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a book, film + chit chatty blog

Friday, 20 October 2017

to my 16 year old self

I actually look about 16 here now that I think about it but no no, this was taken last year

#selflove #glowup #snatchedforthegods - confidence has become such an Instagrammable thing now hasn't it? And that by the way, is so welcomed by me. If there's one great thing that's come from social media and actually 2017 in general, it's that as an online community, we're really into lifting each other up and feeling ourselves. 

   It's also a very millennial (currently loving and owning this word but I'm aware I over use it so that might change) thing; I think because we're all still recovering from the utter discomfort and awkwardness of our teenage years. Obviously I see the value (now) of going through secondary school and puberty and bullies and friendships that only last 2 months max and GCSE's and Nickelodean and the Sims and Tamagotchis. And  yeah yeah, there are some good memories but on a whole if my teenage-hood was a film, it'd get like an an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes.
   Being a cringe or being super awkward and needy aren't even the reasons why growing for me was not so smooth (though both were true), it's more so that I was so uncomfortable and unhappy in my own skin and almost embarrassed to be myself. 

I've since grown up, been through some shizz, come to my senses and genuinely really like the person I'm becoming. And I have to say this fairly-new found confidence is SUPER freeing. It's the freedom to ...

  • Pursue hobbies I want to, even if noone else I know has similar interests. 
  • To talk in front of people and stumble over my words and make mistakes and know, that it's really not that deep.
  • To freely laugh and not worry about what the rest of my face and body is doing (I'm a very .... physical laugher. If you know, you know)
  • To eat in front of people. Seriously what is this hang up even about?! We can all agree that food is amazing and is best enjoyed in the company of others ... outside your parents who question why you eat so quickly and leave your vegetables.
  • To sit alone in public places. I actually love my own company. But seriously do you remember how embarrassing it was to be seen sitting alone in school? How times have changed.
  • Truly accept my body because I'm not here on earth to be physically pleasing to anyone but myself. #wonthedoit And besides I have a beaut, completely abled body - I am beyond blessed. 
  • To be bold and not hide my faith because I've been saavveeed and that is good news !

So to my 16 year old self,

♡  It'll get better. Anxiety is not going to ruin your life.

♡  You can't buy friendship. And they are not your friends. 

♡  You're going to find out that you are really good at certain things.

♡  Be nicer to your brother, he's going to be your life ally.

♡  One day, you will speak French ... without stopping every other word to conjugate it mate how are you not tired.

♡ Stop using Mummy's Iman foundation to powder compact. It's been like, 2 years is that even hygienic? 

♡ Money isn't everything.

♡ Your skin is beautiful. 

♡ Your boobs aren't going to grow anymore and you need to rejoice in that and move on to other concerns. 

♡ You don't have to explain your hair choices to anyone. And everyone and their sister needs to stop rooting your hair.  

♡  Don't quit because it's hard. You're even going to find the very things you enjoy hard and don't be ashamed about it! There's nothing wrong with someone who has to work hard to see results. It's a trait of yours that's about to come in very handy.

♡  Speak up.

♡ Just because you can't draw (and girl you can't, don't force it) doesn't mean you're not creative.

♡ Susan, you're about to spend your hard earned money, and I mean haarrd (worked in a stockroom that played Sean Kingston on loop in my last summer of secondary school - 10 hours shifts imagine) on overpriced foundation that does NOT match you babes. But take heart because Fenty beauty is coming with affordable foundation  and 40 shades?! And soon every high street brand will copy them and you'll be buying £10 foundation from like, Superdrug. In the meantime, maybe stick to that Iman compact, at least it's your shade.

♡  This is the last year you'll play the Sims. The computer is going to break and noone is going to try and fix it to encourage your addiction girl so enjoy it while you can.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Currently Reading: Books, Blogs, Articles etc

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This post is essentially an accumulation of bits and bobs I've been reading - both in book form but also gems I've found and have been loving online over the past few weeks. Hopefully you get a little bit of inspo or simply some weekend duvet reading.

Eat Sweat Play

Admittedly, I haven't read much of this yet but it's got me thinking about my relationship with sport (which I stopped playing when I turned about 16) and challenged my preconceptions of my body. I'll talk more about it when I finish (probably on Instagram) so stay tuned. So far so good. 

The Roanoke Girls

I read Amy Engel's dystopian dualogy last year and to be honest, I was quite underwhelmed. The review's over here if you care. But I've seen The Roanoke Girls all over the blogs and Booktube, and everyone seems to be saying that it's full of twists and turns which is why I thought, I'll give Amy Engel another go.

It dips in and out of different time periods so arguably hella confusing but, I am sticking with it because the two main characters, cousins Lane and Allegra, have been written so well.

The writing in general is just such an improvement since The Book of Ivy - it's better paced, and the structure - although a bit all over the place at times, is far more original. At that point I'm at in the book,Allegra's missing and because she's such a seemingly unstable, unreliable character, I need to know what's gone down.

Cruelty Free Becky 
I've featured this blog in every single post I've written about blogs I'm loving so basically, I'm a fan. It's a good one to just peruse and educate yourself, be inspired, consider how your lifestyle choices impact the environment and just look at nice photos  because ya know, that's important too.  She also has an equally great YouTube channel which you should definitely take time to check out.

Nettle and Blackberry 
If I had like really really had to pick my favourite favourite blog - it'd be this one. It's everything a great lifestyle blog should be! It's so beautiful, it's so personal (and I feel as a reader that you get little updates into her life), it's so well written and I really trust her reviews and insight. I normally go to different blogs to get these different aspects be it: great photos, personal writing and good reviews. But it's all here on this one amazingly curated blog.
Nah this blog is the goal.

Hello Glow
If Hygee was a blog, this is what it'd look like. I've been trying to get in touch with my body, listen to it take care it of and all that kumbuya shizz and, stumbled across this post about hormones and balancing them. Worth a read.

The Real Life RD
With all that being said, I'm SUPER conscious about taking health advice from the internet and unless it's the literal NHS website, I'd rather not. You have to be really careful, especially blogs that give nutritional advice because while most of the bloggers mean well, they're unqualified. And it's really easy to get sucked in and get obsessive over "health" advice that isn't even correct.
Robyn of The Real Life RD however is a registered nurse and dietitian so I do feel much more at ease with her health related posts - which are grounded in science πŸ‘. This is a great post about what your period can tell you about your health !

It's also a lifestyle blog and the posts have a really chatty, open, relaxed and friendly feel to them. And actually,  my favourite thing to do at the moment is catch up on them in bed on Saturday mornings.

Share some gems and blog links down below too ♡♡♡

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Binge by Tyler Oakley

Firstly halo ! How's it going? I'm back at uni and it's all very busy and a bit stressful and slightly chaotic but wonderful but also did I mention a bit stressful? It normally takes me quite a long time to settle in anywhere as I do not like change so I'm  quite resistant to it and maybe subconsciously, I don't want to settle in?  But a week after moving in, I'm feeling pretty chill despite everything that's going on around me so yeah, #blessed and all that. 

Today I bring you a mini review of Binge by Tyler Oakley - by far the best book cover on my shelf. Go find yourself a copy and just feel that ish up. Thank me later. 

You may know Tyler as a YouTuber but at this point in his career, he's also a presenter, social rights activist and arguably one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ voices on the internet. I'll also add, that this is one of my favourite essay collections. I spend a good chunk of my time reading personal essays - they're pretty much all I've reviewed in the past year so maybe you guessed as much. An essay collection of course has to be engaging and thought provoking but what sets a good one apart from a great one, is its ability to form a personal connection with the reader. 

Whether you know who Tyler is or you don't, his personality and voice jumps straight out of the page from the get go. It's as if he's adopted the role of your best friend and you're having all these really long deep chats and he's laying on the pearls of wisdom and insight and its all so heartfelt. But this is also your best friend let's not forget so you're also laughing for a good amount of time - life isn't always super deep. 

And what makes Binge so much more genuine, is that it isn't trying to be preachy or a self-help book. He just writes with a confidence and sense of authority essentially about experiences that have made him who he is. Everything from suicide, abusive relationships, hyper masculinity, eating disorders are covered and all, written with such care and substance. At the same time, there are essays about internships and coming out and who the Top 10 Hottest Disney Princes are (of which we'll have to just  agree to disagree, to be honest because some people were overlooked and I'm still in my feelings).  

It's also offers a necessary and important narrative about eating disorders among men, especially in the LGBTQ+ community. And it's one more voice that is normalising this conversation. 



Saturday, 23 September 2017

Finding time to Blog

... and do just about anything else I enjoy doing. 

Impact Magazine Nottingham Flat Lay

 I've been getting increasingly unhappy and frustrated at myself, for never getting stuff done or done well or done on time. 15 minutes ago, I had one of my routine meltdowns and as I write this post, I feel incredibly overwhelmed by everything I have to do by the end of next week.

When push comes to shove, everything urgent and pressing always gets completed. At this point in my life, that's normally work for uni. Yet I still feel so unhappy with myself because everything I love doing gets neglected due to; being a scatterbrain, procrastination and frankly laziness. I love blogging but never make time for it and, it's taking me SO LONG to finish any book I pick up. FRUSTRATION. There's no other word I can use to describe it.

And this isn't a new feeling either. Year after year I feel this way and nothing changes and I just find myself sinking into a pit of anxiety and low moods then I binge watch TV and binge eat and forget for a while and then I remember and this is my life and I'm doing this to myself !

Uni starts on Monday and already, everything has caught up with me. I said yes to way too many commitments and fooled myself into thinking I have all the time in the world and now here we are. Final year. I don't want to be here this time next year, in the exact same mental space I'm in now ... plus I'll probably be unemployed?! Nah. I've devised a life plan to sort my head out a bit.

Sleeping early waking up early.
Even after sleeping for 10 hours I STILL do not enjoy waking up before 8am. But that's all going to have to change. I hate myself every time I wake up early but it always feels so good about an hour later. You can actually seize the day because there is more of the day to seize?! Revelation.  And I call myself a night owl but you just can't do that when you actually have places to be in the morning. I woke up in the worst possible mood this morning (I'm actually still dead inside if you must know) and it I think sleeping late all the time, doesn't give me the right mindset to do anything well the next day.

Do all the fun things, first thing
My days of waking up and doing uni work and struggling at it while also struggling to even open my eyes at 6 in the morning are ovaa. I'm going to try writing for 40 minutes, four times a week. Might be blogging, might be just writing. But writing is one of my favourite things to do and I just think it'll put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Plus I need something to look forward to, to be able to consistently wake up early.

Plan before going to bed.
I've recently started planning things in the order I'm going to do them in the next day, on my phone. What we may call, a list. I have a love/hate relationship with lists. I started obsessively making them when I was about 9; to the point where I planned every last detail of my day and then when I couldn't complete them because they were frankly ridiculous, I would have a little mental breakdown. And then I tried again the next day. And then the next and the next. Now I do them on my phone (so out of sight and can easily be deleted)  and only put 6 things down. Too early to say whether it's actually working but we'll see.

Eat better
When I eat badly I just feel really guilty and decide to continue eating badly and be a slob  for the rest of the day and make it up to myself. I'm now taking meal planning a lot more seriously because it feels really destructive when I don't eat properly.

Choose to read
Issa choice guys and recently I've been choosing YouTube. Now I'm reading books that would take me about 3 days, 3-4 weeks. And it's not even fun anymore. Reading 2 pages and then falling asleep or getting distracted by Twitter takes the fun out of reading and half the time I don't even know what's happening. So we're not doing that anymore. Susan 2.0 reads 40 minutes before bed and hides her phone and laptop - AMEN.

Am I having a quarter life crisis? Sure does feel like one.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Hunger by Roxane Gay + the body positive movement

Hunger by Roxane Gay Flat Lay

Where do I even begin with this book? It is honest and raw and gritty and acutely self aware and beautiful. It is all those adjectives to the 100th degree ... and then some. Yes I'm being very extra right now, because even after a month of finishing it, I still can't really articulate/process everything I felt reading this, but I'm really going to try.

Hunger is a memoir of the author's body. At 12 years old, Roxane was gang raped by a group of boys from school. Ashamed, she kept this attack a secret for the best part of thirty years. Life went on and one hand, she prospered in many areas of her life. At the same time, she was going through depression, gaining weight and battling eating disorders.

The book is about how trauma has changed her; how its changed the relationship she has with her body. It's also about how she treats her body, how she nourishes it and how she can be so brutally cruel to it. It's the story of everything her body has gone through. As she puts it, it's also "a confession. These are the ugliest, weakest, barest parts of me. This is my truth. This is a memoir of (my) body because, more often than not stories of bodies like mine are ignored or dismissed or derided. People see bodies like mine and make their assumptions. They think the why of my body. They do not. This is not a story of triumph, but this is a story that demands to be told and deserves to be heard."

Roxane Gay's writing, especially in Hunger is so fearless and unflinching and if you've never read anything by her before, treat yo self. Now I'm going to preface this by saying, the body positivity movement is an amazing movement that has really been a source of consolation during some of my darkest days. What I don't see or read a lot of, are accounts that really delve into the darkest parts of ourselves. I guess noone wants to revel in all that negativity. I don't think Roxane Gay "revels" in her struggle. She just digs really deep and explores what feels like every painful nook and cranny of her body image issues and, what it feels like to carry and bare it all. There are a chapters that feel like she's made progress and is feeling better but then; they're followed by chapters that almost seem repetitive, that draw you back into her despair at what she describes as her "unruly" body. Her frustration and exhaustion at her own body is something that leaps of the page and I felt like I was taking on a lot of the emotions as I reading this book.

She also talks about the societal pressure no woman can really escape to be slender and small, petite and dainty, seen not heard and the body being a way of rebelling against this.

Whether I like it or not, my body is so linked to how I see myself. It is the vessel that houses well, me. And while it's pretty hard to see someone talk about their body in the way this book does, we've all been there. The things you say to your body, the way you treat it; I'm not overweight but I do relate to being really cruel to your body. I don't particularly like my body. It's not something I'm really preoccupied with but when I really think about it, I don't think I do like it. I pinch at it, pick at it, peel it, sometimes I deprive it of food and then stuff it with sugar the very next day. And that's quite hard to have to admit to myself and pretty cringe. But, it's also quite sobering.

Narratives that thoroughly acknowledge and reflect on our pain and trauma are just as important and can be just as powerful in challenging us to really see ourselves. In talking to myself the way I do, I feel like I've let myself down. I'm not really sure where I go from here but I am pledging this term (ooo "pledging"look at me) first and foremost to nourish my body properly and not punish it. I did feel as though Roxane Gay is beginning to heal by the very last chapter but it's almost as though she had to go through this process and lay it all out there first. Funnily enough, I did also walk away from this book feeling really empowered. Our bodies are pretty badass; they go through a lot but mine is still fully functioning πŸ™Œ, getting me places, keeping me safe and has essentially survived everything I've subjected it to.πŸ˜‚



Saturday, 2 September 2017

Reflections on No Filter by Grace Victory + new September blog series !

It's September already ?! Madness. On the plus side  - AUTUMN IS COMING πŸƒπŸ‚πŸƒπŸ‚ I'm not allowed candles in my flat next year, I don't think so currently trying to figure out how I'll be getting round that one.

I decided to do a little series on the blog this month about body positivity, self care and all that good stuff. As it's that time of the year when I start to get ready for uni , I pay a lot more attention to my mental health, how I'm talking to myself and so on. It just so happened that last month, I bought 3 books that address body image, self care and mental + physical health. So I thought once a week this month, I'll talk about one here (ofc there are 4 weeks so I've added one 1 read in 2016 and lovedd!) and share a few thoughts. Now, as this woman was on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour yesterday and killed the interview (guys she  mentioned bleached arseholes in porn on Radio 4 ugh love it so strong so pure), what better book to start with than No Filter by Grace Victory.

Grace has been pinned as "the internet's big sister". On her blog and YouTube channel, she talks about beauty, fashion, mental health, body image, sex, being a girl boss - everything. So how would I describe No Filter? It's essentially a memoir + advice/reference book written by the wiser big sister who's been there-done that-knows what she's talking about, that you wish you had. It's the kind of book I wish I read when I was like, 13. It's the kind of book that at 13, will let you know how the world is and give you a few pointers on how to navigate it. So I'm so glad it exists and is in the world for younger girls (school libraries better be stocking this you know) but even as someone in my 20's, I was still really touched by this book. Grace opens up SO much; everything from her childhood trauma, eating disorder and her career made for really raw and candid reading which I loved. At the end of each chapter are lessons to take away from her experiences, as well as resources if you need help in a particular area be it, domestic violence or bullying.

One thing I really didn't know much about, was Grace's career before YouTube, the blog, the documentaries - as a social worker for younger kids. Her love and passion for the emotional,physical wellbeing of these, puts her whole vibe into so much context ! This is someone who takes on her role as an influencer and title as "the internet's big sister" really seriously and genuinely cares about her audience. I'm a fan. Could you tell? Here are few other thoughts/lessons I had when reading this book:

- Don't hold on to painful memories and bury them.

- Grace says she didn't grow up with role models but I'm growing up with Grace as one and I'm so grateful.

- Kids are mean. I didn't need this book to know that I mean, I went to school too lol. But wow I'm so glad those years are overrr

- She went out with  Aaron Taylor Johnson guys !! 
Impromptu story time: I was reading this on my Kindle. So when she mentions that she was going out with this child actor and he'd had a few big staring roles, she named a film and said his name was Aaron ... I thought 😯 .... is this Aaron Taylor Johnson ?! Tweeted it because I tweet before I think. Then googled it to verify, twas true, tweeted again because in case you didn't know, here I was having done my detective work and sharing with you all. Put my phone down to continue reading, it was on the next page. Don't read with your phone folks. 

- Self harm manifests itself in multiple forms. Was very ignorant about this. 

- So do eating disorders.

- Daniel Radcliffe, what a top guy,

- Female friendships are so great and powerful and don't let anyone or the media make you think otherwise. I also love how that this book gives so many shout outs to strong women doing amazing things. 

- As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

- The pressure to be perfect is really debilitating and I've wasted so much of my life being bothered by that it.

- Listen to your body and eat accordingly :) 

- Do NOT wallow in self pity. Okay sometimes you need like, a moment to do so, but then pick yourself up.

- Your body in't there to please anyone. Look after it and it'll look after you. It's there to help you move around and be free and happy. More about this in this video by Grace. 


Friday, 1 September 2017

Film: The Big Sick

All the crap weather we've had this week and will probably continue to have for the rest of the week #optimist reallyyy draws a line under the fab bank holiday weekend that was, last weekend! Mine was filled with good food, friends, fab music and top films.

I saw The Big Sick in an offensively expensive independent cinema so you now, stakes were high because I was like already a bit pissed off going in. And it didn't disappoint! It's been a hot minute since I saw a good rom-com and this film has made its way onto my all time favourite list.

The film's writer Kumail Nanjiani plays a younger version of himself, a struggling comedian and part time Uber driver living in Chicago. He was raised in a traditional Pakistani Muslim family who at this stage of his life, are trying to arrange a marriage for him. There are these really funny scenes pretty much throughout the film, where women "spontaneously" turn up for dinner at Kumail's family home,  just "passing through the neighbourhood" as his mum puts it. He does seem to separate this part of his life from his life as a comedian . During one his shows, he's heckled by Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) a woman in the audience. Long story short, they hook up, begin to date and not before long, fall in love. This all comes crashing down when Emily realises that Kumail is not prepared to a. meet her family or b. tell his family about her - scared that they'd disapprove and disown him.

A few days after they break up, Emily's rushed into hospital and put in a medically induced coma and suddenly, Kumail has to face his biggest fears all at once:  his two worlds colliding, meeting her parents and, the prospect that he can't live without her.

The Big Sick is a really sharp comedy in the way it navigates  that strange dichotomy of being raised at home in one culture and growing up in another. Issues surrounding family, love, personal identity and health are conjured, giving us a film that slips into being quite serious and intense at times, yet always underlined with a sense of warmth thanks to the top performances of its two leads: Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan. Kazan is at her best here, she's funny, vulnerable and smart, has a quiet confidence, all rolled into one. But as she's in a coma for a good chunk of the film, I'd say it's  very much Nanjiani's story. After all, he's the one who has to navigate these social and cultural barriers.

The film also gives a really measured portrayal of arranged marriages. While it's clear from the onset that its not for Kumail, we still see two really positive portrayals of successful, loving relationships in Kumail's brother and sister in law, and his parents - both of whom had been arranged. It just goes to show again why diversity in the industry is so important. Writers of colour, writing about their own experiences, telling their own stories, are the only way we as an audience, can trust that these are told faithfully !

Go watch this film, it'll make your heart burst with - it's that good ♡



Friday, 25 August 2017

Skincare in the bloglosphere + my skincare routine

Heyyy. Here's an uncomfortably close close up of my bare face this morning - which I've been loving at the moment! So enjoy. It's just been so smooth and I feel like the pretty intense hyper-pigmentation I have is starting to tone down.

I've always been quite into skincare and making sure my skin was as clear as possible. And there was a time I spent QUITE a bit on products. It's mad to think about it now, where did my broke ass 16 year old self think I was going spending £20 on Night Cream?! That was like 4 hours of work worth from my then part time job. Mad. But I've been thinking about it recently and I'd say pretty much everything I've learnt about skincare has been from blogs and YouTube. It's pretty empowering right? That women have been able to learn how to make themselves feel great from each other and have access to free expert advice - at our fingertips! It's pretty rad. And yet at the same time, because some of these influencers are quite well off, they can afford the best stuff. So there was a time I went off skincare because I just felt really priced out of the market. I've seen videos by certain YouTubers who flatout say  "only the expensive products work". And if you watch/read as many of these videos as I did, you can end up thinking you need to break the bank to have good skin. Legit, a few months ago there was this £100 eyelash gel thing circulating YouTube that people were swearing makes your eyebrows grow but you have to keep using it, if you stop they start falling off?! Well for a hot split second I was like, do I ... need to get me some off this overpriced eyelash gel? Anyway I got into a cycle of thinking, what's the point in trying my skin will never be amazing because I can't afford it. But because I'm in a bout of some great skin, here's what's been working for me:

1. Genes. I don't know if this proven anywhere but my parents have good skin and haven't had any major issues and I think that's been passed down? I don't know but if that's the case I guess I can't help you there. Soz.

2.  Moisturising. This is not something I just picked up recently; I was raised to moisturise and it's not a step I can ever afford to skip because things get real ashy real quick. But I started getting a moisturiser specifically for my face by Olay a few years ago and I lav it. I only need a tiny bit and my face feels so plump and awake and not too oily - every time I use it.

2. Sleep. Your skin really does look better when you regularly sleep well.

3. Eating well, drinking water. This is self explanatory right? And I'm sure exercise should be added on, I couldn't tell you from experience because I .. do not move my body as much as I should. But I guess when you're looking after your body and treating it right, it reflects in your skin. And no amount of Sunday Riley's Good Genes treatment can conceal that.

4. Consistency. So I've found products that work for me and I think the key is being consistent. I'm using the Garnier Skin Active range which uses 96% natural ingredients. Finding what your skin type is and being consistent with it, I'd say works in the long run. And I will add that if you're not toning, start! I really believe it's changed my skin game. Plus, these products are super cheap.

My absolute favourite beauty blog which I go back to time and time again: Jasmine Talks Beauty  has great, well tested recommendations and, she always has a range of products at different price points so I never feel excluded ! Have a browse, it's a fab blog.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth by Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips is a British Labour Party MP for Birmingham Yardley and an MP who's reputation definitely precedes her. She's known for being a staunch feminist who speaks her mind and so going into this book, I knew it'd be boldly written. When I started reading it though, I quickly how little I knew about her own story and work.

'Everywoman' is a hybrid between a biography and a feminist manifesto; each chapter entitled "The Truth about ... Speaking Up ... Equality ... Violence ... Sisterhood etc. Drawing on her experiences in her personal life, work with Women's Aid, work as an MP; she sheds light on gender inequality in different domains in society.

It's fascinating to have an insight into life in Westminster and I felt like she really humanises the political process. And because of her work with Women's Aid and, growing up in a working class background, I felt like she speaks with real authority on the ways we as a country have to go to gain social and economic parity.

It may not be the best written of boks; parts of it felt quite clunky and I didn't always understand the way in which the book had been divided - for instance the whole book really is about speaking up and equality and yet the two also have their own chapters. So at times it was hard to know what this book is really supposed to be.

But she writes with such clarity and honesty. Her voice is unapologetic and her frustrations, hopes for the future and urgency for change leap from the page. It's a quick read, very refreshing and one that left me feeling really empowered.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Film Review: Spider-Man Homecoming (Spoiler Free)

Spider-Man fans everywhere I reckon were beside themselves when we found out Spidey was coming back home to Marvel. Following the not-so-successful 'Amazing Spider Man 2' which saw Andrew Garfield in the titular role; Sony and Marvel had finally managed to broker a deal that would see Peter Parker, introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As someone who's actually enjoyed previous Spiderman films and frankly sick of the constant rebooting, I was apprehensive going into this screening. Peter Parker's origin story has been done what feels like time and time again. What other angle could one possibly add? What more needs to be said?  The film's target audience know who Aunt May is, are aware his parents and Uncle Ben have died and know exactly how Peter Parker got his powers to become the Spider-Man. Studio executives have fortunately caught on and while the film still gives us an origin story, it skips all this jargon. The appropriate information is alluded too but we're given far more space and time to get an essence of who this Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland) is.

In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' we have an origin story that feels lighthearted and fun - as to not exclude a perhaps new and younger generation of viewers, while remaining fresh and loyal to its source material - something for the die hard fans.

The films picks up where the last 'Avengers' film left off following the Battle of New York. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keeton) has been contracted to clean up the city but, given the more supernatural elements left in the debris, Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr) US Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C) take over, leaving Toomes out of work. Out of work and frustrated, he and his associates decide to steal some of the technology to sell advanced weapons on the black market. It's with this technology that he's able to develop a specialised flying mechanical suit to become the 'Vulture' - a suit he wears to carry out more sophisticated criminal activity.  

Fast forward eight years and we meet a 14 year old Peter Parker. Stark isn't convinced he's ready to be an Avenger and in a quest to convince him otherwise; Peter spends his days fighting local petty crime in hopes of being invited back into the fold. All this is going on while he's trying to juggle his high school woes: staying on the decathlon team, getting the attention of his crush Liz and warding off high school bully - Flash. One night "on mission", he stumbles across one of Toomes' associates selling weapons. As events unfold, it doesn't take long for Peter to realise Toomes' plan to hijack a D.O.D.C plane transporting weapons from the Avengers' Tower to the new team's headquarters.

Many failed attempts, injuries and Tony Stark bailing him out later; the film's events come to a head when Spider-Man is faced against the Vulture where he has to realise and tap into his full capabilities to defeat Toomes.

As well as the very evident coming of age/identity themes, there's  a strong father/son dynamic between Stark and Parker that plays out really well. It's not glaringly obvious as to why exactly Tony Stark has made it his mission to be Peter Parker's mentor but as the film unloads, we realise there are so many parallels between himself Peter and Tony's origin stories and it begins to make total sense. Stark still wrestles with his own absent-father issues, the guilt and great responsibility he feels as a superhero and we're subtly reminded of the identity crisis -  very much tied to his suit. As he helps Peter navigate through some of these problems - in often laugh out loud sequences - Stark is given  a bit of character development which, nicely moves the cinematic universe forward while still very much being a Spider-Man movie. There's a very fine line to be drawn with a personality as big as Robert Downey Jr who it seemed, the studio was relying on too heavily to promote the film. If he had been in even one more scene, it would've been too much - too gimmicky  and one less and it'd have been pointless. Luckily the film know it's limits and he's not overused. 

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' does a lot of other things right too. Most superhero films suffer from having a third act that's way too long, over-relying on one character to pass the six laugh test and a 2-Dimensional villain. This film addresses and rectifies all these issues. Humour is distributed equally and well among the characters, all of whom at some point mould Peter's character. Keaton is delightful as Toomes, not only for the juicy plot twist you'll have to watch yourself to find out (!) but his strife and frustrtaion is understandable. His faults are what make him human and this human-like quality is what makes him that much more real and menacing as a villain. Having a short and sharp final act between the two of them make far more sense than having say, a Thanos like super-villain after this 14 year old boy because; this movie  is far more about setting up Peter in this universe and developing his character, than it is about him saving the world. And for this reason, Marvel nail what they do best; delivering strong genre movies. In this Spider-Man, we have a feel good, teen movie. 



Friday, 18 August 2017

Why I'm Loving Microblogging

I first heard about micro blogging - using other platforms as a mini blog - on Imii's blog. I guess I was aware of it before but had never really put a name on it. Now that I'm conscious of what it is - I bloody love it!

Obviously here on the blog, I talk mostly about books and films but the truth is, it takes me a hot minute to put posts together. I'm really working on it and I believeeeee (no really, I believe) that over the next few weeks we're going to be seeing miracles on here because I so badly want to be turning out good content every week! But the thing is, I read so much quicker than I can post and I put such an unnecessary amount of pressure on myself to write film posts I'm not sure why, that it just never happens. I think it's because they're probably my absolute favourite things to write that and I always feel like I have loads to say, that I just really work myself until I'm 80% happy with them, before putting them up. I'm currently trying to resurrect about 8 reviews that have just been chilling in my drafts for months - the struggle is real.

The thing with micro blogging - which I'm still getting used to, is that I'm able to document my instant reactions to books, TV, film + life in general without overthinking. I don't edit anything and it feels very free. And I'd say you get a much stronger sense of my personality from those posts because they really are unfiltered. I tend to react to literal pages as I read them :L and love live tweeting shows - especially 'The Bachelor/Bachelorette'.

There's a lot I read that won't ever end up on here  but it's nice to still be able to talk about them and see what other people are thinking too. We're all I feel more likely to comment on an Instagram post or Twitter thread than we are a blog post and we do have different discussions on the respective platforms.

SO! Do check out my Instagram *shameless promo* and give it a follow. And from Monday the 21st, I'll be reviewing every single episode of Marvel's 'The Defenders' and wow I literally decided to do that as I typed out that sentence I am wild. #lookatthisbooknerdgo #lifeontheedge #YOLO


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is one of those posts that aligned beautifully. Beautifully in that at the time of reading Chimamanda's latest offering Dear Ijeawele, so much other stuff was going on, that reminded me why this book is  so hardhitting,  so important and still so so necessary. What was not so beautiful was what was actually going down. I'll get to that.

'Dear Ijeawele' came about after Chimamanda's friend had just had a baby and asked her how she may raise her to be a feminist. She responded with this long ass email with fifteen suggestions and decided to share it!

<3 p="">In this short book, she boils feminism down to its bear essentials. These 15 pointers manage to perfectly capture the essence of what feminism is and its digestible. I've heard people say its "too simple", "it's for a new feminist" not for us, we're quite advanced thank you very much. And I think as someone who follows a lot liberal feminists on social media (after all you tend to follow people you agree/identify with), it's so easy to forget that a. a lot of people aren't feminists, b. a lot of people have  just hopped on the very popular feminist bandwagon without understanding what it means and c. you're not a perfect feminist and you don't know everything.

What sets Dear Ijeawele apart from other feminist essay collections, is that it constantly challenges sexist/misogynist rhetoric I'm going to be bold and say, that she sees in her Nigerian culture. And there's certainly stuff she calls out on, that I've heard/said/seen as a Ghanaian. 

She writes with such bold and unapologetic clarity and it reads so seamlessly. How simple it is I think adds a certain weight to what she's saying because it is so clear but we/society seem to have forgotten or just don't know.

"Teach her to reject likeability. Her job is not make herself likeable, her job is to be her full self."

"People will selectively use 'tradition' to justify anything."

"Sadly, women have learned to be ashamed and apologetic about pursuits that are seen as traditionally female such as fashion and makeup. But our society does not expect men to feel ashamed of pursuits considered generally male."

"I mean the sort of anti-feminists who gleefully raise examples of women saying 'I am not a feminist' as though a person born with a vagina making this statement somehow automatically discredits feminism. That a woman claims not to be a feminist does not diminish the necessity of feminism, If anything, it makes us see the extent of the problem, the successful reach of patriarchy. It shows us, too, that not all women are feminists and not all men are misogynists."

"Teach her never to universalise her own standards or experiences. Teach her that her standards are for her alone and not for other people."

"The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina. Cooking - domestic work in general - is a life skill that both men and women should ideally have."

"Troubling is the idea...that men are naturally superior but should be expected to 'treat women well.' No. No. No. There must be more than male benevolence as the basis for a woman's well-being."

"Teach her that if you criticise X in women but do not criticise X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women. For X please insert words like 'anger,' 'ambition,' 'loudness,' 'stubbornness,' 'coldness,' 'ruthlessness'."

"Tell her that women actually don't need to championed and revered, they just need to be treated as equal human beings."
<3 p="">
At the time of reading this, Ghana's gender minister Otiko Djaba advised secondary school girls, to not wear short dresses because it can attract someone "who would want to rape or defile you". Sigh sigh sigh. Obviously, this is not the first time I've heard this and I think I'm so tired of it that if you asked me what I thought, I'd probably just roll my eyes and get on with my day. But I started thinking about this properly. About what it actually means to rape someone? And I quickly realised my go-to reaction is simply not good enough. The actual act of violating another human being's body is horrendous enough and to do it in such an intrusive and obscene way?! And then for the gender minister of an entire country, to not recognise this and spend her time telling young women that rape happens because we don't "take responsibility for our own actions". It's not even just problematic its dangerous that someone so influential doesn't understand that rape is not logical, it is an act of violence. And while it happens to both men and women, men are statistically more likely to be the perpetrators of rape; because we've conditioned men into thinking that they have power over our bodies and our sexuality and women into thinking that all we should and can do, is protect ourselves.

This is like, really obvious basic stuff but clearly, we don't all understand.

Again as I was reading this, my flatmate and I heard what we thought was a woman being violated , in some capacity I don't know, and screaming out for help. We called the police who was, I kid you not, the chillest policeman ever considering the circumstances. He firstly suggested we go downstairs and have a look and after we flatout refused because um no not tryna get raped and die in the French countryside thank you sir (maybe we should've gone down but we were quite scared); he's said something along the lines of,"don't worry about it it's probably just a couple having an argument. You did the right thing to call ... have a nice evening." This was the first time I'd ever called the police and I was just so appalled that another woman's life meant so little to the authorities. It still blows my mind.
<3 p="">
<3 p="">I say all this to say, we can dress feminism up as much as we like but there's still a case to be made for simple digestible feminist literature. We still need to be  armed with basic yet sharp arguments so because I want to be ready and bold when responding to some of the misogynist sexist shit happens around and to me everyday.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Water in May by IsmΓ©e Williams

**I kindly received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.**

'Water in May' is about Mari Pujols, a fifteen year old girl who finds herself pregnant. Having had a not-so-easy upbringing after being abandoned by her parents; she's excited for the arrival of her baby boy. She's prepared to shower him with the unconditional love she's never had. Doctors however soon discover that the baby has a potentially fatal heart condition. So with the help of her friends and a committed doctor, we follow her as she navigates the decisions and emotions that challenge her to grow, heal and love in a way she's never had to before. 

Our protagonist Mari, demonstrates a level of strength and emotional maturity that I'm not used to seeing in contemporaries and it was so welcomed! Even as a 15 year old character, her voice seems so bold and as a character she's quite self aware and it was super refreshing to be lead through this story by an unconventional, strong female voice. Do bear in mind though that this book is written from the point of view of a 15 year old. Now I'm not saying y'all can't talk properly buttt, the grammar and language was at times difficult to get past. That said, rather than feeling ashamed or embarrassed about her pregnancy she sort of just gets on with it and pushes through the adversity. The sisterhood is also very present here because Mari doesn't have a lot of family to rely on; it was so great to see this group of female friends be a rock and just turn out for her!

While the story isn't particularly plot driven (the majority of which takes place in a hospital) having such bold and distinctive characters kept me on board. The turmoil of Mari and the other mothers particularly, I felt was authentic and dealt with delicately; something I think can be accredited to the fact that the author herself is a doctor and could draw on these emotions from experience.

A personal stumbling block was Ismee Williams' writing style which I think will really connect with some readers, and alienate others. It includes a lot of Spanish/ Dominican slang and translations only appearing at the end. And while I understand the choice because, it does immediately throw us into this almost visceral neighbourhood; as a non Spanish speaker I did find myself pushing myself through to get to the end. As I mentioned, because the plot is pretty slow going at times it felt like hard work. 

Water in May comes out on 12th September 2017. 


Comic Con 'Thor Ragnorak' Trailer Thoughts

Oooh this world looks gooooood?!


Is Thor in Hel (afterlife for the Asgardian dishonourable dead)? Why he here? What'd he do? So many questions.

Okay I see you Marvel, utilising Chris' comic timing


Oh my word the Goddess of Death YES THEN?!

Nahh Cate is doing the most I am so here for this. Is there anything that woman cannot play?!

Um no Thor and Loki are better AGAINST each other 


Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie yaaaas girl 

Ensemble casts standing in a super dramatic line is a definitely a 2017 superhero movie trend I am not here for 

What is going on? What is this sommotion? Why all the CGI? I LIKEE it though?! So conflicted.

Really impressed with the direction director, Taika Waititi seems to be taking with the Thor franchise! It seems more lighthearted, fun, OTT, touches of fantasy everyone loved in Guardians of the Galaxy and also; looks like it's going to be very mythology heavy which I'm so excited to see. I'm left with about 1000 questions though.

Comic Con 'Justice League' Trailer Reactions

Ever since BVS DoJ I've been super wary of the DC Extended Universe I can't lie, I don't even know if I want to be watching this trailer


Ahhh Wonder Woman!! What a fricking badass?! Sigh. SIGH


Also, good decision to open the trailer with arguably the DCEU's only successful superhero πŸ–’πŸ–’πŸ–’

@0.52 sooo we still haven't clocked that Bat Signal is the worst, least subtle distress signal - ever? Because surely then everyone knows Batman is on his way like how old is the Batman character?! Why haven't we fixed this?! Couldn't he just shoot him a text?

Affleck's so dull as Batman andd, I'm now having BvS DoJ flashbacks make it stop


Eeeeek Themyscira army YAAAS. Okay I'm enjoying these Wonder Woman touches - a welcome welcome surprise

@1.29 Okay Aquaman I see you?! 

I guess that whole thing where every DC character is making fun of Aquaman ...we're not going to be able to that here, are we. When he's Jason Mamoa? When's he's this fine?! Lol we tried it. 

@2.21 LOL. I said this before and I'll say it again, Ezra Miller casting was genius! Looks like they've captured that brilliant/weird/funny Flash from the comics YES!

@2.23 Has Cyborg said anything yet?

I am ... not fan of the Transformers vibes I'm getting from this trailer. This CGI is on fleeek - not in a good way. 

Eeeekk Aquaman :') 

Are we even going to pretend we didn't know that's Superman. Cheekyyy

Waiting for an Aquaman Trailer leak like

Send links pls πŸ–‘πŸ–‘πŸ–‘


Friday, 30 June 2017

Film Review: The Age of Adaline

Stars: Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman and Ellen Burstyn 
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger

'The Age of Adaline' is yet another film that tries to address the concept of ageing, using implausible "science", to justify an essentially very silly plot. If you can get over that, and the inexplicable and often jarring storybook narration throughout, there's stuff in here to be enjoyed.

Blake Lively stars as Adaline Bowman, a woman born in 1908 who meets and loses her husband in the construction of the Golden Gate bridge. Years later, she's involved in a freak accident of her own ; she's struck by lightning and from then on doesn't age, staying fixed at 29 forever. While she can be killed, she will never die of natural causes, striking  an interesting dynamic  between herself and daughter played by Ellen Burnstyn, though the film doesn't explore this nearly as much as it could have.

Adaline realises she'll have to spend the rest of her life on the run and every decade or so, she slips away reappearing somewhere else as somebody else. Bar one time in the 60's when she fell in love with a medical student, William - a medical student, she's been keeping her distance from everyone. That is until she meets Ellis Jones, a perfectly "nice" philanthropist who awakens her longing for love and companionship.

Ellis and Adaline - now Jenny, make a rather bland couple; both attractive, sweet ... precious even but lack any other identifiable traits. Adaline is constantly described as "remarkable" when the truth of the matter is, the only reason she's great at trivia and speaks so many languages, is because she's been around a bit. As they fall in love, she crosses paths with William (Harrison Ford) who by a random turn of events, is Ellis' father. Ford's gives a strong performance as a man rattled by the similarity between "Jenny" and his lost love Adaline. As he  begins to unravel, and a series of events follow that threaten to expose the truth.

While Lively and Huisman are perfectly acceptable leads, their presence doesn't demand much of us and for the most part, 'The Age of Adaline' feels painstakingly slow. Ford however elevates the film, giving it the gravitas and much needed emotional tug this film so desperately needs. That said, it's not really enough. The film's neatly tied up ending just goes to show its overall failure to take risks and develop any of it's more interesting fairy-tale like aspects.


Saturday, 24 June 2017

libraries, diversity + Malorie Blackman

I got into reading when I was 8 and discovered my school library. Free books? Everyday? Yes please. At the time, I was reading a lot Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Judy Blume, Enid Blyton + Mary Kate and Ashley. Our school librarian would give us "recommendations", and always tried to point me in the direction of non fiction about "African drums" (obvs noone was reading her token diversity picks). Like babes, I just need to know who Mary Kate picks to prom do you have the next instalment of So Little Time or not?

Anyway, all these books were my gateway to literature and in many ways, I was spoilt for choice. Between them, I found diversity in themes, genre and style. Judy Blume taught me puberty and being a girl, Enid Blyton gave me my detective fix (those Famous Five, such thrill chasers) and I'm pretty sure up until 14, everything I knew about the Second World War was based on like 2 Michael Morpurgo books - probably not great but we all start somewhere.

After a year a so, I did start searching for characters I could identify with. I'll give you a little bit of context, I'd just moved from Ghana, straight in a very white world. I was one of 5 people of colour in my entire primary school and I just wasn't fitting in. I wasn't making friends, I had people feeling up my hair all the time, asking me how I spoke such good English, if I used to live in a mud hut and I just got increasingly pissed off tbh. That's the thing about experiencing racism + ignorant comments, the first time you encounter it you don't really know what it is. It just doesn't feel nice and it's so hard to communicate as to why, even to yourself. So books became my safe space. And now, I wanted to read books with characters that looked like me. Characters I could identify with from a racial/cultural perspective. Simples 😊. Not that deep 😘. Not a big ask 😎.

Things are improving now but finding  POC in YA was a real struggle. Or maybe they were there but our school didn't see the need to stock them because obviously, books with POC are only for POC and white characters are the norm - they're for everyone.

When looking, I found Bali Rai; whose stories are set in this multi-cultural Britain that I hadn't seen before. It wasn't around me, it wasn't in books or on TV. Rani and Sukh was a revelation - where. were. these. people. And then one day, I was scouting the shelves and found a book with a black boy on the cover, and the book had nothing to do with race. It was A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E by Malorie Blackman: a detective story, with a main character who just so happened to be black. Mind = blown. And it was a great read?! #Spoilt

In case you haven't read anything by Malorie Blackman, her books are YA but don't baby their audience; he's covered ghost stories, thrillers, race, identity, family dramas, teen pregnancies, health - no subject is off the table.

I remember reading Noughts and Crosses for the first time and being completely hooked. It's set in an alternate society where Sephy, a member of the ruling dark-skinned ruling class falls in love with Callum, "colourless" from the underclass and the two  navigate this world of distrust and prejudice. It's such a thought-provoking, emotionally charged, complex, thrilling, sad look into racism and I've never read anything like it since. Malorie Blackman just opened up my world. I grew up with some of the characters in these books and I felt seen.

It is so powerful, so important, so empowering, to see yourself in literature. For a long time, when POC appear in fiction, they're either dropped in  passing or given fairly linear side plots loaded with stereotypes. It's really hard to dream, aspire or have self esteem when the culture around you just fails to acknowledge your existence. I've  seen a shift in the YA being published; it's a lot more diverse than when I was at school but it's still nowhere near where it should be. The stats I found ^ are actually US figures from 2015, I couldn't even find UK stats but I know it's a lot harder to find BAME authors from the UK than US.  We're still at a stage where we have to be actively looking, to find them, especially in UKYA. So I'm going to leave a few links I use, to help you find some! And  guys, do yourself a service and read Noughts and Crosses πŸ’—πŸ’ž


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.

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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