Category Archives: Read

My Poetry is published Rebelle Society!

Rebelle Society
So I’ve just got the news that one of my poems has been published with Rebelle Society! I am over the moon at this discovery, not just because I’ve loved Rebelle Society for years because of their sassy, raw and honest writing but also because of their freedom of speech, if you have something to say and you are passionate about it they want to hear from you, they don’t scrutinize and they are not elitist. You can write about Yoga, love, magic, the pagan seasons, sex, life, nutrition, the chakras, short stories, humourous tales, being a warrior woman in search of her inner goddess, being a feminist male, being an eco-warrior wanting to save the planet and an artist who speaks through imagery or music. Rebelle Society like Elephant Journal were two online magazines I’ve wished with all my heart to be published with but never had the courage to submit anything in fear of rejection…Until now.
I don’t know what possessed me but last year I submitted a prose poem to Elephant Journal and it got accepted right before I was to do my kids yoga teacher training in April (2016) and now a recent love poem has been accepted by Rebelle Society as I am embarking on the journey to be initiated as a Magdalene Priestess (and finishing off my TEFL teaching course), how amazing is that?

This is the direction my writing is going in, I no longer wish to write “How to” articles or product reviews, they were excellent practice for me as a writer and I am so thankful for that opportunity Yogi Approved gave me and I absolutely loved writing every article I wrote for them because it gave me the chance to share my knowledge but now I want to focus on my voice, things I care about, things that wake me up in the middle of the night just to ponder on what or why it stirs emotion in me, I want to showcase my poetry and prose because unlike sharing my knowledge, it will show people what is inside my heart and perhaps inspire readers in the process too? I have been through a lot in my short life (so far), for someone so young I know what it feels like to come from a broken home, to be rejected by family, to be bullied all through school, to be in abusive relationships, to develop anxiety and body dysmorphia, to be seen as an outsider who needs to be controlled and changed to fit societal expectations and to be (figuratively speaking) kicked to the ground countless times for even attempting to be myself. But being true to my Chinese sign, the OX, I kept on going, trudging through the mud, carrying all that weight on my shoulders because I could see a beautiful meadow on the horizon.

This publication is exceptionally special to me as it not only honors my aunt who was a poet but lead a tragic life, if she was alive today there would be no doubt in my mind she’d be a well known published author or playwright. But it also shows those who point the finger that they were wrong and I am glad I remained headstrong, somewhere deep inside, even in all the pain the external world caused me, I never gave up and I believed in myself.

This particular poem is perfect for Valentines day, it is a love poem about appreciating imperfections within a relationship, it’s very cute but there is a slightly darker undertone as well because it is there to remind people not to nitpick or get angry at the person they love for being themselves, if someone is comfortable around you to accidentally burp or walk around half naked, tying a messy bun in their hair that means they feel like they can be 100% themselves so don’t destroy this beauty by being cruel or judgemental of their clumsy, imperfect innocence because in the rest of their life they have to act accordingly within society, don’t make them do the same in their relationship with you. Cherish their sweet imperfections because it is very holistic to love the whole person not a half formed thing you’ve tampered with.

You can read it here: Love Poem by an Imperfectionist

January Book Haul

Pagan books
I am currently interested in the topic of Paganism and the sacredness of nature. Paganism is an old spiritual and practical path or lifestyle that literally involves having respect for nature and the elements. Deities are personifications of the natural world because as humans we need labels, personalities and faces for us to understand objects or things that are obscure or inanimate. Paganism is having knowledge of old traditions, knowing the morals of ancient fairy-tales, having the wisdom of herbology and even of the weather, it is knowing the seasons as well as the moon cycles. That is, to me, what the basics of a Pagan lifestyle is. It is a very simple lifestyle and much like some Hindu sects and Buddhist philosophies, Pagans also believe in the concept of Karma and that every action creates a reaction and therefore it is up the individual to be responsible for their own actions and practice being good. Unlike organized religions, paganism doesn’t burden it’s followers with needless dogma and pretends to absolve them from their sins if they kneel before an invisible entity. Pagans are not subservient to the supreme being but recognize we are all part of this beautiful, primordial macrocosm of mother earth and I feel very connected to this path.

Here are a few Earthcentric books I am currently reading:

The Barefoot Diaries
This sweet UK based magazine has everything earthcentric within it, from poetry revolving around nature, to recipes, stories of trekking in the great outdoors, illustrations of woodland creatures and much more. I love it’s size, great for popping in your backpack and the paper quality is beautiful. This is a really thoughtful creation was homegrown by a lovely British couple. Buy the magazine here.

The Original Brothers Grimm Fairytales
I’ve always wanted to read this book, it makes me think of olde wives tales. My partner found a version of it with the original, brutal and gory stories throughout. These original stories were read to children as a way to teach them of the turmoils of the real world, they were meant to both shock and make the reader think about life. Tales of damsels in woods with wild creatures were metaphors for being wary of cunning men and tales of jealousy, drug induced sleep and spitefulness are to show children to realize as they grow into adults that witches are not the evil hag you think they are and monsters don’t always live in the woods, they can be your mother-in-law, your friend, your neighbour or your lover. Buy it here.

The Hidden Life of Trees
This book fascinated me the moment I saw it in waterstones just before Christmas. I had no idea that trees know love, have a language and even have ‘forest etiquette’. My partner Jon gifted this book to me for Christmas and I was over the moon. This charming little hardback book looks like it’s going to knock my socks off with the information I am going to learn and it’s going to feel so magical to find out that trees communicate and have a wisdom beyond what us humans can fully grasp. Buy the book here.

These are the books I will be reading over the next month (yes I read that quickly) so I will try and do a monthly book haul, depending on my schedule outside this blog. What are you reading?

Autumn Book Haul

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I love books, they remind me of my Grandmother who used to read to me when I was little. She died when I was 5 and I miss her everyday. I find comfort in reading books and it feels like she is with me in every page and in every word.
You might say I am a book addict and I will agree with you, every month I treat myself to a new book and I can read about 3 books at once (all have to be different subjects so I don’t get confused).
Here are four books I am currently reading over Autumn and Winter months.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language for Dummies:
So you all know I am training to be a TEFL teacher. This is because I plan for this to be my main source of income either here in the UK (teaching at language school or private online lessons) or living abroad (teaching in a local Thai school for example) and then facilitate art, yoga & dance workshops on the side. This book is helping me through my TEFL coursework and giving me tips on how to put a course program together, create lesson plans, cope with different ages & abilities and deliver good grammar lessons. It has been a really handy tool whilst developing my teaching skills. The section on lesson planning was particularly useful for successfully tackling teaching practices within my coursework, and I plan to continue using it to do the same thing in an actual classroom setting.
My mum wants this book for Christmas because she fancies training as a TEFL teacher which is pretty cool!

One Thousand and One Nights by Hanan Al-Shaykh:
I have a love of reading books written by Authors from other cultures. I find dipping into their world really fascinating. It’s like traveling but in the comfort of my own home and understanding how people live (and have lived) through their fiction, poetry, art, dance & music is a huge passion of mine. This book is one woman’s adaptation of the original classic text, she is a Lebanese author and what I love about her is that she is not afraid to write about eroticism and what it truly feels like to be human. Coming from a devote & pious Islamic upbringing you can imagine the frenzy she created when family members read her books. This intrigued me all the more for whilst I have nothing against those who are religious, I do disagree with those who are so righteous they declare any form of sexuality as wrong which I think is stupid. I find rebellious writers like Hanan inspirational because they are paving the way for a world that is more accepting of the human condition, the human spirit & for freedom we all dream for.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:
I adore all things magical and strange and so I had to have this book and it comes with some mysterious black and white photos within the contents! I always felt peculiar growing up and would dream of going to a school I’d feel safe in and know that my differences were cherished instead of hated. With it being Halloween (when I bought the book) it felt like the right time to read a novel like this because its energy is very haunting and mystical and therefore vibes wit Halloween (Samhain). The story pulls me in and I am desperate to know what is going to happen. It’s a difficult one to describe as it is unlike anything I have ever read before – a sprinkle of Harry Potter with some Lemony Snickett thrown in would be my best attempt. It also becomes clear what the photos are for – clever, really clever.

No Matter the Wreckage Collection Poems by Sarah Kay:
I’ve always adored poetry. Some of my favourites include: ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci‘, ‘The Jabberwocky‘, ‘And still I Rise‘. Favourite poets include: Pablo Neruda, Thomas Hardy, Rupi Kaur and of course Sarah Kay. Sarah Kay is a phenomenal spoken word poetess, she is relatable, easy to listen to and makes poetry accessible to everyone. She shows you that anything in life can inspire a poem from a toothbrush to the rain, to heartbreak to your kintergarden teacher. This collection of her poems is humble and honest, laced with a simple beauty and a child-like innocence. Sarah Kay is a breath of fresh air in the world of Literature and Performance arts. Her words are soothing yet excitable and her poems have a very healing quality that touches the heart and spoon feeds it joy.

I think these four books will keep my free “Quiet Time” occupied until Christmas! I am also working on my own illustrated poetry book which will include photographs within its pages too, it will be a real mixed media art piece (because I am a mixed media artist). I hope to have a draft copy of it done by early 2017! I am so excited to be soon sharing this creation with you all!
Any book recommendations from you guys would be much appreciated also, what books are you reading and why?

Books I am currently reading

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I tend to read three or five books at the same time but to prevent confusion I make sure they are all different.
Some are books I am studying and others are for leisure as a break from study and from daily life. Reading and gaining knowledge is very important to me and it is something I hope to pass on to my children as it encourages an intellectual and imaginative mind. I was never bored growing up even though I came from a poor background and my mum couldn’t spoil me with toys, I always had a book which I would get lost in and I think this is the root of my imagination and my creative streak, reading books always gave me ideas to draw or create projects and thus, entertain myself. Here is my current reading list:

Kinfolk the travel issue
I adore Kinfolk magazine. It’s beautiful throughout. This is a lifestyle magazine that feels more like a book. It’s stories are elegant and whimsical, it’s photography is simple and refined and it’s entire vibe is peaceful. I especially love their latest issue: The Travel issue and I have been taking it with me everywhere! Buy it here.

Soul and Spirit in Dance Movement Psychotherapy
Studying this for my dance therapy diploma to help me write my modules and find excellent quotes to add to my essays. This book brings art, dance and spirituality together and goes beyond what we think we know about psychology. Buy it here.

Naked Song by Lalla Ded
A small pocket book of poetry created by an ancient female mystic who walked naked singing her versus in the streets of Kashmir. To think that such a woman existed and was just as well respected as Rumi and Hafiz is incredible. Her poetry is still recited even today by locals in India. I am very much inspired by mystical poetry because it boarders on romantic and has an erotic flare, almost as if the poet has transcended this mundane world and sees love and the divine everywhere and is therefore making love to life. Buy it here.

Dirty pretty things
A romantic and erotic poetry book which has inspired me to create my own illustrated poetry book. It has been a while since such a poetry book existed and completely captivated me. It is full of short stories, conversations and quotes that vary from saucy to sweet to blatantly sexual. I just love it! Buy it here.

The Yoga Sutras
Currently studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and I have been trying to take notes and read one Yoga Sutra every night before bed. I did a short course in Yoga Philosophy with Oxford University and I felt that I needed to do some self study if I am to continue down this path and yogic lifestyle. Whilst I am not religious and will never be a yogi or teacher who brings classic text and chanting into my classes, I still want to learn more roots of this ancient practice.Buy it here.

Wise words by Nayyirah Waheed

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I love the work of Nayyirah Waheed. Her short prose poems speak to me on a level that bounces between harsh reality and cosmic awareness. There is something grand yet totally human at the same time within her words. Her poetry is accessible to anyone too, those who steer away from classical poetry because of it’s pretentiousness will find Nayyriah’s poetry straight to the point yet beautifully profound within in short, sweet sentences.
I purchased her book “Salt” recently and it is already dogeared and I think at some point I may treat myself to her second book “Nejma” very soon.
If you like the look of these wonderful quotes by this poet and fancy learning more about her:
Here is her website: Nayyirah Waheed
Here is her instagram: nayyirah.waheed
and you can buy Salt here.