Category Archives: Kirsty rambles on about life, the universe, tv, and everything!

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests – #NEWTsReadathon2018 by @Book_Roast @MagicalReadthn ‬

Last month I took part in the catch up of the #OWLsReadathon and I passed 8 out of 12 subjects which means I’m eligible to sit NEWTs for 8 areas (although I started a ninth before the end July so when I finish that I’ve decided that category is free too…and also as long as I read the OWLs book first I can open up that NEWTS catetgory as well 😂). I did read more than 8 books in July but I’m such a mood reader and because of YALC I ran out of time.

Book Roast has set up another fantastic challenge and to achieve Outstanding grades in each of have to read 36 books 😭. I’m going to set a TBR for each prompt below and prioritise Muggle Studies, Astronomy and Transfiguration (for Outstanding grades) but hope to complete the rest over the course of the year.

This should be a yearly challenge so I’m looking forward to coming back to the Hogwarts Library each year.

Check out my TBR below:

Find out more about the challenge here –

Which 3 subjects most appeal to you?


#YALC2018 #BeaCraftivist Activity Guidelines

IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN THIS ACTIVITY IT WOULD REALLY HELP IF YOU HAD YOUR OWN NEEDLE (with large eye) AND SCISSORS (nail scissors) with you or back at your accommodation. I will not have enough of these to issue. Also feel free to bring your own thread.

We all know that book people are passionate people but, that at times, passion and fighting injustice can be draining. That is where Craftivism comes in. I found Sarah Corbett and her Craftivist Collective through Unbound and was intrigued by the concept of gentle/quiet activism.

The Pitch

What does reading mean to you? Want to save our libraries? Love crafting?

With a tv adaptation depicting Ray Bradbury’s Book Burning dystopia Fahrenheit 451 out this year and the failure of our government to protect our libraries or to properly fund school libraries the time for us to craft/write/speak up is now.

Come and take part in a craftivist event at YALC to create a wall of quiet activism. On Friday/Saturday come and collect your Craftivist pack and spend the evening reflecting on your love of books. Bring your completed crafts to create a wall of book love that will be shared on blogs, social media and with MPs. And, if I can find somewhere that accepts it it will be moved to be displayed at a library/bookshop after the event.

Kirsty Stanley is an Occupational Therapist, writer and book blogger at Books, Occupation… Magic! She can be found most places online @kirstyes. Along with her friends she turns 40 this year and is organising this to celebrate the importance of books and reading to personal development. With amazing YA literature being released today we need to ensure teens can get their hands on it.

Here are some links on underfunding of our libraries:

Collect your pack (Fri or Sat)

I have around 350 packs available and I’ll put half out on Friday and half on Saturday. Come over to the Craftivist wall to collect your pack (I might not be there so just help yourselves – on a first come first served basis) and then over the course of the day or evening create your own “Craftivist book” to come back to hang on our wall of quiet activism by 11am Sunday. As soon as it’s ready feel free to add it straight to the wall. You might inspire others with your words.

Basically we will be recreating the YALC wall of books with our own.

If you are only attending YALC on Sunday or you simply want to get stuck in beforehand in case I run out of packs feel free to create your own “Craftivist book” out of materials you have at home and share it on the wall by 11am Sunday.

Craftivist Book Activity Guidelines

Each pack will contain a foam mobile phone case, a material insert, a length of wool, a heart hanger and sticky Velcro hook.

Additionally decide if you want to write or sew your message, and if the latter collect some thread from the box too. If you are writing use the Sharpies provided to write your message but please leave them at the wall for others to use.

Here is my step by step example as one idea. Feel free to tweak or to use your own embellishments.

Step one find the cut thread on one side of your mobile phone case. Unpick it down one side and along the bottom so it opens like a book (leave one side threaded) and leave your unpicked thread attached to use later.

Decide which is going to be the front cover of your book. I think the white side might be easier because you can write on it.

Title your “book” and add your name as the author of your message.

Next is the most important part – decide what your message is going to be. Why are books and/or libraries important to you?

Depending on how much time you have you can either write or sew your message. You can see I did both, and I used my writing as a guideline – no way could my brain work out freehand sewing 🤯. I also chose to share a quote that I love about libraries but do share your own stories and words too.

Then I used the unpicked thread to sew the pages into the book finishing at the top where I then threaded the excess through the wooden heart and tied it off into a knot too big to slide back through the hole.

Add your sticky Velcro hook to the back of the heart which will enable you to stick your message to the book wall.

Finally bind your book and your message with the wool. Take a picture and share. Use the hashtags #beacraftivist and #yalc2018 in your posts. Also feel free to come back here and leave a message in the comments about how you found taking part in the activity and what went through your head whilst creating your Craftivist book. Sarah terms these Crafterthoughts.

Book Wall Display

By 11am Sunday I’m hoping everyone will have shared their books so do come back to take a look at everyone else’s messages, take photos and tweet them out – especially to your local MP. You can find out who that is here –

I would dearly love for this display to live on beyond YALC so if you are happy for that to happen just leave your book on the wall.


Thanks to Dorset Scrapstore for letting me purchase the mobile phone cases and fabric for £7!!! – I cleaned them out of the former. I thought the adaption of mobile phone cases into books was kind of ironic.

Find your local scrapstore here.

If this activity has got you quietly fired up do consider picking up a copy of How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett from your local friendly bookstore or, better yet, if you still have one, ask your library to stock a copy.

#IVF Update – It’s more about the money

I saw my consultant yesterday to see what the next steps are and the basic answer is it’s up to me – and funds.

IVF has ethical, emotional, practical and financial considerations and no decision is easy to make. I keep going round in circles trying to decide what’s best.

I sat down last week and did the maths and worked out that so far – after all the initial tests and one failed attempt I have spent £9k. £1.5k of that (i.e. the donor sperm) can be transferred on future attempts but only in this country. Although you will see the cost of IVF listed at around £3.5k this often doesn’t include everything- my drugs were around £1k. £80 per basic blood test, hidden costs such as travel etc. You are looking at a minimum of 5k per attempt. More if you need to use donors. Clearly I have had to loan this money and would need to do the same for further treatment.

It is likely that the egg that fertilised abnormally did so because of a chromosomal abnormality and who knows if this the standard quality of my eggs now.

The consultant basically said we have no idea if this was my best attempt, average attempt or worst attempt. Most likely average (so only 2 eggs produced. Neither of which was viable).

My options are:

Call it a day (waste of 2 sperm donated units £1k [I don’t believe they can be transferred onto anyone else] but with refund of pregnancy slot £500).

Try IVF with my own eggs and the existing sperm donor units again – Approx £5k per attempt although there is a company that offers two cycles at my existing clinic for £8.6k

Try IUI with my own eggs and the existing sperm donor units again (ideally would need to have additional tests to make sure there is no blockages or problems with my Fallopian tubes. – Tests around £300 and each attempt between £2-21/2k. This would still be drug assisted and if a miracle happened and I suddenly produced a decent number of eggs I could switch to IVF.

IVF with donor eggs and existing sperm donor units in this country (unable to ship those units to clinics abroad). At my current clinic there is around a 9 month waiting list – with a £550 Non-refundable fee to go on the list, a £250 consultation and possibly a monitored cycle at around £500.

Then It will cost around £8k per attempt and no guarantees it would even go to transfer stage. I think mostly this is with egg sharing so in effect you are paying for someone else’s treatment cycle and possibly getting half of the eggs they produce (ideally 4 minimum). If the cycle doesn’t work you have to pay the £550 fee again and return to the bottom of the waiting list.

There is a IVF Donor refund company that offers a minimum of 2 donor egg collection cycles with ongoing fresh and frozen transfers to the limit of how many eggs are produced. This costs £14k (including all medication and tests) and if you don’t have a baby at the end you get a 15% refund. They don’t do this at my clinic though and the nearest is London but I assume with all monitoring appointments taking place there. Currently I get to do all of these locally (30-40 mins away) which works much better with work. Not sure of their waiting times.

IVF abroad with donor eggs and new donor sperm or embryo transfer. Not sure of the cost of this option yet. Not sure if they offer a similar guarantee scheme with multiple cycles/money back or Acosta to join waiting list. The wait tends to be less time. Eggs come from younger altruistic donors so you usually get all of the eggs from a cycle.

I do know that adoption is also something to consider but as I think I’ve said before you have to have ruled out continuing with IVF and from reports it’s also a lengthy, intense, detailed process where you are all those around you are judged. Not sure I could cope with that currently.

To add to all of this going through my head it is then it is not helpful to hear negative and unhelpful comments about the nature of parenthood from people around you.

I don’t really know where I’m going from here but I am looking into having the tests on my Fallopian tubes to see if IUI (or indeed a natural pregnancy if that came up as an option) could be an possibility if that Golden Egg came along.

IUI would be the cheaper option for trying again with my own eggs and the donor sperm I already have, it will also be less invasive but potentially less effective.

I think to try any options with donor eggs or embryos I am looking at a wait plus needing time to raise funds and lose further weight. My age is slightly less relevant for this option.

I’m naturally feeling pretty low and disheartened and really want to urge people not to wait too long if you know you’d love children of your own.

Not sure when my next update will be. Thanks for reading.

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