books

Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur

The first time I wrote about Milk & Honey was in the first ever edition of my Wishlist series, which you can read by clicking here. There was much hype surrounding the book, the implications and meanings of the poetry and almost every female within a 30 mile radius had this book in hand. Shortly after writing my wishlist post, I actually went on to buy the book. I’ve had it for a few months now, and read and re-read it I would say over ten times. I have completely fallen in love with Kaur’s prose, but I didn’t want to write a post on the book until I felt completely compelled to: until I understood the meanings and intentions behind her work, and until I felt like I could do the book justice. I think the time has come!

Firstly, I want to comment on the appearance of the book, how beautiful is the cover? I suppose it’s arguable that the book itself doesn’t affect the content: ‘do not judge a book by it’s cover’ etc, but it just looks so super pretty on my bookshelf. It had a matte black cover which feels so luxurious, and the monochrome colour scheme with a hint of honey-gold is both appropriate and gorgeous. I know it doesn’t affect the skill of Kaur’s words and the effect they have on the reader, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as a beautiful, well constructed book.

While on the topic of appearance, I’d also like to comment on the illustrations of the book. They aren’t the epitome of art; they aren’t super detailed, but they are functional, simple, and through this, become skilful and almost beautiful. The way in which the images seem to be hand-drawn almost with a ballpoint pen, makes the words even more relatable to everyday life, makes the pages adaptable to your own personal situations. Much like her words, the images are so simple that they take on their own beauty.

But now for the actual book itself: the ‘poetry.’ I quote the word ‘poetry’ because I’m not sure how far to argue that Kaur’s words do classify in this genre. Of course, the words themselves are not a novel, they do not progress into a storyline of such, but they do not seem to follow a metric, they do not form a conventional form of poetry. I’ve read much critique of Kaur’s work because of this, but isn’t this what makes the book unique, beautiful? The simplicity of her words and the uncomplicated nature of the structure, for me, is what makes the book so special. She is unapologetically brutal, she doesn’t miss a beat, and she talks of her themes with the utmost candour. For this, I have the utmost respect for Rupi Kaur. Anyone who is planning on reading this book should be aware of triggering topics such as sexual abuse and rape, topics of which she is very frank about. Her frankness and openness about such topics, are what make her a bold and incredible writer.

The book is split into four parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking and The Healing. It becomes almost a process; a cycle that I’m sure every woman has experienced or will experience at least once in her life. I love every part just as much as each other but I would say that The Healing is my favourite, it’s both empowering and reassuring. Below I have left some of my favourite quotes from each section. I fully recommend purchasing this book and giving it a read, you won’t be disappointed.

The Hurting

‘A daughter should not have to beg her father for a relationship’ (28)

‘I was made heavy: half blade and half silk, difficult to forget and not easy for the mind to follow’ (30)

‘the thing about having an alcoholic parent is an alcoholic parent doesn’t exist, simply an alcoholic who could not stay sober long enough to raise their kids’ (39)

‘you tell me quiet down cause my opinions make me less beautiful, but I was not made with a fire in my belly so I could be put out’ (30)

The Loving

‘I want to be so complete I could light a whole city and then I want to have you cause the two of us combined could set it on fire’ (59)

‘You might not have been my first love but you were the love that made all the other loves irrelevant’ (63)

‘you look like you smell of honey and no pain, let me have a taste of that’ (66)

‘how do you turn a forest fire like me so soft I turn into running water’ (65)

The Breaking

‘don’t mistake salt for sugar: if he wants to be with you he will, it’s that simple’ (85)

‘I didn’t leave because I stopped loving you, I left because the longer I stayed the less I loved myself’ (95)

‘I am a museum full of art but you had your eyes shut’ (100)

‘I had to leave, I was tired of allowing you to make me feel anything less than whole’ (107)

‘You cannot leave me and have me too, I cannot exist in two places at once – when you ask if we can still be friends’ (136)

The Healing

‘Loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself’ (153)

‘If you were born with the weakness to fall, you were born with the strength to rise’ (156)

‘fall in love with your solitude’ (161)

‘your body is a museum of natural disasters, can you grasp how stunning that is?’ (173)

‘the world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it – there is nothing purer than that’ (185)

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journal

Journaling: An Update

I have previously written about my love of journaling in my Journaling & ‘Polaroid’ Photographs post, and this mainly centred on my journal from Portugal. As I’ve moved countries, and also started using a brand new journal, I thought I would give you all an update! I found that in Portugal, I filled my journal with everything I could get my hands on: I decorated it so nicely and I was really proud of it when I’d finished. But I had one problem: by the end of this, it was so heavy. Believe it or not, it was even difficult to take it home to England because it took up so much weight in my suitcase.

So this time around, I decided to avoid using so much tape, origami paper, and just keep it simple. I’ve been journaling around two or three times a week, and I’m absolutely in love with the journal that my best friend Kamila bought for me, I think the quote on the front is so relevant to me being away, and it’s super special to me. She gifted it to me for my 20th birthday, and I’ve kept it ever since to use for when I live here in Spain. She wrote a letter in the back to remind me that no matter where we are in the world, we’re always best friends, and I love it so much!

I’ve been saving stamps, train tickets, entry tickets and also collecting a post card from each place that I have visited. Like I did in Portugal, I write special, lengthy entries when I have been traveling, and I’ve found it to be so therapeutic. Journaling this time for me, has been super important, because I’ve had much more of a difficult time in Spain than I did in Portugal. It’s been a place for me to vent, and after writing in there, I’ve felt much better. If anything, I’m enjoying journaling even more here.

As for photographs, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I could never give up printing off my photographs! I used to print the standard, vintage style photographs from LALALAB, but I’ve since switched to mini vintage polaroids. They’re lighter, you can fit more into the journal, and in general I just think they look nicer. I’ve written a whole blog post about these photographs, but I think they look much more authentic and I also pin them to my bedroom wall, too. In all, I am still regularly journaling and loving it even more with a new journal, and as such, a fresh start.

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journal

Journaling & ‘Polaroid’ Photographs

From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed writing. Growing up, my dream job was to be a writer, which progressed into a journalist, and my love for the written word has now manifested itself into my love for languages – there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to express yourself in more than just your mother tongue. Having said this, my degree is very academic. Learning languages is methodic, it takes concentration, and a lot of the time I find myself really wanting to do something creative. This is where my love for journaling began…

I’ve always kept diaries, notebooks, journals, full of thoughts and ideas, sometimes stories or articles. Reading back on them now they are completely useless and sometimes don’t even make much sense, but I enjoy looking back on them because for me, they are memories. That’s when I made the resolution to journal my entire time in Coimbra, Portugal. As I’ve previously written, as a languages student, my third year of my degree is spent abroad, and I’ve been living in Coimbra for the past 4 months: I have one month left. I am so sad that soon I have to leave a city that has become my favourite place on earth, but one thing I will be taking away from Portugal is my journal. From the first day I arrived, I wrote almost everyday, in a hand-stitched journal that I bought from Paperchase. Now when I read back through the pages, I remember how I felt and how excited and happy I was to be in Coimbra. I’ll never forget my time there, but with my journal, I’ll be able to remember every last detail. It also gives me a place to write down my thoughts, if I’m homesick: I write, if I’m sad: I write. It’s therapeutic in a way.

I don’t only write in my journal, but I decorate it too. I got the idea of using Washi Tape from browsing over a couple of art blogs, however it was kind of difficult to get my hands on in Portugal. I ended up finding some decorative tapes from Tiger and Ale-Hop: two amazing shops which I wish we had in the north of England! They all had different patterns, and made for a great frame to pages, or just to add some colour to my writing. Tiger was a really useful shop, as it sells origami paper which I used to back my ‘polaroid’ photographs (which I will write about later on in this post). I wrote in different coloured pens, too. It just means that in 10 years time, when I look back on my journal, it will be colourful and exciting to look at. Also, for anyone who is considering journaling during their travels – keep your receipts, train tickets, cinema tickets, business cards, leaflets, posters, travel cards. Anything that you end up with in the back of your purse, or left at the bottom of your bag: keep them. I kept everything like this, and stuck them in my journal. More memories, and more keep-sakes.

I didn’t think of this idea until later on during my time in Portugal, but I actually started to print off ‘polaroid’ photographs for my journal. I’ve always wanted a polaroid camera, but they are particularly expensive, and with the film being equally expensive, it isn’t a practical hobby for me to keep. But I discovered LALALAB, a company which prints your photos (in varying styles) and ships them to wherever you are in the world. I discovered their company, bizarrely, through a Facebook advert. I don’t use Facebook all that often, so this was purely by chance, but I decided to test it by ordering a couple of ‘vintage’ photographs first, and they arrived within the next week and were perfect for my journal (as you can see in the pictures I’ve put in this post). ‘Vintage’ is the style which gives the effect of a polaroid photograph, but there are lots of styles to choose from. This style is £0.29 per photograph, which is much cheaper than paying excessive amounts for film for a polaroid camera. You can change the colours of the polaroids, I personally made my polaroids brightly coloured to match the brightly coloured pens and tapes I’d used in my journal. You can add text to the bottom of the polaroid: a time or date, a place, the names of the people in the photographs. Every couple of weeks, I would print out the photographs I had taken and they would arrive within the next week, and I would stick them in my journal alongside my entries. Now I can look back on those photos whenever I want to, and I kind of like the idea that not everything has to be digital – I have the photographs digitally saved but now I can physically hold my photographs, too. Either way, it’s made for a gorgeous memory book and place to record all my thoughts and feelings. I’ll definitely be continuing to journal during my time living in Madrid, Spain and for the remainder of 2017. If you’d like to read the post I’ve previously written about Coimbra, you can click here. You can visit the LALALAB site by clicking here or download the app (which is what I use to order my photographs) by clicking here. Also, if you’d like £5 off your first purchase with LALALAB, you can use my referral code: PGHG2PW6.

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