Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 Favourites

As a part of my Reflections on 2015 post I was going to include my ‘favourites’ of 2015, but when I realised just how many categories I had, it became obvious that it needed its own post. One of the things I love most about blogging is reading everyone’s monthly favourites posts, whether it’s just beauty favourites, the TV shows everyone’s been enjoying for the month or just a bunch of unrelated things that have made someone happy for the past 30 days.

I should point out before I jump right in that whilst some categories include only things that were released in 2015 (e.g. films), others are just things that featured heavily this year, or things I discovered for the first time.


Monday, 28 December 2015

Reflections on 2015

As I really enjoyed writing my reflections on blogging so far post, and have been loving reading everyone’s end of year posts, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the crazy year that has been 2015.

Now that I think about it, a lot has happened this year. I wrote a dissertation, finished final year, graduated with a First Class Degree in English Literature with Creative Writing, visited Berlin, travelled around America for three weeks, and spent two months in South East Asia.

If you’d told me all of that at the beginning of the year, I probably would have laughed in disbelief, before sobbing into the unwritten pages of my dissertation.

At the start of the year I thought 2015 would be the year I graduated and found my first grad job, but I am so glad that I put the job hunt on pause and took the time to travel whilst I still can. And having had a bit more interview experience I’m feeling a lot more confident about re-starting my search.


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Top 5 Apps for Travelling

From the moment I realised how many apps we were using on a daily basis whilst travelling, I knew I was going to have to write a post about it. And it wasn’t even just that we were using these apps frequently; we were relying on them to give us the information we needed, to find us somewhere to sleep for the night and to get us from A to B.

There is no end of helpful apps out there which could be of use on your travels, but these are my top 5 recommendations, the ones that we couldn’t have survived without on our trip. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but we certainly would have had a completely different travelling experience!


Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Sunday Brunch Post, Episode IV

Ah Sunday Brunch, long time no see!

As it's Sunday and the last of the posts I scheduled for when I was away has been and gone, I thought now was the perfect time for a catch-up post. And I've missed my rambling, nonsensical Sunday Brunch Posts, even if no one else has...

So, where to start?! I'm struggling to properly process everything that's happened over the last two months, and it's already beginning to feel like the trip didn't actually happen. In case you've just stumbled across my blog for the first time or just generally have no idea what's going on, I've just got back from a two monthlong trip in Southeast Asia. And it was AMAZING. It was something I wasn't 100% sure about doing, even once I'd made the decision to go, but I can now say (with complete confidence) that I made the right decision. 


Monday, 9 November 2015

What I’m Reading Whilst I’m Away

One of the things I’m always most excited about when going on any kind of trip, is guaranteed reading time, whether that’s on the plane, by a pool or during the evening when there are no other possible distractions.

I love reading but I definitely don’t spend as much time reading on a daily basis as I’d like too. There’s always something else going on, someone to distract me or another task I should really be completing.

As I’m away for almost eight weeks, I’ve downloaded a lot of books onto my Kindle, but I thought I’d share five of them with you, to give an idea of the kinds of things I’m looking forward to reading.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

7 Things I've Learnt from Travelling America

Having now completed all of my posts about my trip around the States, I thought I would finish off with a little summary post, i.e. I’m not quite ready to let go just yet…

Plus, with my next travel adventure beginning next week, what better time to reflect on the things I learnt on my last trip, right?

Hopefully the following points will prove that I am now a wiser and more knowledgeable individual (hah, or at least stop me from making the same mistakes again).

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Travel: Los Angeles

So here it is. My final post on our trip to America. But, before you get too sad about that, there will be plenty more travel posts on their way once I’m back from Southeast Asia (plus a few travel-related list posts scheduled for whilst I’m away).

Los Angeles was one of the first places to become a definite stop on the trip when we started planning. I mean you can’t travel America without stopping in LA, can ya? However, I wasn’t convinced that I would love it, having heard from various people that they were a little disappointed.

I think the main problem is that people go there with the image of Beverly Hills in mind, and obviously that’s just one small part of the rather large city.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Travel: Zion National Park, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon

After a few days in Las Vegas, we picked up our campervan and headed off for a week exploring some of the national parks in the surrounding area.

I was both excited and nervous; excited because I’d never seen anything like the Grand Canyon before, but nervous that somehow between us we had to drive a huge campervan. On the wrong side of the road. In a place with different road rules. Plus, I’d only ever had one camping experience with Tom before, and let’s just say he wasn’t the happiest camper!


Monday, 12 October 2015

Review: Pants on Fire – Ovid’s Metamorphoses

On Friday evening, after devouring too much pizza in Covent Garden, I headed to Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End to see Pants on Fire’s production, Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

The venue itself is a pub, in what used to be a British Legion social club, and Pants on Fire’s production is taking place in Room 2 or the ‘Pop-Up Palais’. It’s an intimate space, with the performance area located on the floor in front of eight or so rows of tiered seating.

The show is adapted from Ovid’s epic Roman poem “The Metamorphoses”, which is a collection of stories and myths that set out to explain the history and beginnings of the world, with the shared theme of transformation between the human and its natural surroundings.


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Review: RHODES – Wishes

Top tracks: Intro, Raise Your Love, Breathe, Your Soul
Songs to skip: Better

Now it’s been no secret on this blog that I love RHODES. If you need to catch up, he’s already featured in Dot to Dot Festival 2014, Dot to Dot 2015 and my post about Boardmasters. I was beyond excited for this album. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing I’ve ever pre-ordered from iTunes; usually I will listen to an album on Spotify first before committing to buying it.

One of the things I love most about RHODES’ music is that it feels unassuming and familiar, yet at the same time irrevocably haunting. His songs are beautiful in that melancholic way that sad narratives are captivatingly moving.


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Travel: Las Vegas

Las Vegas was the fourth stop on our American road trip. Although it was somewhere I knew I wanted to see at some point, it was actually Tom who really pushed for it to be a part of this trip, having been there himself a couple of times before and insisting that I needed to experience it.

We flew into Vegas from New Orleans, which gave us some pretty cool views of the Grand Canyon on the way. The Vegas experience really does begin the second you get into the airport, with the baggage reclaim area being full of billboard screens and slot machines.

But before we even began to adjust to the Vegas way of life, we had to get used to the climate change. Whereas Washington D.C., Nashville and New Orleans had been very humid, Vegas was a completely dry heat. And about 10 degrees hotter.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Review: James Bay – O2 Academy, Brixton

As I mentioned in my most recent Sunday Brunch Post, last Friday I went to see James Bay at the O2 Academy in Brixton.

I first discovered James Bay about a year ago at the iTunes Festival as a support act, and although I really enjoyed his performance I didn’t properly start listening to him until I came across this live version of Scars. If you watch it you’ll understand why I became obsessed and why I was so keen for his album.

So when I found out that he was doing a UK tour, I didn’t think twice about booking tickets.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Sunday Brunch Post, Episode II

 DISCLAIMER: Brunch still not included.

Hey there, and welcome to the second episode of the Sunday Brunch Post. If you’re sitting there with a blank face all confused at what is going on right now, you might want to head over to last fortnight’s post, which will explain everything. Perhaps.


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

As I mentioned in my September Now Playing/ Wishlist, I recently saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. And by recently I might mean over a month ago, but WOAH time needs to slow down. I’ve wanted to see this play since it debuted in the West End three years ago, as the book features pretty highly in my all-time favourites and I’ve read it more times than I should probably admit.

Why it’s taken me three years to see it is a mystery to all of us, but I finally put my foot down, overruled the student spending tendencies that I still seem to be clinging onto and bought tickets.


Monday, 28 September 2015

Travel: Why Now?

If you follow me on Twitter then you might be aware that I’ve decided to put the grad job hunt on pause, and go travelling for just over seven weeks. If not, then SURPRISE!

This has never really been my plan. Having started the job hunt almost a year ago (with grad schemes and what not) I always kind of assumed that I’d come out of uni and start working pretty much straight away. But I suppose I never once stopped to think about why I thought I would do this or whether it was what I really wanted to do.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Review: Lianne La Havas – Blood

Top tracks: Unstoppable, Grow, Never Get Enough

It’s time for another music post, and by some crazy coincidence this album also contains ‘blood’ in the title. What is that saying about me?!
As I mentioned back in July, Lianne La Havas’ first album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, is one of my all-time favourite albums, so I had colossal expectations for this one. No pressure.
Having heard the track Unstoppable before the album was released, I was anticipating a change in style with this second album. Blood has a much more electronic foundation than the more acoustic and guitar-led melodies of Is Your Love Big Enough?


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review: Rent - Simply Theatre

On Saturday night I spent the evening watching Simply Theatre’s production of Rent at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking, because my good friend from school was in the show.

I’ve seen Rent once before, and it was actually another amateur production that the same friend was in, but I know the music really well, having performed a fair bit of it over the years.

Rent is a rock musical by Jonathan Larson, which is loosely based on Puccini’s opera, La bohème. The musical follows a group of young people, predominately artists, and their struggles with poverty, drugs, HIV/AIDS, sexuality and relationships in Bohemian New York.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Review: Saint Raymond - Young Blood

Top tracks: Fall at Your Feet, I Want You, Wild Heart
Songs to skip: Great Escape, Movie in my Mind

Saint Raymond has featured twice on the blog before; once back in May’sNow Playing/ Wishlist and secondly in my write-up of this year’s Dot to Dot Festival. On both occasions I mentioned how excited I was for his debut album, Young Blood, which was released at the end of June.

You might be wondering why it’s taken me so long to write this review, and honestly it’s because I still can’t quite make up my mind. I really like the album and I listen to it a fair bit, but I’ve kind of been waiting all this time to love it.


Monday, 14 September 2015

Food: Lunch at Itsu, Reading

I don’t know what planet I’ve been living on, but somehow I’ve only become familiar with Itsu recently. Over the past few months I’ve been into London a lot more regularly, for interviews, theatre trips and visiting friends who are gradually all moving there, and I started to notice that there are Itsu stores all over the city.

I don’t know how many times I stared through the windows, drooling over the amazing smells and wishing there was one closer to home so I’d have an excuse to swap my homemade cheese sandwich for some yummy noodles.

So imagine my excitement when Itsu got in contact about the opening of their new store in Reading and invited me down to try out some food.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Now Playing/ Wishlist - September

I know I say this every month, but September? Already? Are you sure?

More than ever this month it feels like time has sped by scarily fast. I think it’s because for the last eighteen years September has been a time of new beginnings, with a new school or university year beginning, and for the past four years that’s meant a new home and room too.

Watching everyone going back to school and university, or starting grad schemes is making it feel really strange that I’m not off anywhere new yet.

Although it does mean that I’ve had infinitely more time to blog, and to catch up on the things that I love doing – like discovering new music, TV and books for these posts!


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review: Gypsy - Savoy Theatre

I had wanted to see Gypsy for a long time. A really long time. In fact, even when I mentioned it in my Now Playing/ Wishlist back in May, it had already been on my mental wishlist for a while.

As a little joint birthday celebration, Tom and I decided to treat ourselves to a theatre trip at the beginning of August. There were so many things we wanted to see, but Gypsy was my top choice, and although Tom hadn’t heard of it he was happy to trust my judgement and just go with it.


Friday, 4 September 2015

Review: Once Upon a Time Season One

Before twitter the world recently exploded with the drama of PLL (Pretty Little Liars), everyone was talking about Once Upon a Time. And because I’m that far behind the times, I’ve only just finished the first season.

I was immediately intrigued by Once Upon a Time because I love retellings of fairy tales. Having said that, I was also a little dubious as adaptations tend to be a bit hit and miss. It’s easy to fall into a trap of cringe-worthy clichés, but there are some really ingenious retellings out there, both on page and screen.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Travel: New Orleans

Following on from Washington, D.C. and Nashville, the third stop of our trip was New Orleans. Originally we had been considering getting another Greyhound coach from Nashville to New Orleans, and after experiencing Greyhound between Washington and Nashville, we were so glad that we had opted for the hour-long flight rather than another 14 hours on a coach. I don’t know if I could have done it again so soon.

The journey felt luxurious in comparison, and really flew by. (I’m sorry, that was awful).

We spent a while deliberating how to get from the airport into the French Quarter, with our main concerns being safety issues we’d heard about from friends that had previously been, but in the end we decided to brave the bus. This was definitely the right decision as it was super easy and only cost $2 each for the 40-minute journey to the edge of the French Quarter.


Friday, 28 August 2015

Review: Bugsy Malone – Lyric Hammersmith

Last weekend I headed to the Lyric Hammersmith with my family to see the much raved-about production of Bugsy Malone. The show itself isn’t one I know that well, besides having seen a school production years ago and non-sequential bits of the 1976 film, but it was quite nice to go into the show with very few preconceptions.

I was also pretty excited to be visiting the Lyric for the first time. I love how the bar area looks simple and professional, as well as having a creative and informal feel to it. And I would definitely recommend factoring in enough time for a drink in the roof garden. The performance space itself still holds much of its original 19th century design, and is a lovely auditorium size where I would imagine you can see the stage well from wherever you are sitting. We were on the back row of the circle and had a perfect view.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Review: All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher

By the time I finished my English Literature degree, I had countless lists of books I wanted to read for fun. Out of choice. Without anyone telling me to.

I would have liked to add to that ‘without having to analyse every tiny detail’, but unfortunately that’s an approach so deeply engrained in me, that it’s impossible to read  any other way!

Nevertheless, I knew I wanted to start off with something a little lighter than the Victorian poetry with which I’d finished off my degree. I wanted to read something positive, something chatty, and something written within the last decade at least. So I decided on Carrie Hope Fletcher’s non-fiction book, All I Know Now.


Monday, 24 August 2015

Boardmasters Festival 2015

Until last year I’d never actually been to a festival. Not a full-blown weekend camping type, anyway. I’m kind of sad that I left it so late, because I now love them. Having had the best time at Glastonbury last summer, I was really keen to go to at least one festival this year. I had to rule out a lot of June/July festivals due to being in America, and eventually settled on Boardmasters, partly because of the line-up and partly because I wanted to experience something on a completely different scale to Glasto.

I also gave vlogging another go whilst at the festival; Day One and Day Two are up already if you want to watch!

Boardmasters is a music and surfing festival, taking place in Newquay and attracting around 25,000 visitors into the area for the weekend. A standard weekend camping ticket costs around £130, although there are a number of VIP packages which I’d be tempted to try out if I had the money.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Now Playing/ Wishlist - August

How is it mid-August already?! It’s surprising how fast time is going when I’m not even working or studying, but August has been quite a busy month with birthday celebrations and going to Boardmasters Festival. I also finally got to see Gypsy at the theatre, which featured way back in my May Wishlist. It was even more incredible than I had anticipated, and a full review will be up soon!

But for now, here’s what I’ve had my eye on so far this month…heatrequite a busy month with birthday celebrations and going to Boardmasters Festival. I also finally got to se


Friday, 14 August 2015

10 Reasons I Will Miss Student Life

Seeing all the tweets about people receiving their A Level results and finding out which university they’ll be off to has really started to make it sink in that I’m not going back myself. Although I left for good back in June, I haven’t quite been able to accept the fact that I’m no longer a student yet. Honestly, it just feels like I’m home for summer and will be heading back for another year in September. Sad times.

Anyway, I thought I’d turn my misery into something a little bit productive, and give y’all (yep, my heart’s still stuck in Nashville) a response to my 10 Reasons I am Ready to be a Graduate post with 10 things I’m really going to miss about student life.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Travel: Nashville

After spending two nights in Washington, D.C., we got on a Greyhound coach and headed to Nashville. We knew that this wouldn’t be the most comfortable night’s sleep of our lives, and on reflection I definitely wouldn’t choose this method of travel again unless on an extremely tight budget. It wasn’t so much the coach itself that was the problem, it was more the continuous stopping and unloading of the coach that happened throughout the night, and some of the people also travelling with us.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

10 Reasons I am Ready to be a Graduate

After four amazing but exhausting years at university, last week I graduated with my BA (Hons) English Literature with Creative Writing. I was/am in two minds about leaving uni; and during my final week or two, although I  was sick of the state of my student kitchen, I was also really sad to be doing my ‘lasts’ of everything student related.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Travel: Washington, D.C.

If you read my Travel Planning post or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you’ll probably be aware that I recently travelled around America for three weeks with my boyfriend, visiting Washington, D.C., Nashville, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon and Los Angeles. This is the first of six posts I’ll be writing about the trip, so keep an eye out for the rest or give me a follow on bloglovin to make sure you don’t miss any!


Monday, 20 July 2015

Now Playing/ Wishlist - July

My July Now Playing/ Wishlist is a little late, due to spending three weeks travelling around America and then graduating last week, but I still wanted to share what I’m loving and excited for at the moment.

Travelling posts (and hopefully videos) will be up very soon, so keep an eye out for those too!


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Now Playing/ Wishlist - June

As you can see, I’ve kept with the Now Playing/ Wishlist title – it’s growing on me…

It really doesn’t feel like a month ago that I was writing my May post though, time has gone so quickly over the past four weeks. I’ve finished season one of Once Upon a Time, been to Dot to Dot festival, visited a new city for the first time and completed my degree!

As I’ve been super busy, I haven’t had huge amounts of time to watch new shows and discover new music, but here are a few things I’m enjoying or hoping to catch over the next month.


Monday, 8 June 2015

Review: House of Cards Season One

*WARNING: Only contains very, very minor spoilers (from the first episode)*

One of the reasons I downloaded Netflix in the first place was because I wanted to watch House of Cards. My brother had been telling me for months that I needed to watch the show, and so as soon as I had finished Gossip Girl, I knew that House of Cards had to come next.

House of Cards is an American political drama, set mostly in the White House, and is released exclusively on Netflix. I didn’t actually realise until I did a little research before starting this post (my bad), but the show is based on a BBC mini-series from the 1990s, which was set after Margaret Thatcher’s stint as Prime Minister.


Friday, 29 May 2015

Dot to Dot Festival 2015 - Manchester

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably be aware that I went to Dot to Dot Festival in Manchester last weekend. I didn’t stop tweeting about it for about a week. Apologies.

Dot to Dot is a festival that happens across Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham one weekend in May every year. The festival makes use of multiple indoor venues within each of the cities and hosts around 100 artists and bands (which makes choosing who to see quite a difficult task).

I went to Dot to Dot for the first time last year when I was living in Bristol, and knew I would have to go again. Heading back to Bristol couldn't work, as the people I stay with are right in the middle of exams, so my friend Jenny suggested going back to her hometown, Manchester. I didn’t think you could beat Bristol for great locations and quirky venues, but Manchester’s Northern Quarter is strong competition, and it’s definitely somewhere I’d go back to visit.


Friday, 15 May 2015

Review: James Bay - Chaos and the Calm

Top tracks: Need the Sun to Break, Scars, Let it Go
Songs to skip: Best Smile, Collide [Edit Sept 2015 - I now love these songs!]

Image Source

I first came across James Bay at the iTunes festival last September, as he was supporting the act I was there to see. I really enjoyed his performance, but it was a bit band-heavy and it was hard to hear his vocals, so it wasn’t until I discovered some of his acoustic tracks on YouTube that he really caught my attention. In fact, I think it was a live performance of Scars that I played on repeat for weeks, and it was the captivity of this song and this level of intense vocals that I was hoping for with the album.


Friday, 8 May 2015

Now Playing/ Wishlist - May

I’ve been putting off posting this for a while, because I’ve been desperately searching for a better title for this series of posts. When I posted one back last July I tried What’s on my wishlist, but this time I wanted to cover things I’m currently loving as well as things I’m hoping to see – do you see my dilemma?!

Maybe I’m setting myself up for disappointment by trying to fit these two concepts together, but I need to publish this post soon as I’m already speeding my way through episodes of Once Upon a Time, so I’ll just have to settle for Now Playing/ Wishlist for now.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

10 Reasons Why Gossip Girl is a TV Classic

Now I know that Gossip Girl is probably not really old enough to be considered a TV Classic just yet, but I have no doubt that it will be. In fact, I only finished watching the series about a month ago, and it’s already heading that way for me.

Around the same time that I began work on my dissertation, I finally joined the 21st century and downloaded Netflix. This was a potentially dangerous move, I know, but I managed to muster enough strength to banish myself to the library each day throughout the process.

I’d seen the first series of Gossip Girl years ago, back in the day of buying boxsets (I’ve never sounded so old), but didn’t get round to buying the later series, which is why this show was top of my list.

Image Source


Monday, 20 April 2015

City Break: Berlin

At the beginning of April I spent five days in Berlin with my family, as my Mum wanted us to have one final family holiday before I graduate and have to become a real adult (what a terrifying thought).

None of us had visited the city before, except for my Mum, who had been when she was a child, when the wall was still dividing the East and West sides. As this was our first time, there was a lot we wanted to fit into the five days, so we made an itinerary before we went.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Review: Cinderella (2015)

*WARNING: May contain spoilers!*

In the film industry at present, where fairy tales are expected to be reinvented with innovative twists or at least challenge the norms of the genre, successfully remaking the classic tale of Cinderella as a straight-up live-action version, is a surprisingly difficult task. In light of some of Disney’s recent triumphs, such as Maleficent (2014) and Frozen (2013), which offer alternatives to the typified Disney princess formula, it is no longer enough to dazzle young girls with sparkling dresses and a happily-ever-after. In fact, we assume these blockbusters to entertain the whole family, and leave the cinema slightly disappointed if we are not offered the winning combination of unlikely heroes, sassy remarks and a comedic talking snowman.

With these pioneering remakes as its backdrop, it would be easy for the far more conventional Cinderella to fall flat; yet it is through Kenneth Branagh’s determined simplicity and almost nostalgic tribute to the style of the original animation, combined with the aesthetic of modern fairy tales such as Nanny McPhee (2005) that this film really flourishes.

Image Source

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