My Reading Rut: Part 2


I am terrible. Even with a job with a load of commute time, I have managed to get NINE BOOKS behind in my forty book reading challenge. I have no idea what I’ve been doing with my life but I’m trying my hardest to catch up during these last remnants of summer, before life starts getting crazy again.

I’ve currently read 17 books, but I’m not gonna spam you with all of that. Instead, here’s my thoughts on books five through nine instead.

It by Stephen King

This was the initial book that got me far behind in my reading challenge ’cause it took so damn long to get through. However, I did manage to catch up… and then fall behind again. I told you I’m terrible. My experience reading It went a lot like my experience reading other King novels – in that it starts off slow, I regret everything by the middle, and then the last third turns out to be some of the most gripping literature I’ve ever read. I won’t bother recounting the plot to you, as I’m pretty sure everyone knows the tale of Pennywise, but I will say this: it wasn’t scary. All my life people have been telling me how scary this book is. It’s not. I mean, I’m sure if I was been stalked by a weird creepy killer clown, I’d be terrified. But told on page, it just didn’t cut it for me. It’s an excellent book, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn’t have the expectation that I’d be terrified by it. But I’m glad I read it in preparation for the film adaptations coming out next year!

I give this book: 4/5 unexplained child murders

The Magpies by Mark Edwards

After reading a book the size of my head, I needed something quick to bring me back up to speed, so I asked my mum to recommend a thriller for me to get addicted to. She gushed about this book for so long that I finally relented. But to be honest, it’s been six months since I read it now and I can’t remember a single thing about (my fault for leaving this post so long, I know). I can vividly remember every other book I’ve read this year, even last year in cases, but not this one. All I remember is that it’s a creepy thriller based around new neighbours and is a typical wtf-is-going-on-here type of novel. I don’t regret reading it, and I think I remember enjoying it at the time, but it’s definitely not a memorable story.

I give this book: 2.5/5 dead birds

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Continuing on with my quick-to-read thriller tactic, I went with another recommendation from my mother – but I liked this one a lot more! This is type of thriller I live for: creepy, evil, and rooted in reality. Even though my favourite genre is fantasy, I like my thrillers to be about real life maniacs rather than the supernatural. I read a lot books that follow the ‘x has the perfect life – OR DO THEY?’ formula and although they can get a little overdone, Behind Closed Doors was refreshingly sinister.

I give this book: 4/5 secret pleas for help

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

The last of my thriller binge (until this point, at least – old habits) and it was another good one. It’s a movie, so I’m sure y’all know the plot – but basically the protagonist has some form of amnesia and is being cared for by her husband – or is she? Pretty standard thriller stuff but made for a gripping read. The ending was particularly satisfying, which is always a worry when I read thrillers. Sometimes it’s as if the writers are so excited to reveal the solution that they miss out a tonne of context. My only criticism would be that sometimes it was obvious that it was a male writer behind the woman’s voice – too much talk of her naked body to be believable sometimes. If I woke up with no memory of the last few decades, I’d have bigger concerns than my saggy boobs.

I give this book: 3/5 secret phone calls

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Finally back on the horror game! Bird Box was creepy af. Definitely one of those stories that works better as a book than a movie, which doesn’t often work in the horror genre. No clichés, no jump scares – in fact, jump scares couldn’t even possibly work in this story because most of it takes place with no vision. The plot of Bird Box is a mysterious disease has overtaken humanity and the only way to avoid it is to keep your eyes covered, if you see an infected, then you become one of them too. It’s a very isolated book for the most part, but that’s broken up with flashbacks to the beginnings of the virus, something which really helps to space out the plot. Again, not scary to read, but if that was happening in real life I have no idea what I’d do.

I give this book: 4/5 things in the shadows

Around this point I had finally rectified the damage from reading It for six weeks and was ready to start reading for fun again, instead of ploughing through thrillers which trick me into reading them. We are now up to April and soon will embark on some good old fashioned fantasy to suck me right back in again. I guess that post will be up whenever I somehow figure out how to read nine books (!!!!!!) in 24 hours. Seriously, how did I get this far behind? At this point, 40 books looks a long way off…

The Great Expat Dilemma: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Let’s get real for second. When I first decided to start my expat adventure I was a naive little 21 year old, fresh out of university, with no life or work experience. I was feeling defeated and like I was running out of options, regretting all of my life choices that had led me to that moment.

To avoid spending another minute wasting away in my teenage bedroom whilst all my friends went on to bigger and better things, I thought maybe I’d move abroad and teach English. I wish I could remember my thought process for deciding this, but I imagine a lot of it had to do with just wanting to prove that I could do something other than receive job rejection emails. Thus, I set myself a task to work towards (so my days could be spent doing something more worthwhile than watching Catfish marathons) and for the first time since education, my life had purpose again.

I chose my destination (Madrid), worked out my plan (to begin with a four week TEFL course and then wing it), bought my plane tickets, and off I went. Soon I was a qualified English as a second language teacher living in a capital city and hanging out with a crazy diverse group of friends. And my initial plan to teach English for a year and then head home then turned into two years with no plans to leave yet. But yet, that expat dilemma remains: when is it time to go home?

By moving to Madrid, I definitely accomplished what I wanted to do. Before I left I was crippled by intense social anxiety and could barely function in situations I hadn’t rehearsed in my head before hand. I couldn’t talk to strangers or look people in the eye or make small talk in shops. But moving to a place where you don’t understand a single thing anyone says, or have your mum to do things for you, really forces you out of your comfort zone. And whilst I still don’t revel in talking to others, I no longer feel like my throat is closing up. I can navigate through life without that omnipresent sense of dread following me around – and let me tell ya, it feels super refreshing. I recently spent a few weeks in the UK and had multiple people comment on how different I was so. So life experience? Check.

Another thing I wanted was work experience. And whilst teaching is in no way what I want to do with my life, it pays the bills whilst I embark on multiple unpaid internships – something that definitely wasn’t available for me in a place like Hull. I’ve managed social media accounts, learnt CMS, written articles about things I knew nothing about before I started – aka I’ve basically become a digital media wizard. So whilst teaching isn’t exactly where I imagined I’d be at 24, I’m getting that much needed experience all those “entry level” jobs somehow expect you to have already. It just took me a little longer to get there and I’m talking about verbs whilst doing it. Work experience? Working on it but let me give it a preemptive check.

So after doing everything I set out to do (and spending double the expected time here), why am I still in Spain? The simple, gross, and horribly cliché version is that I fell in love. With the city, with a dude, with my entire existence here. And why ruin a good thing? I’ll stick with the cheap wine and sunny weather and good Mexican food, thanks.

But another major factor in my decision to stay in Madrid is that I don’t know what would happen otherwise. Here I know I can keep getting teaching gigs, keep living cheaply, keep enjoying this big city life I’ve grown accustomed to. Before I moved here my life was so uncertain – whether I’d get a job, be able to move out, the sensitive state of my mental health, etc etc. Shit was scary, but here I don’t have to worry. As I keep saying over and over again, this definitely isn’t where I expected to be, but as long as I’m paying the bills, having fun, and improving myself as a person, I don’t see what the problem is. I may not be as far along on the career ladder as my classmates but look at all that sexy life experience I’m racking up. And I’ve learnt more Spanish talking to supermarket cashiers here than I did in in four years of German in high school, so there’s that.

So although expat life has its flaws; friends leaving every year, language barriers, and cultural mishaps – and even though Spain is definitely not the utopia all those retired Brits make it out to be, it looks like for the moment I’m here to stay.

A misleading title? Mayhaps. ‘Cause I have no freaking idea what I’m doing with my life other than enjoying it. But at 24, I think maybe that’s okay.

OOTD: Take Meow(t)

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Omg an outfit post! Omg an outfit post in the form of a mirror selfie! How 2012 of me. But it’s this or nothing when it comes to fashion posts now so we’re gonna have to deal with it.

I’m currently in the UK which means I can actually wear more than a scrap of fabric without melting, so I’ve been revelling in the fact I can wear more than my two 40-degree weather suitable outfits. One of my favourite ones so far has been this baby, because I’d never be able to wear this much black in August in Madrid.

The shirt is a new buy and I didn’t waste any time in wearing it. It’s covered in pictures of cats which is a great look at the rest of my life. I got it from Next and it’s got a great boxy fit to hide all those yummy English food babies I’ve been suffering from lately. It came in useful for this outfit, as the skirt I’m wearing is my mum’s and two sizes too big for me. Awks. The oversized shirt did a good job of covering up the ugly belt I was using to keep it hoisted up.

I’ve finished it up with my trademark bowler hat- although I recently did venture into H&M territory after finally giving up my trusty Topshop hat. The shoes are also H&M, although are looking a bit worse for wear recently, but who wants to pay more than €10 for shoes? Not me!

Here’s where it gets fancy, the bag is Marc Jacobs and the sunglasses are Versace. And that is why you buy €10 shoes. Just kidding, that is why you search through the wastelands of TK Maxx. £20!!! Crazy!!!

But the real star of the show is obviously my PopSocket, which makes taking super attractive selfies so much easier. Just kidding – I still look like a potato but at least I don’t drop my phone anymore.

I head back to Madrid next week and once it finally starts getting under 30 degrees I hope that I can finally wear some interesting outfits again. And force James to take pictures of me. And force you to look at them. Hopefully they’ll be cat themed.

15 Months Of Growing Out A Pixie Cut


In 2014, I got a little antsy and switched my long blonde hair for a brown bob.

Around the same time in 2015, I took it a step further and lobbed off my hair into a pixie cut.

And in 2016… I didn’t do anything because I’m still living with the consequences of my last major haircut.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my pixie cut grow out story.


May 2015 wasn’t the first time I braved a pixie cut, so I thought I’d be able to handle the change. But this brief stint into pixiedom only lasted two whole cuts. On my second visit to my hairdresser, pleased with how she’d cut my pixie the first time, I asked for it to be slightly shorter. I believe my exact words were ‘the bottom of my ears’ but I guess she heard ‘the top of my ears’ and thus a way shorter pixie than I had anticipated was on my head. Scarred from this traumatic experience, I set out to grow my hair back. And now, in August 2016, I finally feel like I cut my hair this way on purpose rather than looking like I’m growing out a year old mistake.


By August 2015 I felt that only the fringe was growing and not much else. I hadn’t had to face the dreaded mullet cut yet and it could still pass as a relatively cute haircut, even if it was a little bit Early-Years-Justin-Bieber for my liking. However, this was when I realised just how long it would take me to get my old hair back.


In October 2015 I begrudgingly got my first official hair cut of the grow out stage. By this point in time I was already spending my entire life searching Pinterest for ‘how do I grow out a pixie cut please help??????’ and knew that to go longer, you have to go shorter. This annoyed me for 2 reasons: 1) at this stage  you’re clinging to every milimetre of hair you own and practically measuring it when you wake up in the morning and 2) paying normal prices for a haircut when the stylist is taking literally less than a cm off the length seems a bit stupid to me, but whatever, I digress. I was relying heavily on hats a lot at this time and doing anything to liven up the emo fringe that was taking up 2/3s of my face.


When December 2015 rolled around I had defeated my first enemy: the emo fringe. It was finally starting to look a little less like a pixie cut, but unfortunately I definitely still looked like someone who was growing out a pixie cut – because no one in their right mind would cut their hair like this. I was trying to kid myself that it looked like a short bob, but it definitely didn’t. My styling technique here was to just tease my layers into every direction imaginable to try and give the illusion of length. It didn’t work.


By March 2016, the unthinkable had happened: it kind-of-maybe-was starting to resemble a bob. A very short, very layered, very shaggy bob – but a bob nonetheless. The month prior to this I had dyed my hair a bronde-y colour to help numb the overbearing feelings of hatred and frustration I felt when I looked at my hair. And yes, that was my first trip to the stylists since my trim the pervious October. I committed the cardinal sin of growing out a pixie: I let myself get a mullet. I’m so sorry. Do as I say, not as I did: cut your hair!


Which brings us to May 2016, a year after the initial cut. I think at this point you actually could consider my hairstyle a bob without lying to yourself. I had passed the point of needing regular trims (needing and actually getting are two different things) and no longer felt the need to inform people that I was growing out a pixie and didn’t willingly choose for my hair to look that way. Some people may say that this 12 month point marks the end of my hair journey, but I disagree. At this point I was relatively happy with the overall length of my hair, but the shortest layers of my original pixie cut still hadn’t fully grown out. I felt like I had two seperate haircuts: a bob and then an even shorter bob sat on top of it.


So here we are at August 2016. It’s taken about fifteen months, but I’m finally happy with my hair and can officially end the pixie grow out saga. I’m still not perfectly satisfied with those pesky layers, but they’re getting there, and the hat can hang out with us until they’re ready to the join the rest of my hair down by my jawline.

I may not have grown out my pixie cut in the most graceful way possible, but it eventually got to where it needed to be. The first eight months or so were the hardest to navigate, but after that I think I finally found my groove. There were definitely moments were I wanted to give up and just accept I’d have to have a pixie cut for the rest of my life, but as long as you keep pushing forward and reminding yourself that it will grown back eventually, growing out a pixie cut isn’t as terrible as it first seems.

Tips For Dealing With Growing Out Your Pixie Cut:

  1. Get regular cuts, people. Even if aaaaah money. Remember: ‘bite the bullet, stop the mullet!’ Trademark Rosanna Parrish 2016.
  2. Find out what accessory works for you and run with it. I am a hat person, but you might be a scarf of a headband person. Invest in a couple and you won’t hate looking in the mirror so much.
  3. Use this time of having the same haircut for a year to experiment with colour. I’m usually a platinum blonde, so this time I worked my way up from bronde to ash to my usual light blonde. It definitely killed some time.
  4. And most importantly: Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest! You’re welcome.

The Numbers:

  • Total Time: 15 months
  • Number of Cuts: 4
  • Number of Dye Jobs: 3

Next stop, the cool girl lob!