Monthly Archives

November 2015

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De-stressing

The way I deal with stress can be described as anything from ‘extremely mature adult’ all the way to ‘why is that grown man crying and eating sat in a puddle of his own tears’.

Sadly, last week was more so the latter than the former! This time of year is always hectic for everyone for so many reasons, and November seems to be where it sets in, at least for me anyway!

I decided last week I’d write out and post a few of the things stressing me out, of course I naturally forgot to do this and now we’re on Monday of the following week.

Usually I only like to post blogposts with pictures, but daylight is now a luxury, thanks to the great British weather. I saw street lights on at 1:30pm, it sucks. So the lightning for pictures has become almost non-existant, and I’ve been struggling with early mornings because, well I’m gonna blame it on being ill the week before last and being a bit ill last week also.

Here are some things that managed to stress me out:

  • Uni
  • Coursework titles being released
  • Going back to work
  • Going back to work to a new job
  • Not having the time to watch Jessica Jones on Netflix
  • Christmas prep
  • Not knowing when I’m working over Christmas
  • Amazon sending me Christmas presents damaged
  • Being tired 24/7
  • My Avengers blanket not being snuggly enough
  • The cliffhangers The Walking Dead leaves on every week, and now the midseason finale’s cliffhanger.
  • Trying to win tickets to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere in London and not winning
  • Deadlines
  • Having to balance my diet
  • Having to restrict my dairy intake when cereal is my favourite food and I am in a swing of loving coffee and hot chocolates at the minute. Life is cruel.

Half of these were real dumb, but hey that’s my life.

This week I feel a lot better, health wise and motivation wise. I still have a crapton of balls in the air but I can deal with it, as I always do!

I shall get back to real posts soon enough because it’s December as of tomorrow and I frigging love Christmas, so I need to get festive.

I only have one thing left, to ask you a question.

ARE YOU READY TO JINGLE YOUR BELLS?

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review (Spoiler free)

The other night, my roommates and I went to go see Mockingjay Part 2 at midnight! This was a LONG awaited event for me, as I’ve been hooked ever since I heard of the first film, and read the books in the week The Hunger Games came out in UK cinemas. And now it’s finally come to an end!

This will be spoiler free, as far as possible, I don’t want to give any plot points away.

First of all, I am not a huge fan of the book Mockingjay. Whilst I like it, it’s definitely my least favourite of the trilogy. I was very worried for Mockingjay Part 1, as the first half of Mockingjay was, to methe worst part of the series, however I absolutely LOVED it on screen, and it’s one of my favourite films in the franchise. I actually quite liked the rest of Mockingjay as a book, but I still think the first two beat it in terms of enjoyment.

So first I’m going to start with my cons of Mockingjay Part 2:

Soundtrack

This may seem a strange thing to complain about, but movie soundtracks can make or break a film. Part 2 reused so many tracks from the older films, but didn’t get them quite right. I can’t remember exactly, but I know the track at the start of Catching Fire, when Katniss is in the woods, is used during a fast paced scene in the Capitol. That didn’t make much sense to me, and seemed a little lazy reusing old tracks in unfitting scenarios.

Otherwise, I really like the music, but it reused too many old tracks, which kinda took you away from being immersed in the film. On the flip side, I loved that an instrumental version of ‘The Hanging Tree’ was played towards the start.

Pacing

This is a problem that can be traced back to the book. The pacing of Mockingjay was strange, especially when compared to the other two. The film however, didn’t fix this. At times when pacing should have been fast, it was slow, and at times where it should be slow, or rather, just a little slower, it was fast. Action scenes and tense scenes sometimes require it to be fast paced, but this can take away the impact of deaths. Which definitely happened here. The deaths in this film didn’t have the major impact they should have done, and seemed to just be given a second on screen before moving on.

Maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it fits in with the severity of the rebellion, but it just didn’t feel like the way many characters deserved to go out.

Limited perspective

The books are limited by being stuck in Katniss’ perspective, when there’s a whole revolution going on, we are missing a huge chunk of what’s going on by seeing Panem through her eyes. This is a key issue in Mockingjay Part 2, in the last 35-45% of the film. I had hoped that the film would have utilised not being limited to Katniss’ perspective, and having the freedom to show what is going on anywhere, but instead it followed the book almost perfectly. You may think that may never normally be a bad point, and generally, I don’t think it is, but I wanted a more complete picture at the end. Not to have things have to be explained in monologues or be pieced together by characters, rather than simply being shown on screen when that option is available.

I should also note, I don’t really like the ending of the series. It wasn’t what I would have chosen, nor do I truly think it fits with what the entire saga is about. However, this is an issue with the book, and I know to many people, this is the perfect ending, so were probably thrilled to see it play out on screen.

Now for the pros!

The Sewers/Action scenes

To avoid spoilers, I won’t give any context to the scene, but wow did the film get this right. It went above and beyond what could be taken from the book, and somehow made this entire scene better than could ever be imagined. The sewers scene was destined to be on screen, and an amazing job was done with it. This was definitely my favourite part of the movie! You know it’s good when you’ve read the book and know what is going to happen, but you still find yourself questioning what the hell is going on and what the outcome will be.

The nail was hit perfectly on the head, I’m unsure a better job could have been done with this.

Every other action scene in the film was incredible. The CGI was pretty great, even though I’m not huge on CGI, the choreography was good, and everything felt realistic, even in this crazy dystopian world.

Cressida + Other characters

When reading the book, I didn’t care so much for Cressida, one of the few rebels who originates from the Capitol, however the film series made me care about her a lot more. Yes, I’m bias because Natalie Dormer plays her, but even so, she became one of my favourite things about Part 2. I’m desperate to know more about the Capitol rebels, at what point did they begin to hate the Capitol? How did they find each other? How did they escape and make it all the way to 13? How much danger were they in? Were 13 reluctant to take them in incase they were spies?

I’m glad the film made a point to include the Capitol rebels as wanted fugitives on the level of Katniss, Finnick, and other characters associated with the rebellion.

Nor did I truly care for Coin in the books, I always felt like my view of her was being warped by Katniss’ view. The films gave me the opportunity to build my own perspective and opinions of her.

Paylor was a character not given much time in the books, and the films made me seriously root for Commander Paylor, and want to see more of her. She was brought to life on film much more vividly than she was on page.

Departures from the book

Whilst I did appreciate the scenes in the book, which would have been towards the start of Part 2, featuring Katniss and Johanna, and the bond they form, it made sense to cut them out for the substantive part of the movie. Furthermore, streamlining the District 2 plotline gave more time for the main ‘chunk of the film’.

I loved the scenes in the Capitol, with Snow and others, who we were never able to see through Katniss’ perspective. Seeing the way the Capitol reacts to the rebellion growing stronger and stronger, until it is on their doorstop was fascinating. I would have liked a few more scenes from Capitol citizens, but we still were given enough, not every wish can be granted in a two hour movie!

Overall, this was a good ending to a great saga. Sadly, I think out of the latter 3 films in the saga, all directed by Francis Lawrence, this was the weakest. This is no way means it isn’t a good film, I would still give it a 7/10, but it fails to reach the heights the saga has previously hit.

If I had to rank the 4 films from best/favourite to worst/least favourite it would be:

Catching Fire

Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games

I hope you enjoy the movie if you see it, and Happy Hunger Games!

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ExDirectory | Liverpool’s Secret Bar

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of going to ExDirectory, a bar that has only been open for just over a week now in Liverpool.

The thing is, this is a bar with a twist. Last week, a post went up on the Liverpool Echo about this new secret bar, and within minutes, it was Trending in Liverpool and everyone was going MAD about it!

Why you ask? Because the bar is disguised as a phone box, with no location given. This is in a city with hundreds of red phone boxes. The phone number is not explicitly stated, even though probably a hundred or so are listed, leaving you to work out which (if any) is correct.

You get free salted popcorn and a very fancy carafe of water at the table. This place is swanky.

My friends and I immediately went WILD over this place! And were scouring the internet for clues as to the location and phone number. After a solid few hours, we cracked it all together, and I got a booking for myself and my friend Fae, who visited from London this weekend!

Thankfully, I decided to scout out the location Thursday morning before our booking, and it turned out the location that my friend Shannon and I had painstakingly worked out, was wrong. Wrong only by 300 metres or so, but in a city full of alleys, nooks and crannies, that was BAD, but I finally discovered it after 45 mins of walking around!

The cocktail menu was MASSIVE, and featured such a huge range. It had some signature cocktails (including a Liverpool themed one I want to try), desert themed ones, ‘fizz’ themed drinks, and much more.

They also stock a wide variety of spirits and pretty much any drink you could desire. If you don’t drink, I imagine you could get some pretty amazing mocktails too.

The cocktails ranged from around £8-£11, which is slightly above average cocktail prices in Liverpool. However, these are FAR better than the average cocktail you’ll get. This isn’t a place for a bog standard Sex on the Beach or Pina Colada that costs £7. These are some crazy combos of some amazing spirits that I can’t afford a bottle of, and some amazing mixers, spices, fruits, sweets and little extras- one comes with a bit of battenberg cake. How British. I love it.

This was the cocktail I had, Little Fluffy Clouds. It’s gin based, with limoncello, cream soda and raspberries. Oh and candy floss. It was incredible. I was debating recently whether gin and cream soda would be good. I was wrong, it was GREAT.

Fae had a ‘King of Japan’, which was sake based (appropriate as we have been planning our Japan trip this weekend), and it tasted like the smoothest, most incredible beer ever. I’m not mad on beer, but I could have drank 18 of these. It also came with a little cute folded paper crane on the glass’s stem.

Next, I had a G+T – my classic. It was King of Soho gin, which was new to me, and hot DAMN. It was so smooth, I could have drank it on the rocks.

Fae has some vanilla vodka with lemonade, and that was great too.

This post reads like the most #spon post ever, but really, I just LOVED this place. The drinks were incredible, the atmosphere was great, the staff were amazing! Especially our server, who it turns out, lives 2 doors down from me! Small world!

If you’re anywhere in the North West, it is 100% worth a visit. It’s so much fun just finding the clues!

You can visit the website and check out the Twitter too!

You’ll have to crack the code yourself if you want to visit, I’m not ruining the fun for you!

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The Help | Spoiler Free Book Review

I recently finished reading The Help, and that book has CHANGED me! Seriously, I frigging loved it. Much more than I expected. So I thought I’d write a little review for it.

Here’s a bit about it, if somehow, like me, you haven’t read or seen this book even though it’s almost 2016:

The chapters are in 3 different narratives, Aibileen, a maid who lost her son a few years back, who is still hurting from her loss whilst raising her seventeenth white child, her best friend Minny, a maid who is constantly at risk of losing her job for sassing her boss, and Skeeter, a white girl who moved back from college to find the maid who raised her gone, with no one to give her an explanation.

These three women, over the course of the book, end up becoming more valuable to each other than anyone could have ever predicted.

This book to me was the flip side of Mad Men, even though most describe it as the flip side of Gone with the Wind (I haven’t seen that however). The Draper family have a maid, who is a minor recurring character, and honestly, as minor character, I never gave her much thought. You only ever seemed to see her pick up the phone for another character, or saying hello as Don walked through the door. However, this is a new perspective. I imagine Upstate New York in the 60’s was much more progressive than Jackson, Mississippi but who knows, I don’t live in the USA in the 60’s.

All of these characters feel so incredible real. Kathryn Stockett really painted a picture, I felt as if I was transported to Jackson in the 60’s, everything was so vivid and believable. I have no idea how she managed to craft such an elegant story that resonated so well with me, and obviously thousands of other’s considering what a hit the book is.

Reading this most felt like a lesson in history. My history knowledge is pretty damn poor, I opted to stop studying history when I was 14, but now I find it so fascinating. Through this, I was given a different perspective on marginalisation and racism. I try to educate myself on discrimination as much as I can, as I, a white cis male born into a first world country, am not the target of this. The thing I have been abused on the most is my hair colour.

I felt so hurt when the characters did, and when they feared for themselves. For so many people this was real, and it still in 2015 is a reality for so many.

The relevance of this book in all times cannot be understated.

I am yet to watch the film adaptation, though I promised my mum the next time I’m home for a few days, we’ll watch it, since it’s on Netflix now! The casting seems amazing, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Jessica Chastain all fit the bill for their characters. Plus have you watched How to Get Away with Murder?! Viola Davis is freaking amazing. HTGAWM season 1 is on Netflix, go watch it now and don’t look back.

This quote really resonated with me, it turns out it’s also one of the author’s favourite quotes:

We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.’

We are all quick to see the differences between ourselves and others, distancing ourselves. When maybe that isn’t the best course of action.

This book is one everyone should read. I don’t cry much, but I cried twice reading this. I closed this book, and I didn’t have my usual ‘satisfied’ book finishing feeling. I felt so fulfilled, I felt enlightened, and felt like some sort of weight was lifted. I have no clue why, but it seems this book enriched me and gave me something I can’t put into words. I think that’s the most you can ask for out of a book.

Buy it here:

Amazon

The Book Depository

Waterstones

WHSmith

It’s cheapest on Amazon, but unless you spend over £20 or have Prime shipping will cost you, so opt for the slightly more expensive Book Depository instead. Plus you get a free bookmark, if they still do that.

Thanks for reading!

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Hogwarts. | Outfit Inspo

Primark sells oh so much stuff with Hogwarts on it. Or some sort of Harry Potter reference on. In fact, I bought another Harry Potter piece of clothing from Primark the other day, that makes 5 or 6 or something that I own now. I need to stop. Hell, I even made my own modern Gryffindor uniform cosplay.

Here is another outfit inspo post, this one is much more simple than the last few have been.

Plus, please ignore the fact that my jumper is majorly creased, outfit blogposts are not so glamorous to pull off. I always imagined it was much more glitzy and amazing.

It’s a little weird looking at these pictures now, these were taken about a month ago, and since I’ve had a haircut (and an extreme skin breakout, why, life, why?)

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Hogwarts Jumper – £10 – Primark (last year, no website)

Women’s Chelsea Boots – £8 – Primark (no website)

Black Jeans – £30 – Topman

I’m doing my Michael Fassbender face.

I absolutely adore this jumper, it’s so comfy, it’s maroon (which makes me think of Gryffindor) and is Harry Potter related. All great things.

Once again, thanks to Ren for taking the pics!

Thanks for reading friends!!