All About February

February 25, 2016

February has flown by, and not because there's only twenty nine days within it, I don't even know where the time has gone! I feel like I've done nothing of note this month, instead focusing on starting projects and events that are going to continue into March, keep your eyes peeled! March is going to be crazy as so many things are going on, but I'm sure everything will work out fine. Here's February.
Life
  • I bought myself my first car and I'm so proud of it, and after much persuasion (yes, that's from you Megan..) I've given it a name, even though it is a car. A piece of metal. A piece of machinery with a name. God I feel embarrassed even saying it has a name. But it does.
  • I got my first set of exam results for my degree and I'm so proud of myself! Next stop is getting a first overall for first year - a girl can hope!
  • I've fallen in love with sushi and pineapple juice once again, this feels like a 2015 throwback and I'm loving every minute of fruit and fish filled goodness.
  • I had acrylic nails applied for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and after some getting used to, I adore them and the noise they make when I hit them against each other. It's the small things in life. 
  • I was featured in an article for The Times, which you can find here and I appeared on TV for 4Music in their Valentines special of Your4Music, you can see a picture of me doing my thing here on my Instagram.

Films
  • The Riot Club featuring Sam Claflin as the main character was a weird film choice for a Sunday afternoon, but a memorable one nonetheless. TRC focuses on a group of young Oxford students, members of the famed Riot Club whom exist solely to cause havoc at the expense of others. Although there were many a picturesque scene overlooking the lawns of one of the most famous universities in the world, the film was centered around a single country pub where things got very out of hand. It's a film I'm glad I saw and I was disgusted at the opinions of the characters, though I would never choose to see it again. 
  • Deadpool was one of only two cinema viewings this month, and was a great extension to the X Men group of films, you can read my review of the film here. Its a humour filled, R rated comedy which turns the idea of a super hero film on its head, and for the better.
  • The Forest (full review coming very soon) was another weird ass film which calls itself a horror, but I just thought it was creepy. Too creepy. Based on a real life forest in Japan, it's a bit naff and makes Natalie Dormer look like an idiot rather than a respected actress, but I'm sure somebody out there will like it, I just didn't. 
Music
  • Little Mix's latest album Get Weird has been on constant repeat for the last two weeks, and although I still can't hit the high notes of Perrie Edwards, it's a very enjoyable listen and one that is appropriate for easy listening and high intensity workouts.
  • Melanie Martinez's Cry Baby (Deluxe) album is a new find as suggested by my little sister and I've found it to be the perfect mix of Lana Del Rey's magical yet sometimes samey tones and Marina and the Diamonds' pop/indie deep voice. 
  • Panic! At The Disco's newly released Death Of A Batchelor album is what I listen to in the car as I try and navigate the dual carriageway and all the crashes that come with it, and it's perfect happy music as the various different musical styles included in the record make it easy to relisten, as it doesn't get boring. You can read my full review of the album here.
Books
  • Carrie Hope Fletcher's All I Know Now is a self help, advice type book and in turn, the first (and probably last) Youtuber book I've ever bought. It's filled with laughs and instructions on how to make yourself a better person, standard fare in an advice book aimed at young teenagers. I really like Carrie's Youtube channel (ItsWayPastMyBedTime) and the fact she had her hair cut off for charity the other week made me smile a lot. 
  • The University left a helluva lot of books on my to-read list this term about the oh so exciting topics of business culture and statistics, which were incredibly helpful yet not the best things I've ever read in my life (understatement of the century).  
So there's February! How was your month? Leave your comments in the box below :))

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Deadpool Film Review

February 21, 2016

Synopsis:
This is the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. (via IMDB)

Review:
Before going into the screen to see Deadpool, the only things I knew about the film was that it was foul mouthed, filled with dirty sex jokes and that the main character, played by Ryan Reynolds, made a cool 'chicka chicka ahhhh' noise right at the end of the credits. And boy I'm glad that was all I knew about it beforehand. The film was fab, don't get me wrong - but I'm glad I went in partially blind as if I'd have read up on Reynolds' previous attempts at action movie characters before popping in, I'd have probably have changed my mind about going. But anyway: I did go, and here's a thought filled log of my experience.

Baring in mind the film came out a whole 10 days ago, (10 WHOLE DAYS) I was incredibly surprised to see an almost full cinema screen, but I think that shows the originality of Deadpool and how it's accessible to everyone, that is if you're over the age of 15 in the UK and able to prove to the cinema staff that you're no longer a child. Being in an almost full cinema screen has its perks, as every joke became funnier just due to the fact that everybody else was laughing and as they say, laughing is infectious, but the movie really was funny enough to justify laughter every five minutes - especially if you find an onslaught of penis jokes funny, which I do. 

Constantly breaking the fourth wall worked well in the films' favour, with the quips about the limited budget and therefore the limited amount of characters creating some of the biggest laughs, as was the constant putting down of other, not so successful Marvel films - my favourite being the joke about how Wade would accept any superhero costume, as long as it wasn't green nor animated, a not so subtle nod to the failure that was Green Lantern. 

Bad guy Ajax/Francis reminded me of a Danny Dyer type character who wouldn't be out of place on Eastenders, which made it even funnier that he was fighting with Deadpool, who was essentially immortal, but I don't think anybody else would have instantly thought of an UK soap opera when a bad guy appears in a comic book film... yeah I'm weird. But in the sense of being the stereotypical bad guy, Ed Skrein played the part well.

Plot wise, I liked the way it flitted about back and forth from the past to the present, before cultivating in the typical, formulaic fight between the bad guy and the good guys, with a couple of hiccups along the way. This is the only bit of the film I thought was a tad boring, but then I was the girl who fell asleep in Avatar because I couldn't bear to watch yet another fighting scene... but it was brought back up to standard with the last few minutes which featured a reference to Wham! that wrapped the film up nicely.

Maybe some of the jokes did fall flat, but the majority rose laughter from the pit of my belly and for that I'm glad I came to see the film. I'd give Deadpool a strong 7/10 and I definitely will go and see the sequel when it comes out. 


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Remembering To Relax

February 15, 2016

Relaxation is something that doesn't fall within my vocabulary at the moment. In the past couple of weeks I've made some pretty life changing decisions and with that, I've needed to spend a lot of time preparing and thinking about things, whilst also attempting to keep my university essay preparation ticking along nicely, blogging, meeting up with friends and appearing on the telly (!) So you could say that life has been a little hectic in the past few weeks. So when Ocean Loans offered me the chance to take a day to just relax and wind down, there was no way I was saying no.
I began the day by taking a leisurely walk through some of my favourite parts of York, the city I call my second home for the next three years as I attend lectures at the University of York. It was a lovely day on campus for the first time in forever, empathised by the fact that the awful wind that has caused Langwith College to be nothing more than a wind tunnel had subsidised, leaving behind a chilly day but bright and sunny nonetheless. Walking through the town centre on a weekday always has its perks, one being that all of the tourists are busy at work themselves, too busy to stop at every scenic bridge to take pictures, which meant that I luckily had most of the city to myself for the morning and got to look around the usually packed tourist points myself! It's days like this when I stop worrying about the small things and remember to look up and around me, and it's days like this I relish in my memories as I begin to ponder the nuances of the locations I visit every day that I've never noticed before. 
Knowing I had the full day to myself, I popped into one of the local nail bars intent on just getting a manicure but ended up getting full blown acrylics for the first time - who knew so many different nail buffing tools existed!? I'm normally used to having stubs for fingers so they've taken a little bit of getting used to but once I realised that there was no way I would be able to turn my phone from loudspeaker to silent using the little button, I was fine with it and I've got used to having beautiful nails for the first time in my life. Whilst I was busy getting the top layer of my nail taken off, (it sounds really painful but it was strangely satisfying, just like getting your eyebrows threaded) one of my best friends Meg turned up to get hers done too, fate or what?! We ended up at the top end of town forty minutes later, complete with long nails and a cup of hot chocolate which was v nice and really helped me relax, which was the aim of the day!
In the evening, we went to our local Italian where we ate one too many slices of pizza and two too many glasses of wine, but that was the aim of the game and I left the restaurant feeling extremely full and satisfied. I had such a lovely day and I can't wait to cross a whole day out of my diary to relax and enjoy myself again pretty soon. Though it may seem that there's never too many hours in a day to achieve everything, if you take some time out and look at everything with a fresh perspective, the world will appear different and less terrorsome. Spending a day enjoying yourself will help you do that. :) :) :) :)

I would like to thank Ocean Loans for providing me with the opportunity to relax for a day. Although I was provided with monetary compensation for this post, all opinions are my own. 

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Panic! At The Disco: Death Of A Batchelor Album Review

February 10, 2016

 ~ yes, the album is SIGNED ~

Up until maybe a year ago, I'd never listened to Panic! At The Disco. I mean, I'd heard of them, but I thought they were like Slipknot and Black Veil Brides, aka not my cup of tea. That was that, until my little sister started to listen to them. She'd run round the house shouting IF YOU LOVE ME LET ME GOOOOO and at first, I thought she'd been listening to a Frozen parody. It turns out she had in fact been listening to an American rock(ish) band who had nothing at all to do with Frozen and that's all it took for me to start listening to all the singles. Then all the latest album tracks. Then even more of the old album tracks. Then watching lives, watching Brendon Urie slowly lose all of his band members and watching my little sister get even more hyped up for their next album.. which is what I'm holding in my hands right now.

Track By Track Review:
Victorious is definitely the most radio friendly track on the album, with a high note at the beginning that I didn't think could come out of a humans' mouth, let alone come out of somebody's mouth live half way through a action packed set at a festival, which I'm sure is a testament to Brendon Urie's talent. It's pretty poppy and catchy as hell - so a great listen. Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time also has a catchy beat (who am I kidding, most of the album is sing along worthy) and is a damn good alarm as it starts off quieter before slamming straight into ALRIGHT ALRIGHT - aka the time my brain knows it needs to wake up and get out of brain pronto. Hallelujah was the buzz single from the album, and was the first new thing to hit my ears since my introduction to P!ATD a year ago, and I was pleasently surprsied. A gospel song this is not, but as a buzz single I was very happy with it, and as I'm one of those weirdos who loves to analyse the movement from one era of a band to another, I thought the continuation of the religion arc was very nifty.

Emperor's New Clothes is one of those songs that if I'd have listened to it a year ago, I'd have turned the CD player off in disgust as to me, it's the perfect epitome of early noughties pop punk, something I didn't touch as Cheryl Cole didn't endorse it (Love Machine by Girls Aloud on the other hand....) Death Of A Bachelor makes Urie sound like a jazz singer. Well, maybe a Michael Buble version of a jazz singer anyway, or any pop singer trying to sound like they sing jazz. But it's good, it's really good, it's a song you can imagine being sung at one of the 1940's themed weekends you see dotted around the country, it makes the previous song sound even more pop punk as they're just so different, and I can see the Beyonce influences within the track.

I swear that a song from the Disney theme parks has the same tune as Crazy=Genius, which is why I physically can't take it seriously without thinking of Mickey Mouse dancing to the song, even though the track features swearing and references to drugs and the like. But apart from that, it's a fast paced few minutes of music that doesn't last a second longer than it should, which is fab. LA Devotee, just like the previous song, reminds me so much of Disney, which is hilarious as I'm sure that isn't what I'm meant to think when I listen to a Panic! At The Disco album. It's highly repetitive and that works to its advantage, and it's one that I can sing in the shower as it hasn't really got any high notes in it either, which means people don't have to listen to me attempting said high notes. Maybe there is hope for humanity after all.

Golden Days is just kind of there, and I don't really have an opinion on it. Boo. The Good, The Bad And The Dirty would sound fabulous at festivals with it's 'oooooo's and 'aaaaaah's all the way through the damn song. House Of Memories on the other hand is one that I keep singing around the house and is one I really like, maybe because of it's electronic influences or dark undertones whilst also staying kind of upbeat in tone... it's a song I can picture a storyline with after only one listen, as its intentions are so clear the second the first note rings out.

To finish the album off, we have Impossible Year, and if I'm perfectly honest with you, I completely forgot this one existed. Once again, this is highly influenced by Beyonce and Elvis Presley, and has a jazz undertone, showing off Brendon's vocal capabilities. As a conclusion to the album, I can consider it in two different ways. At first glance, it's kind of boring and is one I can swiftly zone out of if I'm not careful. Yet on the other hand, it's a track that rounds the whole album off and pulls a kaleidoscope of different musical influences together within the space of 3 minutes. But if this album acts in the way I intend it to be, aka sweet background music, it's not a good ending to a rather good album. Boo.

Overall, I would give this album 7/10.
Have you heard this album? What did you think? Leave your opinions in the comments box below.

 
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Room Film Review

February 05, 2016

Synopsis:
Room tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted mother. Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical--they are trapped--confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space that Ma has euphemistically named Room. Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack's curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma's resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. (via IMDb)

Review:
Room focuses on Ma, a young woman whose life was turned into a nightmare when she was kidnapped by a man named Old Nick, who proceeded to lock her in a shed outside his house until her son Jack (who she conceived in captivity), gives her the perfect idea on how to escape from the walls that have been her home for the past seven years. 

Although Room is a story about abduction and kidnapping at face value, once watching you begin to understand the underlying metaphors that peek out among the tension filled scenes. At one point in the film, I had to leave to regulate my breathing as just watching the film had taken so much out of me, and a friend who was watching it with me was crying silent tears throughout. 

The acting within the film was sublime, and I really mean that. Brie Larson, who plays Ma, is one of those actors whose eyes can do all of the talking and I think that was needed in a film such as this, where what isn't said is as important as what is spoken aloud. Her son Jack, played by Jacob Tremblay, was equally amazing, and I think he was robbed of a Best Actor nomination as his part in the film is anything but a Supporting Actor, as the Oscars describe him. He is his Mothers equal, and both deserve awards for their performances in a film that was tactfully filmed and acted. 

The camera shots were sensitive, with zoom in all the right places and sweeping shots kept to a minimum whilst the duo were held in the room to highlight that although their home was tiny, it was large to a boy who'd never seen anything else. This, coupled with the opening of Jack saying 'Good Morning' to every item of furniture in the building made their confined space appear much larger than it was, which is exactly what I assume the director wanted us to see.  

One thing that I noticed (although probably shouldn't), was that Ma's real name was in fact Joy, and at first, I thought it was funny as that meant there had been two films based around an uncommon womans name in the space of two months. Yet on second thoughts, I really began to think of the metaphor behind it - as even in the bleakest of situations, with two young humans stuck in captivity, there was never an absence of Joy - Joy/Ma was always there for her son, and there was always happiness, there was always joy in the made up fantasy world of Room, there was always smiles and laughter, even if it was fake or put on. 

One thing I think that Room did really well was detailing the aftermath of the abduction, how both her son and Ma/Joy herself dealt with being on the outside, having to see that the world had in fact moved on without them and things would never be the same again. Seeing Jack take his first steps onto unknown ground is something I don't think I can ever unsee, as his tentatively moved his body from a chair to the unforgiving, cold floor - it sent shivers down my spine and just thinking of it now sends tingles up my arms - it was acted so well. 

Out of 10, I would review this film 8/10


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An Afternoon at Leeds' Victoria Quarter

February 02, 2016

As a child, the Victoria Quarter in Leeds was a place I loved to visit as I could pretend I was a celebrity. I could walk down the parades in the centre, shielded from the wind outside from the double doors guarded by suit wearing men who would open the door for you. (!) I could point at dresses in the window that were waaay too long for my little child frame and say 'I'm going to be able to wear that when I'm older!' And for a child, that meant I'd made it - I was now as cool as Cheryl Cole, my number one inspiration in my formative years. So when I was approached to sample some of the delights in the shopping arcade, I jumped at the chance and hopped on a train to Leeds (squeezing in a Nandos beforehand of course).
Our first stop was the make up store Illamasqua, where we were treated to mini makeovers and given time to peruse their latest collections. I've always loved Illamasqua, and own a couple of their eyeliners as I find they're very long lasting and easy to apply, but I've always wanted an excuse to try some of their other products. My makeover focused on my eyebrows and lips - two things that I always try and make an effort with myself but usually fail - so it was lovely to have somebody make me up properly and they looked fab! I've tried to recreate the look since I've been home but unsurprisingly have failed - but how good does it look here!? 
 We then visited clothes store Sandro, a store that admittedly I'd never really looked in before, but I fell in love with their products - they all appeared to be very well made, with a favourite of mine being a deep green coloured bag which being typical me, I forgot to take a picture of (yay). With our visit to the store being in what I would call the big run up to Christmas, I didn't expect any items to be discounted yet there were quite a few sale items on offer, bringing the overall cost of the clothes down quite a bit, making it quite reasonable when you compare the quality to something you could pick up in Topshop.  
We then popped over to Links of London, where we were treated to champagne, chocolates and mince pies - I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't hate mince pies though as they all seemed to be left behind at the end! After being shown the design ideas for their latest collection, which were all based on Big Ben and important landmarks in London, we set down to explore the store and their latest collections. If you know me, you'll know I adore things with a story behind them, which is why I was very interested to hear more about the origins of the collections, and being able to see a design process alongside the finished product added so much more value to the dainty bracelets and necklaces as you could see all of the love that went into creating one single product.
Before setting off to catch the train home with Rachel, we were all treated to a lush afternoon tea at the Harvey Nichols Expresso Bar, which I was not expecting after eating a Nandos for lunch and more than a couple of chocolates across the afternoon! Set within the middle of the arcade, just outside of the Harvey Nichols store, we were kept warm with large heaters set around us as we tucked into mince pie cakes and my favourite salmon sandwiches. One of the main attractions of the meal was the scone, and after a conversation of whether the jam or the cream goes first (definitely the jam), we dug in, and by half way through I was stuffed to capacity, unable to eat another thing. For £49 for two people, a champagne afternoon tea is a treat for sure, but one I hope to partake in again.

Thank you to the lovely girls at the Victoria Quarter for inviting me and if you're ever in Leeds, give the Victoria Quarter a go, I sure will be the next time I'm there!

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