Mean Llama

Hello!

As usual sorry for the lack of posts, unless you find them annoying, then hi! Exams finished a month ago and if you follow me on social media, you’ll know I somehow managed to pass?! I cried, in front of the vets, as I was on placement at the time. But yaaassssssss, two years (hopefully) left to go!

Since exams, I have been on vet school placements. Most of this summer will consist of placements, I have equine, exotic and small animals to look forward to before term restarts again. Thankfully the people I have met so far have been absolutely amazing and have taught me so many new things, as well as helping me to be more confident in my abilities. I have throughly enjoyed every moment so far.

I am currently writing a list of other nice things to do this summer on weekends. So far it consists of a large number of afternoon tea locations, so I should probably join a gym as well. If anyone has any recommendations or has recently had a good day out, send them my way. I am also currently searching for something to do for my birthday, as it’s now officially my birthday month, because one day just isn’t enough.

As well as sending out a little life update on my boring existence, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about something else. As most of you know, I find the beginning of July incredibly difficult. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please give my post called Honest Llama a read. So this is just a little message to say I am really sorry if I am not fulfilling my usual friendship duties at the moment. I still love you all, unless we’ve fallen out then obviously not, and I am so grateful for your love and friendships. Unfortunately there is nothing anyone else can do. And as yet I haven’t found a way to get through it effectively.  I really do hope that one day I can genuinely get on and enjoy July without a second thought. I have tried doing nothing on that day, gone away for the weekend, booked fun things to do, but each time I have a panic attack at some point and usually spend the day in tears. I am fully aware of how difficult I am to be around sometimes. One of the main reason I don’t talk about it, apart from the fact I still can’t without breaking down, is if I told someone every time I thought about it, I would never talk about anything else. And no one wants to be around someone like that. Six years later, I still think about it, in some form or another, about 6 times a day on a good day. About 15 times today so far. Living inside my own head is hard enough, I would never want to inflict that on someone else, especially loved ones. I know they say a problem shared is a problem halved and all that, but not with this. I have to stop and tell myself off sometimes. I am trying very hard. The current advice I am working on is would I say that to a friend? And if not, then why am I saying it to myself?!

I know I am my own worst enemy sometimes and no one is meaner to me than me. I am still getting used to my new personality and who I am… in a way I guess I am grieving for who I was and my life as it was. Not that it was perfect in any shape or form. But very few people expect their personality and mindset to change so much during their lifetime. Especially when it isn’t their choice. It may be said that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, but Christ. In some ways I have never felt weaker.

Anyways, I won’t waffle on because I could write about it all night and I’m trying not to beat myself up. So, normal communications and socially acceptable behaviour should resume in a few weeks.

Much love as always

K x

Bee Day Llama

In April I took Maggot to The Dalloway Terrace for an amazing (6 week early) birthday treat. As you all know, I am obsessed with afternoon tea! So a few months ago, I heard that the Bloomsbury Hotel was doing an afternoon tea at The Dalloway Terrace, dedicated to the honey bee. Which happens to be Maggot’s favourite creature apart from cats. Due to exams and life stresses we couldn’t arrange a date in May to go and it finishes before her actual birthday date, so we decided to go super early!

To make the day a true Birthday treat, I decided one event was not enough, so off we went to a vintage fair in Kensington first, where Maggot made some amazing purchases. I made a conscious effort not to take any cash so I wouldn’t buy anything, which I was pretty proud of. There was temptation everywhere with rooms and rooms full of amazing, sparkling gems. Alas, we then took a small detour to Oxford Street, as we were early for our booking. But I had to drag Maggot out of Primark and round the corner to the hotel to make it on time.

The terrace has been transformed into an Instagram dream with flowers and honey bees everywhere. I started taking photos, naturally, whilst we were waiting for the tea to arrive, which was unlimited, the dream. I made it through three cups before the sandwiches and cakes arrived. I have attached the menu here so you can see exactly what we had. The savoury treats were also replenished once we had finished. I started to fear I would need to have a break before starting on the cakes. Most people claim to have a dessert stomach, I am missing one of these, but I do actually have a dedicated tea stomach. I am currently considering a career change to a professional tea drinker.

I rang the day before we went to confirm our booking and inform them that it was a birthday treat for my sister, they did not disappoint and sung happy birthday to Maggot who then realised she had another cake to eat! She solidered on and finished everything!

I would highly recommend going if you are looking for a treat over the next couple of weeks. The food was absolutely incredible, the staff were so lovely and made Maggot feel really special and the attention to detail, including tiny sugar bees, was second to none. I’ve added a link to the booking page here. If afternoon tea isn’t your thing (you weirdo), they have a really good brunch and dinner menus too which they also serve in the beautiful floral setting. I did consider returning again, because as my idol Iris Apfel says, “more is more and less is a bore.” But just for now I am cutting back, as I recently took treat yo’self slightly too far!

Right now for the photos! As usual this is just a small selection of the many, many on my camera roll!

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If you are still there, thank you! I have super bad cake cravings now! If you have any afternoon tea recommendations or aesthetically pleasing photo locations, please send them my way! I am already making plans for Summer!

Much love

K x

Llama Moon

Hello, it’s me. Not Adele, sorry.

Apologies for the silence, I have lots going on at the moment. None of which I want to talk about, at least not at the moment.

But what I do want to talk about is periods. So look away now if that’s not your thing. You may feel like this is far too much information, but as you will know from previous posts, I tend to over share. But I am not apologising, I’m fed up with it being a hushed subject and I wish someone had passed on this information to me 221 periods ago. Alas, I am that old.

Some people are blessed when it comes to periods and hardly suffer at all, then there’s people like me. I remember the exact date of my first one because they have been traumatic from the very beginning (15th January 2000 incase you were wondering). I have tried every painkiller I can get my hooves on, I have tried many forms of contraceptive pill and a heap of alternative methods. Unfortunately it’s pretty difficult to have 2 days off every single month just to get over it and save yourself the embarrassment of leaking through your clothes. So I am usually faced with soldiering on despite feeling absolutely vile and buying the entire stock of Feminex Express from Boots. If you think this sounds melodramatic, firstly, rude, secondly when I talk about pain, the cramps are unbearable, genuinely, and this is coming from a girl who put her own shoulder dislocation back in.

I have been contemplating trying different period products for a while, because lets face it there are loads. One in particular, I have picked up in the shop on three separate occasions and put it back, the Moon Cup. I finally forced myself to get one a few weeks ago and have been mad at myself ever since for not getting one sooner. If you’re like what the actual hell is that? Then it’s a menstrual cup. And it is exactly what it sounds like. They come in two sizes mostly depending on whether or not you have been through childbirth. But there is a handy guide on the side to help you select the right one for you. It also comes with a long stalk you cut to fit you exactly. Almost made to measure.

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I am not exaggerating when I say it’s changed my life. If you have been around me recently you already know the many benefits, as I have already over shared with you. If you haven’t, first of all, it isn’t as awful or scary as you think. You can’t even feel it, honestly. I completely forget it’s even there. The best part is I forget my period is even happening. There is an (extensive) instruction leaflet with diagrams and a helpline to ring incase you get it stuck! I did have a mild panic when I read this, but I am not easily embarrassed, it’s common knowledge that I got stuck, like completely and utterly stuck, in a top in Miss Selfridge and the shop assistant had to get me out of it and I survived. If the thought of ringing a helpline makes you want to invert, you can always ask me. If someone asks me for help I am the least judgemental person in existence. You could literally tell me absolutely anything and I’d try to help you the best I could. That being said, I think there is an extremely small chance of you getting it stuck as it is so easy to use. I mean never say never and all that, but it has not been a fear realised yet. Something I didn’t expect to happen, mostly because I had given up hope, my periods are lighter, shorter and less painful. I’m not quite sure how that has happened?! Answers on a postcard please, but I don’t really care because it is amazing and I am just happy it’s happened.

There are many personal benefits, obviously these are based on what your currently period throws at you every month and they might not be as extreme as mine. All I know is it has given me so much more freedom, like those sanitary towel adverts always claim they give you, lies compared to this. Nothing is stopping me now. As well as the personal benefits, you are also doing your bit for the World. No more disposable sanitary products to go to landfill or heaven forbid into the sea, you don’t want marine creatures deaths and my complete disapproval on your conscious now do you. I got mine from Boots, when I was stocking up on Feminex Express. They are around £22.00 to buy, which was something that put me off to start with, especially as I was worried if I would actually get on with it. The advantage card points helped soften the blow slightly. But it was worth every penny and due to sanitary product prices, you’d probably see a saving within a year anyway!

So there we go, just when you thought I possibly couldn’t over share anymore than I already do. Like I said if you’re genuinely curious please feel free to message me, I am more than willing to help or discuss it with you. This isn’t a sponsored post by the way, completely free advertising. I just felt that if there was anyone else out there suffering as much as I was or someone wanted to know what they were like but was too scared to try one then sharing might help.

Right I’m off to bed, so I can get up bright and early and stare anxiously at my revision before I start for the day.

Much love as always

K x

Self Love Llama

I’m currently propped up on the sofa with a bad back. I’m hoping it’s not my advancing years already! But breathing hurts right now. So I thought I’d use my time wisely instead of scrolling through Instagram comparing myself to everyone.

Thank you to everyone who messaged me or commented on my last post about friendships and feeling like you have a temporary existence. It’s always nice to know you’re not the only one, it can be a very lonely place inside your own head. Thankfully, very slowly, talking about mental health and feelings is becoming more commonplace. There is a long way to go but it’s all going in the right direction.

I always feel better when the clocks change and the days get longer. I am also being kinder to myself. For two reasons, firstly, I was listening to The Fringe of It, again, and they were discussing the difference between how you talk to yourself and how you talk to friends. This hit a nerve with me, I never sugar coat anything with friends, and always tell them the truth, but I definitely put myself down a million times more than I ever would a friend. I seem to have got into a habit of only ever seeing the negative in myself. I rarely, if ever, celebrate something I have achieved or if I happen to have a good outfit/hair day. I’ll only notice what I perceive as negative.

It takes about 25-30 photos to get one I actually like of myself. If I’m photographing something else or someone else I’ll take less than half. I do not photograph well at all. I don’t care what anyone says I have much photographic evidence. It may seem so silly but it genuinely gets me down sometimes. I am fully aware there are hundreds of worse things, but lately, along with my anxiety getting worse, I have felt more and more unhappy about my appearance, especially in photos. So I am slowly trying to teach myself to be kinder and stop hating on myself so much.

The second reason was because I happened to see something someone shared on Instagram. It was so simple but completely changed my outlook. It simply said ‘Don’t believe everything you think.’ The last few weeks that simple sentence has stopped three panic attacks. As I said, my anxiety has been slowly consuming me lately, it is so easy to believe every awful thought that comes into your head and let it eat away at you. So now I am trying, each time I have an attack or a chain of horrible thoughts to simply repeat that sentence and question what I am thinking, instead of losing control.

I know everyone has their faults, but I used to like who I was. I suppose this is all still part of the recovery process, but I constantly feel like I am mourning the death of myself, or who I was. I have had many incredible opportunities and adventures since then, which I am so grateful for. And I have some of the most wonderful people in my life, but I feel like I’ve had a soul transplant. Like some weird sci-fi movie. I know a lot of people didn’t even know me then and those that do, probably wouldn’t really notice the difference in me. Mostly because I kept everything hidden for a long time and also I was and still am, so conscious of the fact that it is all a lot for friends to deal with. A lot of the time I feel like it is my problem to deal with, which it is, and if I shared with people how many times I think about it I’d send them over the edge with me. Nothing will change what has happened and I am trying my best to cope and get on with life. I just need to learn to love who I am again and sometimes I am unsure how to do that.

I need to stop waffling! Basically what I am trying to say is, I am trying to be kinder to myself and so should you, because there is only one of me and one of you!

Enjoy eating ridiculous amounts of bank holiday food. Much love as always!

K x

Llama Gang

Hello, it’s me again, I know so soon.

This is just a quick little post about some thoughts and experiences I have had recently and I would like to know how you feel or if you have felt similar? I want to talk about friendships!

I will never ever declare I am some kind of mental health expert. I can only ever go on my own experiences and try to relate to those of others, but I do know it is so incredibly important to talk about it. Having good friends around you, physically or digitally can make one hell of a difference in times of need. Sometimes you just need to vent or rant to get it out of your head or maybe you just need someone to back up your thought processes. I feel like I am someone people could talk to about absolutely anything and I would listen without judgement. I take things told in confidence to the grave. Despite my outward appearances I am actually really nice. I just struggle when the world becomes too peopley or if I am tired, hungry or mildly inconvenienced.

I have been following a blogger called Liv Purvis (What Olivia Did) on Instagram for some time. Some of you may remember I attended a Blogger’s Market last April, she was one of the bloggers behind that event. Anyways, recently she started a podcast with one of her friends, Charlotte Jacklin called The Fringe of It. There are 4 episodes at the moment, on iTunes and the like. Please give them a listen! There is also a Facebook group, which I am a member of, for like minded individuals.

They cover things from friendships as adults, success and confidence. All of which resonated with me. I know I live a peculiar existence at uni especially at my age. I’d like to add I am not the only one, nor am I the oldest, but I am forever feeling like I have a temporary existence everywhere. I am incredibly lucky to have met people at vet school that I hope will be life long friends. I am also lucky to have wonderful friends at home. Life at home obviously goes on without you and inevitably you miss events and landmarks in peoples lives, even with the best intentions you can’t be in two places at once. Friends are buying houses, getting promoted or having babies and I’m still living the student life. Uni friends disperse over summer and you spend 4 months apart with clashing commitments, placements and free time plans getting in the way of meeting up.

Maintaining good friendships is incredibly hard, even more so when your life isn’t following a conventional path. One amazing positive of this is I feel like my friendship group is so broad in age ranges and life experiences, something you can sometimes miss out on if you only socialise with people at the same life stage as you. I am very grateful to vet school for this, I have close friends from all walks of life and from all locations that I would have never had the chance to meet otherwise.

I do feel that currently there is a trend to have a girl gang or support group, I would struggle to fill our cottage living room with people I feel are truly close friends. I have long been of the mind set of quality over quantity, unlike my wardrobe which is quantity and quality. And frequently have culls of people I feel are either unhealthy or don’t bring anything to the friendship table. But that does leave you in times where you are going it alone or at least it really feels like it.

When you start uni you’re given loads of different advice on all aspects of your experience but I don’t think anyone ever mentions or prepares you for how lonely you can feel. Or what to do if you do feel like that. Who can you talk to? I think this is difficult what ever age bracket you fall into. Regardless of how long you’re here for, that feeling never truly goes away because there are always life aspects missing. Obviously everyone has different experiences at university, it’s hard to be mentally healthy especially at vet school. All forms of life are stressful, but the veterinary profession has one of the highest suicide rates of any job role and that goes for students as well as graduates. I could go on here about the abuse you sometimes get or how many people believe vets are only in it for the money, where in reality if you cut out the chunk the vet gets from your overall bill you’d save approximately 10-15%. But that is a topic that could fill a whole post alone.

Anyway before I get off topic! If you hadn’t gathered from my other ramblings, I suffer with anxiety, sometimes to extremes. I often feel as though I don’t have many friends I can trust and I spend a great deal of time worrying that I have upset people or they don’t like me. This generally only applies to people I know and like. If someone insulted me in the street I’d make them feel 1cm tall.  It’s when I am invested into to friendships I struggle. Sometimes I think it’s just easier to be a cat lady and have done with it.

I better stop, so much for a short post! I want to know how you feel? Do you feel it’s easier or harder to make friends as an adult (I use that term on myself loosely)? Do you maintain friendships well and feel supported? Have you had to terminate unhealthy friendships? Do you have a girl gang?! Or am I completely alone in this?!

Much love,

K x

Llama Bakeries

Finally as I promised a long time ago, a run down on my favourite London bakeries. Apologies on the delay, you’d probably weep as much as me at the sight of my current to do list. I am currently taking advantage of my latest IBS flare up and treating myself to an admin afternoon with the Stereophonics as motivation. I am not quite sure where to start, I won’t grade them, as they each have their own unique selling point. So in no particular order.

Peggy Porschen

As most of you will know, I spent a great deal of last summer frequenting Peggy Porschen in Belgravia. The pink paradise has become so popular they now have a queuing rope outside. No joke. So my new strategy is to get a takeaway. Service for this is usually super fast and then swan off home to eat it in my pjs with Netflix. If you are yet to go, I would still recommend queuing and eating in whole heartedly. I threatened a few months ago to never return and Llama Supporter nearly had a small breakdown over never eating the dark chocolate truffle cake again.

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Elan

Another Instagram sensation. Elan can be found on Brompton Road, just along from Harrods or on Park Lane. Both as adorable as each other. There is a link to their website here. Elan are open until Midnight every day for those late night cake cravings. Llama Supporter and I have been twice after 9pm on a Friday night for emergency cake. The first time there were over 100 people waiting outside to Instagram their cakes. The second time, we went slightly later, around 10.30pm and picked out our takeaway order quite quickly. I know you might be thinking my Christ I could not be bothered, which is fine. But I will just say despite it seeming like just the place to be seen, the cakes are genuinely incredible.

Llama Supporter and I frequent Cote quite a bit, which does amazing Llama safe food, but we decided that paying in the region of £6 for a dessert from a limited menu was a bit excessive. Especially when you can go to somewhere like Elan on the way home and pick up anything that takes your fancy, and they’re all less than £6 a slice. So that is what we now do, except the last time we went we came home with nine slices, not all for us I might add. The Hipster Lawyer placed an order too!

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(also yes that is a gold walnut on the carrot cake)

Pearl & Groove

Thanks to our trips to Elan, we happened to discover a company called Pearl & Groove. You can find their website here. They supply the gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar cake options to Elan, so I decided to do some research and discovered they have a cafe on Portobello Road. As we were practically in the area, we made a visit. I felt slightly overwhelmed. If you are or have even been gluten-free, I am sure you are fed up with being offered one type of cake in the whole shop and tough luck if you don’t like it. If you are not gluten-free then imagine going out with your friends and having to eat a bag of Wine Gums every time. EVERY single cake in Pearl & Groove is gluten-free. I nearly shed a tear. It has never taken me so long to decide (Llama Supporter might disagree). I have now tried four different flavours and all are as amazing as the last. I can’t recommend the cafe highly enough. If it becomes an Instagram hit I may have a breakdown.

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They also deliver if you happen to live in London.

Primrose Bakery

Last but definitely not least, we have Primrose Bakery. We have been to both the Primrose Hill and the Kensington cafes so far. Both adorable, easy to get to and with lovely staff. They cater for gluten-free and vegan, celebratory dance. They also stock cute gift ideas, birthday party paraphernalia, t-shirts and aprons. Apologies if it all looks a bit the same, but the carrot cake cupcakes were so insanely good I couldn’t risk having something else and regretting it! I promise to have a different flavour next time and report back. Or failing that I’ll make Llama Supporter get something different and relay the info whilst I enjoy my amazing carrot cake.

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Are you still there? Apologies, but many thanks for sticking with my ramblings. If you have any cake recommendations send them on over, I am always up for trying new places. Also if you are ever lacking a cake eating buddy do not hesitate to give me a call. I can always make time for friends especially those accompanied by cake.

Right now I am off to sit in front of my wardrobe for the next hour trying to decide what to wear to the Vet School half way meal. Thanks so much for picking today for a flare up IBS. Yes, we’re half way, actually over argh. On Friday we get to touch cows. It’s suddenly becoming a lot more exciting. Stay tuned, there will be huge amounts of nerd photos.

As always thank you for your support, love and comments. You genuinely have no idea what they mean to me.

Much love

K x

Llama Meltdown

I know I promised cakes last time, they are coming. I have been expanding my waistline in the name of research. But I just wanted to check in first, as I’m having a difficult week. Well more of a rollercoaster week. As most of you will know from Facebook and Instagram I passed my January exams… *insert many celebratory dances here* after an agonising wait. So I am now currently 50% a vet! It all feels a bit surreal. Anyways that was my MAJOR high of the week.

Unfortunately it has been accompanied by many lows. My anxiety has been quite high in anticipation of results, so I have been far more emotional than normal. If you know me at all, I cry at anything so it’s been a bit draining. On Sunday I went with Llama Supporter to a family gathering and a lovely lunch. The venue in question literally bent over backwards and I had three courses, all free from gluten, wheat, dairy, onion and garlic. It was amazing. So I can highly recommend The Wheatsheaf on the Green in Esher! As there were quite a few of us present there were many conversations going at once. I had the misfortune of returning to one at exactly the wrong moment and was greeted with the R word.

As I was already highly strung with anxiety, I burst into tears almost instantaneously. Just to make myself feel even more anxious and awkward. I panicked and ran outside. By this point most of my eye liner and mascara was on my cheeks and chin. Strangers kept stopping outside but felt too awkward to approach me so just stood near me for a while then went inside or where ever they were going. I eventually made it back indoors and to the ladies where Mumma Bueno was, thank goodness, to comfort me. By this point the floodgates opened and I had to wash my face. Crying in front of strangers is not as bad as you’d think, I have cried in front of many, crying in front of your boyfriend’s family is a whole new level of awkwardness.

We eventually made it back downstairs to the starters thankfully so I could make small talk about those instead. And the rest of the meal and gathering passed without a hitch. Except for me spending the remaining time inside my own head wondering if people were questioning my weird behaviours or talking about me. I almost made it back home too but unfortunately my IBS went into absolute over drive and I had to make Llama Supporter take an emergency detour. I may as well have ordered straight from the menu after all as I was in the same position as I would have been. This promptly lead to a panic attack and then another one when we got back to London which was followed by two more before bed.

Thankfully Llama Supporter knows how to deal with me quite well by now and swiftly got the emergency duvet out (I like 2 duvets when I feel anxious/down/upset/etc), supplied me with tea and put Absolutely Fabulous on. And I resided with the fact that the rest of the night was out of my control as far as my emotions were concerned. I had another two panic attacks on Monday which resulted in me staying home from uni as I just couldn’t face dealing with people and/or having another meltdown in public.

Thank goodness Tuesday was the day of good results as I think that may have plunged me right over the edge. I still cried but with relief this time. But I honestly haven’t felt like celebrating or even fully registered them at all at the moment. I can’t seem to shake my anxiety off. This is the lowest I have been for a very long time and I am really struggling, even with friends. I have cried every day this week and had all manner of nightmares. I am hoping I can start to pick myself up a little more this week, as I really want to feel good about what I have achieved with my exams. Especially after the term I have had and my huge list of extenuating circumstances that accompanied them.

So if I seem a bit off this week, or you felt like I haven’t been the same friend as usual, I’m sorry. Sometimes it’s so tiring being inside my own head. This may seem like a huge reaction to one conversation, but it is like something explodes in my head and everything becomes white noise. After 5 and a half years I really hoped I’d be further along than this but right now, I’m not even in a place to deal with hearing the word. Hopefully I’ll be back to my moody, dramatic self soon to annoy you all again, and there will definitely be cake next time.

Much love

K x