5 Comfort TV Shows

Friday 6 July 2018

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A while ago, I watched a video by Lex Croucher where she discussed the TV shows that make her feel better, and it really resonated with me. I completely understood her when she talked about the healing power of TV (no matter how ‘good’ it may be). 

1. Downton Abbey

Watching Downton Abbey has become a kind of de-stressing tradition for me now. This started when I first watched the show during my GCSE year during exam period. At that point, I’d done all the revision that was going to be useful and when I came home after an exam I would pop on an episode or two and chill out. I don’t quite know what it is about the show that makes me calm (there are most certainly episodes that aren’t so calm. Everyone knows thatdinner scene where I think Hugh Bonneville made absolutely everyone jump out of their skin), but it does the trick just fine and oh I love it so. I actually own the first series on DVD now secondhand, so I’ll have it with me when I move out, and I’m sure it’ll come in very handy. 

2. Lovesick

This show is the one on this list with which I am most recently acquainted. It’s a Netflix original and so far, there are only 2 series of out (I really hope another one is on its way). The premise in itself is enough to make you laugh: the protagonist, Dylan, gets chlamydia and each episode is the story of every girl he has slept with as he calls them up to warn them. The timeline is revealed in small pieces as we jump to different years if Dylan’s life and we see the plot unfold. My favourite part of this show, though, isn’t Dylan’s development – it’s the rest of his friends’. We see Evie, , and (all of whom live together at some point or another) grow just as much if not more than Dylan and I think it’s their dynamic as a group that really makes the show unique.

3. Death in Paradise

I can’t count the number of times I’ve rewatched the different series, only made easier by some them being made available on Netflix. I probably know the plot to each episode (or at least most of them) by now, but it’s one of those shows that I keep going back to, I hink partially due to its Scooby-Doo-like predictability. I will stand by my opinion that its most recent series has gone to shit, but the first few series I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. 

4. Brooklyn-99

This show holds a very special place in my heart. I’m going to write a separate show on its cultural significance, but you’ll have to wait another day for that. The jokes never fail to make me laugh, even when I know they are coming and could recite them off by heart, and never rely on any harmful stereotype or preconception. They are even more hilarious when taken out of context (BOOST MY BOTTOM – I’M BOOSTING!!!!!). The group dynamic and chemistry is on another level, with all the characters having well-formed and healthy relationships with each other (let’s mention the distinct lack of toxic masculinity here people) and the diversity of this cast is second to none. I cried when it was cancelled and I cried when it was taken back up. I cannot wait for season 6. 

5. Game of Thrones

Oh god I love this show. Perhaps it’s not as relaxing as the others, as I’m sure you are aware of its reputation for violence, sex and plot twists. However (please hear me out here), I love the characters so much and love rewatching the episodes time and time again so that I notice new details, or watching a specific series after I’ve finished reading one of the books so that I can compare contrast and analyse. How am I going to cope when it’s over??? (trick question: I’m going to keep rewatching and crying until the end of time and my face has shriveled up from the water loss)

What are your go-to chill out shows?

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June 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 4 July 2018

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June, you have felt kind of surreal. (Sorry this is a bit late! Hopefully you enjoy the post anyway…)

Favourite part?

I think it’s pretty obvious my exams weren’t the best part, but they they’re over and done now.

The best part of my month definitely has to be holiday to Ireland with my three best pals. I did a whole blog post about it so I won’t go into full detail here, but I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start my summer holidays!

Before that though, I had a lovely few evenings out with my friends celebrating the end of our exams. It was lovely to have some time with them without the stress of exams hanging over us.

A few days after returning from Ireland, I spent a day in London. A spent the afternoon mooching around Covent Garden and Charing Cross Road, making sure to stop off at Foyles bookshop – one of my favourite places in the world.  

I spent that evening in the Southbank Centre, at an evening with Caitlin Moran, hosted by Gemma Cairney, where she discussed her new book (the second in a trilogy, following How to Build a Girl), How to be Famous. It essentially turned into a discussion on feminism, Britpop, masturbation and girl gangs. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to meet Caitlin and for her to sign our book, and I still can’t believe that I met one of my first feminist idols and told her that, I too write about my vagina on the internet. 

Best read?

As you can imagine, at the beginning of June I didn’t have a huge amount of time for reading. However, I did read Henry VIII: The Quest for Fame by John Guy as a less strenuous way of cramming for my Tudor exam. I also read The War on Women (and the Brave Ones Who Fought Back) by Sue Lloyd-Roberts, published posthumously and finished by her daughter Sarah Morris. This book is incredible. It made me cry, feel hopeful and hit me in the gut. I urge everyone and anyone to read it. Sue Lloyd-Roberts is definitely a person whose work I’m going to look more into – her writing is so concise and full of knowledge she really hits home her point.

I also read I Knew Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I have always loved Maya Angelou’s poetry, she captivated me as soon as I read one of them for the first time, even more so after having listened to her recitations of some of them on YouTube. Again, this book cut through me. It was visceral, and beautiful and heartbreaking and I can’t wait to read more of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies. 

Favourite tunes?

ABBA (as always). But Stevie Nicks has my back on late trains back from London. 

Favourite watch?

Paddington 2. I laughed, I cried. I will cry every time I watch it. I also watched Rebellion on Netflix and would highly recommend. The characters were all so interesting and complex and I do love a bit of historical drama. 

I feel like it goes without saying that I, like the rest of the UK, is currently watching Love Island. I am in love with Jack and Dani, and as you can imagine, I detest Adam.

What did I learn?

Not having structure is horrendous. I need structure. I now have nothing to fill my days and am so completely grateful for the days I have work. 

 What’s happening next month?

The first half is a little bit empty, but the second half is jam-packed. I’m going to Paris, I have family events and I’m going back to Wales for a couple of weeks.

What’s been on my mind?

Well, for the first couple of weeks I was focused on my exams. They take over your life and as most of mine were on consecutive days, I didn’t have much time to switch my focus from subject to subject. 

Later on, I kind of stopped ‘thinking’ so much. It was nice but also kind of difficult to have nothing at the back of my mind. I’ve been thinking more about things I actually want to be doing, like writing, reading and furthering my own activism.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

ScreenPrism. I live for video essays on my favourite films and TV shows. I love them so much and I think they’re also a great way of keeping my mind on literary analysis through the summer without any stress and actually enjoying it. 

I have also watched a load of zero waste and, oddly, list videos with random facts about the royal family. Don’t ask me about the second one, I honestly have no idea… In regards to zero waste channels, Sustainably Vegan and Madeleine Olivia are some of my favourites. 

Favourite post?

I actually have a choice this month! I think my favorites would be my very first What I Eat in a Day and my Ireland post. I love food and cooking, and I really enjoyed putting together my What I Eat in a Day and I definitely want to do more in the future.

Biggest inspiration?

I don’t know to be honest with you. I felt a bit stagnated for the past week, partially because I’ve been ill but mostly because I’ve had nothing to do with my time (which, as a statement, I know is not really true there’s loads of stuff I could be doing, I just have done yet). 

Any other favourites?

My new sunglasses! They make me feel a cool feminine (hopefully less problematic) John Lennon and I am living for it. 

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By Chloe | Review

Monday 2 July 2018

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In late June, I had a short day trip to London – one of my absolute favourite places to be – where I went to a book event by Caitlin Moran at the Southbank Centre. As normal, I put in a brief search into Happy Cow to find some new vegan place to try out. The one that drew my attention was By Chloe – an originally American store chain which has only relatively recently come over to Europe. Happy Cow told me that their food was cheap, 100% vegan and right near the Apple Market in Covent Garden, perhaps one of my favourite places to go in London to just sit and relax. Let’s just say, if there’s any chance of me getting great vegan food right after or before watching street performers (my favourite are the string groups who regularly play there) then I am in. 

The first thing that struck me about By Chloe was the design of the place. I loved the layout, the colours and how everything was presented. It looked really cool and relaxing and was the perfect place to escape the sun and heat during the odd British heatwave. As soon as I walked in, I felt comfortable and that was only improved by the staff, who were all lovely and didn’t mind me being a little flustered by the heat. 

As for the food itself… Well, what can I say? It was bloody delicious. 

I ordered the large Mac and Cheese, which cost me £6.60, and a watermelon-raspberry juice which cost me £2.75. The Mac and Cheese was amazing. It was rich and had a just enough spice, it was so cheesy I completely forgot that it wasn’t made from cows’ cheese. My only qualm with it was that it was a little sauce heavy and I think that a slightly little less sauce and a bit more of the shitaki bacon would have gone a long way. I was very full by the end, obviously a great thing, but I think next time I go for a lunch or a smaller tea I’ll have the small with extra ‘bacon’ (extra bacon was £extra) Mac and Cheese – although first I’d love to try out the rest of the menu! 

Environmentally, I’m not going to lie I think they could do better. They had made efforts in certain areas, with their disposably cutlery being wooden and with paper straws instead of plastic. However, as you can see, they did serve everything in disposable containers (most admittedly biodegradable, but with food all over them it’d make it difficult for it to be recycled. Next time, I’m going to bring my own container and cutlery and hopefully they’ll be okay putting it in there (I have few doubts that they’ll be fine with it). 

Something that also surprised me about By Chloe was that they have a water fountain! I think the staff member I asked about filling up my water bottle thought I was stupid or oblivious but I simply didn’t realise it was there. It’s just to the left of the counter, around the corner near the bins and sauces. I think that’s a great resource to have, and I’ll be sure to pop in in the future simply for that feature if I’m nearby.

Another very convenient feature about By Chloe was the amount of plug sockets available. I was in need of a charger (I had 20% left on my phone at 3:30pm) and when I saw the plug sockets under the seats I felt like falling to my knees and crying out HALLELUJAH right there and then. 

I realise this review is perhaps maybe more me gushing about my new favourite place to eat in London, but I think this company deserve some recognition for what they’re doing, and if I can provide just one person with a relatively cheap place to get loads of vegan options then I consider this post very much worthwhile. 

Overall rating: 9/10.

Happy eating!

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