Why You Need to Watch This Is Us

Friday 31 March 2017

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Many of my friends have had to put up with me banging on about This Is Us for a while (though none of them have watched it yet and, to answer their previous questions, no, it is not the One Direction film!) and, as the series is drawing to a close (next Tuesday marks the end of series 1 in the UK), I thought I would share my ravings with you guys (if you haven't seen my Twitter feed gradually become a TIU fan account).

This Is Us is, in short, the best thing I have seen on television. Ever. In my whole life. If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will.


The show begins with 4 different storylines: Rebecca and Jack, the couple celebrating a 36th birthday whilst also managing a ready-to-pop pregnancy; Randall, a rich black man living in a rich and very white area of New York meeting the father who abandoned him on the doorstep of a fire station as a baby, also celebrating his 36th birthday; Kate, the woman in LA struggling with her weight and mental health, also her 36th birthday; and finally, Kevin, the actor given fame through the sitcom ‘The Man-ny’ who desperately wants to branch out and be seen as something more serious, and, you guessed it, it’s his 36th birthday.

These are the characters, seemingly unconnected apart from their collective birthday. Throughout the series, each character gets major developments so that they actually feel real – the characters are no longer caricatures, they become people. Each is flawed and struggling and trying to do their best at life but still managing to screw up no matter how hard they try.


Nearly every episode of this show has made me cry. And if it hasn’t achieved that, then it’s probably managed to make another member of my family cry. The troubles of each individual character all are so different, but can often be seen as stemming from the same or similar places and are actually realistic troubles. For example, one of the characters suffers from stress due to taking on too much work as well as coping with other personal struggles, and I for one could relate to this a lot as I think we have similar natures in that respect: always wanting to do more, never feeling like you’ve done enough or good enough, wanting to please everyone, cause other people as little stress as possible, all culminating in a little bit of a breakdown (granted, mine isn’t as extreme as theirs, but you get the gist).

This show portrays humanity at its most vulnerable and raw as well as the moments that seem perfect and never-ending. It shows how people react to people and can have permanent change due to one person being in their life for even a short amount of time. For that’s what life is really, isn’t it? People reacting to people.

This Is Us exposes all the vulnerabilities, insecurities and faults that come packaged up in human nature whilst also celebrating humanity for all the same reasons that it is faulted.

But whilst This Is Us is an amazing telling of humanity, it is also one of the most well-crafted pieces of film I have ever seen. Each sequence is shot with such care you can see the effort and love put into it, but each shot and the arrangement of each scene and set (mise-en-scène to all you film nerds) also adds something to the overall meaning and story, giving away twists with subtle moves and little references to previous episodes or earlier in the same episode that gives you deeper heartache or changes the way you view something so that it could mean something entirely different with perhaps even the same words. That. That is when you know you have a masterpiece.

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March 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 29 March 2017

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Not gonna lie, I’ve kind of lost track of March a little bit, but I’m rolling with it.

Favourite part?

I’ve had a few good days this month. On the 5th, a group of my friends and I travelled up to London and took part in the March4Women organised by the amazing team at CARE International, who you should definitely look up if you don’t know about the work they do. It was an incredible day, one that I know I’ll never forget. Thank you to everyone for making my first march so special.

I went back up to London a week or so later with my college on a Classics trip to the British Museum. It was so much fun to just explore the Museum and to even have some time to ourselves to spend in the surrounding area.

I love London and it was harrowing seeing a place I love being attacked and harmed a week after I’d been there. My heart goes out to all those who were affected by the terror attack, but I have to say my heart has been lifted by the unified response that came so soon afterwards, from all areas.

Best read?

This month, I’ve been reading the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths, fairytales and folklore. It has been quite difficult to get through, and therefore quite a slow read, due to the archaic style of language and its nature as a piece traditionally passed down by oral tradition. It’s a fun read despite its difficulties and the many problems that will come with probably every ancient text you can find (racism, sexism and all that jazz).

Favourite tunes?

Okay, so two soundtracks have been in my head almost constantly this month: La La Land and Beauty and the Beast. Be Our Guest is all I can say.


Apart from the soundtracks, can I just say how much I love Ed Sheeran’s new album? The variety on it means that I absolutely adore some of the songs (read Nancy Mulligan, Galway Girl, What Do I Know?, etc.) and whilst there are others that, let’s say, I don’t like so much (Eraser, Save Myself (the latter I find a little bit boring melody wise)). But I have to say I have been slightly obsessed with this album once I started listening to it and haven’t really stopped since.

What did I learn?

That I actually can fit more revision into my timetable. But that I need to lay back at times as well.

What’s happening next month?

What is happening in April? Hopefully, some projects I’ve been working on with my friends should become actual things next month, so keep an eye out!

What’s been on my mind?

The future. I’ve done a lot of planning and research into university, Extended Project which I’ll be starting in a few months, and then my exams which I’m starting to properly revise for now.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Leena Norms has been doing 40 Days of Questions for Lent this year, where she answers questions put to her by her audience. I love Leena’s videos in an ordinary month, but I love having new content of hers so often.


Favourite post?

Whilst they haven’t necessarily been getting any more views, I loved writing more posts on politics, including my International Women’s Day post about the march I attended. I also loved writing about a book I was sent by the lovely folks at Troubador Publishing: Emotions of a Book by Guido Parisi.

Biggest inspiration?

I honestly don’t even know. The thought of life after college and wanting to make all my projects happen and be actual real life things.

Any other favourites?

Beauty and the Beast!! I love how much more feminist it is and the amount of thought that went into every detail and the new songs and all the nods to the animated film and ugh! The only thing I don't like is the autotune on Emma Watson's voice, but that's less noticeable when actually watching the film I found. 

Does This Is Us still count? I know I mention it all the time but I'm so obsessed. It’s nearing the end of the series and oh my god I just love it more with every episode when I didn’t even think I was capable of loving it anymore. A post on my love for this show should hopefully be published on Friday if I can get my act together and actually write it on time.

If you liked this post you might like: February 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

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5 Ways to Improve Your Political Education

Friday 24 March 2017

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Do you want to get involved in politics? Don’t know how or where to start? What even is this politics thing? Find out in these places...

1. Read/watch/listen to varied news

I’m sure you’re aware of the biases that all news sources have, and this first one should come as no surprise. Try to read a wide variety of news sources so that your mind doesn’t follow that bias too rigidly. Of course, everyone has their own individual biases, but I like to keep a broad view of the news. I find this is especially important at the moment, when our media seems to be dominated by right-wing companies (and a certain Rupert Murdoch).

2. Make use of social media

Okay, so I know there are a lot of people on platforms like Twitter who are just out to start arguments, but I find I can stay updated with current events and understand them better through my use of social media, particularly the aforementioned Twitter. I often find out about major events by seeing them trending on Twitter, signaling me to do more research to better my understanding. On there, I follow many (reliable, I would hope) newspapers and channels. This means that I have access to the news whilst procrastinating and am constantly updated with the goings-on of the world. 

But also, please don't rely on social media as your source of political knowledge; while useful, it's an extremely flawed method that may give you lots of inaccurate information is you don't look elsewhere. 

3. If you are in college/uni etc. join the debate/politics society

I have been a part of my college’s politics society from the beginning of the year and I have to say that it has helped give me a better understanding of politics and current events through discussing events that I would not have come across otherwise. It is also a good place to found out your opinions on things, by seeing where your opinions fit in with other people’s.

4. Listen to people

Listen to everyone’s different experiences to widen your mind and thinking. Listen to people who have experiences you are not familiar with and listen to people who have a better understanding of politics than you do.

5. If you see a statement online or IRL, make sure you find an original (or close to) source

With the rise of ‘fake news’ and its prominence in our headlines (ironic? Or is that just me who thinks that?) it’s essential that we know the events we are discussing and debating have actually happened and the factual details of them. This can be really easy to do. You can find out the results of votes in Parliament on their website, and who supported what etc.

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Why Bloggers Should Be Political

Monday 20 March 2017

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Original Picture Credit

Since the politically traumatic events (and all other traumatic events) of 2016, we have seen a rise in celebrity ‘uprisings’, for lack of a better phrase, and consequently an increase of criticism of those celebrities who are getting more involved in politics. Artists such as Meryl Streep using their significant platforms, such as an acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, to speak out against a new far-right political climate that is emerging across the globe and are now being criticized for doing so, being told to know their limits and to stay within their industry. All I can say to that is:
But the use of a public platform doesn’t just apply to big name actors and singers etc. It should apply to anyone who can have any sort of influence through their public platform. And that includes us, bloggers.

I have no problem with bloggers who choose not to make their blogs political, that’s not for everyone, but if they have some sort of opinion on anything that’s going on currently, especially with the worrying events that could (read: will) have damaging effects on our world (*cough* Trump *cough* Brexit *cough*), they should at least mention something about their opinion on one of their social media platforms – it doesn’t have to be a full-length blog post.

Bloggers and other people will significant amounts of influence both online and IRL should use their voices to educate their audiences, who, in the case of many YouTubers, can be quite impressionable (that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to ignorance if people don’t treat them with respect). Education is key at a time like now, as any ignorance can be stifled by further understanding and widened knowledge.

I know it may not seem significant in the bigger picture, but every little action and its subsequent impact could have the potential to change someone’s views and open their minds for the better. Education and awareness are key to a healthier democracy and more accountable governments.

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5 Stunning Pembrokeshire Beaches

Friday 17 March 2017

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On the west coast of Wales, there is a county called Pembrokeshire, which is basically filled with beaches!

1. Freshwater East

Freshwater East is not far from the county’s namesake town and a lovely stretch of beach with lots of dunes and it’s even near a pub! It has a stream going to the sea that separates the beach into two sections and, as there’s a bridge crossing it, provides the perfect opportunity for a game of Pooh Sticks! This is certainly one of my favourites on this list.

2. Tenby

Tenby has 3 beaches: North, South and the Harbour beach. Each is lovely and has plenty of space, particularly South Beach, which also has a restaurant and café right on its borders and is probably easier to get to by car, but the others are nice as well, and slightly closer to the main town centre. If you’re basing yourself on any of the beaches, there are plenty of opportunities to pop into a cafe or shop and grab a snack.

3. Freshwater West

Ever seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts I and II) or the 2010 Robin Hood film? Both beaches seen in these films are in fact one in the same and are in reality, a windy beach on the west coast of Wales. If you’re prepared for the wind, this’ll be good for you. There are big sand dunes in Fresh West so I would recommend bringing a sled if you have one. Sand sledding is the best!


4. Newgale

Newgale is a long beach, sitting alongside the road from the town of Haverfordwest to the city (you can barely call it that) of St. David’s. If you like surfing, this is definitely the beach for you! Running between the road and the beach is a manmade mound of pebbles and in the summer you can normally rely on there being an ice-cream truck in the car park or you can get ice-creams from the shop.


5. Barafundle Bay

Barafundle was a relatively unknown beach, used mostly by locals, until it was placed in the top 12 beaches in the world in 2004. It is a gorgeous beach, that can become quite a sunspot if it’s warm. Although a little bit of a walk to get to, I have to say that Barafundle is one of my favourites.


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Emotions of a Book by Guido Parisi | Review | #Gifted

Monday 13 March 2017

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Late last year, the lovely people at Troubador publishing sent me a copy of Emotions of a Book by Guido Parisi, a book described as ‘Dialogue Between a Blank Book and a Potential Author.’ As a writer and potential author myself (I finished the first draft of my first novel last year and seem to be constantly writing down notes and scraps of poetry), I was intrigued.

Parisi begins with exactly what the book is described as. The first section is the main part of the conversation, although it is dotted throughout the book. I do have to admit that the dialogue sections could be quite confusing due to the fact that each line of speech was bullet pointed rather than more traditional methods of paragraphing and speech marks, and I kept getting mixed up as to who was actually speaking, which didn’t help with my engagement with the book as I spent more time worrying about who was talking rather than what was being said.

The stories at the beginning and their different aspects felt a lot more disjointed at the beginning of the book, but then evened out quite nicely as it progressed, coming down to the two main narratives: the first, of Albert, a young German boy who moves back to his home country from America and joins the Hitler Youth, and the second, of Mike, an English professor at a Canadian university managing a student production of Romeo and Juliet. I found both characters and their circumstances very interesting, though personally I was drawn more to Mike. I think that was more because I liked his character more – I really did not like Albert as a person, although he was a very good character, with many layers and aspects to him. I think Mike’s story is perhaps the more enjoyable one and is definitely the one that most people will be more comfortable reading, but for me, I loved it as I suppose I could relate more to the character and had personal interests reflected in his story: I am an English student, I love history, I have personally been to Verona and the area surrounding (a place featured in the latter part of the book) and loved Mike’s discussions about poetry with his friend.

Parisi is a very eloquent writer. I loved the way he used language and created the different voices for each character – whether that was Albert, Mike, the Book, the Potential Author or Julia and Agnese. I think the characters, and the way they came alive, is the main strength of this book.

 Going into it, I thought that I would perhaps be offered some specific writing advice – technical ways to improve and edit the way I write. Although that was not necessarily the case, I think the overall message of the book when it comes to writing is to just write. To not make excuses and just sit down to write if you want to write. A valuable piece of advice if ever I saw one.

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5 Ways to Help People

Friday 10 March 2017

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We all want to be a nicer person, and I know that many of us want to help other people. I for one am always looking for small ways to help other people and I thought I’d share some ways that I’ve found to help others and be a bit better to other people.

1. Send people links to opportunities that might suit them

My friends and I do this quite often, and this particularly applies to creative people. There are always new competitions and opportunities out there, but those who they are most suited to may not be aware of them. Copy the link if you see it online, take a picture if you see a poster, then send it to a friend you know will value it. Remember this could be anything! From a club or society at college/uni/a public club, a class, job opportunity, competition.

2. Listen to people

If there is one thing that is undervalued, it is listening to someone. Sometimes, someone just needs to talk about something and I know that talking about a problem, feeling, etc., definitely makes it better, even if it doesn’t provide a solution. Make sure you listen to those who have different experiences than you and have less privilege. It is their voices who are getting drowned out and need to be heard most.

3. Put any coppers or spare change you have into charity boxes

In my college, there is usually one or two charity collection boxes next to the counter of a café/food outlet, and you can often find them in many shops. As I pay for my hot chocolate, I’ll put the 1p change I was given into one of the pots and maybe add extra if I have any extra coppers. This way I can prevent my purse from getting overloaded with coppers I never use and help someone out at the same time. 1 and 2 pence build up over time so that a lot more money will be given if you put them in often.

4. Buy a small extra when doing your food shopping to put in the food bank

The item doesn’t have to cost much at all. You can put in as much or as little as you want, anything is useful.

5. Smile at a stranger

I know my day is always made a bit brighter when someone smiles at me, so I try to make an effort to smile at, at least, one stranger a day. It sounds trivial, but it may be the only time someone does so to that person that day.

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#March4Women | International Women's Day

Wednesday 8 March 2017

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First of all, happy International Women’s Day!

Credit (Try and find me in this. Clue: I'm right in the middle)

On Sunday, a group of friends and I traveled up to London where we took part in the annual March 4 Women march run by the amazing organisation that is Care International. After a 2 hour train journey, we made our way to The Scoop next to City Hall where a crowd was ready and waiting for us, including more of our friends.

At The Scoop, we listened to a debate, chaired by Gemma Cairney, involving the head of CARE, a Syrian refugee and her father, who were incredible and really highlighted to me the main reason we were marching.

We then heard talks and speeches from Helen Pankhurst (great-granddaughter of Emmeline), Bianca Jagger, Annie Lennox and Sadiq Khan, all of which were incredible and inspiring.

Taken by @samsfilms

Then came the march, and I don’t think I can describe the feeling properly. It was my first march and I am so glad that it was such a special day.

It was a day spent shouting about the things I believe in, laughing and singing with my friends as the ink from my sign stained my fingertips.

I would not change a thing about the day, only the necessity of marches like it. We shouldn’t need to march for our rights and our acceptance. We should be seen as equal, all women in all aspects of society.

Taken by @samsfilms

Jemima x

If you want to see more about the event I would recommend checking out my photographer friends Nicola and Sam.

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Playlist for a Chill Day

Monday 6 March 2017

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We all love a good relaxing day! Here are some songs to set the mood:

1. Come Back to Nashville - Rusty Clanton cover
2. The Way You Look Tonight – Fred Astaire
3. I Knew You Once – dodie
4. So This is Love – from the film Cinderella
5. Sagittarius – Phoebe Green
6. An Unsolved Mystery – Melanie Baker
7. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac
8. Hey There Delilah – Tessa Violet cover
9. True Colours – Tom Odell
10. Walk in the Sun - McFly
11. Samson – Regina Spektor
12. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want -  The Smiths
13. Panic Chord – Gabrielle Aplin
14.  Day Before You Came – ABBA
15. You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor
16. Drive – Oh Wonder
17. Atlantis - Seafret
18. So Close – from the film Enchanted
19. Holes - Layla
20. Wasting My Younger Years – London Grammar

Hope you enjoyed! This post is in collaboration with Laura over at Blossom of Hope. Keep an eye out for her post about self-care which will be going up tomorrow!

Jemima x

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5 Things You Should Know When Starting Your Period

Friday 3 March 2017

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I started my period in Year 7 when I was about 12 ½ years old. Then, I was a bit conscious talking about it and was unsure about a matter of things surrounding it, although my friends and I did discuss our periods, and I think that was a great thing. Now, however, I will pretty much discuss my period with anyone and a lot of people have probably heard me complaining about it. It’s fair enough to say that I have no shame, but no one should feel ashamed of their period. Here are some things you may want to know if you have a uterus but haven’t started your period yet:

1. Everyone’s period is different, as is everyone’s PMS

I remember when one of my friends told me they never had cramps and that their period only lasted 3 days. I was in shock and am still jealous and will probably always be jealous. Everyone has a different experience with their cycle: some have long ones, some have short ones; some people experience a lot of PMS symptoms, while others experience none, so don’t panic if you experience something your friend doesn’t and vice versa. Some people have a lot of hormonal changes in behaviour, some people’s breasts hurt, some people get cramps, some people get headaches, backache, get bloated, fatigued, increased acne – the list goes on. But many people only experience a handful of symptoms, some experience none. Everyone’s different but try to recognise what symptoms are due to your period. I know I have to apologise on a monthly basis to my family for my mood swings.

2. It’s fine if you don’t want to use tampons

I rarely use tampons, I mostly use pads because I find them more convenient and I feel awkward changing tampons in public, but I do wear tampons sometimes. I know plenty of people who swear by tampons and would never switch to pads and plenty of people who would do the opposite. There’s also other options such as a menstrual cup (although if you don’t like tampons, you may not like these) or period underwear.

3. If you do, Toxic Shock Syndrome is incredibly rare

The number of times I’ve heard one of my friends worrying that they’ll have TSS I can’t even count. I know from a professional that TSS is very VERY unlikely, so stop worrying about it so much. Yes, there’s always a risk, but that risk is very small and not something to get het up over. The solution: don’t keep your tampons in for weeks, months, etc. (be sensible about it) or, if you’re really that worried about it, don’t wear tampons, that’s always an option.

4. Extremely heavy and painful periods can be dangerous

If you’re finding that your flow is changing significantly, or that the cramps you feel or your flow has always been very heavy, go to your doctor and see what they have to say. It may be nothing, but you may have a specific health problem or your blood loss could be dangerous to you. There are ways of stopping your periods, such as the pill and other contraceptives, but there are always side effects so make sure you know the details before you commit to anything.

5. Run a fresh blood stain under cold water 

You will stain something at some point. It’s just fact. Whether it’s your underwear, your bedclothes, dressing gown, anything you can think of. The best thing to do is to wash it with cold water as soon as possible. If you don’t see the stain for a while or if you don’t have chance to clean it up straight away, use the washing machine if you have one, some have specific blood settings now, so that would probably be a good idea, although if you don’t have a washing machine you can still hand wash, this time with warm water, and it will be just as good.

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