Moving On...

So after spending the past three months fighting my feelings over Rock & Roses, I've decided, with a heavy heart that it is time for me to move on.

I've felt so down about the fact that I've just not been able to get my blogging mojo back since the New Year, but no matter how hard I tried, nothing rekindled my love for this space anymore.  I have simply come to the conclusion that I've grown out of it.

Not wanting to betray all the love, hard work and passion that I'd put into this blog over the past couple of years, I was held back from starting a new blog, but this was also making me miserable.  Until today.

I've finally taken the plunge, and today I will be closing this chapter, and starting a new one with my new blog, That's What She Writes.  It feels amazing to have the drive to blog flood through me again. Blogging has been such a huge part of my life for the past five years now that leaving it behind for good just felt wrong.  As tough as it was, this new blog was the right step for me, and I can't wait to create high quality content for my readers.  I hope long time readers of Rock & Roses will come and join me on my new journey. I've set everything up on Bloglovin', so all it takes is a click of the follow button to keep up to date with all of my posts!

Thank you for all of your support over the past couple of years.  I've loved my time here, but now is the right time to move on.  Here's to an exciting new journey!

Book Review \\ Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice by Lisa Genova had been sat on my Kindle for months.  I had been both desperate to read it and dreading it all at the same time.  You see, not only does the main character, Alice, share the same name as my Nan, but she is also cursed with the same disease as what eventually took my Nan from us last year.

Alice is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease at only 50 years old.  Being an academic woman, working for one of the best Universities in her country as a linguistics expert, Alice's prized posession is her brain, and to find out it would soon deteriorate is devastating for her.  Along with her family, we are taken on Alice's journey as she rapidly declines into the evil grasp of Dementia.

A lot of people thought I was crazy for voluntarily reading this book.  Knowing it's a sore subject with me, and fully well knowing it would break my heart, they just couldn't get their heads around it.  To me though, there is nothing crazy about wanting to learn more about the disease that took my Nan away from me.  I want to understand what she went through.  What it was like to have the mind of somebody suffering from Dementia, and I think this book gives you that insight in such a heartbreaking, yet beautiful way.

There are some truly heartbreaking moments in this book.  It takes a lot for a book to make me cry, but with this one I had to keep stopping and putting the book down from being unable to read it through my tears.  I'm not talking a few tears trickling down my face either.  I'm talking full on sobbing at some points.  The saying is true.  You don't know what you've got until it's gone, and to lose your memories, to forget how to do the most simple of things must be the most horrific fate of them all.  Things such as forgetting where your own bathroom is until it's too late, forgetting who your own children are, forgetting your sister died and feeling those first waves of grief like you'd only just found out all over again, looking in the mirror one day to not recognise the face staring back at you.  All of these being things Alice experiences throughout the book.

As heartbreaking as Alice's story is, seeing how her family pulled together to look after her was so lovely to read.  I especially love the relationship development of Alice and her youngest daughter Lydia, and how in a strange turn of events, Alice's condition brings them closer together.  The only character I really disliked throughout the book is her husband John.  I'm not sure if the intention was to depict him in this way, but throughout I found him to be an extremely selfish character.  Luckily they seemed to soften his character for the film adaption, and I much preferred him in the film to the book.

Although this book tore my heart into shreds, I loved it.  Considering what this book was about, it was well written and sensitive to the subject matter throughout, yet without pulling the wool over our eyes.  It was an honest account of what it can be like to lose yourself to Alzheimers, and one I think everybody should read to understand this awful disease a little more.  Sadly the numbers of people being diagnosed with Alzheimers are on the rise, so anything that raises awareness, whether it be a charity event, or even a fictional book like this is hugely important in my opinion.

Have you read Still Alice?  What were your thoughts on the book?

The Sunday Share #18

Oh hi there!

It's been a while since I wrote one of these posts isn't it?!  In fact, I can tell you the last time I wrote a Sunday share post was 7th February.  So yea, this space has seriously been neglected over the past month or so.  I've not just been lazy though.  I just well and truly fell out of love with blogging for a little while.  I wrote in this post how I've been feeling a little lost in life lately, and just lost my drive for life in general, but I think I'm slowly but surely coming out of that slump now, and my want to blog is finally coming back to me.

A big factor in me feeling so low has been work related, and anybody who knows me on a more personal level is fully aware of the daily trials I've been facing at work over the past year.  At this moment in time it's not really something I can post about here, however, there have been some developments over the past week, and after what can only be described as the most surreal week of my life there may actually be some drastic changes in my work place.  Changes that might actually make me want to stay and give up my job hunt.  Nothing is definite yet.  The deciding factor is Tuesday by the looks of things, and I refuse to get my hopes up too much, but I can keep everything crossed until then.

This weekend is the happiest I've felt in a long, long time.  Friday was actually a great day at work.  After some initial panic in the morning, our minds were soon quietened, and we actually enjoyed our day.  It was fairly relaxed, with minimal stress and lots of laughter.  And work too...obviously...

Then yesterday came along and it was one of my oldest friends Cheryl's hen day out.  15 of us spent the day in York, and after some initial drama with delayed trains and the most rude, vile man who refused to move out of one of our booked seats until he was moved by the train manager, we had such a fantastic day.  We started off in Vodka Revolution where we had cocktails, wine, and of course, vodka shots, as well as food, then we headed out into the town, split into groups and did a treasure hunt!  I honestly thought I'd do terrible at it, but I was pretty impressed with myself for figuring out a couple of the riddles to work out the answers!  I'm awful with riddles usually; I think my mind is far too literal, so to have figured even just a couple out was a huge achievement for me!  By the time we finished the treasure hunt it was time to head back to the station to jump on the train (After discovering our original train had been cancelled!!!), then we headed to the pub in Sheffield for one final drink before we went our separate ways.  Not been one for crazy nights out anymore I loved our hen day out together.  We enjoyed some day time drinks, there was lots of chatter and giggles, and everybody just seemed to have a really lovely day.  It's made me really excited for the wedding in a couple of weeks time too!

Today has been really relaxed.  I went out for a morning walk on my own for exercise, fresh air, but mainly to get the steps up on my Fitbit!  But really, I'm wanting to get out and move my body more, and I have a lovely little walk around my estate that has lovely scenery, only takes around 40 minutes, but really gets the heart pumping, so on days where I'm not moving around too much I'm planning on doing this walk to help get the blood pumping.  The rest of the day has been spent pampering myself with a face mask, doing the online food shop and reading blogs that I haven't read in forever, and I'll be spending the rest of my evening typing up a couple of more blog posts and then maybe settling for the night with my book.  I'm currently reading The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry.  I'm really struggling to get into this book in all honesty, but I'm sticking with it because I've seen a few people say this, but that it ended up being a really good book, so I'll see how I get on with it and let you know.

It's not the longest Sunday Share post to return to in all honesty, but that's because I've been some what of a hermit for the past month or so, so there isn't really much to report on, unless you want to read about my exciting adventures reading books from my bed?  I just really wanted to bring this series back because I got a lot of good feedback about it when I was writing it, plus I really enjoy recapping each week, telling you what I've been up to and how I've been feeling about things to look back on in the future.

Now for everybody's favourite part of these posts, here's what I've been reading and loving this past week...
  • From Roses talks about being fearless in blogging and life.
  • Tanya Burr's travel diaries of her trip to the Maldives has left me feeling pretty envious!
  • Vix Meldrew reminds us nobody has the right to tell us we can't.
  • Being Yorkshire born and bred myself, I loved Robowecop's post on her Yorkshire walk where she describes her true love for this beautiful part of the World.
  • Want to start a blog, but not sure where to start?  Dorkface has created a free blog post check list for you to print off and use as you wish.
  • Dorkface has also shared 50 things to post on Instagram.  Isn't she good to us?!
  • It seems like Hannah Gale has been struggling with inspiration for her blog too lately, so reading this post made me feel like I wasn't a complete blogger failure.
  • Having a bad day in the office?  Let Lauren Rellis help you out with that.
  • After reading Cider with Rosie's review so far on The Shepherd's Life I instantly went and added it to my Good Reads 'Want to Read' list.  I want to read books outside of my usual YA, fantasy, sci-fi bubble I usually live in, and this book just sounds lovely.
  • Hannah Gale's post, Care Less, Do More is all about how she's going to change her blogging direction in a bid to fall back in love with blogging all over again.  We should all definitely take her advice.  Stop blogging about what we think we should be to fit in with the crowd, and start blogging about what we genuinly love, like the good old days of blogging!

This week I'm mainly hoping for the right choice to be made at work.  If all works out, maybe I'll be able yo actually give you an idea of what has been making my life hell at work for over a year.  I hope you all have a great week.  Keep a look out, as I plan on actually having blog posts written this week.  I know, shocking right!?

Feeling Lost...

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted on here, and even then I've just deleted the last post I wrote.  I'm not usually one to do that.  As much as I seriously hate some of my past posts now for one reason or another, whether that be because I'm unhappy with the photos I've taken, or the written content, I usually like to keep my writing up here no matter how I feel about it because I like to see how far I've come along.  My last post though just felt a little false when I read it back, and that's one thing I definitely don't want on here.

I meant what I said when I said I was considering giving up blogging altogether.  In all honesty I'm still not sure if it's something I want to carry on.  As I've had more time to think about it though I don't really think it has so much to do with the blogging industry, but more to do with myself.  Lately I'm just feeling so lost, and I'm struggling to find the best place to start to get myself back on track to feeling happier in myself again.

If I'm absolutely honest with you and totally blunt with myself, I can't say there is anything I like about myself at the moment.  I hate to admit that here.  I like to try and keep things positive, but I've always vowed to be honest when mentally, I'm not in a great place, because I do believe it's important to share the good and the bad.  As somebody who struggled to speak about their issues for so long believing I wouldn't be taken seriously, I feel like it's important to share when I'm not having a great time, as I hope it will help others speak out to somebody too who may be feeling similar.

For me at the moment there's so many aspects I'm feeling down about, and I don't know where to start to make it better.  I hate the way I look, and that I'm the biggest I've ever been.  It's no secret that I've been unhappy in my working life for a long time now.  I feel like I'm lagging behind all of my friends who are marrying, having children and getting mortgages on their very own homes, and I'm nowhere near any of those things.

I suppose this is all being brought on because I'm nearly 30, and nowhere near where I expected to be in my life by now.  I feel like I'm still as clueless as I was in my early 20's, just fumbling my way through life trying to make the most of what I've got.  The thing that always gets to me the most is my career, or lack of.  By this point in my life I fully expected to be well into my career by now, but that just hasn't happened.  I'm very driven by my working life, and the idea of making something of myself, but right now I feel stifled, suffocated and trapped, and I hate that.

I know these are all things that I need to change myself, but having the motivation and the will power to change my life for the better is proving difficult at the moment.  My problem at the moment is that I just don't care enough about life in general.  As somebody who strives on new experiences, making memories and just getting out and doing stuff, this is the worst place in the World for me to be in my head at the moment.  All passion has just gone out of the window, and this makes me incredibly sad.  I've not really spent time with people apart from Spencer and the odd outing here and there with friends.  All I want to do is read.  I've always loved reading anyway, and vowed this year that I wanted to read more, but I've found them a great way for me to escape from a World that isn't my own lately.  Spending a few hours a day living somebody else's life for a change has been a great sanctuary for me over the past month or so.  I mean, tonight is my Uncle's 50th birthday party and I've known about it and looked forward to it for months, but now we're here, I want to be anywhere but there.  The idea of being around all of those people crowded into a pub makes me feel sick.  I was on the verge of a full on anxiety attack earlier.  Now I'm sat here, a few hours to go until the party and I really don''t know what to do.  I feel like such a let down if I don't go, but mentally I really don't feel up to it.

I want to get better.  I want to feel happier in my own skin again.  I want to feel grateful for the life I have again, because really, I know it's not all so bad.  I know there are millions of people out there in the World who are far worse off than me, which makes me feel even worse.  I hate myself for being so down about things when there are people who are in far worse situations, yet can be so much happier than me.

I also want to come back to this blog again.  I certainly don't want to put the pressure on myself I was before, but I also don't want to turn my back on it either.  I've been blogging for a long time now, I've met a lot of people from blogging, been given lots of opportunities, and just generally have gained a lot of happiness from it.  I considered starting over.  A fresh new blog, a fresh new start.  As I went to click on the 'New Blog' button on the Blogger home page though, I just couldn't.  Rock & Roses has been good to me, and I can't turn my back on her.  So I guess here I am, pledging my fresh new start, as of now.  I want to include more book reviews, food, lifestyle, travel, as well as sharing more about charities that mean a lot to me, and how we can help these charities, and finally to continue sharing my journey with my mental health.  The good and the bad.

Here's hoping from here 2016 is a happier adventure for me.  For now, I'm going to leave you with this picture of one of my favourite Pop's, Dumbledore, and one of my favourite ever quotes from the man himself.

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light".

P.S.  Come back to my blog tomorrow, as I'll be sharing with you a challenge for March all in aide of helping the British Heart Foundation.

My Pop Vinyl Collection

Over the past 18 months I've really got into my collectables.  Last year I shared with you this, this and this post of my Tsum Tsum collection.  In the mean time though, as well as my regular jaunt into the Disney shop to pick up the latest Tsum Tsums, over the past 18 months I've slowly been growing a small collection of Pop Vinyls.

For those of you who may not have heard of them, Pop Vinyls are little collectable action figures.  There are hundreds to choose from that cover all the cult classics.  There are Pop's for everything from Disney characters, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Sons of Anarchy, to Marvel.  You name it, there's probably a Pop Vinyl for it.

I was first introduced to them back when I attended the Sheffield Comic Con back in 2014 with Spencer.  I took absolutely no money with me whatsoever with the belief that there would be nothing there that I would want to buy.  Big mistake. £80.00 later and between us Spencer and I had bought eight Pop's, and since then our collection has been slowly growing.  Today I thought I would share with you my own personal collection, and who I've managed to pick up so far.

Eric and Pam from True Blood, and Tyrion and Ned from Game of Thrones were my first four I ever bought.  These were the ones I picked up from the Sheffield Comic Con.  Lafayette from True Blood was added to my collection a few months later when Spencer bought him me for Christmas in 2014.  I picked up Pam and Eric, because lets face it, they are way better characters than Suki and Bill.  If you are a True Blood fan, I'm pretty sure you understand what I mean.  Suki and Bill, although the main characters annoyed the hell out of me, whereas Pam and Eric stood out so much more, although it was Lafayette who stole the show for me from the very beginning.

Tyrion had to come home with me because he's may all time favourite GoT character.  There were a few versions of him to choose from, so I opted for post-war Tyrion.  Obviously Ned had to come home with me as well.  I mean, he's played by Sean Bean.  Sheffield represent!  I always feel so bad for poor Ned when I look at my Pop.  They've made the poor guy look so haggard with those lines under his eyes.  I suppose he did have it pretty tough in the show though!

My Disney Pop's are my biggest collection of Pop's I own, because we all know by now that I've never grown up and still believe I'm a Disney Princess.  The first Disney Pop I ever picked up was Mrs Potts and Chip.  They come as one set, and she just had to come home with me.  I mean, how cute is Chip!?  Next in the collection was Hipster Ariel, which Spencer bought me for my birthday last year.  Ariel has always been my favourite Disney Princess, and I always knew I wanted this version of her as soon as I saw her.  As a glasses wearer myself it just seemed like the right choice.  Disney Princesses can be visually impaired to you know!  You can't tell in this photo, but Ariel's fin is also glittery too, which was another huge selling point for me!

I bought Lumiere and Gus Gus in the January sales with a bit of my Christmas money.  Lumiere has always been one of my favourite Disney characters, and the Pop version of him is just adorable, so I had to pick him up.  Although Cindarella isn't one of my favourite Disney films, I wanted to pick up Gus Gus because I really loved the fact he was sat in the glass slipper.  It was just something a little different to add to my collection.  Plus, who doesn't love Gus Gus?!

Finally is my main man Dumbledore.  Another gift from Spencer for my birthday last year.  If you know me, you'll know that Dumbledore is my spirit animal.  He teaches me the ways of life.  I knew I needed him and his cute little half moon glasses as soon as they released the Harry Potter collection!  I feel like he's a little lonely though, so I need to add some more to my Harry Potter collection.  They've recently added a Draco Pop (My longest standing love to date - sorry Spencer!), and a Luna Lovegood one too (Along with a whole host of others), so I think I'm going to have to add those guys to the collection in the not too distant future.

The Pop's I've bought for myself, apart from the ones I picked up from Comic Con have all been bought from Amazon, as personally I find them the best value for money from there, and they have hundreds to choose from. however, if it's something you'd be looking at taking more seriously, there is a Pop subscription service called Pop in a Box, where you will be sent a Pop at random every month.  It's really good value for money.  You can select the amount of Pop's you would like to receive a month based on your budget, and you can set up a profile and select the Pop's you don't want to receive on there, so you don't end up getting sent one you're not happy with.  Spencer signed up for it for a while, and one month he was sent a limited edition Pop, which we have since discovered is worth around £120.00!

I love my little collection so far, and can't wait to add a few more throughout the coming year.  My next mission is to hunt down a BB8 Pop Vinyl that doesn't cost me the Earth!
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