Thursday, 28 July 2022

Time to say goodbye... To hair dye. I'm embracing the grey!

 Guys, this may sound crazy but... I'm absolutely done with dyeing my hair. 
Completely and utterly 100% done. 
I'm only 36 but I'd rather spend the rest of my life grey than having to live with the anxiety of my roots showing, pissing around with box dyes or spending a small fortune with a stylist every 2-6 weeks.
I'm going to repeat - because I can hardly believe it myself - that I. Am. DONE.

This isn't a sudden decision, it's been coming for years, but I've always managed to psyche myself out of it... All the fears, anxieties and lies that we tell ourselves as women... The biggest centre around how other people will perceive us, namely old, unattractive, or 'past it'. 
And what a load of bollocks that is!

I'm 36!! I started getting grey hair when I was early 20's. I'm not old. I'm not unattractive! (At least I don't think I'm...) And I am certainly not past anything! 
And honestly... Who tf am I trying to impress? No one. That's who. 
I reached a point during the early days of recovery from severe depression last year when I realised that I don't care. I am so done with caring about what most people think of me. 

Dyeing my hair is a chore. It's a stressor. 
I don't need more chores and I am actively seeking to reduce stressors in my life... So it's buh-bye!

Now, I know that this isn't going to be a quick or easy process..., For a start there is a weird sense of... I don't know... Grief? I loved my natural hair colour. People could never settle on what colour my hair was because it changed depending on the light! I was brown in some and a bright blazing copper in others. Generally, I just went with "coppery-brown."
And when the grey became more prominent, I tried to keep that balance when dyeing it and mostly succeeded... Although it obviously wasn't an exact match. 
The simple fact is, that I may have loved my "natural" colour but my actual natural colour has been gone for a long time and I'm so tired of pretending it's not.
I don't know what my natural colour IS anymore! I just know there are a lot of greys.
So, I guess it's time to find out!

Now, as I mentioned above, I don't want to go to a stylist every month (for hours) to have my hair slowly transitioned by highlights/lowlights... I don't want to spend hours in a chair getting my hair dyed grey and then seeing what happens. 
I REALLY don't want to shave my head and I have a round face that would not go well with a pixi-cut. 
So... I'm going to try and grow it out. Cold turkey. 
I'm going to try and make it through the absolute horror and (hopefully temporary?!) hit to my self-image and self-confidence as that annoying white stripe grows down my head....
Honestly, I'm already freaking out about it! But I'm not reaching for the box dye.
I snapped and did that the last time I seriously entertained doing this (back in January) and have regretted it, and resented it, every month since.
This time, I am ready. 
I last coloured my hair mid-June and here is where it's at. 

My hair grows pretty fast but I'm not going to lie... I hate it. I hate the stripe! 
There is going to be lots of complaining about this until the process is done. 
My poor husband and son for having to listen to it! 😂 They're both super supportive though... and since I have to listen to endless Minecraft chatter from one and slug/caterpillar woes from the other (the delights of veggie gardens!) they can suck it up! 😝

So... Wish me luck? Cheer me on? 
You can try and convince me not to do it but I'll ignore you and do it anyway. 😉

I am curious... Have any of you transitioned fully to au naturale?
How did it go?


Sunday, 17 July 2022

Mid-Month Check In... The plague with the really bad timing!

 Hello folks!

Happy Sunday! The sun is shining, the UK is freaking out over a red weather warning for heat and I'm writing this from my perfectly cool front room thanks to my husband having the foresight to buy a portable air con unit back in May!

Temperatures of 38-40c (100-104f) are predicted over Monday and Tuesday and whilst we've hit 38c before 40c would be an abnormal new "highest temp"... Climate change in action! 
The simple fact is many parts of the world hit these temperatures but they're used to it and their infrastructure is built for it. In the UK, our infrastructure is designed to cope with cold and wet. Our houses don't have air-con. Businesses often don't have air con. Some cars often don't have air-con!
It's some serious shit... 
However, my husband and I have air con in our cars, our office buildings have air-con and, as mentioned above, he decided we needed an air-con unit for the house earlier in the year after suffering through one too many too hot summers so we're ok... As long as the power grid doesn't melt! 😆

In other news, my husband has covid! He was ill for about 3 days before actually testing positive which is concerning as I'm currently testing negative but have developed a sore throat, cough etc... What're the bets I test positive in a few days?! 😔
All things considered, we've not done badly to have avoided it up until now but of all the weeks!
Our son finishes primary school this week! His leaver's ceremony and party are on Thursday! We don't want to miss the leaver's ceremony (but will obviously if testing positive) and we certainly don't want him to catch covid and miss the celebrations not to mention his last few days with his classmates!
His class are splitting off to 4 different high schools and only two others from his class are going to the little dude's high school. It would be such a shame for him... He's currently hiding in his bedroom with the door closed and the window open limiting contact with us, lol. He's decided he's living in there and only coming out when he needs the bathroom... Food to be dropped at his door.
 (I don't blame him! He's being smart.) 

Before covid hit, we saw the little dude perform in his school play - A Midsummer's Night's Dream - and he was brilliant! I couldn't believe it! For some context, this is the kid who'd scowl with his hands over his ears in every nativity play or harvest festival... Often accompanied by rocking. But here we are, 4 years and a pandemic later, and he was up there prancing about in full character giving it everything he had. It was unbelievable. 
All the kids were so good... Seriously, not a wooden performance amongst them! Not a missed line or cue. They really were fantastic and entertaining... The only downside was some of the singing solos! But I give them props for even standing up there and singing full stop so... They all deserve all the praise!

Work has been busy, the garden is providing all the veggies for cooking with... I'm stuck with an overabundance of courgettes/zucchinis again! 

I'm falling behind on my One Million Steps for Diabetes challenge (that myself and the little dude have teamed up for) because I've been exhausted from work and then feeling ill this week so I need to get my butt in gear to make up those steps...

I think that sums up the past couple of weeks!

I've read two books over the past two weeks and both of them I read this week... Go figure!
Both very different but both really enjoyable!

Wolf in The Night by N.J. Walter
Meet Me In The Margins by Melissa Ferguson

Last weekend, we went to the cinema to see Thor: Love and Thunder and we enjoyed it. 
I wasn't expecting the freaking ending... But still. It worked. The post-credits sequence made me feel a bit better about it. Definitely intrigued as to where this phase of the MCU is heading!

At home, the professor and I have been continuing with The Boys (so freaking weird) and the professors also been watching some new Star Trek thing on Paramount Plus as well as Halo... I really don't like Star Trek so I just get exposed by sitting in the same room whilst doing something else but Halo is catching my attention... I keep stopping what I'm doing and turning around to watch it.

And we're almost done with Superstore. *sob*


Tell me, how have things been going for you this past couple of weeks?

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Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Book Covers That Feel Like Summer

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, we're talking about book covers that feel like summer!

Based on my selection, it seems colours heavily influence whether a cover gives me summer vibes...
Bright colours (especially blues) alongside sunshine, sea and sand seem to tick the boxes as far as my brain is concerned!

All books listed below are books I own but haven't read. 
If you had to recommend one I read this summer, which would you suggest?
(Except Line In The Sand as that's an arc that I'll be reading anyway.)

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Wishing Tree Beside The Shore by Jaimie Admans
Tequila Tequila by Emma Hart

Ella's Ice Cream Summer by Sue Watson
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Line In The Sand by Teri Wilson
Sweet Little Thing by Abbi Glines

Bad At Love by Karina Halle
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
How To Save A Life by P. Dangelico

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Friday, 1 July 2022

OMG! Where did June go?!

Apparently, it's been a month since I last posted. That's a great start to getting back into blogging isn't it?
I don't know why I haven't posted anything... I guess I've just been busy? Or something. 
Honestly, it doesn't feel like it's been a month. June has just went wheeeeeee and I'm sitting shocked that I'm writing this on the first of July!

Anyway... June was a fairly good month. 

My mental health was appalling throughout May and I was worried I wouldn't be able to pull myself out of the spiral but with some changes at work and half term break spent in Scotland with my family, it improved throughout June.

Work throughout June was calmer than it has been in a long time. Back in April, I switched to a new area of my company and took on a brand new project. I needed the change desperately but because of staffing issues I had to continue to manage my old project as well as take on my new project and I essentially, temporarily, doubled my workload. 
It wasn't the smartest move but it was the deal that had to be struck to get me out of my previous area and into my new one and I don't regret it for a second. Unfortunately, this double workload, double the pressure situation was what caused May's decline in my wellbeing. However, I spoke to my new line manager and she took immediate action and pulled me off my old project completely, effective immediately. My previous line manager (who had agreed to let me go with the temporary double duty) understood completely as she didn't want me to decline again either. So, that was that. I had some handover days throughout June but I was no longer responsible for the day-to-day and it was exactly what I needed to happen. 
Thank God for supportive line managers and awesome employers!

I mentioned above being in Scotland with my family...

Technically this also covers the end of May but I count it as June in my head. 
Anyway, I was in Scotland attending RARE Edinburgh - my first ever book signing/conference!
It was a lot of fun. I won't write too much about it as I plan on writing a little summary post soon but I definitely want to attend London 23 and more events like this! The buzz was fantastic and it was a book lover - and romance readers - heaven!

After RARE, my husband and son joined me at my mum's and we caught up with a load of my family members as well as enjoying a few days out and about to The Edinburgh Dungeon and the RRS Discovery in Dundee.

We came home during the Queen's Jubilee Weekend and I made the official Jubilee pudding - a Lemon Swiss Roll and Amaretti Trifle.
I'm not going to lie... I have no idea how this bloody thing won the contest! Okay, I might be completely the wrong judge as I generally hate trifle but this... Was worse than a normal trifle.
I hated the combination of flavours but the husband - who generally loves trifle - really enjoyed it so... To each their own?

What else has been going on...?

The kid has been feverishly rehearsing for his school play - A Midsummers Night's Dream - and we'll finally get to see the end result in a couple of weeks!
As well as play rehearsals, June was dominated his school residential trip where they got to dragon boat, abseil, land surf, raft build and a whole host of other stuff I cannot remember!
I cannot believe he finishes primary forever in just a few weeks!
When did my baby become a pre-teen?! 😱 
All us mums from his year group have been planning a leaver's party for the kids after their leaver's service in July and I have a feeling we'll all be a little emotional!

We've been working our way through Superstore on Netflix and have finally reached S6. 
I'm loving the show and the weird mix of characters.
The Obi-Wan show on Disney+ is another we've started watching (we're a bit behind) and I'm liking it... I love Ewan McGregor so I shouldn't be surprised really.
The husband and I have also started watching The Boys on Prime and omg... I have no idea what I was expecting with that show but what I got certainly wasn't it! It is twisted, surprising, shocking, funny and gross. I think I like it but I'm not actually sure, lol.

We went to the cinema and watched Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness and we also saw Top Gun: Maverick and I loved them both!
I thought Top Gun: Maverick was better than the original and that's not easy to achieve!

I also went to the theatre to see Bat Out of Hell: The Musical last night and it was... Interesting!
The music, vocal performances, and staging were magnificent but the story was nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense. But oh well. Fun was had just the same!
The rendition and staging of Bat Out of Hell (the song) just before the half-time interval is burned onto my brain with its sheer awesomeness. Definitely a show-defining moment.

I've actually done some reading this month! Amazing... My reading is still super slow and I can go weeks without reading at all but June has been pretty steady!

I listened to two audiobooks (Persuasion by Jane Austin and The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Leise), I read two books (Full Moon Rising and Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur), and I read the novelisation of Under the Oak Tree (part One) by Suji Kim.

I also read the first season of the Under The Oak Tree comic (which marries up to part one of the novelisations) and enjoyed the artwork but preferred the story in novel form.

Web Comics are something I'm becoming an ever bigger fan of. They suit my lack of attention span/focus these days... Another one I've been reading throughout June was Midnight Poppy Land. OMG, I love it. 

The Guild Codex book series is also being turned into a webcomic and I've been enjoying seeing those stories that I love - all the little moments - being brought to life in beautiful artwork.

I've been away from the bookish community for a while so in an attempt to get back into the swing of things I'm joining the Summer COYER hosted by Michelle and Berls at Because Reading.
I'm keeping things simple and not adding a reading list or setting a goal... I'm just going to go with the flow and see if I can clear some books off the shelves and actually start sharing what I think of them again! I'll keep track of progress on my COYER tweet thread

I want to share this post written by Krysta at Pages Unbound as I couldn't agree more with what she said! It's time to stop telling people they aren't real readers.

And that's it from me for now!
What did you get up to in June?

Linking this to The Sunday Post hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer and the Monthly Wrap Up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Here we go again... Also, hello! And Welcome.

 I swear, if I wasn't already drugged up to the eyeballs, I'd be taking myself off to a doctor sometime soon because I think I may have lost the plot... Actually, scrub that, I have most definitely lost the plot... But it's a good thing! I mean, this bout of losing the plot is a good thing, not the drugged up to the eyeballs part... But actually, that's a good thing too, but that's not the point! The point is is that it is the first of June and I'm starting a new blog!

 You may be thinking I'm mad but it's ok... We're all mad here!

You see, I'm not just starting a new blog, oh no, that's far too straight forward! I'm starting my second new blog in six months! Not only that, I'm starting new social media for the blog... But I'm getting ahead of myself. I need to back up. 

So here is the story from the beginning.

I started blogging waaayy back in 2012. My blog was called The Book Lovers Codex and it focused on book reviewing and promoting. Book blogging was becoming quite a "thing" and indie publishing was taking off and it was an exciting time! I got friendly with quite a few authors - but didn't know too many bloggers - but it was ok. It was fun, I was having a great time reading all the things and despite the full time job and the toddler, I was able to keep on top of everything. 
But abound 2016, I entered into "the biggest reading slump of reading slumps." (I put it in quotations as I believed with all my heart back then that a reading slump was all it was... With hindsight, I know better but we'll get to that.) I couldn't keep up with the reviews, the blog, the requests, the demands. I was burned out, frustrated and utterly miserable. The hobby was a chore and I was frazzled. That feeling of constant pressure and constant failure wouldn't leave me... So I deleted the blog, deleted all the social media, deleted the email address and disappeared into the ether. 
That was the end of that.

Sunny Buzzy Books

It took me about a year to get back to a point where I started reading again with any kind of regularity or enjoyment and when I did I realised that I missed my blog! But it was all gone... I'd deleted it in my fit of despair. So after chatting books on Twitter for 4/5 months, with a shiny new twitter account, I started a new blog - Sunny Buzzy Books. (In May 2017.)

This time around, I made a ton of blogger friends - not so many author friends - and I started off blogging whenever I felt like it just for the heck of it. If I posted twice a month, I was happy. Keeping a schedule or being super active didn't matter to me. I was just doing my own thing and minding my own business whilst getting to know folks.
As time rolled on, I slipped into some old habits of over committing on the review side, signing up for one too many promo things, or putting pressure on myself to post more often but I was able to reign that in... Everything was fine! Until it wasn't. I was struggling to read again. I was completely unmotivated to blog, again. Everything felt like a chore. I felt like I was failing and that it was all pointless... 

The big D.

It wasn't just the blog I was struggling with. It was life. It was everything and it was nothing. I was failing everything. Able to keep up with nothing. I wasn't sleeping, my emotions were all over the place. I lost my passion and interest in everything. I was eating too much or not enough. I was forgetting things all the time. I had no energy. I didn't see the point in existing... hello severe depression, you nasty bitch you!

It was a super dark and super shit time. But I have amazing friends and colleagues. I have a wonderful family, husband and son. I went to the doctor, I got help and it was a long journey just to get me stable and back to work. (Almost 6 months off.) But, I got back to work. I am stable. Slowly, enjoyment returns and with it the desire to blog, to write, returns. However, everytime I logged into my lovely blog with with sunflowers, its yellow colour scheme, its happy vibes... I couldn't do it. It gave me a case of the rage and then sadness. 
I have no idea why my blog - which had nothing to do with my depression - had come to be a source of resentment and annoyance  - mein Gott! I wish I knew - but it had! 
So, I came up with a plan!

The plan: MsBuzzyB

It seemed like a simple solution - I wanted to blog but my blog was giving me stabby feelings... So change the blog!
Over Christmas (2021), I found a host, paid for a year's plan, bought a template and set up a new blog on WordPress! It had a name that linked to the old but it was new! I'd been flirting with switching to WP so it was the perfect time. I imported all my posts and comments so I didn't lose my content and I kept the same social media, I just updated the handles... The only thing I couldn't get working was the auto re-direct from old url to the new but I worked around that.
It wasn't an abandonment of Sunny Buzzy Books but a reinvention! It was SBB 2.0 - a less obnoxiously cheerful colour scheme and the intention to introduce more non-bookish posts to the blog.
A semi-fresh start... That didn't work. Ms Buzzy B gave me the same ragey stabby feelings that SBB did! Why? NO IDEA
But my brain noped out every time I tried to get back into things... And I've started listening to myself so I stopped trying to force it.
Plus I hated wordpress. Or, maybe it was my wordpress provider but whatever... There was a whole load of negative going on.

It seemed hopeless... But then I woke up one morning with a fully formed idea in my head and went for it!

Welcome to, The Lady Never.

And so we get to the second new blog in 6 months - The Lady Never!
The Lady Never is my Minecraft handle... A weird little play on words regarding Poe's The Raven. 
(I may go into that another time but not today.)
When I woke up, I knew that The Lady Never was coming out to play. I contacted an Etsy designer I liked and had a logo and header designed. I bought a new url. I created new blog socials. I purged and made private my old socials. 
I decided not to import any of my old posts and let Sunny Buzzy Books retire... You'd think that maybe retiring a blog that you've had for close to 5 years would bring sadness or some complicated mess of emotions but I honestly dont feel much of anything about it at the moment... I'm just excited for the new!

 I am in love with my new blog design and I'm excited to begin afresh. 
I'm sighing with happiness and relief at being back on blogger and away from WP.
I'm giddy at getting to blog again and I can happily attest that the new blog does not make me stabby, sad or trigger fight or flight in anyway! (Win.)

What's the blog about?

The Lady Never will be a little bit different from past blogs. It will feature, highlight and promote books - of course it will! However, it will have more life posts... When I mentioned about that my mental health is stable, I meant it, it is but... Stable doesn't mean good. Stable doesn't mean I'm back to my old self and it certainly doesn't mean I'm thriving. I'm not "cured" of my depression... (Honestly, I don't think one can be cured when depression is chemical but that's a debate for another post!) For now, I need to work on learning to live with the condition and working to regain my sense of self again. It may sound strange but I don't know who I am in a lot of ways anymore... I don't know if the person who emerges from this is the same me or someone new. The blog will hopefully chronicle some of that. 
Mental health posts, food, pets, exercise, tv, movies, days out, posts on random topics... I'm throwing out any kind of rule book and going for it!

A raven in a cage surrounded by a pale green, watercolour, background. The cage has flowers on the outside at the top right and bottom left edges. The Lady Never is written across the bottom of the logo in a gothic script.

If you've managed to read this far, you are a star! Thank you. 
If you want to read more, please consider following the blog or social media. 

I hope you have a good day and if it's not then remember tomorrow is a new one!
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