October 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 31 October 2018

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October, you have felt like forever. And I think in a good way. 

Favourite part?

On the first day of the month I officially started my uni course. Lectures, seminars and all that jazz started in full swing. I’ve had several socials – including a film night with free pizza and a crashed football night out – which I have loved and had a great time at. I can’t wait for the rest to come. 

It was my birthday this month!! I officially have less than a year of being a teenager left. AAAHHHH!! Existential crisis aside, I had such a good birthday. I went to Yo! Sushi for lunch with my friend Aleisha – sushi is perhaps my favourite food so any time I can get sushi I am a happy gal. Then, in the evening I went out with my flatmates and some other people I have met on my course and from my accommodation. One of my flatmates made me an amazing vegan chocolate orange cake – it made my heart warm and fuzzy.

This month I’ve been getting into my university routine – getting to use the library, favourite places to eat and drink, you get the gist. It’s been lovely simply hanging out with new friends, carving pumpkins (you can definitely tell which was done by me and which was done by the Fine Art student of the flat) and getting food at The Stack.

Best read?

I’ve read quite a lot this month, which you would probably expect from my being an English student.

First, I read How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace. I thought it was interesting, but aimed more at people who didn’t know quite so much about the plastic crisis and lowering waste as I do. Many of the statistics were new to me, but many of the methods he suggested I have already implemented or are trying to implement into my routine. 

Next, I read Jane Eyre for my course. I tried to read it a couple of years ago but stopped after I got bored about a third of the way through. Luckily, I enjoyed it much more this time and it was the subject of my first essay. As a part of my studies, I also read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. I loved the different perspective, which seemed much more realistic and developed background for ‘Bertha’ Mason. I think it would work well as a stand-alone novel, so even if you haven’t read Jane Eyre I would recommend. 

I then read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, which I’m currently in the middle of studying, and which I attended an author event on Monday (I can’t tell you about it as I’m writing this the night beforehand). It was thought-provoking and I loved the concept of the doors – they added an element of subtle magical realism I wasn’t expecting but which was pleasantly surprised by. Also, the last chapter gave me tears in my eyes. 

I also read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. If you’ve seen my Twitter or a few previous blog posts, you’ll know that I love the Netflix film adaptation, so I was really excited to read this. As I thought I would, I loved it and can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!

Favourite tunes?

This month has been quite musical-oriented. Since watching Dirty Dancing, I have played the soundtrack almost constantly. Following that comes the Singin’ in the Rain soundtrack. The people I walk past on the way to uni must think I’m very weird doing my little dance to Good Morning. 

Favourite watch?

For the last week in October, I have been almost soully watching Grey’s Anatomy. So what, I may be slightly obsessed… It’s utterly ridiculous but it’s wonderful and at the same time almost realistic in a way. More on the human element than the over the top events all happening at the same hospital to the same small group of surgeons. 

I also may have some new favourite films: Belle, seen on a Feminist Society film night, and Dirty Dancing, watched intermittently through bad wifi with one of my flatmates, a few glasses of red wine and overdone chocolate mug cake. I need to rewatch both desperately, and I feel like I could write a whole essay on how Dirty Dancing is a feminist epic. I can’t wait to watch them all over again. 

(Also, Jodie Whittaker is an incredible Doctor, anyone who (get it, Who) disagrees can leave.)

What did I learn?

I suppose you could say quite a lot, with the whole starting uni thing and all that. But also so much else. Like actual adulting stuff. The world of the adult. Even though I’m only really playing at being an adult – a pseudo-adult if you will. I’ve been learning budgeting, managing my own food effectively, general life. 

What’s happening next month?

More of what has happened this month. General uni life. More deadlines, more reading. I’m sure there’ll be other things but right now I’m not quite sure what they are.

What’s been on my mind?

I’m not sure really. Trying to get a long by myself. My family and friends. My cat.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

I’ve been watching a few of the Cheap Lazy Vegan’s videos, along with several other recipe videos. You’ve got to love a recipe video. 

Favourite post?

My Me at 19 blog post, for sure. I love this series. It’s always interesting to look back on myself – how I’ve changed, developed as a person, but also the constants in my life (and let’s be honest here, when I talk about constants, I mean my love for ABBA. 

Biggest inspiration?

Oh god, I don’t know. New things. New things everywhere. Places, people, food, books, facts.

Any other favourites?

Mug cakes have come back into my life. I think it’s an autumnal/winter/colder weather thing. I had to make a few adjustments due to slightly different ingredients and the flat microwave. 

Over the past month I have been able to get to know Newcastle, finding little places, shops, exploring the city. Grainger Market has become a particular favourite of mine – it’s a great place to get bulk food items (like cocoa powder for mug cakes…) and all of the vegetables. I love the vegetables. 

A few days ago, I bought myself a cyclamen at a sale outside my university’s Student Union. Everyone, meet Enid, Enid, meet everyone. 

One birthday present I have been using almost constantly since I received it is my crochet blanket in the colours of the Suffragettes. It’s so warm and snuggly and when I wear it I look like a Suffragette on her day off. 

If you liked this post you might like: September 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up 

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5 Films on Netflix You Need to Watch

Friday 19 October 2018

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We’re all aware of the many Netflix Originals everyone is obsessed with (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I’m looking at you), but there are also so many films on Netflix which came out separately and have just quietly slipped into Netflix’s repertoire. Most of these I seemed to stumble upon whilst browsing Netflix, but had seen in other formats previously, and all of them I wish everyone would watch. 

Title Photo Credit

1. Atonement

I first saw this film after having bought the DVD in a charity shop a few years ago. And, wow, it simply blew my mind. Having read the book earlier this summer, I just became more obsessed. I love the way this story plays with narrative and questions right and wrong and how the upper classes tend to escape consequences.

2. We’re the Millers

If you need a light-hearted, silly film to cheer you up, then this is one for you. I only saw this film for the first time a couple of months ago when I was babysitting and I wish I had watched it earlier. Also, the bloopers are some of the best I’ve ever seen (if you know, you know).


3. The Intern

For ages, I turned my nose up at this film because I thought it was an office love story between a younger woman intern and her older male boss. As it turns out, none of that is true.

After Leena Norms recommended this film in a YouTube video, I thought I’d give it a shot, and it’s now one of my favourite films. It warms my heart and shows the realities of women rising up in the workplace. And who wouldn’t love Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway’s cross-generational friendship?


4. Age of Adaline

When I first watched this film, I was fully expecting a full on romcom, and whilst it is undoubtedly a romance, it’s so much more than that. I think this film shows how much we need human comfort and relationships. The bit where Harrison Ford recognizes Blake Lively gets me every time. 


5. Their Finest

This film makes me laugh, cry with both heartbreak and nostalgia and buzz with inspiration. Gemma Arterton is incredible, and the story is beautiful in so many ways, and there are also so many ways which I connect to it (and not just because several of the locations used for filming were part of my childhood). My only criticism is that the cast is completely white - but apart from that, I can't fault it.


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Me at 19

Monday 15 October 2018

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As of today, I officially have one year left of being a teenager. WHAT?? Okay, I’m not saying that again for a while. 
So, here we are again. And this time I’m in a much different place to this time last year, in a few different ways.

I am now in university, studying English Literature and Politics at Newcastle, and have been here for about two and a half weeks. So far, I’m loving it. I love exploring a new city, meeting new people and learning something new every day. Ask me if I’m feeling the same way when I’m writing my first essay and I may give you a different answer! I have become a member of a few societies as well taking part in my subject’s netball team and booking a few yoga classes at the Sports Centre (wish me luck). 

With university came a new room. It is roughly the same size as my room at home, if not in fact bigger. The Suffragette-coloured crochet blanket I was given for my birthday now lives on my bed, lying over a couple of bright IKEA pillows, or simply hanging around my shoulders so I look like some kind of feminist superhero. Opposite my bed is my slim wooden wardrobe and a small chest of drawers, which close in my sink, mirror and mesh pop-up dirty clothes basket, which always seems to be at least half-full no matter how many loads of washing I do. By the side of my bed stands another small chest of drawers, identical to the one next to my wardrobe, which is cluttered with all sorts: a box oftissues overflowing onto a decorative blue light, a half-finished antihistamine packet, my hairbrush, deodorant, a can of dry shampoo and at the bottom of a picture of my parents and I before my Year 11 prom. 

On the wall to my left as I sit in my bed, is perhaps the most colourful rea of my room. Against the backdrop of my almost luminous turquoise wall, is my work area: my desk and bookshelves, which harbor whatever of my book collection I could fit in the car on the drive up here, folders, stationary, recipe books and cartoon prints; one of a girl wearing a yellow jumper, blue jeans and hat with a background the colour of her lipstick, and the other of an umbrella of the same yellow in front of a pattern of blue raindrops. 

To the right of my desk is another larger chest of drawers, filled with my many skirts, jumpsuits, trousers and dungarees. It is similarly scattered as my bedside table, this time with my makeup, jewelry and bits of paper I haven’t yet found a place for. Behind these, a large cork board leans against the wall, covered with volunteering and society flyers, GP and accommodation details, discount vouchers and freebie reminders, postcards and mementos.

Apart from uni, the next biggest change in my life would probably be the fact that I am now officially a vegan. This time last year I was only a relatively new veggie, and since then I’ve gradually been switching out all the other animal products, besides meat, and then one day, a few months ago, I realized I hadn’t eaten dairy in a while. I couldn’t be happier with my diet at the moment – I feel great about my body and health.

Veganism has helped me develop how I approach other areas of my life in a more ethical manner. For example, over the past year I’ve made a considerable effort to reduce my waste and consumption of fast fashion. These endeavours are going well, and I’ve learned a lot about both our societal consumption habits and my own. I all three of these areas, I am well aware that it is impossible to be perfect. You cannot live truly ethically in our current system, no matter how hard you may try, and I want to always be aware of the privilege that I have to even be able to make these decisions. Let’s keep doing our best, people – it’s all we can do.

I am now a full on stereotype, but I love it!

My favourite shows remain largely the same: Brooklyn-99 and Death in Paradise being my go-tos when I need something comforting, familiar and light-hearted. I have, however, actually ventured out and watched some new shows this year. Lovesick has joined my re-watch ranks and lately, I’ve been obsessed with a few shows: The Circle (please give me a new series!!) and The Good Place. 

As ever, my birthday has brought with it my favourite time of the TV year. Bake Off (vegan week was incredible!), Strictly and Doctor Who are all back. Doctor Who is especially significant this year, as I’m sure you’re aware, as Jodie Whittaker marks the first ever woman to play the title role. I didn’t realise quite how much her portrayal of The Doctor meant to me until I first saw her on-screen reveal. Since then I’ve been blubbing at practically every promo, trailer, picture and interview I saw prior to the first episode, and, indeed, at the first episode. I was so happy with the first episode and hope the next follow in their suit (I am writing this before the second episode was released). It’s about time, after all. 

I have worn very little makeup over the past year. Most days, I have gone bare face, while using makeup every now and again, when I have a bit more time to get ready or an occasion. In style, I’m still pretty much the same (eyeliner prominent as ever), however I feel like I have refined my makeup skills outside of eyeliner and enjoy it just as much. 

I finished my job at my local library about a month ago, and I won’t lie and say that I don’t miss it. As of yet, I haven’t got a new job, I’m waiting until I’m a bit further along in the year to find a job (once I am more used to my workload). Until then, I’m continuing a mystery shopping job I got over the summer and will hopefully be able to do some more sponsored content on this here blog.

I now have a feeling of direction in my life. I have goals which I am determined to meet and am confident in my abilities to. For now, I’m trying to hold on to that optimism. The world may seem like a sh*t place for the majority of the time, but I want to try and channel my incredible fear levels to prevent the worst nightmares of a generation from coming true (or cascading into even more chaos than the reality we are currently living in).

This is me. At 19.

If you liked this post you might like: Me at 18
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September 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday 1 October 2018

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September has seen big changes in my life. Let’s talk about them.

Favourite part?

At the beginning of the month, my friend Amy and I went up to London for a day out and an event with the University of Lincoln. We had a lovely time and you can read all about it in my OOTD and my post more specifically about the event. 

September was filled with lots of goodbyes. From friends, to my last day at work, it seemed like I was saying goodbye to someone new practically every day.

For the week (and a bit) before I moved, I ended up sorting out a load of life admin. Wild times to entertain you all. 

Then Freshers’ Week came around. Oh Freshers. Let’s just say I was expecting to go out maybe once or twice and ended up going out most nights. Oops. I didn’t just go out though. I ended up going paintballing, having a tour of the Newcastle BBC HQ and having a salsa class as well!

Best read?

I first read Here I Stand: Stories That Speak for Freedom, a collection of short stories written by a variety of authors and commissioned by Amnesty International. Each story revolves around an issue Amnesty is trying to change, particularly the many ways freedom can be infringed upon. The stories are heartbreaking, uplifting and heavy, but, as they are aimed at younger teenagers, are still accessible.

I then finished reading (after a long while) A Literature of Their Own: British Women Writers from Charlotte Bronte to Doris Lessing by Elaine Showalter. I found this book very interesting, and it definitely added significantly to my TBR list. However, I didn’t always agree with what Showalter said (as should be expected with any kind of literary criticism, I think). I found, at times, that she could be perhaps a tad essentialist and the range of authors she discussed not that diverse. 

I then read The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook, put together by the seven actors who played the Von Trapp children in the film. This is a must read for any fan of The Sound of Music (like I am), as it’s filled with behind-the-scenes pictures, documents, anecdotes and facts.

Next was Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. I loved this book. It was fascinating. Since its publication in the 1930s, it has now naturally taken on a slight historical air, yet remains as relevant and present as ever. Orwell’s writing style is beautiful and to the point and I would recommend this short book to everyone. 

I have also read Comrade Corbyn: A Very Unlikely Coup by Rosa Prince. This is essentially a biography of Jeremy Corbyn, focusing primarily on the run up towards the 2015 leadership contest. I think Prince has remained quite neutral in this work and I have found it very interesting and useful, as I believe we should all try to find out a bit more about the personal context of our politicians to help us better understand the current political climate.

Favourite tunes?

Not going to lie, I’ve had the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before soundtrack on repeat. I find it’s good for so many situations: concentrating, having a bit of a dance on my one whilst doing the washing up, having in the background or simply walking to. My fave track on there is Human Right. It just makes me want to move!

Favourite watch?

SO MANY! AUTUMN TV IS BACK BABY! Upstart Crow, Bake Off, Strictly (and Doctor Who next week!), I am back in my favourite TV season. 

What did I learn?

Making friends is not really that difficult. I can go clubbing more often than I think. Salsa is SO fun! The list goes on.

What’s happening next month?

I begin my lectures properly next month, and I’m really looking forward to getting into a routine and learning new things again. 

It’s also my 19th birthday a couple of weeks in. Some vegan cake will be made and partying will be done. 

What’s been on my mind?

Trying to figure out how to do life on my own: everything from budgeting to figuring out what meals to have (even though I know so many recipes, I seem to have resorted to mostly pasta during freshers), organizing my life, making friends and when is the right time to do the laundry.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

I have loved watching Hannah Witton’s moving videos – for some reason, there’s something kind of comforting about just watching people organize their stuff.

I also loved Leena Norms’ video, fat people don't belong in magazines. In it, she discusses Tess Holliday's recent Cosmo cover photo and the impact it has had. I thought it was very insightful and a useful tool to show anyone who has an issue with this cover existing. 

Favourite post?

I have to say my blog post with the University of Lincoln, don’t I? And for good reason. As my first sponsored blog post, it marks a big mile stone for me. I am so proud of how the post turned out and am so happy with the support it’s had. If you want to read it, click here

Biggest inspiration?

The excitement that comes with moving. New beginnings are so exciting – even if I do wish I had my cat with me.

Any other favourites?

Linda McCartney’s Hoisin Duck in stir fries. I loved a good stir fry before, but this is honestly a game changer. I had quite a few before I left for uni, but haven’t been able to find anywhere that sells it near my accommodation. Give me time, give me time…

If you liked this post you might like: July and August 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up

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