but that is the title of the book so I have to. I love all things print and colour, one of my favourite things at my old job was the book of Pantone swatches and one of my favourite things at my current job is the massive colour swatch poster I have on the wall, so that I can see how certain colour codes are reproduced on one of our machines.

It looks like a really nifty exploration of colour throughout history and I am so here for that. Not only because I find it interesting but because it might help me in my work too! Vintage colour palettes are always lovely to work with.

715LLXlG-wLNabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve. This looks like such an interesting read. It combines statistics and data with literature. It answers questions like: “What are our favourite authors’ favourite words? Do men and women write differently? Are bestsellers getting dumber over time? Which bestselling writer uses the most clichés? What makes a great opening sentence? How can we judge a book by its cover? And which writerly advice is worth following or ignoring?” (Taken from the blurb.)

I find that sort of thing fascinating, and selfishly think that it will make my own writing better. Apparently, you don’t need to be good at maths to understand it, which is great for me because since leaving school, my maths skills are dismal.


A predictably bookish first post with some Vanilla Chair thrown in (we are beginning to not be surprised at this point). Lovely.

Are any of these on your Wishlist? Do you have an actual Wishlist or do you keep it all in your head? Is there anything you think I should add to mine? (This, of course, being a fraction of my list.)

Let me know in the comments.

Happy Saturday, bloglings.

10 things that have made me happy recently

img_9274I want to spread some joy, I also love writing about myself (because I am vain and I like to think I am good at it) so I thought I would combine the two. I intend to make this a regular thing. Lots of things make me happy, and it will be a nice little catalogue to look back at on my down days which could never be a bad thing.

So, here are 10 things that have done a lot for my mood recently. A lot of them are simple and random but, often, the best things are.

1. A little cat named Sergeant Pepper.

img_9155Back in December, it snowed pretty badly. We’d been feeding a cat for a while, it would come and visit us almost every day and we’d been seeing it for months and months and months. It was such a friendly little critter, and it was always really happy to see us (my boyfriend would always say “Can we have him?” and look hopefully at me when trotted over to us). We couldn’t bear the thought of our little friend being out in the snow with nowhere warm to go so we invited him up to our flat. (Though, we thought he was a she at this point and had spent many months calling him a beautiful girl. Whoops.)

img_8807He stayed with us for two weeks before we were able to take him to the vets (there were many hijinks involving cat carriers and the like). I was checking all of the lost pet pages and websites for my area just in case anyone was looking for him, and I kept an eye out for posters around our estate, but no one was looking for him, if he had a home they didn’t want him anymore. The vet scanned him all over for a microchip and, luckily for us, he didn’t have one. (Though I would have been happy to reunite him with his family, I would have been devastated if he had a chip – I fell in love with him as soon as he made it inside the flat!)

img_8658As he had been with us for seven days without anyone claiming him and he didn’t have a chip, we were allowed to keep him. Hooray! We think he’s about 6 years old, and he may have been hit by a car because his mouth is a little bit messed up (he’s having at least one tooth removed later this month), and he may have limited vision in one eye. He’s a little bit wonky and I love him very much.

I’m sure my loved ones are fed up of my constant prattling about him but he is the best and I feel so lucky to have him.

2. Vanilla Chai Tea.

Vanilla Chai is my tea of choice, to the point where I am now a little bit disappointed when I am met with a normal cup of tea because I expect it to taste and smell like vanilla chai. Spoiler alert: it never does.

It’s such a lovely flavour. It’s so autumnal and warm, with its wintry cousin Spiced Chai they are my perfect cosy drinks.

I have two honourable mentions in this section and they are thus: Coconut chai tea, my other half bought me coconut chai loose leaf tea yonks ago but I could never drink it because I cannot handle bits in my drinks and the infuser I have always leaks, luckily I found some empty tea bags on Amazon so I was finally able to try it properly (it is delicious); OGX limited edition Vanilla Chai shampoo and conditioner, this stuff smells incredible, so incredible that I panic bought some more so that I can use it for as long as possible before I have to wave a sad goodbye.

tenor (1)

3. Owning a slow cooker.

img_8933My lovely, lovely parents bought me a slow cooker for Christmas and it has changed my life. I am still eating the Slimming World way and I have long been wanting to try slow cooker recipes but I lacked a vital component: the slow cooker.

I’ve only cooked a few things in it so far but they have been a success and I am raring to try more. I have recently fallen in love with cooking again after several months of being lazy and living mostly on giant vats of plain pasta (I love pasta, I am a carb fiend and I always will be); since early January, I have been trying out at least one new recipe every week to try to keep things interesting while I continue on my meandering weightloss journey, and I would recommend it to everyone. Widen your food horizons, you might surprise yourself.

On a related note: my other half does not eat the same food I do, and I love not having to share my food. It is wonderful knowing that you have leftovers in the fridge. It is even more wonderful when you know with complete certainty, that they will still be there when you want to eat them.

4. My boyfriend talking in his sleep.

My other half is a very deep sleeper but if you catch him just as he’s falling asleep (which can sometimes occur while you are on the phone) you get a little insight into his pink elephant dreams and the results are often rather funny. So far in 2018, we have only had one Sleep Talking Scott moment but it was beautiful:

“Don’t let the onions and pickles [mumble mumble mumble]..”

Don’t let the onions and the pickles what? What are they doing?

“They’re trying to infiltrate my burger.”

Oh.

Sometime later after a fairly large interval of silence, he uttered but one word…

“Cheese!”

5. The End of the Day by Claire North.

img_9038The book I am slowly reading. I hit a reading slump last year which I have been struggling to get out of. I put a lot of pressure on myself to read more, and it worked for a while, I read more than I had read in the entirety of 2016 in the first few months of 2017 but then I hit a snag and haven’t been able to find anything new that I wanted to read. There are a lot of books I want to read but I had trouble finding one I wanted to read right then and there.

The End of the Day seems to be that book. It’s taking me a while but I am getting there and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I will hopefully be reviewing it in the coming weeks, or however long it takes me to finish (I refuse to rush myself) but for now I will leave you with its tagline:

Sooner or later, Death visits everyone. Before that, they meet Charlie.

Is that a hook or what?

6. High-waisted skinny jeans.

img_8134Up until recently, I never thought I would wear skinny jeans. I never thought I would wear high-waisted jeans either, I tried some on yonks ago and they looked horrendous and felt uncomfortable. When I was at my biggest, I was too scared to buy jeans because clothes sizes frightened me (and made me very, very sad) so I just didn’t try. Recently, I got to a size I was happy enough to take the chance with and now I am the proud owner of several pairs of skinny jeans, two of which are high-waisted. I love them. They make my legs look so good. I live in them now.

7. I found my first half-a-grey hair.

This is a weird one. For most people, finding a grey hair is a bad thing, and I thought it would be for me too. I don’t know whether it was because it was only half a hair or because it looked white rather than grey (and for a dark haired person, the idea of white hair is quite exciting, just think of all the bright coloured dye you could use without having to bleach your hair to death beforehand!) but it made me happy just the same.

I even saved the hair in my phone case so I could proudly show the other half when we both finished work. Oh, Elou.

8. Pepsi Max in glass bottles.

It just tastes so much better from glass. So much better.

tenor

9. Giftcards.

I get a fair amount of giftcards for birthdays and Christmases. I ask for them because A) books are expensive and B) I am losing weight and thus want and need to buy new clothes. Adulting takes money so I sometimes feel guilty for spending mine on things I don’t need, receiving giftcards takes the guilt away from buying things I just want. So thank you to all of my friends and family for your kind, kind donations to my shopping problem. (Giftcards are why I own jeans now, they are a blessing.)

giphy

10. The word ‘ochre’.

I wrote it in something the other day and it has been stuck in my head ever since. It is such a satisfying word. It sounds warm and rich and I love saying it.


What has made you happy recently? Feel free to join in! 

If you’re reading this, I tag you.

I am made up of flaws

When I was younger, I wanted braces and glasses. (I always thought they looked cool.) I have glasses (and love them) and I had braces on my top teeth for six months. Childhood dreams achieved.

Now, I want freckles and red hair. Mainly because they look wonderful in photos. Red hair is the sign of a soul full of fire and freckles are the tiny marks left behind when magic has come into contact with skin. Red hair and freckles are magic made real.

I will never have freckles and I highly doubt red hair would look good on me. This is something I have come to accept. Begrudgingly.

I am not stereotypically pretty (if such a thing exists, for the sake of argument, we are saying it does). I have never been told I should model, and I have never had much attention because of the way my face looks. I am awkward; one of my eyes is bigger than the other (a thing which is alarmingly obvious in the photograph on my driving license), my hair is always scraggly and split at the ends even when I’ve just had it cut, my shoulders are wonky and my neck is slanted. I have a birthmark on my lip (which I adore) that everyone assumes is a bruise or a cut, it goes a deeper blue when I am cold. My eyebrows are very rarely perfectly plucked and I am terrible at most make-up (winged eyeliner, however, I can do… sometimes), I don’t wear it often. I don’t moisturise my face when I should, and I very rarely remember to use the fancy, expensive face stuff I bought for myself for my twenty-sixth birthday.

Sometimes I don’t brush my hair, instead, I put it in a bun or plaits when it’s wet and leave it like that for a day until it looks like I’ve put a lot of effort in to make my hair wavy or curly. My hair hates being washed too much, and certain shampoo makes it feel gummy and disgusting (now that I’ve worked out what particular shampoo that is, I avoid it). Dry shampoo is my friend.

During the week, I put absolutely no effort into my outfits, I pull a top and some leggings off of the giant mound of clothes on my bedroom floor that I really should sort through and hang up. I get up 15-30 minutes before I need to leave for work. I very rarely clean my glasses, and am permanently seeing the world through a smear. As soon as I get home, now that I own a cat who has very fluffy fur and definitely no regard for where he sheds it, I change into lounge pants and one of my designated ‘cat tops’. When it’s cold, I wear a lot of hats and my hair goes even more flat than it already is (I have very fine hair, I often wish that one day I will wake up and it will be gloriously thick and shiny but it won’t, and I will always look like I am going slightly bald even though I’m not), sometimes I wear my hats all day, right up until I go to bed, until my head feels like it’s still wearing it even an hour after I’ve taken it off.

I procrastinate like nothing else. I get determined to do things and then find ways to sabotage myself. Updating this blog being one of those things (but in my defense, have you ever tried to blog on a computer that is attached to a giant TV across the other side of the room? I have, and it is neither pleasant nor enjoyable – now I have a beautiful little laptop which is just for blogging and writing and all manner of wordy things.), I am, once again, going to attempt to do better.

My nails are always stubby and short and bitten jagged, even though I adore the look of black nail varnish. That is another thing I am trying to curb. So far it’s working, soon my nails will be painted black and I will look that little bit more snazzy and that little bit closer to the me that I see in my head, who looks a little bit witchy and a little bit cool and like she has her life together. (Sometimes I have the oomph to look like that. Sometimes.)

When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate the paleness of my skin and the dark brown of my hair. Even though, in my more whimsical moments, I want to paint myself with freckles (I really should learn how to do the freckle make-up, another bit of girlishness that I will be absolutely terrible at), I love being pale and I love having dark hair. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t dye it again, I proabably will.) I love my face sometimes, and I love it when my hair dries just right.

I don’t know how to end blog entries, especially long overdue blog entries.

#FolkloreThursday: Retellings and Adaptations I covet

Greetings on this, the first Folklore Thursday post in quite a while. I’ve missed these posts and getting to completely nerd out over folkloric things so I am very pleased to bring them back.

While looking through my reader today, I saw two really interesting posts about retellings and adaptations, one from Mikaela at The Well-Thumbed Reader and the other from Heather at The Sassy Book Geek. I’ve been trying to think of a list post, and as if by magic, these two posts appeared and I just had to throw mine into the pot too!

These are folk tales that I love and that I haven’t read/seen any retellings of but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. (Please let me know if you know of any!)

1. Chang’e (China)

Chang’e is the Chinese moon goddess, who I have mentioned before. There are lots of stories that can be drawn on and I would be happy with any of them. I am obsessed with the moon, so any story involving it makes me happy and would make me a very happy reader. It has tragic elements, a husband and wife separated (regardless of whether they started as immortals but were punished with mortality, and thus probably deserved it, or whether they were human and definitely did not deserve their separation), a plague, and would make for some very interesting reading. Plus, I could imagine Chang’e as both a delicate and a fierce female protagonist, and I am very much here for a three-dimensional heroine who is not just strong. I would love to read more Eastern-based literature.

2. The Enchanted Quill (German)

The Enchanted Quill features a crow whose feathers, when used to write, make wishes come true, three sisters (two of which are snide and unforgiving, and one who is full of intrigue and cunning and blushes at the thought of a little crow), and of course, the transformation from animal to prince… for a price. I love crows and other birds hailing from the Corvidae family, they carry with them a little bit of magic; the crooked kind of magic that I can’t seem to get enough of (there’s that word again…). It has echoes of Beauty and the Beast, another story I adore, but brings its own little twists and turns to the transformative archetype.

3. The Seven Ravens (German)

Again, I am bringing you Corvidae and potentially fabulous female characters.  A mother and father have seven sons and want desperately to have a daughter. Eventually, they do and she is a sickly little thing so the sons have to go fetch water for her baptism (either to make her better or to ensure she’s accepted into heaven in the event that she dies – I am unsure which), the sons fail horrendously and so the father wishes them into ravens. Years pass, the daughter grows strong and discovers that the ravens that always seem to be around are, in fact, her brothers and goes off on an adventure to restore them to their human form. I love a good adventure story.


So there you have it, three folk tales that I would love to see adapted or retold in some way or another. There are more that I can think of but it’s late and I need some sleep (cue yawning).

Watch this space for part two, coming to a Folklore Thursday post in the probably-not too distant future.

Are there any folk tales you’d love to see retold? What are they, and would I love them? (The answer to that last bit is probably yes.)

Happy Thursday!

The Perks of Supporting Authors on Patreon

Ah, the fabled second post. Nice to meet you, post, I’m sure we’ll get along swimmingly.

I’m incredibly vocal about the things I love, particularly the authors I love. One moreso than others. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know exactly who I mean. I have her words tattooed on my bicep, I make excuses to mention her work in my posts because I love it so much, and get a little bit too excited when she responds to me on Twitter. (It’s shocking that I’ve not reviewed more of her books because I’ve certainly read enough of them! I will be fixing that oversight in due course.)

Being a book blogger, I love to support authors in whatever ways I can, from tweeting about them to buying their books and attending their events. Having worked in the publishing industry and knowing authors both indie and traditionally published alike, I know that writing books is not the most lucrative of businesses, there is a huge investment of time and not always a huge monetary return so I like to do whatever I can to ensure my favourite authors can continue creating new content for me to enjoy.

When Catherynne M. Valente announced her Patreon, I jumped at the chance to support her.

valente patreon

I am all for authors offering exciting exclusive tidbits but that’s not the only reason I decided to donate a little chunk of my money every month – it makes me feel good. I feel like I am part of something, and that’s a glorious feeling.

The wonderful thing about Valente, in particular, is that she’s not just posting the expected sneak peeks and previews into her work, she’s also sharing everything from recipes to adorable photographs of her pets. She hosts live streams and live tweets very questionable films as chosen by her patrons. She’s not just about helping herself though, she helps the budding writers in her fan base with monthly articles (endearingly known as experiments) aimed at helping us all to grow into better, more effective writers – and she makes the effort to not only read the things we come up with but give feedback too.

Cue Exhibit A, in response to an article about writing beginnings:

e68d8db6-6b2a-4bb8-8dca-bd0a7e69e644

I may have almost cried when I read that comment and I am not at all ashamed. This screenshot makes me happy and I intend to keep it forever.

It’s so rare, what with the prevalence of celebrity status now-a-days to feel a connection to your idols beyond the fact that you love them. Because of Patreon, I was able to be involved in a video chat with my favourite author on my birthday. I cannot express exactly how much that still excites me.

Patreon is such a good service and if any of your faves use it, I would highly recommend donating if you can. It’s such a fulfilling thing to do and you get to sit smugly in the knowledge that you are reading things that no one outside of the publishing industry has read yet. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a little bit special. If you have a little to spare, why not support someone you love and help them do something they love?

Taking my own advice

Hello (she says and her voice echoes around the internet and disturbs the spiders in their webs). How are we all? It’s been a while. Tell me lovely, interesting things you’ve been getting up to in the comments. I’ve missed responding to comments.

In my last post, I was having a bit of an existential crisis. And that’s totally okay. It happens. It is a part of life. Recognising that you’re having issues and working on them is all part of self-care.

Upon writing that post, I decided to take my own advice and have a bit of a break from blogging – I was incredibly busy with some exciting freelance work and keeping up with both paid work and blogging on top of my full-time day job was getting a little difficult. But I’ve loosened up my schedule and we are back in business.

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve mostly been marathoning things on Netflix and it’s been bliss. I also had some lovely family time, went on several dates with the other half (including a visit to the Black Living Country Museum and seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming), went to see the Addams Family at the Birmingham Hippodrome with my wonderful Mum (review to come) and spent last weekend feeling pretty fabulous with my friends while dressed as a space/moon princess. I was blind all day because I wasn’t wearing my glasses but I reckon the hazy vision only added to the otherworldly vibes of the day.

Posts will be a bit sporadic while I get back into the swing of things (you may even get two today… maybe) but we shall definitely be swinging again soon. (Oo-er.) I will also be responding to all of the emails you’ve been sending me so watch your inboxes!

Have a lovely evening, bloglings, I’ve missed you.

The Quarter-Life Crisis

I am in a reading slump. I don’t get them too often at the moment so I think I just need to switch out the book I’m reading. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I am, but I don’t think it’s what I want to be reading right now.

But that’s not what this blog entry is about.

When I hit twenty-five, I didn’t really have a quarter-life crisis, I was happy floating along and nothing really changed with my age. Fast forward a year.

I recently turned twenty-six (you may remember a vaguely uplifting post about it), when that happened I had a grand plan and life was good and I was feeling determined and optimistic about the future. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a plan and am feeling determined but I am also feeling incredibly anxious.

Everywhere I look, my friends from all periods of my life (from primary school through to my master’s degree) seem to have their lives together, they have great jobs, great houses/flats, some of them are buying houses. They’re going to exciting places and having exciting adventures. (Now, that last bit is something I like to observe from afar, I am a homebody and I’m happy to just chill locally – that’s not to say I never want to go on holiday but I’m more focussed on saving at the moment and that’s okay.) I see my friends getting new jobs and moving up in the world, getting higher salaries and more respected in their fields, and then the panic sets in.

Maybe, it’s just because this month is an expensive month for me, filled with various car-related payments (insurance, service, road tax – yay!). I’m not able to put anything in my savings for a while and that freaks me out. But I find myself panicking that my life is going nowhere, and thinking that I should be at the same stage as the other people I know. Now, rationally, I know that all of my friends have probably had this exact feeling despite how put together they look on the outside. I know for a fact that I have been one of the people inspiring the panic for at least one of my friends (she told me so), so I must not be doing as badly as I think but the problem is that once I think it and feel it, it’s a hard feeling to shake.

My self-confidence ebbs and flows. I can take compliments now, I am practised in the art of agreeing when people say nice things about me and not only agreeing but believing it too. But that confidence doesn’t extend to my worth as a person, I find it very difficult to imagine myself as someone who adds to the environment I am in, I know I am good at things but I never think I am good enough at those things (to be worth hiring or paying or sometimes just being around). I know that this is probably being exaggerated by my current lack of money and the worries that come from that.

I will probably be okay in a few weeks but until then, I will be huddled in the corner, like Golem, whispering my precious over all of the five pence pieces I can find.


This has been a blog entry, I think. I honestly don’t know what this was but I needed to write about it, so here you go. My humble Monday-evening-but-posting-Tuesday offering.

#FolkloreThursday: The Cryptozoologist Chronicles – Pontianak

We’re chronicling some more cryptozoology this week, and I am very excited about it. This is another creature that I found while writing a drabble. I like to use folklore in my writing, so it’s no surprise that I find a lot of cool things. Unlike my last creature, this one actually did end up as the focal point of some of my writing and I’ve fallen a little bit in love – as much as you can fall in love with something as dark as this, that is.


Pontianak

The pontianak is a vengeful spirit from Indonesian and Malaysian folklore, also known as kuntilanak or matianak. Taking the form of an often pregnant woman, with long hair, a bloody white dress, and long nails, the pontianak hunts men. It is said that the pontianak can present itself as a beautiful woman to seduce its victims. If caught in this form and pierced in the nape of the neck by a coffin nail, the pontianak will stay a beautiful woman and a good wife. However, once the nail is removed, it will take its original form and kill the man who inflicted goodness upon it. Unlike most spirits, the pontianak has a physical/corporeal form.

The kuntilanak, in particular, is said to be able to transform into a bird and drink the blood of virgins and young women. It is summoned and sent to make women fall gravely ill.

Both variations are the ghosts of women who perhaps either died in childbirth or died violent deaths (presumably at the hands of men). They are ever-searching for their unborn child, including within the bodies of their victims.

Those unlucky enough to be seduced by a pontianak are not in for a pleasant death, the creature will remove and eat the organs, often while the victim is still living. It’s unsurprising that it is the subject of so many Indonesian and Malaysian horror films.

If a pontianak is near, you might smell something sweet and floral which sours into a smell of decay, or you might hear the wailing of a baby. This is perhaps my favourite detail, a nice smell (representing the presenting human form) which then turns horrid, like the monster behind the beautiful face.

There are variations of the pontianak throughout the world, particularly in India and Pakistan. The closest Western relative is probably the vampire.


Happy Thursday!