Stim Toy Review: Squishy Rainbow Cake

a triangular slice of white layer-cake with rainbow-coloured layers (pink, orange yellow, light blue, purple) with a layer of multi-coloured sprinkles on top of the cake.
Image Description: a triangular slice of white layer-cake with rainbow-coloured layers (pink, orange yellow, light blue, purple) with a layer of multi-coloured sprinkles on top of the cake.

Item: Squishy Rainbow Cake, dimensions are 14 x 9 x 8 cm, here’s a picture for scale:
Image Description: the background is a mottled-pink door, in the foreground is a white hand holding a triangular slice of white layer-cake with rainbow-coloured layers (pink, orange yellow, light blue, purple) with a layer of multi-coloured sprinkles on top of the cake.
Image Description: the background is a mottled-pink door, in the foreground is a white hand holding a triangular slice of white layer-cake with rainbow-coloured layers (pink, orange yellow, light blue, purple) with a layer of multi-coloured sprinkles on top of the cake

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: AU $10.45 (Shipping Fees: AU $0.00)

Date of Purchase: 29/03/2017

Date of Delivery: 10/04/2017

Store: Banggood (located in China)

My Location: Australia

Review:
One of the things about this stim toy is that it’s huge! The photo on Banggood doesn’t prepare you for the actual size (or maybe this just me and my poor spacial awareness). This stim toy is also highly squishable and slow rising, however, there are a few problems. Before I opened the package it came in, I could smell the strong scent of plastic, so I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who is smell-sensitive.

There’s also the problem with the fact that the sprinkles aren’t permanently attached to the top of the cake, so they keep falling off and, as there’s a small hole in the packaging somewhere, the sprinkles keep escaping the plastic bag the cake came in. Unfortunately, due to the choking hazard this presents, I honestly can’t recommend this item as a stim toy, even though it is very squishy and visually appealing.

The First Date Book-Tag

Image Description: a red circular table with a red heart-shaped-box of chocolates next to a small red square glass-vase with pink and white roses inside the vase.
Image Description: a red circular table with a red heart-shaped-box of chocolates next to a small red square-shaped glass-vase with pink and white roses inside the vase.
I’ve been in a Reading Slump for a while now, which has resulted in me developing the habit of lurking on YouTube and watching videos of books I’ll probably never read (I’m so far behind on the new, at this point I’m giving up entirely on keeping with new releases), one of the YouTube Channels I’ve been lurking on recently is Katrina @ Little Book Owl, as I said before, I’ve been in a Reading Slump for a while now, which has made it difficult to write posts like this, and I feel as though I’m just repeating myself at this point, but I figured I’d give it a go anyway.
1. The awkward first date – a book where something felt off. It wasn’t a bad book, but lacked that spark for you.
Image Description: book cover of Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy. The cover has a black fleur-de-lis wallpaper-like background, with the title of the book in white text taking up most of the foreground. There's a gray electrical cord snaking across the L in Like, there's a gilded picture frame around the letter A, there is a white oval-shaped serving platter in place of an O in the word House, there's a vase of wilting red tulips and a split cup of tea or coffee down the bottom of the cover.
Image Description: book cover of Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy. The cover has a black fleur-de-lis wallpaper-like background, with the title of the book in white text taking up most of the foreground. There’s a gray electrical cord snaking across the L in Like, there’s a gilded picture frame around the letter A, there is a white oval-shaped serving platter in place of an O in the word House, there’s a vase of wilting red tulips and a split cup of tea or coffee down the bottom of the cover.

Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy

My PWE teachers rave about Cate Kennedy, they use her short stories in the university readers at any given opportunity and I’ll admit I did like a few of the short stories contained in this anthology (and a couple of her other short stories which aren’t included here). I can see this book being popular or being widely read by literary types with an interest in Australian Literature.

The thing is that I don’t know if this is just a generational thing, or it’s a just me, but this is definitely a book that doesn’t sit well with me. I dislike how Cate Kennedy handles the complicated and multi-faceted situations and circumstances surrounding the topics of women, children and motherhood. The depictions of motherhood (or the lack of it) weren’t outright offensive but I would consider them shallow (and perhaps problematic), which I suppose could be a reasonable assessment as it’s a short-story collection.

2. The cheap first date – book that turned out less than you expected
Image Description: book cover of Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan. The book cover is red in colour with a silhouette picture of a person in a martial arts pose up the top and a silhouette picture of London Bridge down the bottom.
Image Description: book cover of Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan. The book cover is red in colour with a silhouette picture of a person in a martial arts pose up the the top and a a silhouette picture of London Bridge down the bottom

Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan

It’s called Red Phoenix, but it has almost nothing to do with the character it’s named after and, in short, it’s a hot mess. It’s why I won’t be finishing the rest of series, or read any of Kylie Chan’s other books, however, I accidentally converted my mother-in-law into reading this series and she seems to enjoy them *shrugs* so maybe this is just me.

The Dark Heavens series started out alright but began to fall apart in this book, the annoying elements were amplified, worse elements were added like how all the men (with the exception of Leo because he’s gay) wanted to bang Emma, despite having pretty much no personality. The plot became non-existent and thus it became tedious and boring, this is because the author chose to focus on stuff that wasn’t interesting (like all the men wanting to bang Emma) and not on things could have been genuinely interesting.

Such as the family dynamic between Tiger and his son, who is now a bodyguard to John’s daughter. If, as an author, you’re going to take a step back from the plot and place a bigger focus on the characters (which is fine if done well), these characters need to be interesting or engaging (preferably both) and none of the characters met this criteria.

3. Well-prepared first date – better than expected
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

To be honest, I thought The Cuckoo’s Calling was a bit meh, it was an alright beginning to a new series but nothing to rave about, so as result I began The Silkworm with low expectations, however, I thoroughly enjoyed The Silkworm, now this may be due to cognitive bias as Cormoran Strike is investigating the disappearance and murder of a writer, but I enjoyed it.

4. Hot but dumb – pretty book, not so hot on the inside

Image Description: book cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I reviewed this book on my other blog and I felt that there were a lot of problems hiding behind this gorgeous cover, I got to a point where I was so sick of it, I was relieved to finally finish the review, that way I would never need to think about this book again. The worst part is that everyone seems to love this book, which just amplifies the confusion.

5. Blind date – book you picked up not knowing anything about it
Image Description: The book cover of The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The background is an olive-green colour, in the foreground is an apothecary-style bottle with a short neck, inside the apothecary-style bottle is blue-red liquid and a young adolescent girl crouched, with her knees pinned to her chest.
Image Description: The book cover of The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The background is an olive-green colour, in the foreground is an apothecary-style bottle with a short neck, inside the apothecary-style bottle is blue-red liquid and a young adolescent girl crouched with her knees pinned to her chest inside the bottle.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

I picked up this book, purely because of the cover, which I later regretted as the book turned out to be considerably mediocre, it adds nothing new to the genre as far as I’m concerned and there’s some problematic elements  of sexism and internalized misogyny involved as well. So, let it be known that literally judging a book by its cover will also result in regrets.

6. Speed dating – book you read super fast
Image Description: book cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. A red building, red doorway-arch and red door, there is a the imprint of a large hand burned into the right-side of the red-doorway-arch with grey-blue cobblestone/slate-rock on the ground.
Image Description: book cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. A red building, red doorway-arch and red door, there is a the imprint of a large hand burned into the right-side of the red-doorway-arch with grey-blue cobblestone/slate-rock on the ground.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I was glued to the pages of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (as well as the second book in the trilogy Days of Blood and Starlight), the book has some cliché and problematic elements like a Female Protagonist with Special Snowflake Syndrome and Super Dramatic Angsty/Wangsty Romance with Much Older Male-Character (its justified in-universe, but Authors, could you please stop doing this? It’s creepy. Thank you), however, despite those problems (Karou and Akira’s relationship can get eye-rolly at some points), I definitely enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I’m happy to recommend the trilogy.

7. The rebound – a book you read too soon after a book hangover and it kind of ruined the book for you

Image Description: book-cover of Matched by Ally Condie. The cover has a grey-beige background with a green bubble taking up the top one-third of the cover, inside the green bubble is an adolescent female with brown hair, wearing a bright green dress, she is posed as though she is trying to get out of the green bubble that surrounds her. The Text underneath is “WATCHED BY SOCIETY. TRAPPED BY RULES. FREED BY LOVE?” with the book’s title written underneath in large capital letters and a pink font.

Matched by Ally Condie

I read this book and Divergent close together, which was a bad idea, reading mediocre Dystopian novels in quick secession highlights the mediocrity. I picked up this book because I liked the cover and I was intrigued by the premise (yes, I read the blurb for this one, I learnt my lesson), but the book doesn’t live up to the premise, the main protagonist suffers from what I like to call “Female Protagonist Problems”, more specifically “Bella Swan Syndrome”.

While Cassie isn’t a sociopath like Bella, there’s definitely a lack of personality and/or emotions in her character, she doesn’t seem to feel very much, which could have been an interesting case of Alexithymia, but I suspect it wasn’t done intentionally. Cassie is a bland self-insert character with pretty much no description of herself (with the exception of plot-orientated eye-colour) or interests outside of her romantic object of affection, as a result, she is super boring, it’s also why it’s completely unbelievable that she has two guys fighting over her (I despise Love Triangles).

Then there’s the world building, or perhaps the lack there of it, the author fails to take into consideration a lot of factors that would influence this world, while there are many examples I could use, I’ll just stick to one example such as LGBTQIA+ people. How the society goes about finding appropriate statistical matches for the people who fit under the incredibly diverse umbrella-term of LGBTQIA+ (let alone doing it without coming across as being an arse-hole) is never addressed. In fact, there are no mentions of the LGBTQIA+ community at all, it’s like they’ve never existed. That’s super creepy, but the worst part is that I don’t think this was an intentional move on the author’s behalf, I think she just didn’t think about the deeper ramifications of her world building.

I know it’s supposed to be a Dystopian novel that centers around a glorified breeding program, but the author couldn’t even explain how past-problems have been resolved, there’s no mention of teenage pregnancy, there’s no discussion of infertility or sterilization (does IVF still exist? Are Foster Parents still required? Does the Adoption process still exist? Who knows, it’s never brought up). I have no idea why this book even exists, let alone comprehend why people enjoy it.

8. Overly enthusiastic date – a book that felt like it was trying too hard
Image Description: book cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is the movie tie-in version with an adolescent female (Tris) positioned with her back towards the male character (Four), who is currently crouching, they essentially standing/crouching back to back on a roof top facing different directions but both of them are looking towards the viewer. They are surrounded by derelict skyscrapers.
Image Description: book cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is the movie tie-in version with an adolescent female (Tris) positioned with her back towards the male character (Four), who is crouching, they essentially standing/crouching back to back on a roof top facing different directions but both of them are looking towards the viewer. They are surrounded by derelict sky-scrappers.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I felt that Divergent was trying too hard to be a combination of The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series, with the flaws of both series but none of the positives.The Hunger Games flaws it has perpetuated are bland self-insert character with pretty much no description of herself and the Harry Potter series problem of poor or inadequate world-building the author hasn’t acknowledged or addressed (for example: What category does an Engineer fall into? Because they certainly need a few of them).

On the plus side, Divergent has no Love Triangles, so that’s something, but as a Book Reviewer, I feel that Authors don’t deserve a gold star for refraining to use shitty plot-devices. In saying that, Tris and Four’s relationship is a welcome change from the relationships typically found in Dystopian Young Adult Novels (*cough* Red Rising Trilogy *cough*), although once again I feel that Authors don’t deserve a gold star for refraining to romanticise a problematic or abusive relationships between minors or involving minors (Authors aren’t supposed to romanticise a problematic or abusive relationships in general but clearly that’s still a problem).

Divergent’s main flaw is that was trying to hit all the right marketable “Young Adult” buttons, that it results in nothing interesting happening for the majority of the novel, and I suppose I’d rather be offended then bored.

9. The perfect first date – book that did everything right for you

Image Description: book-cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. The cover has a white background, in the foreground is the black silhouette of a male character wearing a coat in various shades of red. On the ground, the male character is standing on multiple overlapping circles (black, white, red, and grey), it looks as though his feet are standing on the red and grey circles.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I reviewed this book on my other blog, and to be honest, there’s not much else I can say, I just enjoyed it immensely and I cannot praise V.E. Schwab enough.

10. Humiliating first date – book you’re embarrassed to admit you liked/ embarrassed to see reading in public for whatever reason
Image Description: The book-cover of A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (text is in red). In the background of the cover is an image of the moon against a blue background, in the foreground is a couple embracing. The male (dark clothes and black hair) is embracing a blonde woman (who is positioned with her back facing towards the audience so her long blonde hair can cascade down her back).
Image Description: The book-cover of A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (text is in red). In the background of the cover is an image of the moon against a blue background, in the foreground is a couple embracing. The male (dark clothes and black hair) is embracing a blonde woman (who is positioned with her back facing towards the audience so her long blonde hair can cascade down her hair).

The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole

It’s a Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, A Hunger Like No Other is technically the second book in the series but as I didn’t particularly like A Warlord Wants Forever I’m not going to recommend it, the series definitely plays the long-term game in terms of plot, but I enjoy it. I don’t like all the books in the series, however, I have read all the books in the series thus far. And yes, I’m well aware it’s trashy and a couple of the books (okay, fine I’ll be honest, more than a couple) have some… problematic elements to them (I can’t stand Dreams of a Dark Warrior, but due to its significance with regards to the plot, it can’t be skipped, unfortunately).

It’s a quick and easy read if you’re currently in a slump like I am. What I hate the most is that the publishers are changing the trashy covers, you know, trying to make them more subtle and stuff. Although the trashy covers are one of the reasons I’m inclined to review Romance books on my other blog, the changing of the covers is stupid idea (did they even ask the readers?) because then they don’t match the rest of my books and changing the covers defeats the entire purpose, as far as I’m concerned, the covers are supposed to be trashy (the cover serves a purpose).

So yeah, leave me a link in the comments section if you want to participate and I’ll check out your post. What you think about the books I mentioned? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments section.

My Treasure Chest – Part 4: The Sum of Our Parts

Image Description: a small blue and silver chest with a handle and silver press-studs along the edge of the box on both sides. On the main body of the chest is swirling silver designs and silver Asian-style Dragons in flight against a blue-fabric background.
Image Description: a small blue and silver chest with a handle and silver press-studs along the edge of the box on both sides. On the main body of the chest is silver designs and silver Asian-style Dragons in flight against a blue-fabric background.

Unfortunately, I’ve kind of fallen behind with My Treasure Chest series and as I need to get Part 5 written and all the images described, this post will probably come across as rushed, so my apologies in advance for that.
Image Description: a 50 gram packet of assorted coloured acrylic beads with the title,
Image Description: a 50 gram packet of assorted coloured acrylic beads with the title, “Assorted Coloured Beads” up the top of the packet, with red sections at the top and bottom of the package with clear plastic in the middle. There’s illustrations of various coloured pencils at the bottom of the package.
Location: Currently, you can find these at Toyworld (Highpoint Shopping Centre, Footscray) for a AU $1 per packet.
Purpose: Crafting. Primarily, I use these for making beaded lanyards and beaded jewellery, but feel free to use them however you want.

Image Description: There are three packets of chrome coloured key-rings/split-rings, in each packet there are five key-rings/split-rings.
Image Description: There are three packets of chrome coloured key-rings/split-rings, in each packet there are five key-rings/split-rings.
Location: Kim got these for me from Yen Huot Gift Shop (18A Paisley Street, Footscray), I think they’re about AU $0.80 a packet? They have gone up since I’ve been there.
Purpose: Crafting. Primarily, I use these for making beaded lanyards and beaded jewellery, but feel free to use them however you want.

Image Description: a large red balloon sealed inside a transparent-plastic zip-lock bag.
Image Description: a large red balloon sealed inside a transparent-plastic zip-lock bag.
Purpose: This balloon serves as a squishing stim toy. It’s filled with play-dough, Kim managed to get the play-dough in there (somehow?) using a funnel, I think…? It’s very squishable but it’s a firmer squishable texture in comparison to the balloons filled with flour.

Image Description: a small yellow bandanna.
Image Description: a small yellow bandanna
Purpose: To wear on one’s head

Image Description: a package of Baby Solutions Shaped Teether in the shape of a strawberry.
Image Description: a package of Baby Solutions Shaped Teether in the shape of a strawberry
Purpose: This is a chewable baby teether, so it’s main purpose is for being chewed (I suppose). You can obtain these from K-Mart and perhaps certain Coles Supermarkets.

Image Description: a two-wired bead maze set into a round wooden base. The base is painted yellow with an outline of a teddy-bear in orange paint. The two wires are blue and orange; the blue wire goes straight across while the orange wire twirls in two circles. Both wires are strung with red, yellow, blue, orange and green wooden beads.
Image Description: a two-wired bead maze set into a round wooden base. The base is painted yellow with an outline of a teddy-bear in orange paint. The two wires are blue and orange; the blue wire goes straight across while the orange wire twirls in two circles. Both wires are strung with red, yellow, blue, orange and green wooden beads.
Purpose: To entertain. Kim thought my niece would enjoy this, although I must confess, my niece appears to enjoy the squishy caterpillar more (pictured further down).

Image Description: a small squishable grey dolphin with eyeballs pointing in different directions.
Image Description: a small squishable grey dolphin with eyeballs pointing in different directions.
Purpose: Honestly, not entirely sure, I think it’s one of those bath toys you can purchase from K-Mart (they come in little plastic bags). Kim meant it as a joke gift as people have this habit of giving me generic dolphin-themed gifts. Now, I’m not a marine biologist, but I’m fairly certain that a dolphin is not supposed to have eye-balls pointing in different directions, but my niece doesn’t seem to mind.

Image Description: from left to right, two square crimped biscuit cutters, the first one is larger and pink and the second one is smaller and orange.
Image Description: from left to right, two square crimped biscuit cutters, the first one is larger and pink and the second one is smaller and orange.
Purpose: I think Kim intended these as moulds for Kinetic Sand, but the pink one is definitely too big for sand, however, they work well for making shortbread biscuits.

Image Description: a packet of Macron Erasers inside a transparent zip-lock bag.
Image Description: a packet of Macron Erasers inside a transparent zip-lock bag.
Purpose: they are squishable, however, they are also scented, which is why Kim passed them onto me (Kim is awesome at finding adorable stuff, it’s their super power)

Image Description: a white and robin's egg-blue My Little Pony with blue eyes and bright-orange mane and tail.
Image Description: a white and robin’s egg-blue My Little Pony with blue eyes and bright-orange mane and tail
Purpose: Unfortunately, due to a lack there of storage space, Kim had to cull their herd of My Little Ponies and gifted me with this one, this one is currently sitting on my bookcase (near my collection of piggies), reminds me of the first episode of Daria, “Like a herd of wild ponies, running free across the plains.”


Image Description: a mini tsum-tsum of Disney character Piglet, small pink piglet, from the book series and animated cartoon series Winnie-The-Pooh.
Purpose: the mini tsum-tsums are great for on-the-go stim packs, they’re small, soft and fuzzy and can easily fit in a hand-bag or messenger-bag. If you’re interested in more information on Disney Tsum-Tsums, Kim has a tag dedicated to these plushies.


Image Description: a rainbow coloured (purple, blue, red, pink, green) squishable caterpillar
Purpose: To squish (obviously), however, this item has a strong plastic-y smell, so Kim offered it to me. It has the same texture and feel as a critter-puff, here’s a link with more information on how to obtain one.

Image Description: a small green plastic car with red plastic wheels and a white tag attached to the car with text displayed Tough Toys - Mini.
Image Description: a small green plastic car with red plastic wheels and a white tag attached to the car with text displayed “Tough Toys – Mini”.
Purpose: These are are a good texture stim, the wheels feel good across my skin and it feels good across certain surfaces. More information provided here.


Image Description: a transparent glass jam-jar filled with white slimy liquid, it kind of looks like there’s small grains of rice combined with the white liquid.
Purpose: I suspect this was a slime experiment conducted to gain knowledge for Kim’s Great Slime Quest, I think it’s Toothpaste Slime? I’m not entirely sure.

Image Description: a heart-shaped glitter-studded clear plastic popper made of thick pink plastic.
Image Description: a heart-shaped glitter-studded clear plastic popper made of thick pink plastic.
Purpose: These are supposedly large poppers, but they don’t work very well (at all in fact), however, I tend to use this to hold beads for when I’m making beaded lanyards or other beaded jewellery, it can hold a substantial amount. Here’s a link for more information on Stimtastic poppers.

Image Description: a packet of thin rubber/silicone bracelets in multiple colours.
Image Description: a packet of thin rubber/silicone bracelets in multiple colours.
Purpose: Pressure stimming, which is actually a big thing for me (mental note: look into DIY binders), however, these bracelets tend to be a loose on my wrists. I’m fairly certain you can obtain these items from K-Mart. It’s good for me to have a collection of loose and tight telephone-cord hair-ties and bracelets, this is because I often have RSI due to my day-job and I don’t think it’s recommended to have tight objects around my wrists when they’re sore.

Image Description: a transparent-zip-lock-bag with four multi-coloured bouncy balls, two red mini-prickle-balls and a pink dinosaur-prickle-ball.
Image Description: a transparent-zip-lock-bag with four multi-coloured bouncy balls, two red mini-prickle-balls and a pink dinosaur-prickle-ball.
Purpose: Fidgeting stims, I cackle everything I bring out my ever increasing collection of bouncy balls (I keep my large Kids & Co rainbow-string bouncy ball in my on the go stim-toy-bag), the reason for such a large collection is because I’m easily prone to losing things and these are cheap and easy items to replace, although I do try to avoid losing my hoard of bouncy balls (I should probably try keeping them in a separate glass jar).


Image Description: a small number puzzle with a pink background and border.
Purpose: Fidget stimming, this type of number puzzle can easily be found in the toy section/puzzle section/board-game section in the K-Mart and Target toy departments

Image Description: a transparent plastic container used for holding business cards (or at least I think that's what it is).
Image Description: a transparent plastic container used for holding business cards (or at least I think that’s what it is).
Purpose: To print out and hold business cards presumably, also so I can say “It’s Business Time!” (while wearing business socks) whenever I feel like it.



Image Description: From left to right, a hedgehog sponge from Daiso with dark-pink fuzzy/nubbly chenille material in place of quills, the pink hedgehog-sponge is named Poppy. Next to Poppy, there is another a hedgehog sponge from Daiso with neon-yellow fuzzy/nubbly chenille material in place of quills, the yellow hedgehog-sponge is named Daisy.
Purpose: These hedgehog plushies make great weighted-lap-pads (even though they are on the small side), these ones are also scented with lavender essential oil so they’re stimmy to touch and smell. I really enjoy gathering them around me in bed when I type in bed all snuggled up and warm under the covers.

And yeah, I know, Daisy flowers are white not yellow, so technically I should have named Daisy something else, like Sunny (short for sunflower) or some other yellow flower, but Daisy stuck for some reason and I was absolutely determined that my hedgehogs should have matching/connected names, so now I own a collected of weighted-plushies with ultra-feminine names. It’s not a bad thing per say, it’s more that this is a situation I did not envision. In fact, it’s only recently that I’ve noticed the fact that Poppy has legs, but Daisy doesn’t have legs (something I felt a bit guilty about).

There are more items in this particular collection, but this post is already super long and I’ve decided to write a separate post focusing on the beaded items as a Arts & Crafts post, honestly I’ll be super surprised if anyone actually manages to get to the bottom of this post. I’ve trying to write this post for days and brain has not been the most helpful in this regard (I know it shows).

So, just in case this isn’t obvious (because sometimes I get caught up in the excitement of discovering new stim toys), I just wanted to iterate how grateful I am for all of this, but also how I’m supremely grateful for having someone like Kim in my life. Thank you Kim, thank so much and I’m sorry if my gratitude doesn’t show clearly enough.

Fruits Basket: Volume 1 by Takaya Natsuki

Image Description: the front cover of a manga-book, Fruits Basket - Volume 1. The front cover depicts a peach-coloured background, while in the foreground there is a female high-school student with long brown hair and brown eyes in a navy-blue and white high-school uniform, kneeling on the ground and smiling up at the reader.
Image Description: the front cover of a manga-book, Fruits Basket – Volume 1. The front cover depicts a peach-coloured background, while in the foreground there is a female high-school student with long brown hair and brown eyes in a navy-blue and white high-school uniform, kneeling on the ground and smiling up at the reader.
Title: Fruits Basket: Volume 1
Author: Takaya Natsuki
Publisher: Chuang Yi Publishing Pte Ltd
Format and Price: Paperback at $15.00 (I bought the series years ago)
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author/Artist:
Natsuki Takaya (real name Naka Hatake) is the penname of a Japanese manga artist best-known for creating the series Fruits Basket. She was born in Shizuoka, Japan, but was raised in Tokyo, where she made her debut in 1992. She enjoys video games such as the Final Fantasy series or Sakura Wars, or working on her different manga series, such as Fruits Basket, which is the second best-selling shōjo manga ever in Japan, and the top selling shōjo manga in North America. Fruits Basket has also been adapted into a twenty-six-episode anime series. In 2001, Takaya received a Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga for Fruits Basket.

According to Takaya (in a sidebar of a Fruits Basket manga volume), she enjoys drawing girls (girly ones) more than she does boys. Takaya also enjoys electronics and music, but dislikes talking about herself. Also revealed in a sidebar of Fruits Basket, Takaya broke her drawing arm (left) after Fruits Basket volume six was published. She had to go into surgery, and as a result, had put Fruits Basket on a brief hiatus. Takaya made a full recovery, but complains that her handwriting had gotten uglier, due to the surgery. During her hospital stay, she gained an interest in baseball.

About The Manga:
A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.

General Observations:
~An Introduction: Volume One is a great introduction of what is to come and the slow progression of meeting the individual members of the Zodiac, one at a time, complete with whacky-antics, shenanigans and surprisingly depressing back-stories (seriously depressing, have your tissues ready). I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the cast of characters were diagnosed with PTSD, especially since Tohru is a pretty good example of a Stephford Smiler.

~Nostalgia Goggles: Fruits Basket is one of the first shojo manga series I ever read so I have a deep love for it and I am completely bias towards it, despite the possibly problematic elements that surface later on. I’m not saying people shouldn’t watch the anime adaptation of the manga, but if you only watch the anime, you missing ENORMOUS chunks from the narrative that only get resolved later on. This manga series is a long term investment, so buckle up and get ready for the ride, I promise it’s worth the wait.

~I Found This Humerus: Despite the fact that its darker as the series progresses, Natsuki Takaya is a great comedy writer and the humour is what brings it back into the light.

~Dysfunction Junction: I don’t want to spoil the series but as the reader slowly gets to know more and more about Tohru Honda, Yuki Sohma, Kyo Sohma, Shigure Sohma, her immediate family members, her friends Uo and Hana (although volumes focusing on them appear much later down the track) as well as other members of The Sohma family, I couldn’t help but notice the common theme: everyone’s family is messed up.

Hana’s family is at the positive end of the scale (mostly positive with some added weird and quirkiness), while The Sohma family belongs at the opposite end the scale (seriously fucked up and emotionally abusive, verbally abusive and occasionally physically abusive in multiple ways/levels). So, while the first few volumes come across as a slap-stick family comedy/drama, I just wanted to put in a family abuse trigger warning in here.

All in all, a great beginning to a complex series, completely worthy of 5 stars and I’m happy to recommend to anyone and everyone

Available for purchase: Amazon and Book Depository

Aside

Autism Acceptance Month: Links

a rainbow dragon coiled around itself in pounce-position, looking as though it's about to take off.
Image Description: a rainbow dragon coiled around itself in pounce-position, looking as though it’s about to take off.

Just a short Link-post today about Autism Acceptance Month. You might be expecting me to explain what Autism Acceptance Month and #LightItUpRed or #RedInstead is about, however, I figured it would be better for those explanations to come directly from Autistic people instead of myself, so check out the links below. If you’d like me to add more links of Autistic Creators (Authors, Bloggers, Youtube Video Creators), let me know in the comments section below and I’m make sure to add their link to the post.

Links:

~ASAN: Australia and New Zealand

~Autistic Self Advocacy Network: Sharon Lewis Statement for Autism Acceptance Month (Youtube Video)

~L.C. Mawson: #RedInstead (Youtube Video)

~Stream of Awareness: Youtube Channel

~Tiffany Grey: Youtube Channel

~Neurowonderful: Ask an Autistic #22 – Why Acceptance? Autism Acceptance Month (Youtube Video)

~Neurowonderful: Ask an Autistic #1 – What is Stimming? (Youtube Video)

~A Bit of Brave: Autistic Stimming (Youtube Video) (Warnings: Flashing, Moving Images, Moving, Rapid Transitions, Coloured Lights)

~Baby Robot: Harmful Stims (Youtube Video) (Warnings: use of snap-chat filters, moving images)

~Baby Robot: The Joy of Stimming (Youtube Video) (Warnings: use of snap-chat filters, moving images)

~The Introverted Matriarch: Chronic Pain and Autism

~Megan Rhiannon: My Autism Diagnosis Story – TW self harm + suicide mentions (Blog-post)

~So Much Stranger, So Much Darker, So Much Madder, So Much Better: Autism A-Z: A is for Acceptance (Blog-post)

~Autism Doesn’t Make Me Blue: How to Support Autistic People This April by Nova Mona (Article)

~April Is Autism Acceptance Month By Laura Jo (Article)

The Dysfunction Junction: Is There A Specialist In The House?

Image Description: a large cluster of smiley faces in the centre of the picture. In the background are multicoloured words against a black background like breath, here and now, accept, track, sense repeatedly printed in the background over and over again.
Image Description: a large cluster of smiley faces in the centre of the picture. In the background are multicoloured words against a black background like breath, here and now, accept, track, sense repeatedly printed in the background over and over again.

Since the end of October 2016, I have been trying and failing to find a specialist doctor qualified to assess people on whether they have ADHD (or possibly something else). One of the unfortunate side effects of Mental Health services is that financial status is often the deciding factor in accessibility.

The only reason I can afford to have therapy sessions for my increasingly unstable anxiety and my pursuit of an ADHD diagnosis is because I have a partner who is willing to support me, he earns a decent wage and we have some savings set aside.

It’s funny just how big a factor money really is in gaining the mental health support services one may require, and by funny, I mean fucking awful. The sheer cost factor was one of the many reasons why I hesitated to pursue an ADHD in the first place, that and, because of my past bad experiences with bad/incompetent doctors, trust is a big factor.

How do I know this person is qualified? What’s their range of experience? Do they have experience with Adult diagnosis? Do they have experience diagnosing Adult Women? And the most terrifying question of all: What if I don’t have ADHD? What if I’ve just been slightly dysfunctional the whole time, and I’ve just been wasting all this time and money for nothing?

Whenever I was given a referral letter to a specialist, I made the effort to google search and attempt to find as much information about these “specialists” as possible. Unfortunately, the clear majority of specialists regarding ADHD are male doctors. I regard this as a bad sign, especially considering the shitty attitude some people and the medical industry have towards Neurodiversity and people who aren’t white cis-boys.

It was why I was so happy when my local GP found a female doctor in Ballarat who stated she was qualified for Adult diagnosis for ADHD and Autism, unfortunately one of the downsides was I would be waiting a minimum of two months before I could see her.

Another downside is that each hourly session was $400, however, I did some research on her, found positive comments, noticed she had a minimal internet presence (a website with a photo and brief bio) and I booked an appointment, expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

I had previously tried to contact a male specialist and due to the rudeness of the receptionist, I never bothered to book an appointment, I figured if you’re that rude to a paying customer, clearly that specialist doesn’t need my money (sad part is that it’s probably true).

But when I contacted Ballarat Psychiatry Group, the receptionist was super nice and very helpful with my inquiries. If you work in the mental health industry, don’t be an arsehole to people over the phone, the people calling up clearly have enough problems to deal with, I can’t stress this enough.

And then the waiting began…

In the almost three months prior to my appointment, I figured it would beneficial to do as much research as possible, print out things to give to the specialist in a bid to minimise the wastage of time. To maintain a vague illusion of organisation, I purchased a specifically set aside compendium-folder (bright pink of course) so that I could keep all my “Mental Health Stuff” all in the one place.

In my view, I had only an hour to distil twenty-eight-years’ worth of dysfunction, I did not have high hopes for this, especially since in therapy sessions I tend to go off on unrelated side notes and forget what I was even talking about in the first place. To try and combat this, I made sure to take lined paper and pens with me, so that I could take notes or make dot-points before the session.

When I went into the doctor’s office for my appointment, she began with the usual scripted dialogue people with when meeting for the first time:
“Hi, how are you?”

I responded with “Fine” automatically, because that is what we are taught to say, we are taught to say we are fine even when we are not (especially when we are not), “fine” is the only socially acceptable answer. Then I reminded myself that I wasn’t paying $400 an hour to be “fine”.

I corrected myself, “Well no, I’m not fine, I wouldn’t be here if I were. I’m inquiring into an Adult Diagnosis of ADHD, I’ve done all this research,” I handed over a bright pink A4 sized document-wallet filled with documents. “And I thought we could start there.”

The fact that she discarded the document-wallet pretty much as soon as I gave it to her was a bad sign to me, however, it was the expression of bored disdain that irritated me (and continues to irritate me whenever I think about it, yes, I’ll admit it, I’m at times terribly petty).

It turns out she’s not qualified at all to assess people on whether they have ADHD (even though it says so on multiple internet resources). Apparently, she primarily dealt with patients who came to her looking for help with ADHD, but it turns out they don’t have ADHD, they just have Anxiety or Depression. Personally, I feel that’s a weird kind of specialisation to have, I mean, what would she do if she came across a person who had Depression and Anxiety but also had ADHD as well?

Anyway, I was offered two choices, choice A was she could email a referral letter to my local GP doctor, and then I would have to book an appointment with my local GP and obtain the referral letter via my GP (the Ballarat doctor couldn’t just print out a referral letter then and there and give to me). Choice B was that I continue with the appointment and she would attempt a paper-form of assessment over multiple sessions and then refer me onto a specialist.

My thought process was that a person who isn’t qualified to assess me is going to ask me questions (if she’s not qualified, how can I trust that she’ll ask the right questions?), over multiple sessions (3 x $400 = $1200) and even at the end of that, I still wouldn’t have a definitive answer because at the end, she’d still have to refer me to a specialist.

So that would be at least three appointments with her and an appointment with an actual qualified specialist (for the sake of argument, let’s assume the qualified specialist charges at the same rate), so that’s $1600 worth of appointments with no guaranteed answers. I’ll admit my first knee-jerk reaction was “shove that up your arse” but somehow, I managed to contain my frustration and annoyance at having my time wasted, although I’m sure my emotional state was probably obvious.

I chose to cancel the appointment and deal with the ADHD specialists directly (or as directly as I could).

I was ranting to my councillor about this and she gave me the suggestion of contacting the RMIT Psychology Clinic and encouraged me to inquire if they had the ability to perform an Adult ADHD assessment.

My councillor informed me that the doctor seeing me would be a graduate doctor (with a senior doctor to supervise) which was why the session would be cheaper. So, I decided to check this out first, and keep the ADHD specialist referral letters for later, in case the RMIT thing doesn’t work out.

Unfortunately, and perhaps this is only me, but I found the website confusing and vague so I’ll try to add more information.

Without a concession card, the doctor session will cost AU $30 and the Assessment Report will cost AU $100 (plus the cost of petrol and possibly parking, IDK, the place is located in Bundoora), however, I want to point out that if you have a concession card, fees and such will be cheaper for you, I can’t say specifically because it will depend on what you’re pursuing the clinic for (the website does have some information about fees, I just didn’t find it clear enough for me).

You will need a referral letter from a GP to gain access to the service. My GP didn’t know about this service (Latrobe University also has a psychology clinic as well in case that university is closer) and, as a result, the RMIT Psychology Clinic has been added to the database my local medical centre maintains for services like these, so hopefully this will help other people too.

When I contacted them, it did involve a bit of fluffing about (a short time on hold while they found the right department/right doctor to speak to, standard university stuff really), but my assigned doctor got back to me within an acceptable time frame and I’ve only had to wait a couple of weeks before I could get an appointment.

Like with all good deals that seem too good to be true, there is a catch, one of the conditions of gaining access to a cheaper assessment is that my appointment will be recorded for training purposes. Apparently, according to the doctor I’ll be seeing for my appointment, a lot of people don’t engage with the service because of this, which is why I’ve made sure to mention it directly.

I’ll be going for my appointment with the RMIT Psychology Clinic next Wednesday and my thought process on this is that perhaps it’s a good thing a recording of my appointment will exist, hopefully it can be used as evidence to help support other people like myself.

Although I don’t have high hopes at this point, I must test out my options, even if this is simply a process of elimination. I’ll ask if I can receive a copy of the recording. I should be able to under the Freedom of Information act.

Speaking off obtaining information, I’ve also been investigating into getting a copy of my records from my forced attendance at Orygen Youth Health, now I wasn’t forced to go there because of a court mandate.

The doctors involved with Orygen Youth Health just repeatedly told me I had to go to appointments and I couldn’t leave the program until I was a legal adult. As an adult, this comes across as “that might not be technically illegal, but definitely sounds unethical” category.

Making a traumatised teenager feel as though they have no choice but to attend therapy sessions with a doctor who won’t listen and keeping said traumatised teenager ignorant of their medical rights belongs in the “Dodgy as Fuck” category.

But then again, the Orygen Youth Service was free for me to access because my mother and I had concession cards, so maybe this is more of a “you get what you pay for” type of situation (not that it makes what they did okay).

I began investigating my Orygen Youth Service medical records back in December and still haven’t received my records, but my thought process was that “What the hell was that Doctor thinking?” and then I needed to know the exact answer to that question, or at least the closest approximation I’ll be able to obtain.

I also thought as I’m not doing my assessment through the education system (not by choice I may add) it may be beneficial to obtain “official” medical documents and see if they can help my cause. Although, I have strong doubts about this.

If you’re in a position where you’re able to pursue a diagnosis for a Neurodiversity condition through the educated system, I encourage you to do this, Doctors are like University Admins, they require an almost bureaucratic level of paper-work to justify you getting an appointment.

I just wanted to add thanks if you managed to get this far through the post, I know it’s absurdly long, especially since it’s a super long post about how not much progress has been made, hopefully next Wednesday will put me in better position and I’ll know where to go from there.

Arts and Crafts: For Whom The Bell Tolls

Image Description: a title-post picture with the words Arts and Crafts written in the centre of the picture in rainbow word-art with a clip-art picture of a red rose in each of the corners.
Image Description: a title-post picture with the words Arts and Crafts written in the centre of the picture in rainbow word-art with a clip-art picture of a red rose in each of the corners.

Articles to read before I begin:
~Neurowonderful: Ask an Autistic #6 – What’s Wrong With Autism Speaks? by Amythest Schaber
~Autism Women’s Network: Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group? by Amy Sequenzia
~The Caffeinated Autistic: Why I am Against Autism Speaks (and you should be, too)
~My Autistic Point of View: April is Autism Awareness Month, Autism Acceptance and #RedInstead

One of the problems with working in Retail is that you quickly lose your faith in humanity, especially when you see people do questionable stuff in the name of profit. Take hot-cross buns, as far as I’m concerned, supermarkets and bakeries shouldn’t be selling them until at least March. But on January 1st, year after year, the supermarket I work at has hot-cross buns ready to go at 06:00 am when the store opens.

The first day of the year, the Christmas season has only just finished and yet, the desire to shove Easter in our faces is clearly a temptation some corporations clearly can’t resist. Now, you could blame the customer for buying in the product, after all no one is forcing them to buy hot-cross buns on January 1st, but my experience with customer service has taught me that convenience is the key.

Unless the customer has come in for a specific item for a specific purpose, if the product isn’t there on the shelf, the majority of customers won’t bother, they only want the item because it’s right there. This is why, in my personal view, I feel that boycotting a product because the company displays unethical behaviour doesn’t achieve much in the long term.

Sure, it makes me feel better not to purchase items from Nestle (reasons why here) or Lindt (reasons why here). But the reality is that I know that by the end of the Easter period all those chocolate bunnies and chickens are going to be sold and consumed, and there’s not much I can do to stop them.

I understand that boycotting and choosing to abstain from certain companies and items is the only form of protest some people can participate in, this isn’t a judgement of that, I just dislike grappling with the feeling that I should be doing more.

Eventually, I got an idea, what if I could combine Neurodivergent traits like crafting and hoarding with those little bells that accessorise the chocolate Lindt rabbits and chickens and use them as part of a beaded lanyard? Behold!

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black elastic, with four different types of beads (hourglass, pearl, acrylic, transparent) displayed in nine colour-variations of beads (light pink, dark pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black elastic, with four different types of beads (hourglass, pearl, acrylic, transparent) displayed in nine colour-variations of beads (light pink, dark pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of lavender coloured elastic with with four different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, hourglass) displayed in variations of purple with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of lavender coloured elastic with with four different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, hourglass) displayed in variations of purple with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of robin's egg blue coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, glittery, hourglass) displayed in variations of light blue with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of robin’s egg blue coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, pearl, glittery, hourglass) displayed in variations of light blue with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a blue-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of pink coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, hourglass, glittery, pearl) displayed in variations of light pink and dark pink with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of pink coloured elastic with with five different types of beads (acrylic, transparent, hourglass, glittery, pearl) displayed in variations of light pink and dark pink with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter in between each group of beads, with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black rat-tail cord with eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with gold glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.
Image Description: from right to left, a chrome key-ring and lobster-claw clasp, attached to the key-ring is small gold-coloured bell. Also attached to the key ring is a long beaded lanyard made of black rat-tail cord with eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), a transparent-glittery-star-bead with gold glitter, another group of eight pearl beads (pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and purple), with a pink-glittery-star-bead with silver glitter as a stopper at the end.

So while I’m aware this might be a bad idea, if I had to pick one, I’d probably pick the last one. I love pearl beads and rainbows and that covers both. It also might not be obvious from the picture but the pearl rainbow lanyard is slightly shorter than the other ones, which I’ll admit are ridiculously long. I bought the black rat-tail cord off Ebay, I paid AU $2.00 in shipping fees (the seller is UK-based), but I honestly didn’t care. I’ve noticed the black rat-tail cord is thinner than the black rat-tail cord Kim obtained for me from Lincraft, but I felt this worked for me, the hot-pink wrap-tail cord I bought is too thick for me to use with my current collection of beads, which is super frustrating.

So what do readers think? Are the bells a good addition? Or just another one of my shitty ideas? I would offer to sell these and donate the profits to AWN or ASAN, but seeing as my Diverse Books Giveaway didn’t really take off (who had thought it would be difficult to tempt Australian and New Zealand book bloggers with free stuff?), I’m beginning to think I’m not as persuasive as I thought. Let me know what you think in the comments section down below.