Currently Watching – TV Recommendations

2022, tv

Hello!

Although it will seem like no time at all to some, my partner is away with four back to back jobs at work and will be gone for 10 days and I – a codependent, sappy mess – already miss him and it hasn’t even been 24 hours. So I thought a nice way to lean into that feeling without being super miserable would be to talk about the TV we’ve been watching together, what I watch when I’m home alone and what I’m looking forward to watching next.

I love storytelling in all forms and when I love something I fall hard – whether it’s books, TV, films or even TikTok, I often can’t stop myself thinking about these things and if someone has the misfortune of bringing it up? I will go off. Sometimes that can lead to a lovely conversation between two people who love the same thing, sometimes people look at me funny and realise how weird I really am.

So, here’s what I’m watching at the moment:

  • Greys Anatomy – this is something Lucas (le fiancé) and I are watching together. This is such a hard one to talk to anyone about because there are so many seasons and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else and I don’t want anyone else to spoil it for me. There’s 16 seasons on Disney+ at the moment and I’m pretty sure season 18 or 19 is in the works, so this is a long commitment but I’m here for it. It’s trashy and unrealistic because everyone’s dating each other but it’s sweet and funny and I have a top three favourite characters but it makes me sad so I’m not talking about it.
  • Arcane – the relatively new Netflix series based on the League of Legends game (but apparently the game isn’t anything like it? It’s set in the same universe or something?). This is another one I’m watching with Lucas and obviously the gamer nerd was more interested in watching it than I am. I’m finding it was a bit slow in the middle and I might have ‘accidentally’ taking a nap during one episode but now we’re nearing the end I’m getting back into it – we only have a couple of episodes left.
  • Merlin – I recently finished the series I’ve been watching whenever I’m home alone (I’ll get to that later) and having listened to a couple of fantasy audiobooks recently, I fancied a rewatch of the fantasy series that started my relationship with creative writing. Merlin is a BBC show that launched in 2008 and I became so obsessed with it, I started writing my very first fanfiction. It’s cringy as heck to look back on, but without it I definitely wouldn’t have fallen in love with writing the way I have, so I have a very sentimental spot for this show and I’m very much enjoying the nostalgia of rewatching it.
  • The Resident – technically I binge watched this a while ago (even snuck in a couple of episodes while I was working from home last year) but I’m keeping it on the ‘currently watching list’ because I’ve just been notified that season 5 has been added on Disney+ so I will be pausing my Merlin rewatch to binge through that, inevitably in one weekend if I’m honest. But I love it so much – I’m really into medical dramas and I have no idea why (it started with watching clips on Facebook video, now I’m listing my second of several medical shows on one TV recs list).

Now for the shows I recently finished:

  • The Wheel – completely unrelated to anything else on this list, The Wheel is a BBC One Saturday night quiz show hosted by Michael McIntyre and filmed by the broadcast company Lucas works for, so one of our friends worked on shooting both series one and two and we watched it as a way of supporting him, now we’re a little bit obsessed. Some of the celebrity experts on the show are painfully dumb and some of the contestants are somehow worse, but I love a quiz show and a multiple choice quiz show means I always have a 25% chance of guessing a right answer and feeling like a boss. Thoroughly recommend – we finished series 2 and it was a banger.
  • House, M.D. – now this is the medical show I’ve been binging for months. This was my go to when Lucas was away for so long and just last weekend I finished the end of season 8, the last season, and wow it was a rollercoaster. It’s like if a medical show met a detective show, I don’t know how accurate the medicine is but the heart and the story of each of the characters is just beautiful – Doctor Robert Chase and his beautiful Australian accent will live forever in my heart and I will argue that James Wilson is one of the most underrated characters on the show. But Gregory House himself, Hugh Laurie, is incredible, absolutely fantastic show. Some of the jokes have aged incredibly poorly, but I can’t deny that I very much enjoyed this show.
  • Cheer Season 2 – I absolutely adored the first season of Cheer when it released last year – showing the athleticism and the dedication to the sport outside of the stereotype of high school popular party girls. Season 2 was so interesting to watch the follow up from how much season 1 blew up, the impact of the pandemic and the more in depth introduction to a proper rivalry team. Personally I preferred season 1 because I think it felt a lot more organic and the way some of the issues were handled in season 2 weren’t great (i.e. Jerry undergoing a trial for child grooming and everyone mourning like he didn’t deserve it…) and the ending was heartbreaking, but the insight to the sport and to sport competition in the US is still so fascinating. I binge watched the whole thing in maybe a day and a half?

And here’s what I’m going to watch next:

  • Suits – my mum and I watched maybe 2 or 3 seasons when it was originally airing, but I really want to rewatch it and try and follow it a bit more closely. I feel like it’ll scratch the same itch the medical dramas do but with less gore and significantly less vomiting. Plus, Patrick Adams is a very pretty person.
  • The Crown – I didn’t think I was really into historical dramas then I watched Bridgerton (don’t worry, I’m getting to it). I love the history of the monarchy and the cast is insane so I definitely need to give this one a watch. I also find it particularly interesting that I think this show is almost entirely responsible for the sudden remembrance of Princess Diana, bringing back her fashion style and consequently more films. Maybe it’s a huge coincidence, but the new-found Diana hype absolutely coincided with her characterisation in the Crown.
  • The Good Doctor – this one should kind of be on my ‘currently watching’ list, I watched about two and a half seasons last year but then got logged out of my friends Sky Go account and felt awkward asking to log in again, so let it go. But then I realised it’s on Amazon Prime which I already have so I need to finish it off at some point.
  • Bridgerton S2 – here she is! I also binge watched this in early 2021 (I think I must have been going through a very low phase to have been binge watching this much TV?) and absolutely adored it – I love the modern take on a historical drama without the racist excuse of ‘historical accuracy’, I loved the orchestration of modern pop songs, I love the fact it inspired a whole musical on tiktok (which was then nominated for a grammy). I’m very excited for season 2 and I might even branch out into the books, but my tbr is already long enough for now!
  • Stranger Things S4 Volume 1 + 2 – the release date for the new season of Stranger Things has only been announced in the last couple of days but oh my god I’m excited. There’s a licensed book of the series that is set just before El is born called ‘Suspicious Minds’ and it is such an incredible tie in to the show that I kind of hate that I don’t know anyone that’s read it because it’s such a cool addition to the story of the universe. I absolutely need to rewatch the first three seasons before season 4 volume 1 comes out in May

I knew that as soon as I started writing about TV, I’d go off on one and write a really long post. But I think those are the best ones, because I think it shows how much I really, genuinely care about what I’m writing.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie x

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Treasured In… January

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

Will I ever stop being baffled by the passing of time? Absolutely not – how is it February next week?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like 2021 hasn’t really start and we’re just living in a strange extenuation of 2020 – most New Years feel fresh and new somehow but this year definitely hasn’t.

But there’s been plenty of new experiences – I’ve nearly finished my first month of work as a full time marketing and communications assistant, we’ve had our first proper snow whilst we’ve been living in Buckinghamshire and my fiancé just turned 25 which feels far too grown up.

I love doing this little series to talk about things I’ve enjoyed this month so here are the things I enjoyed in January 2021!

  • Purchase

I’ve not bought a lot this month because saving for a wedding is a lot but there are two things I bought that I absolutely adore.

I bought myself a label maker from Amazon and I had no need for it, but I have thoroughly enjoyed labelling things. I’ve not used it for anything functional or important yet but one day I will and it’ll be so satisfying. So far my plans are to use it for scrapbooking and in my bullet journal predominantly and I love the aesthetic of it.

The second favourite purchase wasn’t actually for me – as I said, my fiancé turned 25 this month so I bought him birthday presents. I’m someone who likes buying things with function, so I decided that this year I’m doing presents that are ‘something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read’. The thing I wanted to share was these jogging bottoms from 2tall.com with a 40 inch inside leg… 40! My boy is 6’7″ – he is a tall bean, so finding him trousers that cover his ankles and his bum is a mission.

  • Recipe

I’m not cooking many new things right now because full time work is exhausting and I don’t have the energy right now, but I did try this slow cooker chicken casserole and it was really good! The fact I could just chuck everything in and leave it for 7-8 hours and it made my house smell amazing while I was at work and that was very enjoyable.

If you have any slow cooker recommendations please send them my way because I’m obsessed with it and it’s perfect now that I’m working full time.

  • YouTube video

I’m slowly but surely getting through my watch later playlist, so here are some of my favourite videos I watched this month.

My Dad Died | The Michalaks (to clarify: not my favourite because Stef’s Dad died, it was just a really good video)

What Is Autism? | DSM-5 ASD Diagnostic Criteria

insecurity mashup 2 – dodie clark (Lauren Aquilina, Orla Gartland and Tessa Violet)

Something we want to tell you! | Amazing Phil and Dan Howell

I have a secret… | Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

  • What I’m watching

My one-track mind finds it difficult to watch anything that isn’t YouTube while I know that I still have videos on my watch later, but my fiancé and I have been watching Avatar: The Legend of Korra and I love it! So far I think I prefer Avatar: The Legend of Aang, but it’s interesting to see how much the story universe has developed. We’re only on season 2 so we’ve still got a fair bit more to watch!

  • Books I’ve read

I’ve started my 2021 reading with a bang so I’m just going to go straight into it!

Worlds Away From You (Charlotte Mednick) – this is a book my friend from uni self-published last year and it was lovely to read! It was a very modern YA book with lots of character traits I empathise with and it felt like a Disney Channel Original movie – thoroughly enjoyed! 4/5

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds (Gwenda Bond) – I wasn’t sure about reading a book based on the TV show and how it would add to the general story but wow I was blown away. It felt like it properly developed the story universe of Stranger Things and I’d love to see it made into a screen adaptation. I picked this book up in a charity shop for £2 and my fiancé picked up another book in the series in the Works so I’m adding that to be tbr list too! 5/5

A Quiet Kind of Thunder (Sara Barnard) – This book has been on my tbr for so long – someone I follow on my bookstagram account (@sophiesreading, if you’re interested!) was selling her copy for only £3.50 to cover postage, so this is the only book I’ve bought this year (which I’m proud of!). I don’t think I’ve felt such a real world impact from a book before – I loved reading about selective mutism and deafness, I loved how the narrative easily changed from speech, sign language and written words so effortlessly and it made me actually want to learn sign language! It was a lovely story, it was nice and gentle and didn’t break my heart. It was worth the wait – full 5/5.

And I’m currently reading See Through Me (Kevin Brooks) which I’ve had on my unread shelf for literally years and though the concept sounds very scifi and cool, I’m only about 60 pages from the end and nothing’s really happened? The reviews on goodreads are generally average so I don’t have a lot of hope for it, but I’m not the kind who can just stop reading a book so my full review will go on my bookstagram account when I’ve finished it.

Although time feels a bit funny, January has actually been pretty good! I’m still getting used to working 9-5 at home in a pandemic and I’m exhausted but I actually feel really good and like my work more than I thought I would. I don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m getting there – feeling mildly hopeful for this year!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… April

2020

Hello!

Whilst in isolation, I thought it would be fun to come up with a new series to work on whilst I’ve got a little bit more time to think about blogging. Essentially, I thought of a more structured ‘favourites’ that I’ve decided to call Treasured In… [insert month here]. But there’s the scope to do more – if I go travelling I could do it themed to a place, or I could do it about a year around New Years or…  other stuff…

I’ve selected a bunch of categories that I’m going to pick ONE thing I’ve loved this month and share it! I’m really excited about this and I hope you enjoy it too.

First category: blog post – though going to go with the ‘bad news’ first… I’ve not really read a blog post that I loved this month? I know I need to make more of an effort to read blog posts but it’s so much easier just to scroll through Instagram. If someone links a blog post on an Instagram story I generally read it but generally my favourite bloggers are the ones that don’t have enough followers to do swipe up. So this is a note to self to do better and read more engaging bloggers posts’!

Recipe: I’m not very good at trying new things but I love learning to cook new things. I’m really enjoying risotto at the moment and I found this recipe for a bacon and pea risotto which we tried and I loved. Granted, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be nice because anything with ‘pea’ in the title isn’t usually promising, but it’s risotto rice with bacon lardons and peas – it’s SUPER SIMPLE and it was really yummy, thoroughly recommend.

Online course: I’ve been ‘self-teaching’ for over a year now – I was working on Google Digital Garage’s Digital Marketing course for the best part of a year, then I worked through a bunch of the other free courses but this month I did the first week of An Introduction to Screenwriting course from UEA via Futurelearn. I’ve been creative writing for over a decade now but never had the facilities to learn about formal scriptwriting, so I’m teaching myself! There are so many free courses out there that I’ve found, would it be useful if I wrote a blog post on it? I’m no expert and it’s not difficult to find them but having a bunch of links all in one place might be helpful!

Music: two new albums that I’ve really enjoyed came out this both so I’m already going to cheat and give two for this one – firstly, my all time favourites All Time Low released their first album in a couple of years Wake Up, Sunshine and I’m obsessed. It’s fantastic, it’s fun, it’s beautiful; Alex Gaskarth is my favourite singer of all time and always will be.

The second album I loved was CALM by 5SOS and I still kind of hate to admit it because I’ve had such a rocky relationship with the band, but it’s a banger of an album and I had a good dance in the kitchen while I was making dinner so I had to mention it.

YouTube video: ‘The Crippled Suffragette’ // Rosa May Billinghurst // Historical Profiles [CC] – Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

I only recently subscribed to Jessica Kellgren-Fozard though I’ve been aware of her for a while (that’s a weird sentence when you don’t think of it outside the context of YouTube). I really love the variety of her content and I actually thoroughly enjoyed the way she told the story of this woman who I never would have heard of without this video. Always love a bit of unintentional learning!

Books I’ve read: My intention for this category is to list everything I’ve read in the last month and give you a couple of lines of whether I actually enjoyed it or not!

Love, Rosie (Cecelia Ahern) (previously published as Where Rainbows End) – absolutely loved this book, such an interesting writing style and just wonderfully kind and lovely characters. 10/10!

The Centauri Device (M. John Harrison) – refusing to link because I think it was awful. Overly complex unnecessary language to mask a pushover protagonist, a lack of plot and no emotional engagement between characters. Amazing potential as a concept for a sci-fi adventure but literally hated reading it.

Skarrs (Catherine Forde) – kind of stereotypical YA book ‘good kid fell in the wrong crowd’ but I was taken aback by it’s subtle way of describing how grief can effect people in such different ways.

One Day (David Nicholls) – I get the hype around this book now and I think Love, Rosie took a lot of inspiration from it. Kind of anticlimactic ending through, didn’t really see the emotional side that I’ve seen people talk about…

Currently reading: The Eve Illusion (Tom and Giovanna Fletcher) – I’ve been waiting for this book for what feels like ages but has only been a few months. I’m about halfway through and currently very intrigued about what will be left until the final book in the trilogy… keep an eye on my Instagram for a full review!

Snack: I’m all about the snacks and in lockdown, resisting them is even harder. When I finally got my hands on some self-raising flour, my boyfriend and I made dark chocolate chip banana bread muffins and they’re to die for. Far too many calories than I should have in one sitting but so good.

Visual Entertainment: this is the way I’m describing all things film, TV, Netflix, etc! With the release of Disney+ I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve barely watched it, but I have been watching a couple of episodes of Kim Possible with dinner and having a fantastic time.

The other thing I’ve started is a 52 week movie challenge – my mum sent me this little review book in the post and rather than doing it on my own, between my mum, my sister and my boyfriend we’ve all been allotted 13 categories and each week we’re having a virtual movie night. We started by watching Forrest Gump, a film which I definitely should have seen but haven’t and I really enjoyed it.

Then because we had to pay for the Now TV Cinema pass to watch it, my boyfriend and I watched Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to make the most of the pass – considering all the negative hype I got, I thought it was pretty cool and we’re excited for the third part to see how it all ends.

Wedding Planning Update: Literally nothing. When I planned this series I thought it would be nice to see month by month progress but now that we’re in complete lockdown there’s no progress to be made, but I thought I’d introduce the category regardless!

And that’s ‘Treasured In…’! I’m really enjoying this new format to talk about things I love so I hope you enjoy it too. Let me know your favourite things in each of the categories in the comments if you like!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Netflix’s Cheer – so much more than cheerleading

2020, film, student

Hello!

So this week I binge watched all the episodes of Netflix’s docu-series ‘Cheer’. I’d seen loads of people raving about on Instagram. Firstly, it was absolutely beautifully shot – the quality, the storytelling, the individual stories bringing together a whole team, just magnificent.

But it was so much more than an insight to cheerleading.

When I was growing up, what I thought I knew cheerleading to be was pretty stereotypical – I was a dancer; ballet, tap, modern, hip hop, shows, performances, leotards, the lot. My view of cheerleaders was from Disney Channel shows and American High School movies – the blonde dumb girls who only care about popularity and dating athletes.

Then I went to uni and auditioned for the dance team – it was actually a dance and cheer team and whilst I wasn’t interested, I was impressed at what I saw at the first competitions we attended. Especially UK comps like Future Cheer showcased some truly incredible talent. (To be clear – I wasn’t a cheerleader, I did jazz and hip hop and competed just in the dance sections)

But the cheerleaders from my uni kind of fit the stereotype I knew – they were party girls and if you weren’t a party girl (hello, that’s me) they didn’t care about who you were and you didn’t have ‘team spirit’. The teams weren’t very well organised and as someone who was really passionate about dance, it was really frustrating. So that stereotype festered in my head – I appreciated that there were serious teams with incredible talent and athleticism out there but there were also a lot of stereotypical uni girls.

Three years later I’m sat watching this docu-series about Cheerleaders with tears in my eyes because of these amazing people and the progress they’ve made and I’m absolutely astounded by what they can do and the strength, skill and power they’ve worked for.

What I really took away from it was more of a personal discovery – I was driving to pick my boyfriend up from work, thinking about the show I’d just finished watching, and feeling almost jealous that I didn’t have that one thing that I’m passionate about. Everyone on the Navarro Cheer team had been cheerleading for years to learn and hone those skills and I have so many things that I love that I just can’t imagine being so driven about just one thing.

I thought maybe dance could still be my ‘thing’ even if I wasn’t a dancer. Then maybe photography/videography/cameras and stuff but I find the technical aspects of settings, hardware, software and so on really hard to retain. I’ve always loved writing, but I can’t seem to focus on rewriting my novel, I kind of want to learn to write for TV but I only really want to write for the DC superhero show ‘The Flash’. And on top of all that, regardless of what my ‘one passion’ could be I don’t know if I’m actually any good at anything to make it work.

All of these thoughts from a documentary about a cheerleading team from a community college in Corsicana, Texas.

These kids have inspired me to find a focus – to find something I’m passionate enough to dedicate my whole life to it. It might not be trusting a bunch of people to throw me in the air and be there to catch me or throwing myself across a mat pretending I can do backflips (which I definitely can’t) but it’s the drive to work hard to be talented it at the one thing I love the most.

If you haven’t seen Cheer, I wholeheartedly recommend it – it’s about so much more than a sport no one really knows about. Its discipline, facing hardships in life and finding family in the places you least expect. It’s genuinely heartwarming.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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Getting into Anime

2016

Hello!

It’s literally just because of Lucas. He’s like the only reason I watch anime.

Though he’s not the only person I know that watches it – my sister, my old flat mate, I’ve had a few friends who were into it before but Lucas is the one who actually convinced me to try some of the ones he watched.

I kind of knew the tropes behind anime – I knew what it was about and some of the main features of the genre and I was never too bothered by it. It didn’t sound like something I was any more or less interested in than any other TV show. I’d seen ‘Avatar: The Legend of Aang’ but wasn’t too interesting in anything else.

I’ve been watching ‘Sword Art Online’ with Lucas and I’m actually quite into it. I don’t love it like I’m not obsessed with it but I care about the characters and the plot progression and I really appreciate the art style.

We’re going to watch ‘Attack on Titan’ next and I really want to watch ‘Avatar’ again but it’s not on Netflix anymore, which makes it more difficult.

Anime in general is nice and easy to watch because they’re so short but also incredibly more-ish – we always end up watching it for an hour or two, so it evens out as if it were longer.

Lucas keeps recommending stuff and I’m sure Nikki will recommend some stuff too.

I always like finding more things to watch on Netflix but oh my god, I’ve got so much to watch and catch up on.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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