My 2019 Resolutions | Quarterly Check-in #1

Sometimes, I make resolutions/goals for the year. Mainly so I have something to write in the front of my bullet journal. Sometimes I succeed at them, sometimes I fail (spectacularly), but it’s always nice to have something to aim for and work towards. In recent years I’ve found that doing quarterly check-ins helps to keep me accountable to these aspirationally-set resolutions throughout the year, rather than just panicking and trying to do everything in December. So this is what it says on the tin, folks, this is a check-in of how I’m doing at my 2019 Resolutions after the first three months of the year.

ENTERTAINMENT GOALS

1. Read the 5 books on my ‘Books I Didn’t Get To In 2018’ list

Sooo, starting off strong, I’ve read precisely 0/5 books on this list so far. Good job, Emma, you’re doing really well with these resolutions already. I wish I could say this will change in quarter 2 but, let’s be real here, I’ll probably rush to finish those 5 books off in the final quarter of 2019.

2. Read at least 1 classic each month from my Classics Club list

To date I’ve read exactly 1 classic in 2019, and even that was waaaay  back at the start of January when I was full of aspirations about my reading. Since then I haven’t properly thought about including at least 1 classic on my monthly TBR so I’m majorly slacking on this goal. I will catch up though, I’m determined.

Anyone fancy buddy reading something that’s on my Classics Club list? Hmu!

3. Read at least 1 non-fiction book each month

Surprise, surprise, just like I’ve been ignoring the ‘put 1 classic a month on your TBR’ goal, I’ve also been ignoring this one too. In fact, I haven’t finished any non-fiction books this year. I’ve started them, sure, on audio I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Dolly Alderton’s What I Know About Love – the tone of the latter is super irritating me so I’m likely to DNF that, but the former I was really enjoying so I need to get back on my audiobook game and pick it up again!

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Feature | Weekend Watching #7

Welcome one, welcome all, to a new feature to this blog which I have decided to call: Weekend Watching. This will be a hopefully regular post uploaded on Saturdays or Sundays (hence the “weekend watching”) where I talk about a film, TV show, or maybe even YouTube channel/video that I’ve particularly enjoyed recently. I’m hoping to spotlight at least one thing to watch each week and hopefully someone at least will get a kick out of these posts – I will, if no one else does!


This time, since I’m bringing you this post during Blogmas, I thought I would make things suitably festive and showcase a few of my favourite holiday films. These may not all necessarily be about Christmas, or even set during it, but they’re all films that I inevitably reach for around the holiday season. (Warning: I’m extremely basic, you probably won’t find anything too left field here.)

Family friendly films

Miracle on 34th Street
Growing up, I was a huuuuge fan of the film adaptation of Matilda (and, to be fair, I still am) so it’s no surprise that I also love this Christmas film starring Mara Wilson. I adore this film, it has my entire heart, and I still grin like an absolute idiot when the people secretly wear the “I Believe” badges. I’m not hugely into the earlier film but this one is on regular, heavy rotation during the festive period for sure.

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Mary Poppins
Another of my favourite films of all-time, Mary Poppins was a childhood favourite that stayed. I’ve seen it countless times, could quote every single word, and I’m incredibly excited for the new Mary Poppins Returns film (even if just a little bit worried in case they ruin it!). As a child I aspired to be Mary Poppins and Bert had my heart – and both of those things are probably still a little bit true. This always gets watched by me and my mum during the festive period, whether it’s on TV or not.

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Harry Potter
I debated whether this really belonged in this category but here we are anyway. The Harry Potter film series will always hold a certain amount nostalgic for me – going to see the first couple of films was one of the ‘end of term before Christmas’ treats that they organised when I was at primary school – and the fact that ITV seem to insist on replaying the entire series over the festive season definitely helps keep that nostalgia alive. I love the books, I love the films, I won’t really consider it truly Christmas until I’ve seen Harry excitedly run down the stairs into the Gryffindor Common Room when he realises he’s actually been given some Christmas presents. My heart!

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Tag | The Disney Tag

I found this amazing Disney themed Tag on Michelle’s Purple Pumpkin Blog, and it seems quite fitting because as you read this I will be arriving in Disney World Orlando, all excited to experience the magical world of Disney for the very first time. As I’m writing these we’re a few days away from the holiday but I am so excited so I figured it would be useful to channel this energy into something semi useful by completing a Disney themed tag!

1. Favourite Disney Film?

I always struggle to answer this succinctly but I’m going to try. My first true love of Disney will always be Pocahontas when it comes to the animated films and Mary Poppins for the live-action ones. Most recent new love is Moana and Hercules (I did not fully appreciate the latter properly when I was younger so I consider this a “new” love to me).

2. Favourite Disney Character?

Again, it’s so hard to pick one but since I’ve spied that sidekicks and princesses can pop up in the questions after this, I’ll try to pick a Disney “prince” for this one. I love Flynn Rider from Tangled – who wouldn’t? (Also, and this explains SO much about my taste in guys, Roger from 101 Dalmatians.)

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3. Favourite Disney Princess?

Can I pick Megara from Hercules and Rapunzel from Tangled? They’re both kick-ass in their own ways and I also love me some sass.

4. Favourite Disney side-kick?

Meeko from Pocahontas, no question about it.

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Discussion/Brain Dump | Avengers: Infinity War

In case you hadn’t guessed from the title this is a “discussion” of Avengers Infinity War. I hesitate to use the word discussion because it’s going to be more of an (probably) incoherent jumble of thoughts/gushing about the film as I try to process what the hell I actually watched. It is SPOILERS GALORE so, seriously, if you haven’t seen Avengers Infinity War yet or, in fact, if you haven’t seen any of the previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films and you intend to, then please (for the love of God) DO NOT read any further, you will be spoiled.

There, I think that’s plenty enough of a spoiler warning to placate Thanos’ demand for “silence”.

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And, as a disclaimer that I hate feeling obliged to make but will make nonetheless, I have seen all the MCU films to date. This does not make me an authority, and I’m not claiming to be. I don’t remember the infinite details of all of them (frankly, I loathe some of the films so I haven’t been keen to rewatch them too many times). But I am a HUGE fan of the journey the MCU has been on in the last ten years and I’ve been there for a large portion of that time (2011-2018 still feels like a decent innings, right?) so I’m just speaking as a fan. I haven’t read any of the comic book iterations and I don’t constantly theorise about what elements of them the MCU will incorporate into their films. I just watch the films, enjoy them, and occasionally fall down Wikipedia holes. That’s the extent of my wider reading about them. So this is just one fan’s gushing and theorising (oh boy, is there theorising), probably unsubstantiated, but I’m putting it on record all the same. IS this for you? Probably not. It’s more for me to be able to look back in however many months’ time and check how right or, let’s be realistic, how WRONG I was about this entire film.

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Feature | Weekend Watching #3

Welcome one, welcome all, to a new feature to this blog which I have decided to call: Weekend Watching. This will be a hopefully regular post uploaded on Saturdays or Sundays (hence the “weekend watching”) where I talk about a film, TV show, or maybe even YouTube channel/video that I’ve particularly enjoyed recently. I’m hoping to spotlight at least one thing to watch each week and hopefully someone at least will get a kick out of these posts – I will, if no one else does!


Last week’s Weekend Watching showcased British sitcom Lovesick and this week I’ve decided to highlight the first film in this feature. To anyone who knows me at all or knows what films are out at the cinema right now, it’ll come as no surprise that the film I’m talking about today is (of course) the incredible latest offering from the MCU, Black Panther.

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“Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. “Black Panther” stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Nate Moore, Jeffrey Chernov and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole wrote the screenplay.” (Synopsis from Marvel)

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Feature | Favourite Christmas Films

Since I’m participating in Blogmas this year, I figured I should make sure at least some of my posts were holiday/Christmas related. So, on this fine Saturday evening, I bring you the second of my ‘Favourite Christmas X’ posts. Last week I shared some of my Favourite Christmas Songs, and this week we move to a different medium – my Favourite Christmas Films! The cold weather of Christmas always gives me the perfect excuse to stay inside and do nothing more taxing than watch a film (or two) to while away an afternoon (or two). So I thought I’d share some of my favourite Christmas films – they’re hardly niche or little-known but I just love them all the same, so without further ado…

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

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T5W | Problematic Faves

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Problematic Faves: characters you don’t want to love, but you can’t help liking. I’m a sucker for a good morally grey character, and I do like my villains too, so this is actually great category for me. I think we can all agree that, generally speaking, villains shouldn’t be loved or supported, but they do seem to have so much fun being wicked that you can’t help but liking their style. I’ve tried to mostly stick to books because otherwise I’m sure my Top 5 list would just end up being a recitation of all my fave film villains but one did sneak in there because I couldn’t stop him!

(Please note: slightly spoiler-y for relationships in the Grishaverse and The Bone Season books – do not read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.)

5. The Darkling from The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Is the Darkling problematic? Let’s face it, he was always going to be the villain of the Grisha trilogy, there was never any doubt about that, and even the revelations within the story that add some shades of grey to his shady morals are still a little villainous. If I’m perfectly honest, I haven’t re-read this book and my memory is a little hazy so maybe I need to do a re-read, just to check I still like the Darkling. (I’m sure I do.) In the meantime, anyone who says things like this wins my vote:

“Fine, make me your villain”
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T5W | Vampires!

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books Featuring [paranormal creature of your choice] here is the previously mentioned paranormal creature topic. This topic will revolve around one type of paranormal creature of your choice. So books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, demons, fae, zombies, etc.  

This week I’ve decided to base my post around my favourite depictions of vampires who, let’s face it, don’t have the best showing in literature nowadays – they mostly peaked with Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the general genre has been downhill ever since sparkly vampires became a thing. This observation has also been made by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes in her brilliant video and, just like Sam, I’ve decided to widen my source from just books to media in general – books, TV shows, and films. It’s safe to say there’s a wide range of vampires here, from the serious to the silly, but I enjoy every single one of these vampiric representations.

darkdaysclubHonourable Mention: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

I had to give this book/series an honourable mention because it’s basically Jane Austen crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – our genteel young lady, Lady Helen, trains how to fight demons which, let me tell you, isn’t easy in layers of crinolines. The reason this gets a look-in is because it features a token appearance from Lord Byron and just the suggestion that Byron could have something vampiric about him makes me giggle like an idiot.

Print5. Soulless by Gail Carriger

Much in the same fun vein as The Dark Days’ Club, Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series tells of young lady Alexia Tarabotti who consorts with vampires, werewolves, and demons but is especially horrified by the lack of manners from some of these beasts. I love that vampires and werewolves are an integrated part of the social and political system in Carriger’s steampunk England. Plus her flamboyant vampire friend Lord Akeldama is hilarious – definitely a more ridiculous representation of vampires but entertaining all the same.

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My 2017 Resolutions | Quarterly Check-in #3

Greetings folks! Today I bring you the third of my quarterly check-ins on my 2017 Resolutions. As you may, or may not (I often don’t!), remember, I set some resolutions or goals for this year. I do it every year and every year, without fail, I forget my goals unless I keep them on a handily placed sheet of paper or, as is this year’s case, in the front of my bullet journal. I’m also doing check-ins every so often to keep myself accountable – so you can take a peek at my first quarterly check-in or my second quarterly check-in, and then let us now have a look at my progress in the months of July, August, and September, shall we?

READING, BLOGGING & WATCHING GOALS

 

1. Read at least 52 books in 2017

Verdict: Completed
I’ve definitely smashed through this challenge this year, to the point that I’m considering whether or not to up it to at least 75 books, or maybe 100 if I’m feeling especially industrious.  I’m currently sitting pretty at 67 though so I’ve upped my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 75.

2. Write more reviews

Verdict: Failing-ish
I’m getting better at writing reviews in general, even for books I was just so-so on but these reviews are rarely ever written on time. I like to leave a little bit of time between finishing a book and reviewing it, to let it really sink it etc. (and also because I’m lazy), but it’s just a joke sometimes. Must do better.

3. Blog more & comment more

Verdict:  On Track(ish)
I’m really trying to get into a proper weekly schedule and, for the most part, I think I’m getting there. I’m now aiming to have 4-5 posts a week up, and these are usually a mixture of tags, weekly memes, discussions, TBRs, and reviews – I’d like to have more reviews and discussions and less tags but I’m happy-ish with the direction my blog is headed in. Actually scheduling ahead of time really helps me to read more of other people’s blogs and leave comments – I’m now trying to write my posts for the week ahead on a weekend but that doesn’t always happen.

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My 2017 Resolutions | Quarterly Check-in #2

Greetings folks! Today I bring you the second of my quarterly check-ins on my 2017 Resolutions. As you may, or may not (I often don’t!), remember, I set some resolutions or goals for this year. I do it every year and every year, without fail, I forget my goals unless I keep them on a handily placed sheet of paper or, as is this year’s case, in the front of my bullet journal. I’m also doing check-ins every so often to keep myself accountable – so you can take a peek at my first quarterly check-in, and then let us now have a look at my progress in the months of April, May, and June, shall we?

READING, BLOGGING & WATCHING GOALS

 

1. Read at least 52 books in 2017

Verdict: On Track
At the time of writing this post, I’m sitting pretty at 46 books which Goodreads informs me is 20 books ahead of schedule. Let us take a moment to bask once more in the glow of that meaningless and arbitrary accolade, shall we? Back in Quarterly Check-in #1 I was wondering whether to up my Goodreads goal to 75 books but I’ve decided now not to do that. Whilst I’m sure it’s an achievable number, I want to concentrate on reading some longer books over the summer and I don’t want to constantly be thinking in the back of my head about my Goodreads goal – so at 52 books it shall stay!

2. Write more reviews

Verdict: Failing
Let me explain something – if I dislike a book, I find it infinitely easier to write a review explaining why me and the book didn’t get along very well. A recent case in point is Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. When it comes to a book I liked, if I loved it I will be high and delirious on the buzz of all the feelings and I will then happily skip onto reading my next book, forgetting to write a review. Skip forward a few weeks and then I have a moment of realisation that I never did write that gushing review about that book I loved. At that point I start to feel that perhaps too much time has passed for me to properly convey my adoration so the review remains unwritten. This is a silly cycle to get trapped into and I must do better.

3. Blog more & comment more

Verdict:  On Track(ish)
For a while back there I was on something of a roll with posting to a vaguely regular schedule. And I wouldn’t say I’m failing this goal because I do still post a decent enough amount of things every week – it’s just that in recent days and weeks I’m feeling a bit disheartened about the quality of my blog. Don’t get me wrong, I love participating in weekly memes and all that jazz but I do find myself settling on doing posts like this because they’re “easy posts” for me to write and don’t require huge amounts of thought on my part. I’d like to have more discussion posts and reviews and interesting content. Truthfully, it’s been a while since I’ve been truly 100% happy with any of my posts and I constantly struggle to find the right tone for my blog given my academic literature background but desire to appeal also to a more popular audience. (Maybe that in itself is worth a blog post to unpack some of those feelings – would that be of interest to anyone?)

4. Read at least 4 classics

Verdict: Completed!
Guys, guys, guys, I’ve actually completed a goal – yay! I’ve read Hard Times by Charles Dickens, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, Howards End by E.M. Forster, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Ok, ok, so Atwood probably counts a modern classic at a push, but it’s still considering a classic so I’m completely allowing myself this one. I didn’t even have to think “ugh maybe I should read a classic”, I just found myself picking up A Room with a View and then that led to me realising I found Forster’s style very readable and then I followed it up with Howards End and voila, here we are. It feels good to actually have something completed and so early in the year – but I suspect that’s because this was an easily quantifiable goal and I set the bar pretty low… even so, I’ll take it!

5. Be mindful of Reading Challenges and actually complete them!

Verdict: On Track
In terms of the Goodreads Challenge and the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge, I’m on track. For Around the Year we’re at week 27 and I’m at 36 out of 52 books which is not too bad at all. As for the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, I’m no longer failing it quite as spectacularly as I was at my first quarterly check-in – I’ve now completed 8 out of 24 challenges which, don’t get me wrong, isn’t brilliant but it’s definitely better than I was doing. Must keep these challenges more in the back of my head as they will definitely require some tailored TBRs for me. And finally as far as Mount TBR goes, I’ve achieved Pike’s Peak (yay!) and am now aiming for Mount Blanc which means another 12 books – I got this, guys.

6. Explore more TV shows/films

Verdict: Failing
Unless you count watching far too many episodes of Police Interceptors as “progress” then, yeah, I’m failing this quite spectacularly. Case in point: yesterday when stuck on a train journey I chose to re-watch Ed Byrne’s Different Class rather than watch The Circle which I had not seen and wanted to. I ALWAYS choose re-watching for the sake of nostalgia/assured enjoyment and I need to stop doing this and let myself explore some new TV and film.

PERSONAL GOALS

 

1. Exercise more regularly

Verdict: Failing
So I changed jobs during quarter 2 which has meant that my walk to/from work has shortened considerably. However, that 10 minute (as opposed to 20 minute) walk in on a morning is now uphill and at speed because I panic about being late. And the downhill walk on the way to the station to get home is also at speed because otherwise I’d miss a train by like 2 minutes and have to wait for the next one. All of this is a way of procrastinating talking about what I really should be talking about… the gym. Ha hahahahaha ha ha. yeah, no, the gym is taking my money for no reason at all since I couldn’t tell you the last time I went. A combination of sheer laziness, lack of motivation, and near-constant blisters on the back of my feet making wearing my gym shoes uncomfortable have all meant I haven’t been in a while. It’s gonna hurt when I do but I know I need to work on my fitness. Sigh.

Also, if any of you happen to know of any beginners yoga videos online can you hook me up? I’m not so much about the mind-clearing and meditation aspects of it but I really need to improve my core strength, stability, and flexibility so I’d greatly appreciate any recommendations.

2. Experiment and find a skincare routine that works

Verdict: On Track
I’m still loving the St Ive’s face scrub in my morning shower but I’m yet to find a day cream that I really like. I continue to use No. 7 but I’m still vaguely suspicious that, despite its claims, it’s not actually the best thing for my sensitive skin. Will report back more later.

3. Travel more

Verdict: On Track
Ok so technically I haven’t been anywhere much since my last check-in (aside from tagging along with Liz and her parents on a lovely day trip to the Lake District which remains stunning by the way) but I do have a pretty damn exciting holiday planned – I’m going to Washington DC and New York! This is all down to Liz being amazed and getting flights but yeah we’re popping over to Washington for a few days to see all the sights and then we’re on a train to NYC for a couple of days and seeing Phantom on Broadway. I’m so ridiculously excited I can’t even begin to explain. Also, if you have recs for places to eat and/or things to do in DC or NYC, please let me know!

4. Allow myself to write more

Verdict: Failing
As I stated in my previous check-in: “I need to let myself write more, whether that is working on that novel I abandoned during NaNoWriMo or trying to get inspiration for some kind of new project. Or maybe I should just allow myself to write more reviews, for a start.” Nothing has changed since and I agree with that previous statement.

Overall

As we stand at the mid-way point of the year, I don’t think I’m doing too badly on a lot of my goals. I’m on-track mostly with my blogging and reading related goals, it’s just my “real life” and personal ones that could do with some much needed attention. That’s pretty par for the course for my life in general, to be perfectly honest. As the weather gets better though, my excuses for the exercise and travel goals really don’t really hold much weight and I will hopefully be trying to address these in the coming months.

Did you make New Years’ Resolutions or goals for this year?
How are you doing at achieving them?


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