Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wreath Making with Hobbycraft (and a quick look at their other Christmas selection too!)

As you may have noticed from the piles of crafts I'm attempting to take up, this being stuck at home situation really does not work for me! Therefore I was extra pleased to receive this wreath making kit* from Hobbycraft to give me something to do whilst trapped at home!

I'm a complete Hobbycraft beginner as well as a complete wreath making beginner - or really, anything crafty for that matter! So when I first saw the selection I really wasn't sure what I was going to do with it all. Let's take a quick look through the box...

Unsurprisingly, we start with a wreath! This one is made from the same sort of material as Christmas trees, so you can bend different parts around and move it in different directions.
Next up, three little robins. I thought these were really cute and immediately knew I wanted to use all of the little guys! They have big clips on their feet to stick them on with,
Next up, some cones. These are in little bunches of different amounts and have sticks in between them which you use to stick them into the wreath.
A selection of red and green ribbons, and four LED candles.
And finally, these two decorative pieces!

To begin setting up, I created my wreath in what probably looked like the most ridiculous method. I stuck a chair on top of my kitchen counter and hung the wreath up to that. It wasn't the most foolproof method as every now and then it went flying, but it seemed a good way of doing all the fiddly bits.

After much staring at my wreath I had many ideas and wasn't sure where to go with it. I knew I wanted the robins, and I knew I wanted a candle in the middle, but apart from that I wasn't sure where to go. I contemplated putting the ribbons all the way around it but decided I wanted a bit more of a natural feel. That said, I did still want to use the ribbons, but decided to just keep them to the bottom. As the wreath was green I wanted to use a more reddy focus.

The ribbons were a bit fiddly to get on - they attach like this, and it can be a bit flimsy. That said it does very very willingly attach to the tree, but it took me a while to get it secure enough that I felt comfortable with it.


Next up was the little candle. I wanted it directly in the middle of the base. There was nothing to attach these on with, but again they went on very willingly.

Next up were the robins. These clipped on very happily.

I decided to next use the two decorative pieces. One went on into the left and I was surprised and pleased that it went straight on exactly how I wanted it first time.

The next one, of course, didn't. I wanted to place it directly opposite, but no matter how hard I tried it would not stay. I even tried holding it in place with one of the robins, but it really wasn't having any of it. Eventually I moved it to the top, and it actually looks better there I think.

Next up was the pinecones. I ended up using just the one of these in the end. I'd planned on using all of them, but when I placed my first one I decided it was just right, and adding any more would probably ruin it.

All completed! Here's a look at my completed wreath. It's hanging up on my door at the moment, but it'll move outside in a couple of days.

Overall, I enjoyed making my wreath. It was interesting for me as I'm not really a creative person and I thought I would struggle with it a lot more than I did. I was a little overwhelmed at first but once you actually start making it, it really does just come together. I started off with a few vague plans and it ended up being nothing like any of them, but it was fun to make all the same - and I think I prefer how it came out. I'm looking forward to sticking it outside and being able to show it off to people!

If you'd like to buy your own wreath making bits and pieces, you can do so through the website, here. It was actually a lot cheaper than I expected it to be so hopefully you'll be surprised too - as an example, the wreaths in the style of the one I'm using start from £2.50, the bows are £1.00, and the robins are £2.50. All a really good price and I expected them to be a lot more expensive!

It also came with a little catalogue showing some ideas and other products...
Love all of these baking things! I wish I could make that snowman. Or those Christmas trees. Or even those stars...

They have lots of kitchen crafty things actually - look at all that chocolate!

Some making sets - I really like the look of the bath bomb making set and the soap making set. I've thought about making both for aaaages but don't want to buy all the supplies individually, so something like that really appeals to me.

And of course, you can buy the whole selection through their website. They definitely do a lot more than I thought they did, and I'm certainly looking at buying some more products. Especially with the time of the year, I'm seeing all sorts of things I could use to make some gifts out of, and considering I'm one of the least creative people those of you with actual talents will certainly be able to make something out of it!

How about some bonus pictures?


Monday, 24 November 2014

Jaw Surgery & Genioplasty Recovery - Days 7 - 13

  This has truly been a week of ups and downs. At the start of the week I sort of just gave in. I concluded that there was absolutely no point getting out of bed because I couldn't do anything, and I didn't want to eat out of a syringe anymore so I concluded that there was just no point in eating at all. Nothing could persuade me to get out of bed, until at last incredible starvation sank in and I had no choice.

  I had a visit to the orthodontist on day seven, and had a very embarassing moment. He asked me how I was, and I promptly burst into tears and couldn't stop. He sort of stared blankly at me whilst I wailed pathetically (hard to do when your jaws are stuck together). This horrendous moment did have a positive outcome though - I was allowed to start taking the elastic bands out to eat food. Of course, I'm still not allowed to actually use my teeth, and my jaw opens by maybe 1cm, so 'eat' isn't quite the accurate word. More force feed myself food then swallow it whole. But actually it has made a massive difference. My energy has improved, I'm not quite as disgustingly skeletal as I was, and I'm getting a lot of colour back to my face. I've always had a really high metabolism and this half a yogurt nonsense just wasn't cutting it. To be honest, just being able to use a spoon has made a world of difference - using a syringe is really degrading.

  The first time I ate it was terrifying as my mouth sort of got stuck open and I had to sort of suck it back shut. Really hard to explain. It's happened a few times since and it always alarms me, but now I eat in a really odd sort of way and it seems to stop. I've become a master at eating yogurt, and I'm pretty good at ice cream. Scrambled eggs somehow get stuck all in my teeth but I've pretty much got that down. Mashed potato is complicated but doable. I've found some baby food which is basically pasta and vegetables chopped up, it's a bit awkward but it can be swallowed whole and I feel better for it. At one point I gave in and tried to eat a chocolate roll but the outside was too hard making it really difficult to suck into my mouth, haha. Eating is much more complicated than you think it's going to be. Of course it's all about food that can sort of be sucked in and swallowed whole and can actually make it from the gap in your teeth to the back of your throat easily. And in my case, since my jaw sometimes decides not to close again if you open it at an angle it didn't like, you have to be really careful about how you're doing it. But still. Food has made life better. I really don't like having my elastic bands out though - you'd think it would be the other way round but I hate it. My jaw doesn't know what to do. It feels really heavy and it doesn't want to be closed. I don't know if I should be exercising it or leaving it alone. It feels so heavy that it becomes a massive presence and it becomes stressful, to the extent that putting the elastic bands back on just feels really relieving.

  On day eight I then went to the hospital on a mission, to find out if I could see my surgeon earlier and when the surgery would actually be. I don't want to recover only to have to start again. I toured the entire dental building and kept hearing that there were no appointments until January at least, meaning surgery would be later than that - this seemed pointless to me, and I was trying to explain that that was when I was supposed to be back at work, did they expect me to take four months off and completely recover twice? I was also amazed at how some of the receptionists clearly weren't listening to what I was asking of them. Eventually, my consultant orthodontist heard that I was touring the building and I was told if I waited an hour he would see me. I was a bit embarassed by this, but I went along with it. And guess who he called to come and see me with him? The elusive surgeon, who apparently isn't available at all until January. Yep. Either way they confirmed together that it was still too early and they'd look together next Wednesday and make a decision then - but the surgeon said he'd used soft plates which can be moulded even by hands, so he thought that with strong elastics it should sort itself out. If not, I should have the surgery within a week. So it still sucks, but it's better than it was.

  The swelling has gone down a lot. I can definitely see myself in there now. I asked my friend who came to the hospital with me if it alarmed him the first time I came out all hippo-like and he admitted that it had been pretty startling, haha. I was first confronted with my hippo face when I was wheelchaired into a lift and I had much the same reaction, so I get it. Laughing is still the most painful thing in the world, like my face is being ripped open. The main concern to me is still the fact that my lips don't close properly. I hate that they're just open. I have to manually close them and even then it's SO MUCH EFFORT and it looks silly as well. My housemate can understand my talking but its still awful - I have a job interview that includes a presentation that is scheduled for next week - obviously I've had to cancel it but damn, I really want that job. Hopefully they can move it back a fair bit, because I really bloody want it.

  On Wednesday I'm seeing the surgeon and the orthodontist again to decide on whether I need further surgery. I'm going to bring up my lips (again) and if I don't have to have more, I'm going to ask about bringing in exercise. I know running is out of the question, but maybe something like the non moving bike - or perhaps even if I can start doing yoga classes. My energy isn't completely back but it's definitely at the stage that sitting around at home is not working for me. I don't want to go out in public too much yet though, I'm hyper aware of my lips not closing and people talking to me is terrifying to me. It feels ridiculous to me because I used to happily talk to anyone and everyone, but I just had to give in and leave the chemist because I was so afraid of having to talk to the chemists, even though I know I can talk at least a little bit.

  Overall, an improvement - but still a long way to go!

Friday, 21 November 2014

My Little Cozy Box; November 2014

When I received my first My Little Box I thought it was fantastic, and then when I received my second I thought it was easily my least favourite box I'd received from any subscription company. I therefore was not quite sure how to feel when My Little Cozy Box arrived this morning, but of course hoped it would be able to live up to my previous expectations for it!

We begin as always with a little card. I liked the message on this and was therefore disappointed that literally ten seconds after taking this photo I managed to place it in some sort of eggy remains and ruin it :(

Next up was My Little World magazine. The first box didn't come with one and the last one didn't appeal to me at all, but a quick flick through already lets me see I'm much happier with this one! It includes DIY tips to hang up paper lanterns, advice on how to properly remove your make up, a how-to hairstyle guide...etc etc! There's much more in this magazine that I would actually read than in the previous one. Don't get me wrong, this is still a quick read - but, well, you're not buying this box just because you want a magazine.

Next up is this little bouillotte - aka, a little cushion that you reheat in the microwave. Guys, you have no idea how amazed I was to have this. IT IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. At the moment the worst of my swelling is around the underneath of my chin and jaw and I have been trying all sorts of heat strips that don't do anything or end up literally stuck to my face. This cushion is folded by three so it actually fits perfectly where I need it to be and will of course provide heat! I know that wasn't really the intention, but I'm so pleased as this is literally exactly what I wanted, haha.

I was a little wary to see this box as I don't like coffee, but I thought it would make a nice gift for my housemate who is currently having to look after me quite a lot. But when I opened up the box I discovered it actually contained this cute little mug! It's a small mug so in a way I question its purpose, but it's a nice little message and I do like it. I think I'm going to use mine to keep a little cup of water by my bed.

On to the beauty products! We'll start with this Essie nail polish. It's a mini one, so only 5ml and actually smaller than I expected, but it's a really pretty shade - a lovely pink, or "Cute as a Button" if you want more specifics!. I'm not normally allowed to wear nail polish at work but obviously I'm off for another few weeks so I've even put it on already! It's a good shade, goes on very easily and for most of my nails I didn't even need a second coat.

Next we have a My Little Beauty mascara. I haven't used it yet and as around my eyes are still a bit swollen I'm going to ignore the temptation to try it, but it's a nice full brush and I'm looking forward to being able to try it when I'm a bit more human again.

And finally, we have this waterproof Star Liner, by Arcancil Paris. I don't use eyeliner, but if I did I suspect this would be a good one! Whenever I receive an eyeliner I always try it out on my hand even though I know I'm not going to use it, and this one is of good quality - it's smooth with good coverage and I'd say one of the easiest ones to use.

Overall - I'm back to being happy with My Little Box! It's still not as amazing as I'd first hoped, perhaps, but I did enjoy this box and I'll be using most of the products inside of it. My Little Box is available in France and the UK, and if you'd like to receive one then you can sign up on their website, here!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Book Review: And The Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is the story of a brother and sister, Abdullah and Pari. - initially, at least. The story begins in Afghanistan and slowly expands outwards, telling tales from across the globe and from more and more people in some way related to the characters. From description alone, I probably wouldn't have purchased this book, but I am a fan of Hosseini's work, especially The Kite Runner, and so I decided to pick this up when I was looking for something different from what my current books had had to offer.

And... I'm glad I did! This is a wonderfully written book, with amazing imagery and stories. Though some of the sections were long I would literally sit in the bath and read them until the water had turned cold because I wanted to see how the story would end (sorry, housemate). The stories are written very well, giving you very clear understanding of the characters and personalities and really allowing you to see how the characters are thinking and processing in a way that I find very unusual in most books. It's hard to say too much here without ruining the story for you if you were interested in picking it up, but I find it very interesting how Hosseini works - he realises that in many cases, it is not necessarily a big even that can mean a great deal to, or influence a person - and he works with this in a way that I find much more realistic.

I absolutely loved the first three quarters of this book, and enjoyed the last section as well. The bit inbetween - well, I found myself losing interest. To the extent that I only finished this book a couple of days ago and I genuinely can't even remember what that section was about! I found it much more dull, but I suppose I just wasn't interested in the characters of that part.

This is still a book I'd recommend - especially if you're like me and want to try and add some variety to your reading, I think this is a great one to choose! You can pick up a copy through Amazon, here.

The new book that I've started is Sapiens - A Brief History of Mankind - which is much more gigantic than the name would have you suspect. I've not yet decided if I'm going to read this on its own or read a more conventional book alongside it yet. What are you currently reading?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Jaw Surgery - One Week into Recovery!

So I'm going to start doing these recovery posts about once a week to keep you updated on my progress, and because it may be interesting to some of you. This week may actually be the exception as tomorrow I'm going into hospital again to find out if I'm having more surgery on Wednesday, in which case the whole schedule thing goes to pot - but if I've avoided more surgery I'll be posting a recovery post once a week for a while and two regular posts a week as well again. I already have some posts typed up and ready so hopefully I'll be able to post them...!

Not too much has changed since my last post although my swelling has gone down very slightly- I no longer look like a hippo and instead look like a morbidly obese person. So there's progress. Sort of. Also, as of day six (today) I've noticed that the swelling is going down on one side of my chin more than the other, which makes me look a bit like my face is sliding off.

I thought I would show you what my first week diet is consisting of. I should of course start this by stating very, very clearly that I am eating such limited portions because I have literally no choice in the matter, and of course I'm not saying that you should eat these portions if you have the ability not to! I'm not encouraging anything unhealthy, and my current diet is extremely unhealthy under any other circumstances - and frankly, I do plan on trying to eat more, but eating through a syringe is the most time consuming thing in the world, especially when there's no room between your teeth to aim it and you have to sort of wedge the blooming thing right into the back of your mouth. My friends that have visited have mostly been good about eating their food in a different room to me, but I want to cry every time I hear what they have. If you knew how much I wanted pie, or chips, or spaghetti... Considering I'm such a big eater normally this is so far a painful experience in many ways!

So breakfast each day is a fruit yogurt. As of today I managed to eat a whole one with no real problems, so I'm hoping to tomorrow promote myself to two. Two whole yogurts! Lord if you knew how many of these I used to eat. Anyway, these aren't so bad to manage, the main problem is that they are quite messy. I am yet to finish a yogurt without ending up wearing the yogurt.

Lunch each day is half a tin of a nutritional milkshakes my housemate got me. I've had the chocolate one so far and I did actually feel better after it. They taste pretty nice, the problem is that they're really thick and I can just feel them coating my teeth, which of course I can't brush. I also had a banana one, which did not taste at all like banana.

Dinner each day is half a tin of soup. Right now I have ten Sainsbury's varieties and they're actually really good considering I got the cheapest ones available! The main problems with this are that some of them are still too lumpy to actually fit in the syringe, so I have to sit there and sieve them first. Depressing. The second is that it takes me so long to eat it that by the time I'm about half way through the soup is cold, and who wants cold soup?! Someone bought me some baby food as a gift and I was actually pretty excited about them (yes, this is my life now) because they were in interesting sounding flavours like casseroles, but they are actually too advanced for me right now. How sad is that?! My appetite is fully back so ugh, the ability to actually eat needs to come back soon.

I also have these fruit puree things that I'm hoping to start incorporating with lunch from now on, and I got these barocca tablets that I'm going to try and drink throughout the day.

In addition to the above, I have these antibiotics that I take three times a day. They are really sweet and syrupey which again is not nice when you can't brush your teeth. I have these pain killers which I'm supposed to take two syringes of four times a day, but to be honest I usually just manage one syringe once or twice and that's depending on how badly I need it. Not only does it not taste nice but it's genuinely painful to take it, and therefore a lot of the time I decide to just not do it. I also have some more pain killers that again I've only taken once when I really, really needed to, and this mouthwash which I have to use four times a day. Again, try taking mouthwash when your mouth doesn't close properly and you can't spit it out properly. It's not pleasant.

Energy levels in general are pretty low, which for someone who used to literally run up and down the stairs is hard to adjust to. Today my housemate made my soup for me because standing up for three minutes to cook it was taking too much out for me. It took me half an hour to walk what used to take about five minutes and I felt awful at the end. I need to find some sort of app that'll motivate me, like a couch to 5k but for walking, ha.

I'm hoping that tomorrow at the hospital they'll loosen up the elastics a little. At the moment I have four on each hook so my teeth literally do not open at all. When they can, it'll be much easier to wedge a syringe in between them and then I can get through the food much quicker and therefore eat a bit more. When it's taking half an hour to eat a yogurt you do kind of lose the will to continue, especially when you know you have tonnes of medication to come after it. I'm unwilling to leave the house still as my face is still absolutely enormous but when I can I want to start getting some vegetables to juice - although to be fair at the moment my energy levels are way too low to sit there and clean the juicer! Before this I used to average about five hours sleep a night and worked well on it. Now I'm in bed for about twelve hours straight (though not sleeping particularly well, most positions really hurt to sleep in and even subtle movements can change this) plus a nap half way through the day. It's ridiculous!

Anyway - here's hoping I'm not back in surgery and that next weeks update will be a bit better! Dreading leaving the house tomorrow, I've been going for tiny walks and wearing a scarf completely tied round my head which I realise looks more ridiculous. Today we've had lots of post people coming to talk to me and I've been speaking to them in barely understandable English combined with covering up my face, so the idea of having to go out, get on a bus and go to the hospital is a bit mortifying for me - which is a new feeling for me when I've never had confidence problems before.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Jaw Surgery + Genioplasty - Days 1 - 4

  Not a fun post by any means, but here's a little update of my surgery journey so far - including three days in hospital and today, my first full day at home! I just wanted to thank those of you that have left messages wishing me well - I'm really sorry I haven't replied, I genuinely just haven't had the energy.

Day One
  Day one was kind of annoying because I'd had to get to hospital at 6am and stop eating or drinking from midnight - but I didn't actually get seen until about 3pm. I wasn't really kept up to date on it and then when it was finally my turn it was literally a case of, "here are some paper knickers, a gown, and some leggings. Put them on!" and then off we went. I got wheeled down in my bed which I found very strange because at that point I was obviously completely fine and I felt like a little kid pretending to be a pirate or something.

  When I went down to go under anaesthetic I started crying as I didn't know what to expect and I was afraid of the needle. The two doctors doing it were being as nice as they could but I was freaked out as I was surrounded by people staring at me, and they were being as light hearted as they could and trying to get me to co-operate but in the end just stabbed me with it and got it over and done with - to be fair they didn't have much choice. I immediately started getting this horrible feeling in the back of my throat like I was choking and I couldn't breathe properly. This made me panic more and I started trying to tell the doctors that it had gone wrong and that I was dying, it kept happening and I tried to resist it by continually trying to sit up to tell them it had gone wrong and I was about to die but they just continued working around me. And then of course, that was that.

  I woke up in the recovery room and was again pretty alarmed. My mouth felt enormous as my jaws didn't want to stay together so it was just sort of flailing open. I tried to get up a couple of times but didn't have the energy and just fell back down. I later heard them say something about how I was on five doses of morphine so I guess that was something to do with it.

  Eventually I got wheeled back to my room where I promptly threw up blood all over the place and then I got given this machine that was to be my lifesaver. Simply a mask which is kept cold all the time. That machine is what kept me sane.

  Obviously my energy was low and I was being monitored every thirty minutes. I had to press a button every time I wanted to go to the toilet so that someone could walk with me, and then the idea was that when I was finished I'd ring the buzzer again from the toilet and I'd be returned. However in the middle of the night I just crashed, went to the toilet, pressed the buzzer, woke up on the floor after having passed out and then had to wait for a wheelchair to take me to my room, which I didn't have the energy to get into. Once I was back in my bed it was okay and I was given a drip which I then had to drag around with me everywhere I went.

Day Two
  In the morning the surgeon came to visit me and told me he'd been happy with the surgery. However, the fact that my mouth wasn't closing properly was a concern, so he put two elastic bands on each side and said they would check the following morning, so I was definitely staying an extra day. In the morning I needed to go and get an X-Ray done, and I was wheelchaired down to the X-Ray area. I started feeling really hot so asked if I could be moved just out of the way of the waiting room (I should also mention here that my face was (and is) fucking enormous. I look like a hippo. I was very hyper aware of the fact that I looked like a hippo, and that my teeth were stuck together but my lips didn't shut. Yeah, not a good look. Anyway, I was left on my own for about ten seconds when I started feeling really faint. I started sinking down into my wheelchair and I started trying to shout for help, but doing that when your mouth is stuck together is not at all easy. So I was just desparately saying, "help me" as loudly as I could. Eventually a member of the public heard me and came round, we made eye contact and I said "help" again, and then he ran to get a member of staff. The staff member tried to keep me in the wheelchair but I was passing out and couldn't keep up, so he called for more staff. Next thing I know I was in an A&E crash trolley being wheeled back to my ward. After this point I was no longer allowed to go anywhere without a nurse staying with me - and it took two more attempts to actually get my X-Rays done.

  I was told I wasn't allowed to eat again as they may want to operate on me in the morning, so back to the drip, but I was glad about that.

  In the evening I got wheeled over to my orthodontist who said he hoped that he'd be able to use the elastic bands to mould my jaw into place, so he left them on. I was told that afternoon that I'd be back in next week so I could start eating - only of course, it's not that easy. I had to eat with a syringe, and my teeth wouldn't open at all. I essentially just shot strawberry yoghurt directly at my front teeth slurping them as I could but it hurt so much. I managed about half and then went to bed early.

Day Three
  I mostly felt okay today. Still in a lot of pain but moving around fine, reading for the first time, not bothering to call the nurses when I needed the toilet. My orthodontist came over in the morning and proceeded to perform torture on me by adding more elastic bands. He told me that he was going to try to completely elastic band my mouth but that I was to come in again on the following tuesday - if the elastic bands had worked, fine, if not I'd have more surgery on the Wednesday. So he put two elastic bands on each side of my mouth and then four in the middle. It's seriously painful. I managed another yogurt by again just sort of shooting it at my face and I was discharged in the middle of the day with boxes of pain killers and antibiotics and mouthwash. The problem is, that doing things by syringe takes a long time so it is also extremely painful. My joints hurt, my face is enormous and swollen, my jaw feels so heavy. Sucking the syringe hurts but if I don't then it just dribbles all over my face. I know I'm not eating as much as I should because it's just so time consuming and painful that I don't want to do it. I'm being consistent with the antibiotics but the painkillers are horrible and I have to take eight syringe fulls a day - I manage about three. I managed about a quarter of a tin of soup over the day.

Day Four
  Woke up in agony, still look like a hippo. Didn't get out of bed until about eleven because it was just so much effort to go downstairs so I decided not to, plus I knew there were ten million bottles of medicine waiting for me. Finally went and managed a yogurt and my antibiotics. I also tried to use the mouthwash for the first time, which was a bit of an ordeal. Essentially, I just sprayed it all into my mouth over the bathtub and held my mouth shut for as long as I could, which was just under twenty seconds. I then just had to sit there over the bathtub and let it slowly dribble out. Yeah, it was really classy. My housemate bought me some meal replacement drinks and I managed half of a chocolate one at lunch time, followed by more antibiotics and half a dose of the painkiller. I attempted to brush my teeth with a baby toothbrush but it was just so painful as my lower lip is absolutely enormous and doesn't move properly.

  All of this and guess what? I got shortlisted for essentially my dream job. Which, obviously I was very optimistic about because I can't attend an interview in this state :( Now I'm just going to keep trying to actually stay alive and then see what happens when I go into hospital again next week. Right now my face is hippo shaped, my chin is partially numb, my lips are partially numb, my lower jaw is heavy, it just hurts everywhere. From the side it actually doesn't look so bad but please, this hippo face needs to sort itself out.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Off to surgery!

  Today is a bit of an odd post, but a little explanation for why I'm most likely not going to be around for the next week or so (and then ridiculously here ALL THE TIME for a few weeks after that).

  Tomorrow morning I'm going in to hospital to have surgery. I'm basically having multiple jaw area surgeries - I'll be having my lower jaw broken and moved forward, and then I'm going to have my chin moved back to counteract it.

  The surgery itself isn't that complicated apparently, and it's about two hours which is apparently short for surgery standards. I should only have one night in the hospital, but then I'll be off work for the rest of the year for a couple of reasons.

  The three official reasons are that I'm going to have a ban on exercise, I won't be able to eat, and I won't be able to talk very well for a while. So obviously these circumstances do not work well with a job that is very active and public facing...

  The other reason is that I'm going to look different at the end of it, and that is the terrifying part. Because I do not know how I will look, and I may not like it. And even if I do like it, it's going to be bloody weird because I've had this face for quite a long time now and tomorrow it's going to be different. There's quite a lot of movement in my case, so very different. That's going to be very strange, to put it mildly.

  And I don't know how I'm going to react to all this. I have a feeling I'm going to hide away for a while. I may really hate it, so I won't want people to see me. Or maybe I won't hate it, but it'll look so different that I won't want to see my friends anymore. I know that when I push my jaw forward I hate how it looks, but I also know it won't really look like that anyway so I can't even imagine how it's going to look. Either way, the first couple of days at least I'm going to be swollen like a balloon and then it's going to be a few weeks before it settles down a bit. And even then, I won't actually know what it's going to look like until it's completely settled in 6 months to a year or so. I've never been in hospital so I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm not really very well prepared either - It started off well, I saw off a friend, I paid in a cheque, I got some essentials (I literally spent £20 on soup and Frubes. Oh, and some shampoo...), I spent ages sorting out all my expenses and suchlike. And then I sat and waited for the hospital to call me to confirm my time for tomorrow. And then they did, and it was really late in the day, and then I cried and didn't want to do anything anymore.

  So this is all very scary, and I won't be around for a week or so. But then I'll post an update next week so you know what's going on. And then after that I'll be trapped at home living off soup until the end of the year, so I guess you'll discover me becoming ridiculously active on here and twitter.

  At some point I'll also update you on the previous weekend - I had a good send off and I was actually surprised by how many friends came along, I really wasn't expecting very many people to turn up. Also, I'll write something proper on this later, but the Imperial War Museum's changes are really really good and you should definitely go. Anyway.

  Well... see y'all on the other side!

Friday, 7 November 2014

My To-Read Pile; November 2014 Edition

My current pile of Books to Read is getting bigger and bigger (to be fair, not helped by the fact that one of them is pretty massive) so I thought it was about time I posted a little list of what's on my to-read list, including both those that I'm genuinely looking forward to reading, and those that I've already tried and failed at but feel obligated to give a second chance...

And The Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini - Buy it here!
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. 

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. 

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page

This is the book that I'm currently reading, and according to GoodReads I've been very very very slowly making my way through for a month now. I'm not going to say too much about this book because I am speeding up with it so you'll see a proper review of it soon enough - I'm really liking it! It took me a while to get into it but I persevered because I liked The Kite Runner so much, but now I'm finally getting there with it and really enjoying it. So, that's all you get on this one for now because you're going to see it soon enough!

The Humans - Matt Haig - Buy it here!
After an 'incident' one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog.
What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

I'm sort of...not massively looking forward to this book, which is worrying as it's the newest I've bought. I remember seeing this in Waterstones and being excited by the idea, but then completely forgetting about it. Then, a few days later I got home, ordered something else, and it came to £1 short. I am that person who adds something else more expensive than shipping just so they don't have to pay the shipping fees, so I suddenly remembered I wanted this book and quickly added it on. Now I've read the back again the premise is no longer anywhere near as interesting to me as it once was, but we'll see!

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind -Yuval Noah Harari - Buy it here!
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ... and our future.

I'm going to get very nerdy on you here and admit that I can't accurately convey to you how much I want to read this book. It's huge and I want to read every page. I first saw it on Amazon and thought I would love it, but wasn't 100% certain. Then I saw it in Waterstones and couldn't resist flicking through it - I lasted about a minute before deciding that I'd buy it. I am really, really, really looking forward to this book. Please don't disappoint me!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson - Buy it here!
It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not...Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan's earlier life in which - remarkably - he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun, feel-good book for all ages.

I saw people first start to get excited about this book quite a while ago now but for some reason it just didn't appeal to me at the time. I liked the idea of it, but something about it just wasn't really working for me. I would read reviews, add it to my basket and then remove it again, and for whatever reason I kind of wanted to read it but also kind of didn't. Then Waterstones had a buy one get half price sale that included it, so here we are today!

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Jay Fowler - Buy it here!
Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble. So now she's telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it's a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.
It's funny, clever, intimate, honest, analytical and swirling with ideas that will come back to bite you. We hope you enjoy it, and if, when you're telling a friend about it, you do decide to spill the beans about Fern - it's pretty hard to resist - don't worry. One of the few studies Rosemary doesn't quote says that spoilers actually enhance reading.
I'm going to be completely honest with you - I basically picked this book up because the cover art reminded me of The Shock of the Fall and I really liked that book. Basically, you can sell me a book if it has a tree on the front cover, clearly. But this book does seem to have done well and I think it has the potential to be really interesting - and yes, I just realised I picked this book up without even looking inside.

The Unpredictable Consequences of Love - Jill Mansell - Buy it here!
In the idyllic seaside town of St Carys, Sophie is putting the past firmly behind her.
When Josh arrives in St Carys to run the family hotel, he can't understand why Sophie has zero interest in letting any man into her life. He also can't understand how he's been duped into employing Sophie's impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited.
St Carys has more than its fair share of characters, including the charming but utterly feckless surfer Riley Bryant, who has a massive crush on Tula. Riley's aunt is superstar author Marguerite Marshall. And Marguerite has designs on Josh's grandfather...who in turn still adores his glamorous ex-wife, Dot...
Just how many secrets can one seaside town keep?

At one point, I was really really excited about this book. I absolutely never buy fiction books as hardcovers but I bought this one on release date and then promptly never read it. It's one of those things where I bought too many books at once, the others were more exciting to me, and then it just kept getting pushed back. I do intend to read this one at some point though.

Life After Life - Kate Atkinson - Buy it here!
What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?
Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

This is the first of the books that I have tried to read already. In fact, I have made several attempts at this book and I just do not like it. I loved the concept, I was so excited, but I find it so incredibly boring. It's too descriptive, nothing seems to really happen, I can't follow what's going on because I find it far too dull to get anywhere with and I just really do not like it. But I WANT to, so I keep it in this pile in the hopes that one day I'll suddenly enjoy it.

Insurgent - Veronica Roth - Buy it here!
Fighting for survival in a shattered world… the truth is her only hope.
The thrillingly dark sequel to No. 1 New York Times bestseller, DIVERGENT.
I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am.
Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.
Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

I hate this book, but I have spent about four months now trying to read it despite this just because I liked the first one so much. Like, really really liked it. I took it to the gym with me, I took it to read on my breaks, I remember being really late to a party once because I wanted to read more, that's how much I liked Divergent. I was also that one person who actually really liked the movie. This? Rubbish. Hate it. Can't follow it, boringly written, and it makes me so sad because I was so excited after my love of the first one. I will continue trying, resentfully.

So, that's my list of books on my to-do list right now! I am thinking of starting a book club so that'll at least make sure I keep making my way through all these books (especially because while taking the photos for this post I suddenly thought of another book I wanted and ordered it quickly, yes, despite the fact that this post is basically making a point of the fact that I have a backlog and need to stop doing that). What's on your to-read list?
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