Netflix Originals (Part 2)

Back in January I wrote a post with a few Netflix recommendations, and since then there’s been a whole host of new Netflix originals.

Second Seasons

There has been a ton of Netflix shows continuing on into their second season this year, including Master of None, Grace and Frankie, Sense8, and The Get Down (although this was christened a ‘Part 2’ rather than a separate season). I mentioned most of these shows in my previous post so I’m just going to briefly summarise whether I found the second seasons worth watching.

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I absolutely love Sense8. The 2nd season reached – and maybe even surpassed – my expectations and was definitely worth the 2 year wait. Sense8 is just so artfully written and filmed, with rich and dynamic characters that you can’t help becoming invested in. The 2nd season saw the addition of a new ‘cluster’ which opened so many new storylines and relationships. I was devastated when I found out that Sense8 was not being renewed, especially after the cliffhanger ending of season 2. Luckily, after a massive outcry from fans, Netflix is going to create one more episode to serve as a grand finale and hopefully tie up a lot of loose ends.

Although different in many ways, Master of None, Grace and Frankie, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt all fit neatly into the category of ‘Kooky Comedies’. Personally, I much preferred the 2nd season of Master of None. It felt like a season that was really offered you a little bit of everything. There were a couple of episodes set in Modena, Italy which gave a complete change from the show being centred around the rush of New York City. There were even a couple of episodes in which Dev (the main character, played by Aziz Ansari) took a backseat, such as “Thanksgiving” and “New York, I Love You”, allowing other characters to shine. Master of None practically captures life in 2017, exploring everything from the trivial – trying out a ‘popular dating app’ (that’s 100%, definitely, absolutely not Tinder) – to the incredibly heartfelt – coming out to family and falling in unrequited love. Grace and Frankie also manages to capture this mixture of intensity and sillyness, with the two women embarking on a venture to create vibrators for elderly women, but also struggling with aging, increasing frailty and not being taken seriously in the business world. This is something that Netflix seems to achieve in almost all of their original content, and it makes for great viewing. The characters feel real, because they experience the lows along with the highs, just like most people do in reality.

The Get Down, like Sense8, is sadly not being renewed for a 3rd season, despite being an incredible show. It’s vibrant, colourful and heartfelt with an amazing soundtrack to match. Definitely one I’d recommend watching.

Beyond 2 Seasons

May saw the release of season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a show with the completely crazy (and quite dark) premise of following a girl who is trying to rebuild her life after being kidnapped and trapped in a bunker for 15 years. However, in the 3rd season as well as the previous 2, the overwhelming message is one of positivity as the naive Kimmy Schmidt exists as a burst of colour amongst the cold reality of a worn-down New York neighbourhood. Despite being in the process of divorcing her evil kidnapper, Kimmy’s main concerns are finding a date (with the fantastic Daveed Diggs) and avoiding internet humiliation, in a show that never seems to take itself too seriously.

One of Netflix’s most famous originals, Orange is the New Black reached it”s 5th (!) season this year, and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Although I enjoyed this season, I can’t say it blew me away. I wish there had been more focus on the quiet moments of grief following the death of one of the most beloved inmates rather than just the shouting, screaming, rioting moments. For me, this season didn’t quite live up to the previous ones, as it began to slightly sacrifice emotion and thoughtfulness in favour of shock value and exaggeration.

Shows I Haven’t Finished Yet

Having only just started the 2nd season of Narcos, I’m way behind everyone else, but so far it’s a great watch. Although it may be a bit gory for some, (seeing people beat to a pulp is not for the weak stomached) you can’t get more dramatic than Narcos. A show that really proves that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, I was awestruck by the events that unfolded in Columbia, events that previously I knew very little about (cut me some slack, I wasn’t even born yet). Yes, it is most definitely a dramatisation, but it’s just so darn good.

Confession time: I’m slowly becoming a star trek nerd. I’ve watched almost all of The Next Generation and have made some pretty serious progress on Deep Space 9, so the new Discovery series was a bit of an excitement for me. I’m aware that it’s not a true Netflix original, rather a Netflix exclusive, but I couldn’t leave it off this list. There’s only been 3 episodes released so far, and I’m slowly warming up to it, after finding the first episode a little underwhelming and souless. The thing I like about star trek is that it’s a little bit silly, with ridiculous aliens wearing budget costumes. For me, Discovery seemed slightly too serious, launching into battle and conflict before I could catch my breath. But, I reserve judgement, we’ve only had 3 episodes so far and there are many more to come. 
So there’s my thoughts on a few more Netflix originals. Sorry for the massive delay between posts, I’ve been lacking inspiration lately so let me know if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see my write. Drink some water, do some exercise, watch some Netflix. Take care of yourself. X

Liebster Award

Thanks to my lovely friend Izzy at Thinking and Inking for nominating me for this.

The rules:

  • Post the award to your blog
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • State eleven facts about you
  • Answer the questions
  • Think of eleven more questions for the nominees

11 Facts About Me

  1. My go-to cup of tea is Earl Grey with milk and 1 sugar.
  2. I’ve been a veggie for 5 years now.
  3. Most of my conversations are between me and my 2 dogs, a big cuddly ridgeback named Naya and a little terrier named Freya.
  4. I’m a total crybaby, even just a particularly sad advert can get to me. Laughing also often ends in tears.
  5. I love cats but am allergic, which causes a massive internal struggle between wanting to stroke a cat and avoiding an allergic reaction.
  6. Languages interest me massively, I’m studying French and hope to study Italian, Russian and Sign Language in the future.
  7. I’m a fan of dying my hair but hate going to the hairdresser’s – smalltalk with a stranger for 3 hours is my nightmare.
  8. I like gaming but I really don’t have the attention span for it. I play too many different games at once, and still haven’t finished the 1st Assassin’s Creed after 3 years.
  9. My weirdest ‘fear’ (aversion) is baked beans. They’re disgusting and unnerve me.
  10. I’m a massive nail-biter, it’s my worst habit.

Izzy’s Questions

  1. Favourite poet?
    I’m not a massive poetry buff, but I love Maya Angelou’s work (“Still I Rise” in particular) and Neil Gaiman manages to create vivid, rhythmic descriptions.
  2. Last song you listened to?
    Had my music on shuffle walking through town, and it was Let It Be by the Beatles.
  3. If you could meet an author, living or dead, who would it be?
    I think Oscar Wilde would make for some great conversations.
  4. How do you relax?
    When I’m trying to relax I read, play games or listen to music. But most of the time, I just live in a constant state of worry and tension.
  5. If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    In terms of personality, I wish I took more risks and just went for things instead of over-thinking them. Physically, I wouldn’t mind going up cup size.
  6. Favourite book cover?
    I love the cover for The Power by Naomi Alderman. It hints to you where the book is going, with the propaganda poster style.
  7. What’s guaranteed to make you laugh?
    Something dry, sarcastic and a bit silly. There’s a ridiculous sketch by Joe Lycett which I love.
  8. Greatest dream for the future?
    Career-wise I don’t know yet, but I hope to combine whatever I do with having my own family.
  9. What are you currently reading?
    Storm of Swords (the 3rd Game Of Thrones book) by George R.R Martin. It’s amazing and I’d highly recommend it.
  10. Favourite fun fact?
    A sound effect called the “Wilhelm Scream” has been used in over 350 films as well as hundreds of TV shows. It’s been in Star Wars, Titanic, Avatar, Lord of the Rings and the Minions.
  11. How would you describe yourself in three words?
    Curious, distracted, emotional.

 

Thanks again to Izzy for nominating me, and forcing me to finally get round to posting.

Birthday Books

 

2017-06-28 18.28.10

Just over a week ago was my 17th birthday, and the only thing on my wishlist (other than money towards replacing my chromebook which I accidentally murdered) was books. So, here’s a look at the books I was gifted and the ones I picked up for myself recently.

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First up were 3 classics that I’d never read before, all from the “Alma Classics” set. I’ve bought some from this range before and I absolutely love all of them, the cover art by Nathan Burton is so vibrant that you can’t help wanting to show them off on your shelves. This time around I picked up The Double by Fyodor Dostoevsky as well as both The War Of The Worlds and The Invisible Man by H.G Wells.

I’m just over halfway through The Invisible Man and so far I’ve been really drawn in by it. As the title suggests, the plot centers around a mysterious invisible man, who chooses to use his hidden identity to cause havoc and chaos. It can be a little bit wordy in places (a risk you take when reading something from pre-1900) but the plot is simple and well-executed, leaving you wanting to unravel all the mysteries surrounding this invisible gentleman. Wells’ slightly sarcastic tone also makes this book a great read for me, adding in a bit of humour amongst the mystery and science.

Also by H.G Wells, I choose to buy a copy of The War Of The Worlds after my English Literature teacher recommended it in a lesson. I’ve watched the 2005 Spielberg film (starring Tom Cruise, my most bizarre childhood crush) on TV once or twice and as I consider myself a sci-fi fan, I figured I had to give the book a read. I’ve not started it yet but after reading some of The Invisible Man I have high hopes.

I’ll confess that I’d never heard the name Fyodor Dostoevsky despite knowing of his very famous novel Crime and Punishment. The blurb is what made me pick this up rather than any of his other works, there’s something interesting about the idea of meeting a doppelganger who is your opposite in every imaginable way. The book focuses on a young man named Yakov, who declines into madness after being faced with a double who is far more popular and successful than himself. I’m excited to start reading this and am keeping my fingers crossed that there won’t be too much of a vocabulary barrier considering it was first published in 1846.


 

Inkeeping with my usual book purchasing habits, I also picked up a few more sci-fi/dystopia novels. It would probably be a good idea for be to broaden my reading horizons a little bit rather than making a beeline for the “Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror” corner every time I go into Waterstones, but I just can’t help but feel bored to death by the prospect of ‘realism novels’. Why just read novels about ordinary men living ordinary lives when I could be enjoying stories about strange undiscovered worlds or apocalyptic futures?

I’ve bought something a little bit different in The Reader On The 6.27, a novel about a man who works in a book pulping factory and saves pages to read aloud on the train. One day he finds the tragic diary of a woman and begins to fall in love with her based upon only her words. There’s no aliens, no decimated landscapes, and no murderous totalitarian government so it’s not a book choice I’d usually make but its very well reviewed and I’m willing to give it a go (just this once). The other books I picked up – Solaris, Station 11, Annihilation and The Power – are far more within my usual science fiction reading.

I’ve already finished reading Solaris and I’m having pretty mixed thoughts on it. It’s one of those novels that has an exceptional premise but an ending that just leaves you thinking “Is that it?”. It tells the story of a Psychologist – Dr Kelvin – who is sent to the planet Solaris to decide whether research there should be terminated. Upon arrival he finds that the researches are bordering upon insanity after being ‘visited’ by people they used to know. Kelvin is himself visited by an creature imitating of his dead wife, and the story takes on a dark edge as he begins getting attached, despite the fact the creature will destroy everything in its path if Kelvin tries to walk away or leave it alone. It poses the question of whether it is a curse or a blessing to be faced with an imitation of someone, to have a second chance at a relationship. I enjoyed this book whilst I was reading it but it got to the ending and there was no real sense of closure, a particular bug bear of mine. On top of that, there were sections that read more like a textbook than a novel, so I had to do a little bit of page flicking to avoid the dull science bits.

The Power has received amazing reviews, recently winning the Bailey’s women’s fiction prize. Again, this was recommended by an English teacher and after the release of the paperback edition I had to add it to my birthday wishlist. My lovely brother bought it for me as well as Annihilation, which I know very little about but was sold on by the bright cover and intriguing blurb. Similarly, I’d not heard anything about Station Eleven but after a quick google it seemed to be well-liked and appealed to me so I thought it was worth a shot.


 

I’ll probably write up my thoughts on the books I haven’t read yet at a later date, although my teachers are keeping me busy at the minute with personal statements, university applications and mountains of work (a relaxing end to the school year!). If you’re also a book fan, let me know your thoughts on any of these that you’ve read (or want to read sometime soon) as well as any other recommendations you have. Eat your veggies, change your sheets and treat yourself to a good book. Take care of yourself x

 

31/05/17

Dear Izzy,

I have had a massive lack of motivation recently, which is a bit of problem when exams are imminent. One one hand I have psychology teachers telling me to revise into an early grave, and on the other there’s the English department, who take a “What’s revision?” approach. My only external exam this year is French (which I’m taking as an A2 anyway, so it doesn’t really count) but our teachers keep pointing out that our internal grades will be used for our predictions, and therefore if you don’t revise you will never get into university and will ultimately end up living a life of failure.

Alongside exams there’s the horrible process of university applications, a terrifying first step into being an adult which I’m definitely not prepared for (last week I sewing machined through my finger). Currently, it looks like I’m going to apply for psychology but there’s also a chance that I may have a crisis and apply for a degree in flower arranging instead. I haven’t been to any open days yet, but I’m headed off to Bath, Surrey, and UCL in the next few weeks which will hopefully help me make some kind of choice about where I want to go (Bath is currently the only one definitely on my list). Trust me to choose Bath, one of the most competitive Psychology courses in the country. I really do make life more difficult for myself.

On the bright side, this lack of motivation has meant that I’ve had time to binge Netflix, including the whole season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Sense8 (which I may do a whole post reviewing because it’s honestly exceptional). I’ve also procrastinated by doing things which are technically productive, but in no way relevant, like spending hours doing ironing or helping to paint the walls. I think the problem is that my brother is away and my mum is at work so I don’t even pretend to be busy because there’s no-one here to judge me. My only companionship is the dogs, and all they do is sleep so it’s a bit of a one-sided friendship. Luckily I avoided going stir crazy by going out for dinner last night, although it ended up being more of a bushtucker trial than a meal, with my veggie lasagna being the texture of baby food. The pub is so infamous for barring people that even my mother (recreational food critic and haggler extraordinaire) didn’t complain, instead we just sat at our table giggling at how ridiculously bad it was.

I’m determined to be at least a little more productive today, starting with posting this blog and hopefully followed by some revision. Eat some fruit, do some exercise, and don’t procrastinate (believe me, it’s not a good plan). Love you lots and wishing you loads of luck with your exams, take care of yourself x

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a Review

For just one minute imagine someone pitching the GOTG film: “It’s about a tree, a raccoon, a super assassin, a man with no grasp of metaphor and some guy who refers to himself as starlord”. It sounds beyond stupid, and yet Marvel pulled it off so well that I’m sat here reviewing the sequel. Films like Avengers Assemble, Antman, and Guardians of the Galaxy all have that perfect mix of humour, charisma, and a dash of the bizarre that makes for really fun films. GOTG 2 lives up to its predecessor, managing to combine a sense of lightheartedness – as the guardians basically become parents to a tiny tree – with all the action and special effects you expect from a superhero movie. Realistically, this isn’t some hard hitting film with a profound moral message that will revolutionise your view on the world. But, that’s far from a bad thing. GOTG 2 never feels like it’s taking itself too seriously which means that, unlike other marvel films that felt a little manufactured and over-angsty (including Age of Ultron), it manages to find balance between serious moments and humour. 
Warning, from this point on there may be spoilers, so maybe go watch the film first. 

One thing I loved about this film as a sequel is that it filled in the gaps that had been driving me crazy from GOTG 1. The explanation for how Quill could hold the infinity stone was only briefly touched upon but it was a massive improvement on the previous “Uh, through the power of hand holding?” explanation. There was also some much needed time spent on Nebula and Yondu, both of whom I felt were rounded out really well in this film. As someone who hasn’t read the GOTG comics, I was excited to find out about why Nebula had such a feud with Gamora, and about Yondu’s real personality and values. Having Yondu saving Quill from Ego rather than just being a guy who stole a child (for thievin’) added a sense of honour to him, making his death a lot more meaningful than it would otherwise have been. 

Every single character in GOTG 2 falls somewhere between good and evil, making the whole thing so much more interesting. Mantis saves them in the end, but helped lure them onto the planet knowing what would happen to Quill. Nebula has no qualms about planning to hunt and kill her father, but she stood by her sister when it meant the most. Even Quill makes mistakes, turning on Gamora when she tries to tell him she’s worried and picking fights with Rocket. The characters act like people, rather than ridiculous caricatures of the model moral citizen. 

As much as I enjoyed GOTG 2 I do have as couple of nitpicky criticisms. Ego was definitely more compelling as as villain than whoever that blue guy with smudgy eyeliner was in Vol. 1, but it still felt a little bit “eh”. To me, the Sovereign felt more like a distracting nuisance than a real threat, and the mutinous ravagers were all too stupid to be anything more than the butt of Rocket’s jokes. I feel like this is a criticism I have of Marvel in general, that lots of the time the villains are just plain boring. Most are the film equivalent of a cardboard cutout, with no explanation given for their motives and no real character development. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions (for example, Loki was more than just some walking pile of evil who could be defeated in about 5 minutes). Having Ego be Peter’s father added at least some dimension, but I’d still like to see just a little more. Seriously, the attack scenes with the Sovereign were just golden people going “pew pew pew” in their weird arcade of remotely controlled ships, I think there’s room for some improvement.

All in all, I really enjoyed GOTG 2 and am getting excited for all the upcoming Marvel releases (Thor, Black Panther, and Infinity War aren’t too long now). An added seal of approval for this film comes from the fact my mum didn’t fall asleep halfway through it (Trust me, most films don’t pass this test).

Eat some vegetables, moisturise, and message someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Take care of yourself x

Musicals

I am a sucker for musicals. To be fair, I’m not to blame, my mother was showing me films like Calamity Jane and Bugsy Malone whilst I was practically still in the womb. In our house, anyone who doesn’t get at least a little joy from singing, dancing, and elaborately sequined costumes is not be trusted. So, here’s some musicals I love (that can be watched as films) and seeing as they’ve all ended up being American, I’ve arranged them into a neat little timeline so I can kid myself into thinking that this is educational in some way.

1870s (ish) – Calamity Jane
Ah Calamity Jane, so upbeat and cheery yet so wildly problematic when watched in 2017. Calamity Jane was released in 1953 and boy can you tell. Although it features a woman gunslinging and drinking with the men, you can’t help but cringe inside when they start talking about those darned ‘Injuns’ who are for some reason very angry (spoiler alert: white people stole all their land). 50s prejudices aside, I love this musical. It may just be because it was one of the first I saw when I was young so I’ve got a bit of a sentimental attachment to it, but gosh darn do I love Doris Day singing and stomping around in cowboy boots.

CJ

1920s – Bugsy Malone
Mobsters, boxers, singers, down-and-outs, and a ladies’ man. The twist, the whole cast is made up of children. Set in the roaring 20s is a weird world of ‘splurge guns’, pedal cars and gangsters whose voices haven’t broken yet. Somehow this film manages to mix an adult plot with a child cast and yet it really works. With a whole host of great songs and gorgeous 20s outfits that put my whole wardrobe to shame, this was one of the main musicals of my childhood and I still love it.

1930s – Chicago
I spent my childhood listening to this soundtrack over and over again at my best friend’s house, long before I ever watched the film. It’s a story of murder, corruption and jazz, so well staged that every single scene captures that theatre “wow” feeling. Cell Block Tango is also one of my favourite musical numbers of all time with iconically quotable lines such as “You know some guys just can’t hold their arsenic.”

1960s – Hairspray
Somehow this film really manages to cover all bases. An abundance of singing and dancing, check. Serious themes of discrimination and seeking self-acceptance, check. Zac Efron, check. It’s colourful and fun, and yet it makes me cry every single time I watch it (although I will cry at almost anything).

2010s – La La Land
I went into the cinema, sat down to watch La La Land, and for the first 15 minutes was thoroughly underwhelmed. Was this really the film that everyone had been making such a fuss about? Although I stand by my feelings that the opening number is mediocre at best, the further I got into the film the more I found myself falling in love with it. The vocals are no way near as good as other musicals on this list and it’s ‘hungry artist’ plot line is beyond cliché, but something about this film really got to me. I really can’t sum it up, the best I can explain it is it made me feel a sense of nostalgia, and like I was wrapped up in a soft duvet. There’s something intangible about it that draws you in and provides a feeling of home-ness (really not a word) probably due to the clever use of colour and visual references to old Hollywood classics. After 128 minutes I left the cinema feeling like I’d gained something, some cryptic emotion that I couldn’t explain but definitely wanted to hold onto. This is perhaps one of the sappyest paragraphs I’ve ever written but I truly can’t sum it up any other way.

It is now just past 10 and I am back to the joyous school-day wake up time of 6.15, so it’s time for me to go to bed. I hope you’ve discovered a musical you haven’t seen before or been reminded of one you already know and love. Give someone a hug, drink lots of water and watch a musical (preferably whilst wrapped up in a nice blanket with a cuppa). Take care of yourself x

– Image from Wikimedia Commons –

It’s Not All Bad 2

Despite the fact that my Easter holidays are being spent revising my AS topics, including neurobiology (yes it really is as boring as it sounds) there is still some good news.

  1. The Pope has opened a free laundromat for the homeless in Rome. They are planning to add showers and a barbershop in the future.
  2. A couple have reunited 64 years after going to prom together to get married.
  3. Chrissy Teigen has donated over $5000 to North Carolina woman Mercedes Edney so she can attend aesthetician school.
  4. Abandoned Iraqi zoo animals Simba the lion and Lulu the bear have been given a safe new home.
  5. A 6 year old is painting stones with ladybugs and hearts to send to the families of Jews whose tombstones have been vandalised. (It is a Jewish tradition to place rocks on graves)
  6. Horse who fell down a hole on the way back from a trip to Taco Bell has been rescued and has no significant injuries.
  7. Julia. the first sesame street muppet to have autism, has had her debut on the show.  The show is aiming to teach children that even though people with autism may communicate differently to other children, they can still be friends.
  8. Amo Singh, a shopkeeper from Gloucestershire, has become a hero in Poland after becoming badly injured by defending a Polish teenager from a gang attack. The Polish community has donated money to Singh online as well as calling for him to be officially invited to Poland as a VIP.
  9. A father who was fired for missing work to attend his son’s birth has been inundated with job offers.
  10. Shakira’s organisation, the Pies Descalzos Foundation, has built 6 schools in poor areas of South America since 1997 and is now working on building a 7th.

I’m currently being attacked by my Ridgeback who is sulking that I’m writing this post rather than cuddling her so I think I’ll end here. The sun is shining, I’ve just had the world’s best macaroni cheese for lunch, and reading these good news stories has made revision slightly more bearable. Enjoy the warm weather (unless it’s cold where you are in which case, sorry!), don’t forget suncream and drink lots of water. Take care of yourself x


 

Read more about these good news stories here:

  1. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/pope-opens-free-laundromat-romes-poor/
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/64-years-after-prom-they-got-married_us_58ebb84be4b0c89f91204b82?section=us_good-news
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chrissy-teigen-mercedes-edney-beauty-school_us_58e91411e4b00de14103dee2?section=us_good-news
  4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39564434
  5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/meet-the-6-year-old-fighting-vandals-of-jewish-cemeteries-with-kindness_us_58e534fde4b06a4cb30e86f2?section=us_good-news
  6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/taco-bell-horse_us_58e4f3b5e4b0f4a923b3f259?section=us_good-news
  7. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/sesame-street-julia-muppet-autism-makes-appearance-show/story?id=46703516
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-39557535
  9. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/father-fired-attending-childs-birth-flooded-support-job-offers/
  10. http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/shakira-built-7-schools-poorest-areas-south-america/

29/03/17

Dear Izzy,

It’s been a few days of highs and lows.

Let’s start with the highs:

  • Started a really interesting online course about the neurodevelopment of babies. It’s making me think that child psychology is something I may really want to go into in the future. Not so fun fact: children raised in institutions have higher base levels of cortisol and lower levels of oxytocin.
  • I found £15 in my coat pocket
  • My EPQ is finally done! I didn’t actually read through it in full because it’s beyond boring, but my supervisor seemed to think it was okay so that’s all that matters.
  • I think I’m going to (maybe, possibly, potentially) write a book so I’ve been having a fun time nerding out over worldbuilding and character planning.
  • I had a French speaking mock which I managed to do without having a total meltdown, a definite sign of improvement.

And now for the lows:

  • My room is being invaded by wasps. I kid you not, they’re actually evil. So far today I have killed three (wasps are the only thing exempt from my vegetarian hippy ‘love all creatures’ philosophy) and have had to lock my window to stop one maniac from breaking in and exacting revenge for his fallen comrades. I will be sleeping with one eye open tonight, that’s for sure.
  • Everything muscle in my legs seems to be staging some kind of uprising, and it’s just a painful and unnecessary experience. Despite the fact I did absolutely no leg-based exercise, I am walking around like an 80 year old who’s just had a hip replacement.
  • I got rejected for a job today. After an application, a phone interview, a face-to-face interview and a shop trial in a store that’s over an hour away I was kind of hoping that I’d get it. Apparently I wasn’t outgoing enough in my “Hi would you like some hand cream?” accosting of the public outside of the shopfront. Oh well, hopefully next time I’ll have more luck.
  • I painted my nails and despite my manicure surviving all of yesterday without any incidents, today I have picked off about 90% of it, leaving a trail of blue glitter polish everywhere I go. Also I broke a nail just after painting them. I was not impressed.
  • Made the decision to drown my sorrows in butterscotch sauce, now I just feel saturated with sugary-buttery-clogs-your-arteries sauce alongside being a bit sad.

Anyway, I know I haven’t posted anything in ages but I have just been a bit all over the shop lately. Hopefully things will return to their normal state of village life boredom soon and I will be at least a little more consistent. Drink some water, floss your teeth, and arm yourself against the wasp uprising. Love you lots and I’m sorry I missed your dad’s birthday (we thought it was next week because we’re a family of chaos and confusion). Take care of yourself x

Have You Heard About: Coretta Scott King

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Coretta Scott King meets with 43rd US President, George W. Bush

It’s likely you’ve heard of Coretta Scott King, but have you really heard about her, beyond her role as Martin Luther King’s wife?  Here’s some things you need to know about the monumental civil rights activist and all round incredible lady.

  1. Before MLK had ever spoken out about the Vietnam war, Coretta Scott King was a verbal proponent of international peace.
  2. After her husband’s death, Coretta created The Center for Non-Violent Change, a not-for-profit organisation designed to educate and train people in non-violent conflict resolution.
  3. Coretta graduated as valedictorian of her high high school and won a scholarship to Antioch College.
  4. She insisted that the promise to “obey” her husband was removed from her wedding vows, to make her marriage one of equals.
  5. Coretta Smith King was also a talented orator, and was the first woman to deliver the Class Day address at Harvard as well as the first woman to preach at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
  6. Alongside working tirelessly for the civil rights of Black Americans, Coretta also worked for the advancement of women’s rights. She served as a Women’s Strike for Peace delegate to the seventeen-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, and in 1988 served as head of the U.S. delegation of Women for a Meaningful Summit in Athens.
  7. Without the Freedom Concerts (fundraisers where the story of the civil rights movement was told through prose, performance, and poetry) the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Conference may well have lacked the funding they needed to challenge Jim Crow laws and tackle white supremacy.
  8. Coretta Scott King was also an accomplished author, with 3 published  books, and a column in a nationally-syndicated newspaper.
  9. Her work for civil rights was not limited to the United States, and she consulted with many world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, on issues such as ensuring democracy worldwide.
  10. In addition, she was a supporter of the rights of gay and lesbian Americans, saying “I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation.”

 

Mrs King was a supportive wife and devoted mother, but she must not be remembered as only those things. In acknowledging her husband’s astounding achievements, we must also remember her own, for she was truly a heroine in her own right.


I’m thinking of making an ongoing series of “Have You Heard About” posts on important people you should probably know something about, so let me know if that’s something you’d like to see. I’ve spent all of today procrastinating, spending hours sewing a lace-trimmed apron rather than getting on with any of the mountains of work I should be doing, so tomorrow is going to be a day of desperately getting everything done. Anyway, that’s it for today, drink lots of water, call someone you love, and have a nice cuppa (especially if the weather where you are is as grim as it is here). Take care of yourself x


 

Sources:

“Bad Girls Throughout History. 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed The World” by Ann Shen, published 2016.

http://www.biography.com/people/coretta-scott-king-9542067#personal-life-and-death

http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-mrs-king

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5195991

Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scott_King_et_Bush.jpg

Some Books I Read in January

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Credits for this grade A photography go to dark lighting, not using a proper camera, and having really shaky hands.

I am very inconsistent at most things, and reading is no exception. I go a month or more without picking up a single book and then in the space of a week I buy out a book shop and establish the beginnings of a library in a pile on my floor. I had one of these bookworm weeks in January so I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of the books that I read.

For Christmas, I asked my mum for copies of Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. I might review Brave New World at some point but right now it didn’t fit in with the orange-blue-orange photo scheme and I need to get this post written as quickly as possible so I can frantically begin getting ready for back to school tomorrow. It took me until mid-January to start reading Fahrenheit 451, but once I started I could not stop reading it. The plot is relatively simple, and the number of significant characters can be counted on one hand. This uncluttered plot allows for a real engagement with the protagonist, Guy Montag, as there isn’t the distraction of love triangles and unnecessary plot twists you get in some dystopian novels. Bradbury explores some really intricate topics such as censorship and whether it is better to live with ignorance or unhappiness, but the story remains a human one, not a cold novel focused solely on making a statement.

A book I picked up for myself after Fahrenheit 451 got me back into the swing of reading was The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Apart from studying The Importance of Being Earnest at GCSE, I hadn’t read any of Wilde’s work and was keen to get stuck into a book by such a renowned writer. (It also helps that the book has really pretty coverart, look up Alma Classics, they all have ridiculously nice minimalist covers.) I struggled at first to get into the book because the language is just that little bit harder to wrap your head around when its from over 120 years ago. However, from a couple of chapters in I was completely invested in the character of Dorian Grey and kept turning the pages as he begins his decline into a hardened, sinful man. It was one of those books where I found myself wanting to scream at the characters, to warn Grey to stay away from Lord Henry and go back to the moral (and admittedly a little boring) Basil Hallward. The characters are great, the writing is great, the ending is great, what more could you ask for?

My most recent read was Day Four by Sarah Lotz. Whilst on holiday last summer (Oh how I miss you, sunshine and cocktails) I read The Three, and after finding about Day Four, the kind-of-not-quite-sequel, I decided to give it a read. Day Four was a weird mix of excitement, engagement, and disappointment. Lotz writes compelling characters and an amazingly intricate – and really quite dark – plot, only to throw it away with an ending that leaves you feeling confused and with a case of “Is that it?” For me, the ending isn’t the kind of not explaining things to maintain a sense of mystery, it’s the kind of not explaining things because the author hasn’t really figured out a way to explain them so they just throw a “The End” at it and call it a day. Don’t get me wrong, I really really liked this book, but that’s why it was just such a disappointment that the ending didn’t match the quality of the story.

So there you have it, a quick review of 3 books I’ve read at the start of this year. If you’d like me to do more book reviews then let me know, I never know what people are actually interested in hearing me blog about! I now have to try and gather all of the assorted stationary and homework that I need for back to school tomorrow, so that’s going to be a really relaxing way to spend my Sunday evening. Drink lots of water, moisturise (because anyone who doesn’t moisturise in winter ends up looking like a reptile), and read a good book. Take care of yourself x