Feature | Weekend Watching #2

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 inaugural Weekend Watching showcased The Good Place and this week I’ve decided to stick a little closer to home by highlighting one of my new favourite British sitcoms, Lovesick

Originally broadcast as the horrifically-named Scrotal Recall, Lovesick is a British sitcom first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK and now commissioned by, and available via, Netflix worldwide. Starring Johnny Flynn, Antonia Thomas, Daniel Ings, and Joshua McGuire, it focuses on a group of twenty-something friends living in Glasgow, Scotland, and the trials and tribulations of their various love lives. The show opens on Dylan (played by Johnny Flynn) discovering that he has contracted chlamydia and so has to contact his previous sexual partners to let them know they may have it too. From what sounds like a rather bleak premise emerges a hilarious (and often unexpectedly emotional) TV show, with each episode focusing on (and named after) a previous sexual partner of Dylan. The episodes are, in effect, flashbacks to months or even years before, and the non-linear structure of these episodes disjointedly builds up a picture of each character’s past and present, and perhaps their “growing up” along the way.

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Feature | Weekend Watching #1

Welcome one, welcome all, to a brand new feature to this blog which I have (tentatively) 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 week I will inaugurate this brand new feature with a TV show I did not know I would enjoy so thoroughly when I first came across it. Its premise sounded a little iffy, with the potential to be terrible if done poorly, and even after the first couple of episodes, I still wasn’t sure if I was actually enjoying it… and then I realised I was up to like episode 6 so maybe (just maybe) there was something compelling about it after all. To what do I refer? Why, it’s The Good Place of course!

The Good Place is an American fantasy comedy series created by Michael Schur which is broadcast on NBC and available on Netflix UK – which is where I watch it! Currently wrapping up its second season, it stars Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in the lead roles, but is full to the brim with an amazing supporting cast of William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, and D’Arcy Carden and guest stars including Adam Scott, Marc Evan Jackson, Jason Mantzoukas, and Maya Rudolph.

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Currently Reading/Watching | 1st December

You may have noticed, my blogging has slowed down. Why? No real reason, to be honest, apart from the fact that I’m lazy and right now I’d rather consume the culture (be it films, TV, or books) than write content about it. I go through phases, my blogging mojo will undoubtedly (read: hopefully) pick back up again soon but, for now, I thought I would mention a few things I’m currently reading and watching, in case anyone is curious or looking for something new to try!

Currently Reading

 

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

In November, I read quite a fair bit (my monthly wrap-up will follow shortly) and I’ve recently finished (re)reading The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, which consists of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. Since I read and adored Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, I knew I wanted to re-read the original Grisha trilogy to revisit the world of Ravka and see if reading the later duology enhanced the reading experience of the first trilogy and so on.

I’m happy to report that it did, a lot, in fact, and I really enjoyed my re-read of the series. Book two, Siege and Storm still remains my favourite because of reasons (cough Nikolai cough) but I ended up enjoying the whole thing a lot more than I did the first time I read it. In fact, I find Alina less unbearable of a narrator now, and I don’t hate Mal himself nearly as much as I did on my first read (I still hate the ship, though). My love for the Darkling endures, naturally.

Although I’m going to try to read something else now, I am very, very tempted to use this as an excuse to re-read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and maybe then I’ll be able to read The Language of Thorns, to perfectly finish off my re-reading of the Grishaverse and to get excited for The King of Scars, even though that book’s release is some way away still! We shall see…

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Friday Reads | 13th January 2017

Another week, another Friday, another Friday Reads. This one is a little special, however, since it’s my first of 2017. Happy 2017, here’s to (probably inevitably) more of the same… at least in terms of reading!

gofOn that note, I’m still reading/listening to the audiobook I was listening to in my previous Friday Reads back in December 2016 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling. This is making many a morning train ride bearable, but it’s also a bloody long book, so progress seems quite slow going (and it feels it at times, too!). I’m about 58% of the way through and I’ve just experienced the hilarity that is The Yule Ball chapter. (Ron and Hermione’s argument is my favourite thing ever, ngl.) So onwards and upwards into the trials and tribulations of The Triwizard Tournament and I’m actually really looking forward to the second half of the book because, although I watch the film quite a lot, I don’t very often re-read Goblet of Fire, for obvious length-based reasons.

darkestmindsI’m also reading The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I requested and was sent this to review for Cuckoo Review, a writing programme/website I’m part of (in my own small way), and my review is due on Monday so I really, really need to get cracking with finishing this book. I’m… enjoying it reasonably so far, I think. Actually, a lot of the reasons I’m not wholly invested in the story aren’t really the book’s fault so I’m not sure where I will stand on it in my review, to be honest – is it the book’s fault that I am kind of over the whole heroine-of-book’s POV in a dystopian world narrative? I’m not sure. And it’s going to make completing my review a little tricky but, hey, that’s sort of a challenge in and of itself. And it’s good to be challenged when reading/reviewing.

asouenetflixHaving said both of those things… I’m also very aware that today is the darkest of days – the day that Netflix drops A Series of Unfortunate Events! I haven’t been this excited for a TV show in a while (well, since the Gilmore Girls specials) and whilst it would be nice to sit here and pretend this weekend will be dedicated entirely to reading… I’d be lying through my teeth – I fully intend to carve out a large block of time to snuggle up and not move for (hopefully) hours whilst I watch ASOUE. Likewise, me and Liz keep putting off going outside after work in order to go to the cinema and see Assassin’s Creed, but it’s now showing at a small local cinema and its proximity and cheaper price makes it an appealing offer ahead of the Odeon in town, and we should be seeing it sometime this weekend. And that sounds like a pretty damn ideal weekend to me!


So, those are my likely reading plans for today and heading into the weekend ahead. Do you have any Friday Reads posts?

Or perhaps just some fun plans for the weekend? Are you excited for A Series of Unfortunate Events like I am? Or perhaps a new film release? Let me know in the comments!


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Strictly Saturdays | The One With The Final

It’s that time of year again – dust off your ballgowns, get out those sequins and glitter I know you have, or just get the snacks in and settle down for this year’s Strictly Come DancingThat’s right folks, everyone’s favourite prime-time British TV show is back! No, not Bake Off, the other one – the one where celebrities of varying degrees of apparent “fame” are paired up with dancers who have the thankless task of teaching them how to stop tripping over their feet and actually look graceful instead.

For this year’s Strictly, I happen to be in the fortune position of officially living with a fellow Strictly Come Dancing fan. This means only one thing – doubled-up live-blogging… because just bitching comments to each other verbally clearly isn’t enough – in this technological age, they must be recorded for posterity’s sake. So… that’s what this thing is.

Here’s how it works:
Each week myself and Liz are bringing you a tag-team live-blog of Strictly Come Dancing. We are alternating whose blog it is posted on so if you want to keep up-to-date with our clearly deeply insightful commentaries, then you should make sure you’re following both of our blogs. (/end shameless promotion)

In case you missed it last week’s recap can be found here on Liz’s blog. This week, it is the Grand Final. Not only that, it is Len’s last final, his last show, as judge on Strictly. To say both of us are a little bit emotional about that fact doesn’t quite do justice. I anticipate we might feel a little bit teary at any given point of this finale.

Let’s get dancing…

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Strictly Saturdays | The One At The Musicals

It’s that time of year again – dust off your ballgowns, get out those sequins and glitter I know you have, or just get the snacks in and settle down for this year’s Strictly Come DancingThat’s right folks, everyone’s favourite prime-time British TV show is back! No, not Bake Off, the other one – the one where celebrities of varying degrees of apparent “fame” are paired up with dancers who have the thankless task of teaching them how to stop tripping over their feet and actually look graceful instead.

For this year’s Strictly, I happen to be in the fortune position of officially living with a fellow Strictly Come Dancing fan. This means only one thing – doubled-up live-blogging… because just bitching comments to each other verbally clearly isn’t enough – in this technological age, they must be recorded for posterity’s sake. So… that’s what this thing is.

Here’s how it works:
Each week myself and Liz are bringing you a tag-team live-blog of Strictly Come Dancing. We are alternating whose blog it is posted on so if you want to keep up-to-date with our clearly deeply insightful commentaries, then you should make sure you’re following both of our blogs. (/end shameless promotion)

In case you missed it last week’s recap can be found here on Liz’s blog. This week, it’s Musicals Week! Time to dig out even more glitter and show tunes… although, I must admit, my favourite musicals aren’t getting a look in tonight. Let’s get dancing…

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Strictly Saturdays | The One Where Neil Distracts Liz

It’s that time of year again – dust off your ballgowns, get out those sequins and glitter I know you have, or just get the snacks in and settle down for this year’s Strictly Come DancingThat’s right folks, everyone’s favourite prime-time British TV show is back! No, not Bake Off, the other one – the one where celebrities of varying degrees of apparent “fame” are paired up with dancers who have the thankless task of teaching them how to stop tripping over their feet and actually look graceful instead.

For this year’s Strictly, I happen to be in the fortune position of officially living with a fellow Strictly Come Dancing fan. This means only one thing – doubled-up live-blogging… because just bitching comments to each other verbally clearly isn’t enough – in this technological age, they must be recorded for posterity’s sake. So… that’s what this thing is.

Here’s how it works:
Each week myself and Liz are bringing you a tag-team live-blog of Strictly Come Dancing. We are alternating whose blog it is posted on so if you want to keep up-to-date with our clearly deeply insightful commentaries, then you should make sure you’re following both of our blogs. (/end shameless promotion)

In case you missed it last week’s recap can be found here on Liz’s blog. This week, it’s Blackpool! I think Blackpool needs no introduction, everyone knows making it to Blackpool and getting to dance in the Tower Ballroom is a true honour and perk of making it this far in Strictly. Let’s get dancing…

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Strictly Saturdays | The One With Valentina and Santiago

This might be a bit of an odd post. For one thing, we have a guest in our household and therefore a guest contributor to tonight’s Strictly post – our friend from university, Cathy. Cathy’s famous quote “Geographers don’t get lost, they merely explore” features proudly on Liz’s blog and it’s very, very nice to have her here with us for this weekend. We have already warned her about the intense dislike we hold for Laura and she has agreed she doesn’t much care for her, so she passed that test.

Now onto the more pertinent reason for why this post might be a little odd – earlier, after a very successful evening spent shivering in the cold whilst watching drummers and people larking about a bit too blasé-ly with fire, we then watched Liverpool’s Bonfire Night fireworks show on Albert Dock. And now I’m suffering the after effects of the cold by sneezing every few seconds… which makes typing a little difficult. So this might be patchy, let’s see, shall we?

Liz: Ohh Claudia. I feel like the thigh split in Claudia’s dress is very daring.

Cathy: I absolutely love Claudia.

Emma: Ooof Danny looks good wearing braces.

Liz: [sighs at the mere sight of Natalie]

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October Favourites

October was a rather lovely month; it usually is. It’s my birthday, so that’s always very nice, mainly because it gives me an excuse to spend money on books and/or food. October brings a proper sense of moving into Winter at last, with all the suitably aesthetically pleasing golden leaves falling off trees, and with Christmas decorations beginning to creep into supermarkets and shops. I adore Christmas, and winter is my favourite season, so I’m very much looking forward to the months ahead. However, this post is not about what is to come but what has been – specifically, these are a few of the things I enjoyed in October. If you want to see September’s favourites post, you can find it here, otherwise read on to find what I obsessed over in October.

Favourite Books

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crookedkingdomAnd in a completely predictable turn of events, just as Six of Crows had pride of place on my September Favourites post, so does Crooked Kingdom on this October Favourites post. I inhaled this greedily over the course of the 24-hour readathon a couple of weekends ago, and I was so incredibly sad once it was over. That is the sign of a truly brilliant book. It’s a complete change of pace from the first, though, so if you’re expecting another heist then you’ll be sorely disappointed; rather, it deals with the fall-out of the conclusion of Six of Crows and its action is more focused in on that den of thieves and dubious morals that is the city of Ketterdam itself. I loved it, it’s one of my favourite books of the year, and as a duology these novels have quickly but firmly become some of my all-time favourite YA fantasies.

Favourite Films

Doctor Strange

The latest offering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr Strange was a film I always knew, from the very first teaser, that I’ve have to see in the cinema, in the best way possible. Having now seen the film I’m fully convinced that if you see it in anything less than IMAX, it won’t be the same film. It’s a film that bends reality, time and space, and matter itself, so obviously depth of frame created with 3D is downright necessary. I hate 3D, it makes my eyes and head hurt, but I’d watch Dr Strange over and over again in 3D. Although I’m always a Benedict Cumberbatch fan (I even ignore the weirdness of hearing an American accent come out of that mouth), I have to say he wasn’t my favourite character at all in the film. Tilda Swinton is epic, as Tilda Swinton often is but, for my money, the cape was easily one of the best characters, second only to Wong.

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Strictly Saturdays | The One Where Ed Balls Makes Frank Spencer Look Butch

It’s that time of year again – dust off your ballgowns, get out those sequins and glitter I know you have, or just get the snacks in and settle down for this year’s Strictly Come DancingThat’s right folks, everyone’s favourite prime-time British TV show is back! No, not Bake Off, the other one – the one where celebrities of varying degrees of apparent “fame” are paired up with dancers who have the thankless task of teaching them how to stop tripping over their feet and actually look graceful instead.

For this year’s Strictly, I happen to be in the fortune position of officially living with a fellow Strictly Come Dancing fan. This means only one thing – doubled-up live-blogging… because just bitching comments to each other verbally clearly isn’t enough – in this technological age, they must be recorded for posterity’s sake. So… that’s what this thing is.

Here’s how it works:
Each week myself and Liz are bringing you a tag-team live-blog of Strictly Come Dancing. We are alternating whose blog it is posted on so if you want to keep up-to-date with our clearly deeply insightful commentaries, then you should make sure you’re following both of our blogs. (/end shameless promotion)

For those who missed it, last week’s recap of Movie Week can be found here on Liz’s blog.

Last week was an upset for both of us – Tameka left and we spent the rest of the night seething (one of us more than the other) that Laura managed to be saved, despite the fact the dance-off dance she did was sloppier than her first performance whereas Tameka’s improved, having taken the judges’ comments on-board and adjusted in the space of five minutes between finding out she was in the dance-off and actually dancing again. We are also mourning the loss of having an excuse to see Gorka every week – though I’m sure he will be involved in the pro dances for the rest of the series, it’s just not the same, unless he is front and centre always.

Strictly drama has also made its way into tabloids this week as Will Young quit the show amidst ridiculous rumours that slowly cleared to reveal “personal reasons” (stress, anxiety etc.) for leaving. This means Will and Karen are no more and there’s one less couple left dancing. Our first thought upon hearing this? Does this mean we can bring back Gorka and Tameka?!!? Seems not. Shame.

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