Friday, 16 June 2017

Summer Plans 🌞πŸ₯πŸ¨πŸ“š✍🏿

Summer holidays are here wohoo and I have plans. Summer normally isn't very easy for me. Once I've moved out of my uni bubble, I'm not surrounded by people or deadlines and I become aware of  so being lonely and just not feeling so great. So it's really important for me to have plans to keep myself busy. 

  • Uni ! This has already happened :L but yes a week after landing home, I went off to uni for a few days. Next year, I'm president of Blog Soc *woop* so I had a few meetings and met the committee. Everyone I met was lovely and just confirmed the fact the bloggers overall, must I be the friendliest group of people :') I also met up with a couple of friends I hadn't seen in a year!! Much needed catch up. 
  • Read. Duh. But it's actually harder during the holidays because I wake up thinking I have all the time in the world and reading just naturally falls on the bottom of the list. That said this year, this summer, there's just too much I want to read so I need to get a move on. I told myself I wouldn't buy any more books till I've finished the 12 on the TBR but I'm dying, actually dying to read Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo Lodge. And, about 5 other books have also just popped up on my radar. So I'm now in a mad rush to finish everything! 
  •  Blog. Again, probably a given. But this summer, I really want to work on the film side of this blog which has been neglected for a long while. I found it harder to make creative film posts quickly so I had to take a step back and plan how I'd revamp. I've got a few ideas floating around now so expect some new film posts from next week! I'm excited.
  • Food writing! Random, right? I used to love food writing and creating recipes and, I've started doing it again. At the moment I'm just doing it for myself but I may share one day, who knows. 
  • Go to a Lit Event/Festival. As in, literature πŸ˜…. I'm eyeing one up at the moment and the people over at Mostly Lit will be there so I really want to go. It's just annoying because all these events are always in London so I'm currently working out the logistics/money side of it all.
  • Newsletter? I think I want to start a newsletter! I don't know. We'll see.
  • Dissertation. I know, I know. Imagine. Uni is making us work on our dissertations over the summer but I'm grateful because at least it'll be a bit of a head start. Currently having a little bit of a crisis because I can't do the question I really wanted to do - *le cry* but overall, grateful. 
  • Grammar. Moving to France has really motivated me to make sure my French grammar is on.point by the time I start uni again so I've been really working on it lately.
  • Work! I got a really fun job lined up in a summer school :)  
  • Holidayy. I'm going away for a week  with my friend from the States who I literally last saw, nearly two years ago. I'll post more on that soon enough but hype hype hype.
  • France. I'm planning to go back for a week and eat all the brioche, croissants aux amandes and Pomme/Vanille compottes to my heart's content.
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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Γ€ bientΓ΄t!



I had no idea what to expect going into the year abroad and it's been no secret that it wasn't always smooth sailing. But now that my time in France has come to an end, I'm so sad it's over! About an hour before getting on that Gatwick plane it dawned, I mean properly dawned on me; that my French was bad, my public speaking skills were bad and my memories of school were pretty much all bad - definitely not an ideal situation for an insecure, anxiety filled individual on their way to teach teenagers in France for 8 months. And yet, so much good came out of my move!

  • I didn’t know it at the time but I needed a year out from uni to reset. I love university (admittedly more when I'm not there and can appreciate it from afar) but I've always felt swamped by the workload and trying to balance that with everything else. It takes a physical and emotional toll and I just felt like university was happening to me. With a year out, it was super nice to not have to worry about any of that and, actually remember what life is about: brioche, almond croissants and Netflix. πŸ–’πŸ–’
  • My confidence drastically improved; I'm telling you, fake it to you make it actually works. On Day Two, I was left alone in front of 16 16 year olds so as you can imagine, I didn't really have time to gradually get comfortable in talking to groups of people.  This ended up being was a blessing in disguise because I really had to push my myself early on, which sped up the confidence process.
  • I feel like an  adult. Moving out to live and work full time in another country demands a whole other level of independence that wasn't necessarily required of me when I moved out to uni. You can't reach your parents as easily, you can't just go home when you want and, you're treated as an adult in the workplace.
  • Small town living πŸ’— I lived in a town called Les Herbiers in VendΓ©e and ngl, first day I was like, never seen so much green space in my life and I'm not crazy about it. There are only 2 buses that leave the town every day and there isn't a train station so it's just not that easy to leave unless you have a car. In the beginning when I wasn't settling in, I did feel really alone and trapped. And in hindsight, that feeling was linked to not knowing anyone. Once I made friends, I really appreciated living in a small town! Everything is so cute and dainty and! the slower pace of life and sense of community is something you can't always find in a city. And I miss my local bakery. Sigh.
  • Friends πŸ’— I made some great friendships! 
  • I have a new appreciation for teaching. Not that I didn't before but seeing more of the teaching side of things made me realise how hard it is to teach well! Sidetrack - I also learnt that teachers are like some of the gossipiest people ever like wowwowwow who knew?!
  • And I've fallen in love with France! What a country. The language (once you can semi speak it :L), the food, the people - it's a beautiful and really unrated place and I can't wait to go back!



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Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla


The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla, is a collection of essays by 20 something BAME writers including Riz Ahmed, Himesh Patel, Bim Adewunmi; about what it means to be an immigrant/person of colour/ethnic minority in the UK today. What it’s like to be the only POC in your community; the significance of your name , your hair to your identity; stereotypes – are all subjects that come up more than once. As the essays draw on personal experiences, not only do the writers have contradictory opinions but, each theme is dealt with completely differently. Some comedic , others more academic, a couple of travel pieces thrown in there which altogether; showed just how complex race and identity are.

I’ve had this this post has been sitting in drafts for months now because the book had such an impact on me and I wanted to do it justice if I was ever going to talk about it. Well, months went by and I'd put too much pressure on myself and alas, I couldn’t write a cohesive review. So I did what I do best - I made a list. Here are just a few of the best things about The Good Immigrant.

- Some of the essays genuinely made me laugh out loud (shout out to Riz Ahmed’s essay #LOLS - I hope you have FOMO right now, go and read it), a couple made me very emotional, angry at times I think that more or less reflects the experiences of a POC. Sometimes I experience casual racism and the only response I have, is to laugh how ridiculousness it is. And then there are days where, you can't laugh it off. And when thinking back to those days is still painful to think about. The reading experience truly reflects this living one.

- Musa Okwana writes: “Society deems us bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit-scroungers, girlfriend-thieves, refugees – until we cross over in their consciousness, through popular culture, winning races, baking good cakes, being conscientious doctors, to become good immigrants.”
What joins the essays together is this idea of how people of colour, immigrants are “othered” by our own society and only accepted when we have something to offer. Essentially immigrants are just people, living our lives with a much higher standard put on us. As we're not white, we seem to have something to prove, and even when we prove it, we’re the exception not the rule and never truly accepted. Though I know this to be true, I haven't really seen the immigrant experience explained in such a  black and white way - pun intended.

- “ I have three voices … I talk in Guj-lish my normal voice and white literary part. I don't know whether my normal voice where I feel most comfortable, most safe, even feels like me anymore. I've splintered into personas.” – Nikesh Shukla

I read that with an 😯face because I have 5000 voices tooooo?! I'll explain. When I was 8 and realised that a) I was the only black person in my school apart from my brother and b) I had a very strong Ghanaian accent which made me stand out even more, I whited up that situation and quickly adopted an accent for school. And then over time my genuine accent changed as did the one I put on in that, it was no longer intentional. And yet the voice I use to talk to myself is a weird mesh of all of them? So now, I have like 3 accents I use interchangeably without thinking about it.

Now, I have NEVER heard anyone talk about this - I thought it was just me. And there were many other moments like this. I know that our identity is shaped by what we go through but understanding how and articulating it even to yourself can be hard and frustrating, especially when you can’t understand why you are the way you are. Being able to relate to so many of these essays helped me to understand myself– which πŸ‘is πŸ‘why πŸ‘weπŸ‘ need πŸ‘more πŸ‘diversityπŸ‘ in πŸ‘literature! Anyways.

I learnt a lot. I felt like I was listening to other people and learning about the experiences of other POC in the UK. Simple. There are people from other ethnic minorities whose struggles I hadn’t given much thought too.



The Good Immigrant has been doing really well and it's so well deserved. But I still feel disappointed when I hear people things along the lines of  “ it's a really important book given our political climate".  Its as if listening to the experiences of POC is this topical thing.  It makes you woke, it gets you retweets. Racism obviously didn’t start in 2016 + these writers are writing from a lifetime of experiences. So I reckon it should just be considered, necessary, required reading from now on. I'm also super excited because it has paved the way for many more books like it!

5/5

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Nasty Women


A day after Donald Trump called Hilary Clinton a "nasty woman"; every man, woman and child showed up on Twitter because  we'd all  rather be "nasty" and carefree 😎 than whatever it is Trump expects women to be. The people (an independent publisher in the UK) over at 404 Ink took note and, got a kickstarter going to  put out a book written by women, on what it's like to be a woman in the 21st century. Months later and voila, here it is - Nasty Women, a collection of essays, interviews and accounts by fearless women who are unapologetically themselves.

This book of course does not and cannot account for every woman's experience in the 21st century and kind-of-low-key-claims-to-do-so. All these women are British and many of them are based in Scotland which is worth bearing in mind. That said, the book really tries to be representative. Even as a woman with my own experiences, this book was a window into so many more. My at times ignorance and preconceptions were definitely checked in the reading of this book. There are essays about race, visibility, class, culture, politics, family, religion, disabilities, contraception, the workplace - and many  if not all the essays, are intersectional.

Not so long ago, I went through a "thing" where I wasn't being treated fairly and in speaking up about it, I was labelled as "difficult". At the time I actually really beat myself up about it because I hate being perceived as being as an unpleasant individual. And that's the issue! We've been conditioned to be "nice" all the time. Speaking up or challenging or questioning things or not smiling or not being a sized  aren't what nice girls do. And because we've been so conditioned to feel this way, these labels "nasty","difficult" are used to silence us.  Because apparently the worse thing that could've happen to me, was being called difficult. Honestly the freedom when you realise how silly this all is is like nothing else.

Like the glorious day on Twitter :') this book reclaims the "nasty woman" label just by presenting intelligent, opinionated, female voices.

4/5
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Monday, 15 May 2017

What's On Your Bookshelf? with Laura from Two Paper Girls. We chat Booktube, Fantasy + Graphic Novels !


Halo all. I'm back doing another one of these chats, this time with Laura. Laura is one half on Two Paper Girls, a Booktube channel set up by herself and best friend Amy. I first heard about their channel through the grapevine at university two years ago and I've been watching ever since!

It's a channel I go to for recommendations because unlike quite a few Booktube channels, this one doesn't really have a niche. Laura and Amy read pretty widely which is quite nice because what I read next, depends on how I'm feeling and there's something for everyone on the channel. So before we talked about books, I was pretty excited Laura even agreed to do this chat so ya know, I had to get all my low-key fan girl questions about her channel out of the way first! 

What made you decide to start Two Paper Girls?
“Amy and I have been best friends since primary school and we’ve always liked reading so we sort of inspired each other to start. I'd started watching a lot of YouTube and discovered Booktube. We both thought it looked fun and thought, why not make our own?. And because my dad and brother had the equipment, we just thought we’d try it one day. We both really liked it and it sort of stuck!"

And what type of videos do you like to film?
"Challenge videos are so much fun to film! Like, we did this blindfold challenge and it was such a laugh. They don't seem to get as many hits but we always have a laugh filming them."

You're both at uni and running a YouTube channel, do you find it hard to balance the two?
“We've sort of got into a rhythm with it so it's not too bad no. We film once every two weeks and plan which four videos to film. It can take a while but it’s not so bad. It helps that there are two of us because we take turn with editing which actually, is what takes a while. Uploading can take hours." 

Now I don't have a YouTube channel but I remember Zoe Sugg or Alfie saying once it can take 2-3 to edit a video so, much respect.

Would you say you read a lot?
"I think it depends on "a lot". There are booktubers that read way more than I do and some people read a lot less. I read maybe 4 books a month but it depends with uni work and all the reading I have to do for my course." FYI Laura studies under grad English (a course I nearly chose :') ).

What are you reading at the moment?
Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence "I'm doing a DH Lawrence module for my course and it's [Lady Chatterley's Lover] nowhere near as scandalous as its reputation! I guess it was at the time but it's basically just about an affair."

We did get chatting about DH Lawrence whose books, if you didn't know, had a reputation I believe for writing what was considered to be 'unconventional' at the time given that he explored themes such as female sexuality. "He used the ‘c’ word and wrote about sex and violence a lot! But he’s definitely not an author of erotica, but his characters are in touch with their sexuality." I'm actually not the biggest fan of classics bar Shakespeare (I know, gross overgeneralising) but I can never really connect with the characters or settle into the style. But after Laura talked about Sons and Lovers, I was intrigued and slipped it onto my TBR. 

"It's about a family in a mining town in Nottingham. We first follow the character of Gertrude Morel when she marries below her social class for passion but her husband is actually quite violent and temperamental. She has 4 children and becomes very attached to the two eldest sons. The perspective then shifts to her second son, Paul Morel, as he tries to find love despite his overprotective mother and difficult upbringing. It’s a great classic because the characters feel very human and real. Even though they’re not all likeable, and do some terrible things, you understand their motivation and it’s a really engaging read!"

Was there a time in your life you'd say you started reading?
“Probably when I was about 9 and I started reading all the Animal Ark series. And then I found the Harry Potter series which also means a lot to me.  I probably started reading them when the 6th book came out, and it was the first time I was fully part of a fandom.”

Guys, wasn’t the animal section at your primary school library πŸ”₯ ? It can't just be me?! Also! I too remember the first time being fully fledged into a fandom :') It was Twilight and I feel like now, we’re all just embarrassed by our collective overreaction to the books and the film and Taylor Lautner , but the series itself was good, come on. And while I too, loved loved loved Harry Potter, I haven’t liked any fantasy since and I’ve tried.

So what would you say someone should read to ease themselves into the fantasy genre?

"Well The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss has magic school elements so if you liked Harry Potter, it’s a bit like that in that sense. But it's quite high-epic fantasy though and that can be quite hard, maybe a better recommendation for those interested in the genre is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas! I also really liked Peter Pan by J.M Barrie– the story itself of course has is fantasy by it’s actually quite dark and I really enjoyed it.

Then there’s The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – don’t watch the film, the film was awful and they changed so much! But the books are really good. I love The Lord of the Rings and the films too but again,  that’s more epic fantasy.”

I also want to talk about a genre that not enough people talk about on Book tube but, I’d seen pop up on this channel in hauls … comic books! I don’t talk about them enough but I’m a comic book fan. The art is often beautiful but so different for each comic, the plot lines an be sharp and witty in a way that just can’t be found in novels. They also don’t take that long to read ! “And the weirdest things can happen in comic books that can’t really happen in books. You can just do the wackiest things and have really over the top humour - like in Rat Queens or Giant Days. And this kind of thing works so well in comics but not necessarily in anything else.” YesπŸ’—

We got into talking about how comic books really push the boundaries, and portray genres in a way that is so different to other mediums of literature. I read mainly Marvel and DC but even within those, are so many genres and it’s a different type of creativity all together. And even if you don’t like superheros, know that there are now comics about crime, horror, biographical, historical, mental health – it’s not all Spiderman.

Current Comic Books on Laura's Shelf:   
Spider Gwen Volume 1, Watchmen - "both on the TBR!"

Volume 2 of Giant Days “It’s about a university set in England and it’s just nice to read about university students, you don’t see that very often. It’s also quite funny.”

Rat Queens –“It’s so much fun! It’s diverse, feisty and has a really strong portrayal of female friendships.”

Rapid [ish] Fire Round

Who are your Instaread author/s?
“Anything by John Green for sure. … Ian McKewan though he’s more more of an Instabuy writer for me. I think I read Atonment back in sixth form and loved it, so now I  just buy everything he brings out, but haven’t read them yet. His latest one is a modern Shakespeare retelling and it looks really good so I think I’ll read that soon. J.K Rowling maybe, though The Casual Vacancy wasn’t that great ... And VE Schawb – again it’s more Instabuy with her. I keep hearing people talk about her books on YouTube and keep buying them!

What do you plan on reading next?
"The Penguin by Tom Michellanother animal book! I’ll start it after all my coursework’s out of the way. It should be fun and light reading."

Best book of the year so far?
I have LOVED A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – it’s a beauty and the beast retelling with sexy faeries! It’s got a really interesting plot and I’ve heard great things about the rest of the series! Also I finished This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab which was awesome! A really dark book full of monsters that are created through violent human acts and an unlikely friendship which, refreshingly, doesn’t turn into a romance! And I'll add On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher – It’s whimsical, magical and I did cry at the end."

Thank youuu Laura for this chat, was the dream :')  Make sure to check out Two Paper Girls and subscribe! 


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Friday, 12 May 2017

TV Review: 13 Reasons Why




The Netflix show 13 Reasons Why is based on Jay Asher's YA book and is about Hannah Baker; a teenage girl who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 audio recordings; one for each person she believes was the reason she ended her life. The tapes are passed to each person and we find them with Clay, who comes back from school one day to find them at his doorstep. Hannah was the new girl at her high school and as the episodes progress, we learn more about her school experience and we sort of see through her eyes, how she feels she was wronged by these people. She was a victim of slut shaming, bullying, public humiliation, witnessing a rape, being raped, and being majorly let down by her "friends". The whole show is portrayed through a string of flashbacks as Clay follows Hannah's trail to find out what was really happening to her at school, why he has a tape and why she dies. Unsurprisingly her suicide, and these tapes really badly affect those she sends them to.


The acting itself that phenomenal and on that front, the show has a very afternoon Lifetime TV feel. I give props to show for giving us such a diverse cast full of new talent. That said, perhaps the show didn't really require strong performances because the very nature of the script, is so emotionally draining, that it naturally distracts from the often mediocre cast. Dylan Minnette however who plays Clay, carries the show through for the most part, giving a compelling performance as a student who is uncovering these dark experiences his close friend had, his possible contribution to her death, while clearly struggling with his own mental health . The latter isn't really brought to the forefront of the plot but I think is integral in forming and understanding his character and so, I felt required a lot more of a nuanced performance, which he executed very well.

What the show also handles well, is its depiction of  bullying, slut shaming, the difficulty in finding loyal friends and, the debilitating effect that these experiences can have on someone. These were clearly well researched and deftly handled. It doesn't take away from the fact though that the show makes a spectacle of suicide.

The premise itself; leaving essentially elaborate, very creative suicide notes to every person who you believe is the reason you're ending your life, is problematic and best, sadistic at worst. But given Hannah's state of mind I can understand or at least reason with it. Though a flawed character, Hannah really grew on me as the season progressed. And yet we're not given any space to mourn her death or really digest what how tragic this suicide because from episode 1, we the audience are on "trail" to find out why Hannah kills herself and "who" is to blame. Each episode, the tapes reach different individuals and though some (others didn't 'deserve' a tape) wronged her, all are battling their own issues. The show dabbles almost in being a psychological thriller as it becomes about how each tape pushes each "receiver", further over the edge.

Every episode we get closer to who is really to blame and in doing so, the  show completely ignores the most obvious answer, that Hannah is ultimately responsible for her own death. While others contributed to her depression, it is Hannah who takes her life. And the final episode does entertain this line of reasoning, but it is ultimately cast aside and we leave the season with the conclusion that responsibility for Hannah's death lies squarely on the shoulders of these teenagers. The overall message becomes - treat people with compassionate (fair enough), if you so much as even slip up and they kill themselves, it'll be your fault.


Everyone, particularly Clay, leaves the season almost "at peace" and coming to terms with his said responsibility for her death. Which as a show, is so irresponsible given its target audience, are young people struggling with mental health problems. As if to say that you can somehow if you 're depressed and if other people have contributed to the way you feel or look at yourself, you can avenge yourself by taking your own life. In Hannah still essentially "living" through these tapes, there is something to be gained from taking your life.



I'm trying not to leave spoilers but there is one scene I have to talk about: Hannah's suicide. We witness the entire process: picking the weapon, the actual suicide, her final thoughts, watching her die and her parents finding her body. These scenes were shot so cinematically, so detailed and were so visceral in a way that made them so so unnecessarily graphic.  Producers claim that they made this show to help people with depression and those who've considered suicide. And yet these are the very people, who shouldn't be watching this show. "Research shows that exposure to another person's suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide."

I'll admit the show makes for addictive viewing but not for the right reasons. And I'm not happy. Yes because so many people are watching the show, we're having and engaging in conversations about mental health, perhaps far more than we were before. But there are TV shows (few though they exist) such as The Fosters that deal with issues such as rape, bullying, teenage identity, depression and so on, far better in a way that inspires hope.

5/10
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Missing University



I haven't been at uni this year because of the year abroad and while this has been an incredible opportunity and if you get the chance you should totes do it ... I've struggled. I've just noticed my mental health has properly plummeted over the last year, which got me thinking about firstly how important community is (cringe but ya know, true). There's something about being plugged into uni life, even when it felt like it was sweeping me away, it was still a healthy distraction. It also got me thinking about  all the things I bitterly miss about uni life and everything I took for granted ! The novelty I imagine will wear off after week 3 but anywho:

1. the campus - it's so beaut and was a big factor in me choosing my university. I don't have photos but take my word for it. We have swans and lakes and benches and lots of trees - it is very nice.

2. learning - only now realising how bloody fantastic my course is! So many cool modules, great lectures (I actually enjoyed most of my lectures and sometimes, even, left feel inspired ?! and grateful I even got in to such a great uni. okay this bracket is very long) and all those course friends you don't talk to outside of the lecture hall - i miss them too :') And not to sound like an eager beaver but I love learning, having work to do all the time and concrete goals to reach. This year, I've sort of felt like an aimless wanderer with not a lot of purpose ... I don't feel like I'm doing anything. You don't realise how great that lack of sleep mixed with caffeine and course anxiety is, until it's gone :') (Jokes)

3. societies. I take for granted how many societies we have. I've been wanting to go to Lego Soc since Freshers but keep putting it off because I can't find a friend to go with - I know, lame. ... Maybe Lego Soc is lame. But it dawned on me that I could leave university and never meet another grown ass person who likes Lego when meanwhile, there is a room filled with Lego lovers somewhere on campus.

4. having people around you all the time. being so geographically close to your friends. πŸ’—And all the chats I had with my 2 flatmates till 2am. And also after university, when else in life are you ever going to have such a large network of people around you? Even if you're not making life long pals, when else in your life are you going to have access to that many people around you?! I'd say my uni is a really friendly one too - maybe i'm just thinking that because I've been gone a year and can't remember. But in general if you want to talk to someone, you don't have to look so far.



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Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Weekend Edit

Haaalo once again.  This weekend has been a fun one because, I've had stuff to do! I went on a walk, it was my friend's 25th partay and, I'm heading out to a shoe museum in a couple of hours. I'm also thinking I'm going to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 tomorrow. If you didn't know, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 is my all time fave MCU film so I have been WAITING for this one. I also have recommendations for you that I've been proper loving. Like, I've been so excited to write this post because I've accumulated some goood stuff.

Listening

Mostly Lit Podcast
Like, every episode ever. Before the only time I listened to Mostly Lit was when I was going to bed. In fact I did that with every podcast except Back Row Films and Kermode and Mayo .. until now?! I've stopped watching TV/films while I eat, instead choosing to catch up on podcasts and not be infront of a screen all day. And that's when I listened to Mostly Lit properly for the first time and oh my goodness. Mostly Lit is a podcast with three black 20 somethings from London. They discuss the intersection of literature and politics and popular culture and I love listening to them! The level of conversation is . I'm not the most articulate person and I normally need a lot of words to get my point across (hence why I like blogging because I can take time to edit stuff I say).These three are incredibly articulate and intelligent and reflective and all round woke group of young people. The episodes I re-listened to were Black Boys Don't Read and The God's Must Be Crazy - so start here.

Melanin Millenials - 
The hosts, Imrie and Satia are two black women from London who dissect popular culture, history , race, politics and, also talk about what it means to be a millenial in the UK today. Again, the podcast gives you thought provoking conversation while being so funny at the same time. I hate writing down that something is "funny", it's such a lazy, watered down adjective but I legit  choked on my dinner about 3 nights ago listening to an episode, because I was laughing so much. Their banter, all the shade the throw around at everyone, I think you just feel part of the convo too, ya know? Well if you don't go and listen. There are so many I hadn't listened to, so I've been catching up and I keep getting excited about competitions and events I can sign up to, only to find that they've already happened lol.

Anna Faris is Unqualified. ep 68 Sharon Stone
FYI. Anna Faris is an actress, she starred in The House Bunny, she's done alot of voicework, she's in one of my favourite rom-coms , she's in a show called Mom. She's like the most earnest, unintentionally funny person and, a great podcast host.

On this podcast she has a celebrity and they chit chat a bit, they play these scenario games and then she has a few callers, who ask her and the celebrity for advice to their real life problems. They genuinely try to give good advice but oh my word, this episode with Sharon Stone is one of the most memorable. Sharon Stone gave the most incredible advice. There were two callers and she was like analysing them and asking them questions and pulling out these possibly deep rooted issues that noone had even considered. She is a fountain of wisdom and I'm not exaggerating Sharon Stone talks like a therapist and it took everyone on the panel and I'm sure many listeners like myself by surprise.   Wowzers.

Crash On My Couch 
Now that I'm listening to podcasts in the day, I needed a podcast I could fall asleep to. And Crash On My Couch is that podcast - in the best way possible. It's Arden Rose and Will Darbyshire from YouTube and authoring and all the other cool stuff they do. And its meant to be a podcast about navigating your 20's? I think it's more just random conversations with a some caller quetsions at the end, if I'm being honest, but that makes for good listening. So far they've talked about nude perfomance art, bad dates, Pixar conspiracy theories ... you get the gist. They're such a sweet duo and they both have really theraputic voices. It's like listening in on a quirky couple's convo on the bus. That's actually exactly what it is.

Reading 
I've ofcourse been reading blog posts but nothing that's really caught my attention. I have however been really enjoying Nettle & Blackberry as a blog in it's entirety. It's a lifestyle blog and I like that she gives little snippets into her life and what's going on - they're my favourite types of blogs to read. I've mentioned both of these before and won't stop !, Sarah's blog Sciwitch is good for those sorts of posts as is Becloumar.

Watching 

Whether it be her blog posts or YouTube videos, I think I've mentioned Cruelty Free Becky in every one of these Weekend Edits and this post is no exception. Her most recent video is on 'Spring Trends done Sustainably' and I recommend you watch it. This channel has taught me that there are many ways of being cruelty free and being environment conscious. And that it's not that hard to make small changes.

Gabes and Anna
What a couple. They're doing this 3 part series about their decision to abstain from sex before getting married. So far they have a video on the why and how behind this decision. For people who maybe don't understand really why some Christians choose to abstain. It's really a faith filled decision and never because we think sex is "bad" and "virginity" whatever that is, is "good". In the same way that society judges especially women who choose to have sex, people can also be a bit judgy when you choose not to, because many think your decision not to, is in itself, a judgement on someone else. Anyway this is a good series because I think they lay out they "why" very clearly and non judgmentally - because it isn't :) . I've made my point I think.

Chelsea Handler Season 2
I think I said this last time, I can't remember but I love the political turn that this show has taken. She has politicians on every week and she now has celebrities who are actively engaged in politics and they discuss and dissect anything that's happened that week. She had Tracee Ellis Ross, Rosario Dawson and Aisha Tyler this Friday.

I've also really been enjoying Neighbours (Australian soap opera in case you didn't know) and I'm giving them a shout out because, it's been consistently solid for about 2 months. Leo and Amy finally get together after about a year, only to find out they're related?! Are Piper and Tyler growing further apart?! And Paige is having a baby with a priest! But she's also moved back in with Mark so I'm think something is going to happen there?! I'm also thinking you don't watch Neighbours and have no idea what I'm talking about. That's okay.

Enjoy your weekend,  it's another long one wohooo! xo




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Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson






“Why do we want to kill all the broken people? ... I don’t do what I do because I have to, because I’ve been trained to. I do what I do because I’m broken too. You cannot defend condemned people without being broken.”- Bryan Stevenson

The author, Bryan Stevenson is an African American lawyer who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, to defend those within marginalised groups, who often can't get legal representation. to defend those who are marginalised and so often can't get legal representation. He talks mainly about an early case of his - one Walter McMillan, an African American man wrongly convicted and put on death row for the murder of a white woman.

Walter's story is the one we follow for the most part as Stevenson tries to investigate, interviewing "witnesses", to get Walter off death row. Stevenson uses this case, along with others,  to unravel and analyse the American justice system which, is robustly set up against and, to fail marginalised groups while completely disregarding the issues and systems in place that drive them to prison in the first place. And then when they get there, they're denied basic human rights.

Going into this, I knew the justice system was messed up. Like, we all kind of know that right? We've seen Reggie Yates documentaries, we've seen Making a Murderer (well I personally haven't but haven' I couldn't get into it but a bunch of y'all have) and especially in the UK and the States;  I understood we have an unspoken "lock them up and throw away the key" policy, particularly if you're of colour or poor - the justice system has no time for you. But even then, after reading this book, I realise that what I thought I knew - the actual details - were very hazy.

Well, Just Mercy was uncomfortably informative. He intertwines the details of these cases with research and statistics which reveal this really horrifying and confronting picture of our justice systems and where they're heading. He talks about abuse towards women, men and even children  - facts of which were shocking as in, there are many children as young as 13 being held in adult prisons where they become subject to abuse that pushes them to suicide. He talks about how statistically more likely you are to find yourself in prison if you're poor, black or just don't have the ability articulate yourself to the authorities, because of a lack of education.  People being encouraged (often forced) to take plea deals, the treatment of the mentally ill in prison, mass incarceration, lawyers in it for the money, officers under pressure to solve cases in limited time - the list goes on. And while I felt like I had to really concentrate when reading this because all these details form the bigger picture, I knew I hadn't even scratched the surface regarding the scale of the problem.

Just Mercy is a heavy read. A lot of it was so hard to swallow and I did have to go back and re-read chunks of it because I needed the space and time to digest it. And yet it is written in such a compelling, engaging and compassionate way. I think we often think of prisoners as these faceless people, without any humanity. Intellectually, I know it's not the case but when I think of prisoners, I think everyone's there because they're despicable people who broke the law and deserve it. It's a really embarrassing, lazy and dangerous way to think about people which is why, it was so powerful to humanise everyone he talks about. Stevenson provides background into their situations, talks about their family and loved ones and maybe most importantly tells us their names.

Reading this book made me really angry. I do read a lot (especially recently) that has made me angry but this was the kind of anger I couldn't shake off. It had an affect on me in a way I can't quite describe but when I finished, I couldn't read anything else. After going on this journey with everyone we meet in the book and then having to leave them behind - but now knowing and understanding the scale of the problem and, that there are so many more is hard. And I'm so thankful that I know now. I'll also add that the selflessness of Bryan Stevenson, his initiative, and others like it who work tirelessly and give so much of themselves for those who don't have a voice is inspiring and; it says that there is hope and just by being aware we can do more.

Someone on Goodreads said "this is a book for anyone interested in and/or concerned about the American system of justice." Yes it is but it honestly has so much more to say about our own humanity, how we understand and treat people and our understanding of justice and mercy. Such an important read and I urge you to pick it up.




5/5
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Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon + a few of my favourite quotes

"Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.



Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.



The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?"

I'm going to keep this review short; I'm just here to make you aware of Nicola Yoon (who also wrote Everything, Everything πŸ’›πŸ’–) anddd, her latest book!

The Sun is Also a Star is set in one day and is about Natasha, a Jamaican teen living in the States with her family and Daniel, a Korean American. The two meet by accident - Daniel would probably say it was fate - on a day that is pretty important for the both of them. He's up for an interview for a place at Yale that he essentially doesn't want but has been coerced into by his parents. Meanwhile Natasha is seeking legal counsel after finding out her family are being deported to Jamaica. As I said, they meet my accident and due to spoilery reasons I won't go into, end up spending the day together. He believes this is the closest he's ever felt to love at first sight and tries to make her fall in love with him and shes a naysayer who doesn't believe in love. It's very conversation heavy basically because Nicola Yoon gives them a day o seriously get to know each other and, for us to get to know them and care about them. But it's not as stale as it sounds! There are so many other themes intertwined into this story and the fabric of their conversations:  family, science, history, identity, betrayal and race. I still can't believe everything that happens, happens in a day because she manages to give each theme enough space and impact while delivering this really raw, real, 3 dimensional, slow burning romance. Oh and did I mention? All set in a day.

The dialogue. It was just so rich and smart and complex yet subtle and reflective and at times funny, at times heavy going, all at once! It was all of these things!

Natasha and Daniel are these really well drawn, flawed and fully human characters and I think even if you don't "like" them, you'll be routing for them till the very last page. I also really appreciated Nicola Yoon's handling of race and how the way others see us, can affect our own sense of personal identity. It was never the agenda of the story either, it's just deftly woven into their respective stories - in the same way their reflections and experiences and the way they see the world would be, were they real life teenagers of colour.  There's a lot of show, not tell which takes craft.

5/5

As I'm sure it's pretty clear from this post, I was also in awe of Nicola Yoon's writing. So, I'm going to leave you with some of my favourite quotes from the book but ya know, totes read the book yourself too. 

"Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.” 


“Growing up and seeing your parents' flaws is like losing your religion. I don't believe in God anymore. I don't believe in my father either.” 


“We're kindling amid lightning strikes, a lit match and dry wood, fire danger signs and a forest waiting to be burned.” 


"I think all the good parts of us are connected on some level. The part that shares the last double chocolate chip cookie or donates to charity or gives a dollar to a street musician or becomes a candy striper or cries at Apple commercials or says I love you or I forgive you. I think that's God. God is the connection of the very best parts of us.” 


“If people who were actually born here had to prove they were worthy enough to live in America, this would be a much less populated country.” 


“love is just chemicals and coincidence.” 


“For most immigrants, moving to the new country is an act of faith. Even if you've heard stories of safety, opportunity, and prosperity, it's still a leap to remove yourself from your own language, people, and country. Your own history. What if the stories weren't true? What if you couldn't adapt? What if you weren't wanted in the new country?” 


“I am really not a girl to fall in love with. For one thing, I don’t like temporary, nonprovable things, and romantic love is both temporary and nonprovable.” 


“I guess I'm more interested in why people feel they have to believe in God. Why can't it just be science? Science is wondrous. The night sky? Amazing. The inside of a human cell? Incredible. Something that tells us we're born bad and that people use to justify all their petty prejudices and awfulness? I dunno. I guess I believe in science. Science is enough.”
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Friday, 21 April 2017

Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy. Worth the Hype?


Every Spring/Summer, I see this series pop up all over the blogs and Booktube - it's like the YA Summer read. Since I recently just finished Isla and the Forever After - the final instalment in Stephanie Perkins' popular trilogy - I'm going to tell you if it's worth adding this to your Spring TBR.

So in theory, Stephanie Perkins has a really good concept going on here. really good idea. It's set in the fictional 'School of America in Paris (SOAP)' and each book centres on characters from a similar/connected friendship group over (I think), a period of 4 years.

Anna and the French Kiss
This book is based on Anna, a student at SOAP who is struggling with school and living in another country, learning French and keeping up with her own hobbies mainly, her film blog. I have to say this all sounds awfully familiar. Anywho, along the way she falls for Etienne St Clair - who is not single.

Anna and the French  Kiss is gooey and sweet and charming. For all its  drama and the flashy backdrop of Paris, it is also down to earth. It's not just fluff but goes subtly beneath the surface and explores other relationships outside the romantic ones. It's the perfect quick, light and uplifting summer read.  Unfortunately I felt like they all just got worse from here on out.

Lola and the Boy Next Door

The blurb:
"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion ... she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood. When Cricket - a gifted inventor - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

*QUEUE EYE ROLL* Lola and the Boy Next Door felt like a a middle aged woman, trying to write teenagers and the "qualms" that they might go through. The characters were so contrived and had every stereotype possible thrown at them.  None of them felt real or authentic this story just pissed me off. 

Isla and the Happily Ever After
The book was a vast improvement from its predecessor.
I really enjoyed the way Perkins dealt with growing up and that awkward transition period you go through in your final year at school.

The book also features a main character writing a comic book which ended up being surprisingly moving.

Isla's best friend Kurt has high functioning autism and though I know very little about autism, it felt realistic. People with autism in both film and literature are often portrayed as being either sociopaths or geniuses and on top of that they're rarely humanised. While Kurt wasn't the book's subject, Perkins still spends time developing and fleshing him out as a character. I could tell she'd researched this, and all the little details such s his repetitiveness, inability to lie, his honesty, made me come away from this book, feeling like I'd learnt even more about autism.

The actual flesh of the book however, left very little to be desired. When reading Isla and the Happily Ever After, you could tell the author is trying to finish the series with a bang. Featuring a romance that takes the reader all across Europe, playing heavily on the "what do I do with my life once I leave school" theme and, bringing back all the old characters. But this wasn't done smoothly. The romance itself was completely cliched - shy girl falls for popular boy and popular boy actually likes her back but guess what, he has issues. And it just felt like all these teen drama tropes were being thrown at the story.

The dialogues were dry, fell flat and I found myself skipping through chunks of the book just to get to the end.

And! the book CONSTANTLY and I mean constantly brings up and Anna and St Clair from the first book. It's as if the book knows it isn't bringing much to the table so it tries to distract the reader by reminding them of better characters. All that did was made me wish I was reading Anna and the French Kiss instead.

In summary, just read the first one. 
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Monday, 17 April 2017

A Few (of the many) Underrated Rom-Coms



I was listening to Back Row Podcasts when I heard Mike (presenter) use "rom-com" as an adjective, to describe like all bad films. Sigh. Disappointed. Romance and Rom com films have a reputation for being nothing but fluff. No depth, no message and basic film, linear film making. This just isn't true! There is an art form to romance films and comedies and they aren't given as much credit around award season and It's the bad ones and I'll admit, there are many, that give the good ones a bad rep. When Harry Met Sally isn't the last good romance film so here is a little list of some of the many great underrated romance films. And in fact, I might make this a series on the blog because there are that many.


Her
This isn't a rom-com but I don't talk about this film enough andd it's one of my favourites of all time. It's a "romantic science fiction drama" directed by Spike Jonze about Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely and depressed man who works for a business that has professional writers compose personal letters on behalf of people who don't want to write them. His life is pretty mundane until he buys a talking operating system with artificial intelligence. He forms a relationship with his - Samantha and over time, she develops and adapts and the two begin to fall in love.

This film to put it simply, is smart. It poses questions about our relationship with technology using what seems like an extreme example, but keeping this really heavy and emotional love story at the centre. It's incredible. 

About Time
When he's 21, Tim's (Domhnall Gleeson) dad (Bill Nighy) shares a family secret  with him. The men of his family have a special gift: the ability to travel in time but, they can only travel to places and times they've been before. Tim decides, to use it to improve his love life.

The film is by no means perfect, the storytelling perhaps has a few holes and its not intellectually challenging but the characters are so endearing. It's comfortable and funny and quaint and dreamy and, a film you get completely lost in. 

Sleeping with Other People
Is, first of all a female directed rom-com (wohooo) and, a fantastic film at that so definitely worth your support. It's about Lainey (Alison Brie) who in 2002 is insecure and awkward 20 something who's been rejected time and time again. She crosses paths with Jake (Jason Sudeikis) who is in a similar situation and the two lose their virginity to each other. The two cross paths again twelve years later and both have relationship issues. So, despite being attracted to each other, they decide to keep their relationship strictly platonic.

I know what you're thinking but it doesn't (quite) follow the typical rom-com trajectory. There are a lot more sub-plots at play and at the centre of them all is their friendship which is just so beautiful and raw and awkward and real. It's of course really funny but underneath it has this really strong emotional pull. Jason Sudeikis is definitely at his best in this smart, honest and super underrated film !

Midnight in Paris
This is Woody Allen film which follows Gil (Owen Wilson) a screenwriter, who takes a trip to Paris with his superficial/materialistic fiancee (Rachel McAdams). There he, takes walks at midnight which transport him into Paris in the 20s. Through all the people he meets: F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker and many more - he's forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship and career.

Firstly, this film is so dreamy, like visually. I mean the colour palette is very creamy with lots of pastels and bright colours but it's like hazy at night. I don't know what I'm saying, just watch it. It's quaint but made me laugh out loud at times and I just loved the time travel and meeting all these literary greats. SO FUN.

Love, Rosie
An adaptation of Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern which Ihaven't read but now won't be reading because the film is a firm feelgood favourite of mine.

We meet the protagonist Rosie, at her 18th birthday party where she's drunk and Alex, her long time best friend kisses her. He realises in that moment that he's got feelings for her but the next day she regrets getting so drunk and just wishes the night never happened. This story is essentially about their friendship. (Another friendship film :') ) We see them grow up together and go through major life events and it's just a really beautiful story okay. Oh and Sam Claflin πŸ’—

What's Your Number?
Ally (Anna Faris) comes across a magazine article which says that women who've slept with 20 or more people can't find a husband. She gets into a state of panic after she realises she's on number 19 and so decides the next guy she sleeps with has to be "the one". Aaand that's all I can say I think without ruining plot.

Anna Faris really carries this film. She's a very intuitive actress, something that's really showcased when she improvs and her comic timing is πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ. It's charming, feel good, has a really good message at the end and I think I had a little cry when it was over, just because I didn't want to leave the characters. Oh and if Captain America convinced you Chris Evans has no charisma or screen presence? This'll change your mind. 


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Saturday, 15 April 2017

What's on your Bookshelf? with Katie from Katie L Clark. We talk Hygge, Marie Kondo + Audiobooks


I'm back with the second chat in the series, this time with Katie who blogs at Katie L Clark: a lifestyle blog about minimalism, vegetarianism and living a zero-waste lifestyle! Besides being super put together and an environment conscious human being, you'll also learn from her bio that she's currently doing a Law Masters and belt in karate?!

Again, this was such a fun chat because a. we talked about books (and there's always fun to be had on that front), I learnt a lot and we also ventured onto other topics!

From blog design to blog posts to her actually lifestyle, I'm going to be bold and say I think minimalism is at the forefront of Katie's blog. But first of all, I did have to ask because I thought they were the same. What's the difference between minimalism and zero waste? 

“So I started zero-waste as a reduction of plastics. Minimalism is about the reduction of "stuff" and zero-waste is about a reduction of rubbish basically. It's about buying things in the most sustainable way possible so you produce the least amount of waste! So I've switched to bamboo brushes rather than plastic, you can get reusable bags, use stainless steel lunch boxes and water bottles rather than plastic... just trying to send the least amount to landfill possible.”

Does minimalism play into your book reading/collecting/buying habits. Or maybe books that sum up your collection?

*Enter beaut hardback books*  

"Yes it does, I try not to have too much stuff so I'll tend to have 5 books per semester. And then I give them away before buying new ones". This is really healthy. That way, you don't end up being a book hoarder and I think you'd put more thought into your choices. And I think it can be done in different ways. I for one have a Kindle and a personal monthly limit on how much books I purchase.

Now, I thought, that Katie's current collection is quite reflective of her lifestyle! As you may have noticed, two of the books are on hygge and if you'd read her blog before the whole hygge phenomena, you'd be with me when I say that Katie's blog was hygge before we all knew about hygge even was;  which by the way i learnt from this chat, is correctly pronounced "hugga" and not "hiig". She just has that vibe about her, I don't know. Anyway, you know I had to ask because I find this subject fascinating. That sentence looked v sarcastic, but I'm being serious. Isn't it interesting that hygge is a word none of us can define but we all have a grasp on its meaning?!



"This is more of a lifestyle book that you can dip and out of, at least that's how I use it. Its got recipes, chapters on clothing ... it works quite well as a nice coffee table book! (I agree I mean, look at the cover :') ) ... I tend to use recipes from Pinterest but if there's something special you want to do, say for a dinner party or friends, this is the one."

Hygge: The Danish Art of Hapiness by Marie Tourell SΓΈderberg 
“This is the far more word heavy book on hygge. The other one is ore of a coffee table book whereas this one has more information.”
Speaking of Denmark another book Katie is currently reading is The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell which she explained to me is “basically a woman who is happy with her life and wants to stay where she is and then one day her husband gets a job in Denmark and they have to move there. So she agrees to the move for a year to see whether or not she likes it. She's quite sceptical of Denmark [and I guess its reputation as the happiest country in the world] so each month, she documents how it's going - living in the "happiest country in the world". It’s a bit of a culture shock for her."

This is classic example of how we mustn't judge a book by the number of appearances on Instagram. You see I've seen this book all over Instagram and thought it was a book about how great Denmark was or something I don't know. But I imagine not many books like this exist so it'd be really interesting to see someone break down the wall. Also, isn't it kind of surprising that someone could have a culture shock living in Denmark?! I think we forget, or at least I do, that the different European countries have a really different cultures.

We also talked about another wildly successful book:  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Now, I for the life of me couldn't understand why this book was so popular. Like, seriously, y'all didn't know a tidy space is a tidy mind? A clean home is a happy home? I'll stop there. But just know I did not hop on this band wagon, at all. Well in Katie's most recent blog post, it's clear that she too is a super tidy person who hates mess. So while it didn't surprise me that she'd be interested in a book like this, it surprised me that she'd buy and read it. That is, until she explained the whole ethos of the book. "I'm already a tidy person but the book keeps me on track with being minimalism and keeps me focused." The book actually instructs on how we keep tidy, decluttering and making it a part of our lifestyle. You can be tidy and still be a hoarder so I definitely understand it's appeal now.

Another fun fact I learnt, "It's been translated from Japanese so you might find some of the language is a bit weird. For instance she [Marie Kondo] personifies objects a lot in the book, things like socks. So it's a bit weird at times. Some people didn't like it for this reason,  some expressions get a bit lost in translation."

A book that was a bit more controversial was its follow up book Spark Joy though Katie says, that's the better book. "It's actually quite similar to The Life Changing Magic but it's more of an improvement. If anything I'd buy this one instead. It's just more structured and it's got more pictures and diagrams to help you on your way."

I looked into the controversy surrounding this book a bit later, after our chat. Basically, some people argue that whether or not cleaning methods or certain objects "spark joy" doesn't take into account large families, and  some argue that we all have things in our lives that don't spark joy but are necessary. I don't know where I stand on this, I'd have to read to it to say. But I suspect this may have something to do with the translation misunderstanding we were talking about earlier. By all means, its good knowing about this before. I like being able to challenge a book as I read it too. 

So! If there's one book on your shelf/in your collection you'd recommend straight away, what would it be?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

"This is more of a lifestyle book that you can dip and out of, at least that's how I use it. Its got recipes, chapters on clothing ... it works quite well as a nice coffee table book! (I agree I mean, look at the cover :') ) ... I tend to use recipes from Pinterest but if there's something special you want to do, say for a dinner party or friends, this is the one."

If you were on a desert island and you could only take 2 books, what would they be and why?
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

I've tried to read Sherlock Holmes in the past and gave up. I didn't find the style the easiest to get into and, I prefer just watching Benedict Cumberbatch n my TV. But this version is giving me alllll kinds of new inspo. “ Crime books are the books out of fiction I gravitate towards ... I love books by John Grishame.”


Katie reads quite a few classics and another favourite of hers is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde of which she has 3 copies.


"I also recently got into audiobooks and a book I'd recommend is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. When I listen to audiobooks, I prefer non-fiction ones. I love walking around learning as I’m going, so Sapiens was a great start… I can learn about everything whilst just walking to and from campus every day!

For more from Katie, check out her blog. Here are some posts I personally enjoyed: The Importance of Minimalism - which whether you call yourself a minimalist or not we can all take notes from!, Dear Lady on the Bus and Turning 21.

Until next time ✌
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Friday, 14 April 2017

The Weekend Edit: Spring, Cellulite + Riverdale



Listen
Humble by Kendrick Lamar, can we talk. I know this is old news but aside from this being a banging tune; isn't it great that we have artists like Kendrick talking about how as a society, we're shifting away from authenticity and instead of just stopping at the commentary, countering it by showing authenticity?! I for one have worked really really hard to accept and go so far as love my cellulite - it's a daily choice and struggle ngl but meant I appreciated it more when I saw in this case, the oh so radical image of a woman with no make-up and stretch marks. Sadly, it's still so rare but that's why we thank God everyday for Kendrick amma right?

Speaking of summer, the album of the summer - I'm convinced - is Zara Larsson's So Good which really is so good. Current favourite is Sundown feat Wizkid.

Read
I found new beauty blogs from a post with recommendations on Jasmine's blog: Sophie's Makeup + Barely There Beauty - go peruse!

Another blog I've been reading thoroughly is Sciwitch. The header says, Sciwitch - the honest blog and, it is the epitome of the type of blogs i love reading - as in every single word and not I'm not just there for the aesthetics. I don't know how else to say it other than, her voice is just so honest and gives snapshots into her life and her thoughts. It's like she writes with no inhibitions and her writing is bold and strong and vulnerable and, it's just how I dream of writing.

I do still like my fair share of blogs of aesthetically pleasing posts. LOOK at this dress! So beautiful. So spring. Sigh.

I also discovered Career Contessa last month! It's a blog for the working woman and I believe has contributors from all over the world. It's better I've found to have different contributors because you get different voices and legit advice and not just dreamy unhelpful advice which is so rampant on blogs. I read this post on 4 ways productive people make the most of their day off, more than once.

Watch
RIVERDALE
Again I just discovered this and I am obsessed. It strikes a really good balance between the teen drama genre and crime/thriller one.

Lucy Moon is also making videos every day this month and its glorious. At the moment I'm really appreciating creators who keep it stripped back and there isn't a whole load of production. It's really about the content and being that there's a new video every day, I love being able to see and follow the creative journey of this channel.

Happy Easter Weekend !
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Friday, 24 March 2017

Winter Rewind: films + TV I watched this season



Film:
Criminal

Fences
-  Really moving story telling  thanks to chilling performances from Denzel Washington and Viola Davis . The film is really Troy's (Washington) story and I felt we weren't given the space to mourn Rose's (Davis) losses, which I suppose was deliberate. I really enjoyed it but I couldn't get over the fact that it wasn't cinematic - at all. You could tell this was a play as in, the entire film is pretty much set in a backyard, there are so many monologues and the camera actually moves in the same way we see the camera sort of circulating the cameras in one of the National Theatre Live screenings.

Sleeping with Other People
- An underrated rom-com and Alison Brie at her best.

Collateral Beauty

The Danish Girl 

Demain Tout Commence

Logan 
- Logan is a sort of sci-fi/western hybrid and executes both sides of the genre so well ugh. I also loved that it used the comic books to move the plot along - nice touch. I can't even say i;s the best superhero film I've seen because it just didn't feel like that, at all. It was in it's own lane. Also, watching it made me realise how immune I've become to violent scenes in film I bloody love it - when it's done well. Overall a must see I reckon.

Moonlight 

Sleepless in Seattle
First time watching it and I have to say, a bit overrated. I just don't feel that connection when the love interests meet, at the end of the film.

La La Land
- I loved the film's ending actually and thought it was the most appropriate. If Mia and Sebastian had fallen in love, Sebastian wouldn't have  opened his jazz bar. Not that I think you necessarily have to make sacrifices like this but it's a an interesting spin on the typical romance narrative we see in films and musicals. It was by no means perfect and I did roll my eyes a bit at the whole white man trying to save jazz storyline. But I like that Damien Chazelle explores the sacrifice and passion one can have to make your dreams a reality. I 'm excited to see more from him.

TV:

A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Did not finish. This was so disappointingly underwhelming. Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf was not convincing, or scary, at all. All the word definitions work well in text, but break up the pace of the show on screen and, the tone was all off. I didn't really understand what the show was trying to be or who it was aimed at.

Chasing Cameron
- I started watching this when I had nothing to watch on Netflix and I was hooked. I was really surprised at how honest of a documentary this was. It's produced by the Cameron Dallas and the guys from MadCon I'm sue had input in how it all came together, and yet noone came out looking good in this. There are moments, some people have them more than others, where they come across as entitled, spoilt brats.  Fascinating. Go watch.

Blackish

The Fosters

The Mindy Project 

Suits

Iron Fist 
I have too many feelings about this so I'll do a whole post for next week.

My immediate to watch list this Spring is; Beauty and the Beast, Elle, Doctor Strange and GRACE AND FRANKIE which is on out on Netflix this TODAY!
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