Sunday, 18 March 2018

I Went Wig Shopping

Yesterday, I went shopping for a wig.  It's something I've considered before during the time I've been struggling with hair loss but I've always come to the conclusion that it wasn't bad enough to go down that route.  That's changed in recent months - it's at the worst it's ever been just now - so I decided it was time to properly look into it.

I did some research and looked for wig shops nearby online, eventually settling on Betty Brown Wigs in York.  Of course there are shops in Leeds I could have tried but when I looked at their websites I just didn't get a very good vibe - you can tell a lot about a place from the effort they put into their site I think, and most of the early sites I looked at had very basic, hard to navigate pages that didn't inspire a lot of confidence in me.  I also didn't find many styles I liked on the online stock of any of the shops in Leeds.

When I found Betty Brown Wigs I knew I was on the right track.  The website was really professional and I managed to find a handful of styles I liked the look of, so I emailed them to book an appointment.

It was so much more positive than I was expecting.  I thought it would be upsetting and that there would be tears, and it wasn't like that at all.  It was actually quite fun!  I had thought that I wouldn't find one I liked, but actually by the end I was choosing between 4 or 5 that looked great.  They had kindly ordered in some of the styles that I'd said I liked from the website, and also had loads of others in stock that I was able to try on.  Funnily enough none of the ones I'd picked were quite right - the first one I tried made my head look about three times bigger - so I'm really glad that I did go somewhere to try them on.  I would have been so much less nervous about ordering one online than I was before going into the shop, but then it wouldn't have been right and would probably have resulted in more anxiety down the line.

I'm also really glad I went with my gut and chose Betty Brown for my first wig shopping experience, and don't think I will go anywhere else if I need to buy another one in the future.  The team were really friendly over email and when I called a couple of days before to confirm the appointment and explain that I was a bit nervous.  The assistant Becky who helped me try everything on the day was lovely, very calm and down to earth, and she was really helpful.  I didn't feel rushed at all, she let me try each one on multiple times and swap between them as much as I wanted.  We were the only ones in the shop anyway, but we were in a private fitting room as well.  I was so worried about being on show, or feeling rushed, or intimidated by glamorous hairdressing staff, but it was nothing like that.  I left in such a good mood, and it was a successful trip - I've settled on a style very close to how my hair looked before this all started, and they're ordering it for me in a shade close to my natural colour.  I'm actually pretty gobsmacked thinking about it - I never get anything right first time!

It is bittersweet and feels a bit like giving up on my own hair, but overall I'm feeling really good about it.  The pressure it's going to take off me is immeasurable really and that will have benefits in the long run even possibly for my natural hair.  It's been something of an epiphany to me to realise that yes, this is happening to me, but that it's not my fault and I don't have to grin and bear it every day and carry on feeling miserable - actually, I can have something to make me feel better.  People rely on all kinds of fakery to help them feel better and whereas before it was a case of weighing up the cost and the necessity, now that is it necessary I think the cost is negligible compared to how it will help me.

And it really will, I can't tell you how much.  I felt it the minute I put one on, just having the weight of hair around my shoulders and framing my face.  If I had cried at all I think they would have been happy tears.  I didn't need to worry about not feeling comfortable in one - I haven't felt that much like myself in a really long time.  I'm not planning on using it for every day wear but I loved it so much this could easily change!  And it's such a massive relief to me that it turned out that way.

Thank you to Becky at Betty Brown, to my mum, Paul and my best friend Ellie for their moral support during my appointment, and to all my friends who have been so supportive and kind.  Obviously my anxieties aren't going to magically disappear, but hopefully you'll be seeing a bit more of the old Holly around soon. 💓

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Five Star Read Predictions

Alternative title: some books I'm on the reserve list for at the library that I'm super impatient for.


Five Star Reads prediction videos are some of my favourite to watch on BookTube.  I don't have a YouTube channel (hold the laughter at the thought of me doing anything of the sort) but I wanted to play too!  The idea is to pick books you're yet to read that you think will be worth 5 stars just from the blurb or what you know of the concept.  Here are three titles I already know I'm going to love.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They're both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.  Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…


I love a thriller and Clare Mackintosh is one of my favourite crime authors.  I loved her first two books I Let You Go and I See You, they were both so smart and slick and exactly what I look for in a thriller that now I'll read anything she brings out.  I don't even necessarily need to know what it's about, but incidentally the blurb for her third novel sounds like it will be equally as good as the others!  I'm currently right at the top of the waiting list for this one and I've seen it in Waterstones this week, so fingers crossed the library gets their copies in soon.

✻✻✻

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!
It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical.


Serious Nutcracker vibes. I am so excited for this one, I'd be reading it right now if I could; hopefully I'll get the email from the library any day now!  It sounds like a cross between The Night Circus, one of my favourites ever, and The Dollmaker of Krakow which quite recently stole my heart (I raved about it here if you are interested). Unlike The Dollmaker though, The Toymakers is an adult novel so I hope it's going to be a little bit darker.  Anything involving magic gets my bookworm senses tingling and this sounds so special, I think I'm going to love it and I'm already expecting to have to buy my own copy when I've given it back to the library...

✻✻✻

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasya doesn't mind - she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honour the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.  After Vasya's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasya's new stepmother forbids her family from honouring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasya is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.  And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasya's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.  As danger circles, Vasya must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed - this in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

As someone who enjoys fairy tales and folklore, this just sounds right up my street.  I've never read anything based on Russian folklore before but I love hearing stories from different cultures, and this sounds like perfect escapism.  Most of my best loved books have some element of fantasy and magic about them and I'm expecting a big serving of that from The Bear and the Nightingale.  It promises a vivid setting and a strong heroine too, which is always a plus.  I love that there are authors out there writing fairy tales for adults - I'll still happily read kid lit and middle grade to get my fix, but it's nice to be part of the target audience for this genre too.