The very first of the month, I saw Creeper at KOKO in London. The venue was exceptional and the gig was great… only to have the band break up on stage afterwards. I’m a bit skeptical they’re actually through, but either way it was sad.

I attended Bonfire Night in Lewes and it was even more amazing than I remember it. I wrote all about it here.

Last week, Diego and I went to London to celebrate our anniversary. We went to Sky Garden (I have been once before with my brothers but this time they closed the balcony due to crappy weather) to enjoy the lights of the city, ate dinner and saw The Lion King musical. I had never seen the show before and it’s Diego’s favorite movie so we both really enjoyed ourselves.

One of my clients went to hospital a few weeks ago so I haven’t been working as much as I would like. Either way, I’m due to finish work Monday to focus on hanging out with my friends and sorting myself before I move back to the U.S.

December will bring a lot of change: before I leave, I have to sort my house, car, etc. and have some friends visiting before I head off to the States on December 19th. Then there’s the holidays, obviously, then… who knows? But I hope to figure it out soon.

November In Review 2017 || November In Review 2016

What I’m listening to: Holy Hell by Architects, Songs of Praise by Shame, 48:13 by Kasabain, Recovery by Dream State, Turn Out the Lights by Julien Baker, Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator, Sing Sing Death House by The Distillers, Colourmeinkindness by Basement, Sorrow and the Sound by Feed the Rhino, Fair Enough by Minus the Bear, Here’s to the Fatigue by Press to MECO, Landslide by Arcane Roots, Cheer by Drugchurch, Sehscucht by Rammstein

What I’m watching: Ex Machina, Travels with my Father (season 2)

What I’m reading: Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Dealthly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, Room by Emma Donoghue, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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This month, I will be featuring the lovely Jade of Jade Marie.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

download (1)I’m always rubbish at answering this question! So my name is Jade and I’m an autistic mental health and self care blogger from Sheffield. I recently graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Digital Media, and I’ve just started a Masters in Entrepreneurship.

I’m extremely passionate about education people about autism and mental health, and one of my main goals is to help reduce the stigma and misinformation around both subject.

I have a shop on my blog which currently sells productivity products like daily planners and budget trackers, which I plan on expanding with e-books and physical prints/products in the New Year.

Also in 2019 I’m planning to launch a mental health podcast that I’ve been working on for the past few months, as well as starting to offer workshops on how to make education and workplaces more autistic friendly.

How did you get into blogging? 

One of my friends shared a post from Hannah Gale on her Facebook page, and through that I found the world of blogging. I’d always wanted to be a writer (I actually have two poems published in young writers anthologies from when I was at school) but I didn’t think I’d ever be able to make a living from writing.

But once I found out about blogging, I knew that it was what I wanted to do. I could write post that could make a difference to peoples lives, and eventually be able to earn a living from it if I was lucky.

I signed up for WordPress on the bus into uni that morning and went form there; it was a huge spur of the moment decision. I didn’t have any posts written beforehand and I had no clue how to use WordPress (I’m rubbish with technology), so it was definitely a leap into the unknown for me.

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made though.

I’ve been able to find an amazing and supportive community because of my blog, as well as making some of my best friends via twitter chats; I can’t imagine my life without my blog these days!

Tell us about your favorite blog post.

It’s hard to pick just one, but I’d probably say 5 Things I Do When I’m Struggling With Depression. I had so many people commenting and messages me about that post, saying that it was refreshing to hear someone talk so opening about depression and the suicidal thoughts that can come with it.

It was also really therapeutic to write; as with most of my posts I talk really honestly about what I’m going through, and it can be so beneficial to get things out of your system when you’re not in a good place.

It’s one of the reasons I encourage people to start a blog.

Even if you never publish your posts publicly for others to read, just writing down your thoughts and feelings can be enough to make you feel better and come to terms with what’s made you feel that way.

What are you doing when you’re not blogging? 

I’d love to say I have some kind of sparkling and interesting life, but I really don’t!

In all fairness, I find it really hard to switch off from blogging. I really enjoy what I do, so even if I’m not actively writing a post I’ll usually be planning my next one, thinking up ideas for photography or scheduling social media content.

If by some miracle I manage to switch my brain off long enough to relax, I’ll usually be reading a book or playing a game on my Xbox. Or, you know, paying attention to my boyfriend.

What would be your top tip for people getting their first tattoo?

The obvious piece of advice that I have to give is to make sure you want it, and think about if its something you’re going to want in the years to come too. I know people who have had rude tattoos done when they were at uni, which they’ve then had to have covered up when they’ve settled down and had kids.

Other than that, I would always tell people to make sure they eat beforehand and to take some food and a sugary drink with you while you’re getting the tattoo. Your sugar levels can drop when getting a tattoo, especially if you’re getting a large tattoo that will take a long time to do.

Oh and wear something comfortable; you’re already going to be uncomfortable/in pain from the tattoo, no need to add to that with tight clothes that dig into places you’d rather they didn’t.

What is something you wish everyone could understand about autism or mental illness?

I could write about this all day, especially with autism as there are so many misconceptions.

I’d say the one thing that annoys me the most, is that there’s a certain way to look or behave, which if you don’t have that you can’t be autistic. Honestly if I had £1 for every time I’ve been told that “I don’t look autistic”, I’d be able to buy myself a house without needing a mortgage!

Autism is such a large spectrum, and no two people experience it the same way.

This also applies to mental health in general too. Anxiety and depression can manifest themselves in lots of different ways; not just the stereotypical ones that you see in films.

Where else can we find you?

Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest || Bloglovin’ || Facebook

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I made my GoodReads account about a year ago now (add me!) and have recently taken up reading again. Plowing through the Harry Potter books in less than three weeks made me realize how much I can enjoy it and even on my worst mental health days, making progress in a book is always a good feeling.

With that, I went through my to be read books and either binned or kept them. With the books I kept, I sorted them by high or medium priority and if they can be rented digitally from my home library in Arizona or from the Brighton library. The lists below are just a sample of the books, it would take ages to type them all out!

Let’s get into it…

Kept, low priority

  • The Lovely Bones by Alive Sebold
  • It, Carrie and Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King: I really enjoyed Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges 1), so I will probably tackle those first.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • I am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Jurassic Park books by Michael Crichton
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: I cannot watch horror movies, but they are some of my favorite books.

Kept, medium priority

  • The God Instinct by Jesse Bering
  • The Man in the High Castle by Phillip Dick
  • The Exorcist by William Blatty
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Kline
  • A Brief History of Everyone Who Has Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • Room by Emma Donoghue: I loved this movie and have it reserved at the library to read next. Thursday, come quick!
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Steig Larsson
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie: I actually haven’t read any of her books yet, so this should be interesting!

Kept, high priority

  • Dominion: The Power of Man… by Matthew Scully: the topic of religion and the way we treat animals has greatly interested me since my Environmental Ethics class in my undergraduate degree, I hope to get this one under my belt soon.
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari: I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I love me a popular science book. I have it reserved from the library for early next month.
  • Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult: Although I binned some books on my TBR list by her, this one seems sweet.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I love WWII historical fiction.
  • The Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park: I bought this at Waterstones the other day and can’t wait to dive in soon.
  • Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life: Lord knows I need it.

Binned

  • Sperm Wars by Robin Baker: I read something similar by Jared Diamond and thought it was just okay. Interesting, but I don’t need to read another book on the topic.
  • House Rules and Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult: She has written probably my favorite book of all time, The Storyteller, and a few others I enjoyed. However, one of the last books I read by her (The Pact) really let me down and a lot of these plots sound kind of same-same. When you read her books enough, you can see what kind of twist is coming.
  • Some feminist books e.g. The Second Sex (thought Bad Feminist was just okay)
  • Lies She Told by Kate Holahan
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: I thought The Girl on the Train was just okay, it was like Gone Girl for wussies.
  • Some popular science books e.g. Bottlemania
  • Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon: It just sounds cringey.
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: Because my dad didn’t like it and I trust his taste
  • Vox by Christina Dalcher

Are there any books I should un-bin? Move up in priority? Forget about? Let me know if you see one of your favorite books!

Photo by Florencia Viadana.

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Here are my top five posts from all categories:

  1. The palm oil dilemma: will a boycott help or hurt the environment?: Claire is back again with a great and a thoughtful blog post. People are calling for a complete ban on palm oil based on the controversial ban of the Iceland Christmas advert, but real environmentalists know it’s not always that simple. I was thinking on doing a post on the subject, but Claire has said everything.
  2. 4 ways to be productive when you’re having a low energy day: With SAD, I’ve been having a lot of these recently and it’s nice to see a fellow blogger have realistic tips that aren’t “just get out of bed.”
  3. When you don’t love a city: To me, it takes a lot of courage to make posts like these. People expect travel bloggers to gush over everywhere they’ve been when in reality, when you’ve been around enough, there are some places you wouldn’t exactly rush back to.
  4. Reading habits tag: Now that I’m reading more, I’d be interested in doing one of these for myself!
  5. Top things to do in Kuala Lumpar: I posted earlier this month about how my brother and I are taking a trip to southeast Asia in June and these posts make me even more excited. I can’t wait!

Science, sustainability and veganism

General travel and study abroad

Travel destinations

Lifestyle

Blogging

Photo by Andrew Knechel.

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I’m starting a new bit once a month where I share species with interesting conservation stories or facts about animals I just think rule and hopefully you learn a thing or two along the way. One of my all-time favorite professors in my undergraduate opened class daily with a species of the day segment that really connected the dots between conservation in theory and conservation in action. I was also inspired by this blogs’ Species of the Month and my desire to keep sharp on conservation topics even though I’m finished with university and looking for the right career.

I will try to spread out stories between taxa1 and parts of the world, but first we start close to home with the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)2

The California condor is the only living New World vulture and one of the largest birds of prey3 native to the southwest United States (California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah).

condor3

Photo by: Heather Paul

The species started to rapidly decline in the 20th century, ultimately leading the to become extinct in the wild (meaning, all 22 remaining individuals were in captivity). The life history of the species combine with threats made it hard for the population to remain afloat in the wild: condors live very long lives (about 60 years), take a while to reach sexual maturity and only raise a chick or two every couple of years. Threats such as lead poisoning (condors will feed on carcasses shot and left by hunters with lead bullets), poaching (or illegal hunting) and habitat destruction4.

To replenish the population, a captive breeding program was put in place, the main strategy being taking the chick away from their moms and hand-raising them so the mom would lay a replacement egg4. Can I say, the pictures of the condor chicks with the mommy puppets are absolute adorable.

condor2

Photo by: Ron Garrison

After a bit of training, the condors were released back into their native range, including into the Grand Canyon National Park in my home state of Arizona. Their population is now over 200 individuals in the wild and still increasing5, despite the continued threats of egg collecting and power-line collisions4.

This goes to show that even in the grimmest of cases, there is still hope and people can do some really amazing things for wildlife.

Bonus fun facts

  • Ever wonder why vultures are bald? Lack of feathers makes it so that rotting food doesn’t get stuck in their feather when they’re neck deep in a carcass4
  • It is often thought that condors and other scavenging birds will circle the air when something is dead or dying, waiting for their chance to feed. This usually isn’t the case. When they’re circling, they’ve caught a “wave” of rising warm air that allows them to glide through the skies with little effort while they look for food6

Notes and sources

1 taxa: referring to taxonomoy, or the way species are grouped. E.g., since I did a bird species this month, I will do perhaps a mammal next month (fish the following time, insect, etc.).

2 Every living thing has a unique binomial Latin name of the genus followed by the species (and sometimes followed by a third name which is the subspecies). In this case, Gymnogyps is the genus and californianus is the species. This provides a universal nomenclature across different languages as well as the same language that might have different common names.

3 Science Focus, “Top 10: what are the largest birds of prey?”

4 San Diego Zoo, “California Condor”

5 IUCN Red List assessment, California Condor

6 Forbes, “Why do buzzards circle endlessly above carrion?”

Photo by Madison Roberts

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