Another month, another round of favourites – things I bought, watched and eaten that have made me happy in the last month the share a bit of positivity on the internet!
But we all know I like categories and lists so I couldn’t just manage a list of nice things – gotta give it some structure!
I mean, I moved into a new rental house so I didn’t buy it per say but I paid a deposit on it and spent probably more money than I should have on new things for said house… but it’s pretty, it’s got a nice garden and it’s got more than two windows! The kitchen and living room are in separate rooms and I can work from home without my boyfriend playing video games in the background! So that is top of the list.
But also shops re-opened and I accidentally bought 5 new books but I spent less than £20 which is pretty good value!
Recipe / Food
Sometimes the food you love is the old favourites – my comfort food is either a jacket potato drowning in butter and cheese or pasta drowning in butter and cheese (I’m sensing a theme and it’s carbs as a vessel for butter and cheese…) and both of these have been great this month for comfort food and easy food whilst we’ve been unpacking.
But then we really treated ourselves this weekend by buying a small leg of lamb and cooking it in the slow cooker and wow it might have been the most expensive piece of meat I’ve ever bought but it was incredible. Not going to become a common purchase by any means but it was delicious.
I’ve not watched loads of YouTube this month, but here are some of my faves!
I actually haven’t read a single book this month – the first weekend in April was the Easter bank holidays so I spent all of it packing, the following weekend we moved and my books have all been in boxes since then.
I looked out a few to tide me over until I get proper storage for my books, but I decided I was going to read ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge, but turns out that’s a bit heavy when you’re anxiety is sky high about moving house!
So I thought I’d share the books I bought on my first trip into our new home town since the shops opened:
In a 3 for £5 deal from The Works:
The Start of Us, Hannah Emery The Flatshare, Beth O’Leary It’s Now or Never, Carole Matthews
And in a buy one get one half price deal from Waterstones,
Good Girl, Bad Blood, Holly Jackson Lore, Alexandra Bracken
Did I need 5 more books when I’ve just admitted I haven’t read anything in April? Probably not but books bring me joy and I’ll make up for it in May I’m sure.
Something to watch
Other than continuing my Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon with my boyfriend (and thoroughly enjoying it), I’ve not watched too much this month because I’ve been trying to do a writing challenge so listening to music instead, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve spent about three days absolutely binging ‘The Good Doctor’ on Sky Go (thank you to my wonderful friend Beth for sharing her login with me!) and I absolutely love it.
Learning so much about autism and watching how it’s represented on the show is fascinating – autism is a spectrum, so it presents differently in every autistic person, but seeing how it manifests and how the other characters treat Dr Murphy is really clever.
And it turns out I really like medical dramas – I’ve been watching clips of House, Greys Anatomy and Chicago Med on Facebook and I’m definitely watching House after I finish The Good Doctor.
As the country starts to open up again, lockdown 3 draws to a close and Spring crawls into Summer, everything is starting to feel brighter and like there is a life beyond covid. I’m hesitant to let myself get too excited about it all, because we said the same last year and look where we are now, but I’m definitely making the most of nicer weather.
Things are still a bit scary, but they’re looking in the right direction I think!
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!
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.
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.
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!
With the last month of the year drawing to a close, now might just be the best time to reflect on the things that have brought me joy this month in the hope that perhaps they can bring you joy too!
We all know 2020 has been crap, I don’t need to reel off my personal experiences because it’s been rubbish for everyone in so many different ways. But there has been moments of positivity and joy and though focusing on them doesn’t necessarily make it easier, remembering them can bring little pockets of happiness!
So here’s a few of my favourites from the month!
Not particularly exciting, but I bought a coffee table on Facebook marketplace and it’s made my living room much more cluttered but given me somewhere comfy to work whilst my desk is in parts in the shed so I have somewhere for the Christmas tree! Only £20, picked it up the same day and it’s been home to lots of crafts, most of my Christmas wrapping and some festive Lego building!
new coffee table with cotton wool snowman whilst we watched ‘The Wheel’ with dinner!
And my second favourite purchase was a boxing day sales one – a bit strange, but I bought a nappy bag… I don’t have a baby, I’m not expecting a baby, I’m just a big fan of pockets. There are so many compartments, so many extra little inside pockets and pouches! I’m sure it would be a wonderful nappy bag, but I’m going to use it as a work bag and I’m so excited about it.
I’ve not been cooking much this month because I’ve not had the energy to actually prepare food, but I treated myself to a gammon joint for Christmas and cooked it in the slow cooker. I was aiming for a honey roasted ham but I did it on Christmas Day and I forgot how long it had been in for and I think I should have finished it off in the oven, so it didn’t taste very honey roasted at all, but it does taste lovely, it’s not too chewy and it was so easy to just chuck in the slow cooker.
It was the most expensive cut of meat I’ve ever bought (because I’m cheap af and try not to buy meat too often) so I’m not going to be rushing to try it again any time soon, but I would like to try it again and actually pay more attention!
There’s one song I’ve literally not stopped listening to but it’s not on Spotify so I’ve made a YouTube playlist and just listened to it on loop about a hundred times. The lyrics are stunning, the melodies are beautiful and it’s perfect for a sing song when I’m home alone.
I’ve watched a lot of YouTube this month – I’m sick of having hundreds of videos on my watch later and I don’t want to be watching Vlogmas content in February (and it kind of feels like I have company when my partner’s at work!) so here’s some of my favourites!
It’s my 30th Birthday – KickThePJ
The /W/orst Letter – vlogbrothers (Hank Green)
Among Us with Proximity Chat is Terrifying & Hilarious – KickThePJ
How We Organise Our Joint Finances as a Millennial Couple | More Hannah
It’s Finally Happening!!! RawBeautyKristi x Colourpop Collection Reveal – RawBeautyKristi
Books I’ve read
I’ve finally got back into reading! After a three month slump of nothing, I finished The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne last month and I started reading A Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson at the beginning of the month and stayed up to finish it on Christmas day because wow it was incredible.
A full 5/5 for amazing characters (my favourite thing), a suspenseful plot that just kept twisting and the most natural romantic subplot that was so subtle and so not important to the main plot, just beautifully integrated without being focal, it was lovely. I’m trying not to buy more books until I’ve cut down my ‘to be read’ pile, but wow I want to read the sequel ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’ so badly.
But I am resisting! I’m now reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion because my friend lent it to me and I don’t want to leave it too long to give it back. I’m not sure whether it’ll be my last book of 2020 or my first book of 2021, but the 30 pages I read the other night were written in a really fun style and I’m enjoying it so far.
Something to watch…
With watching so much more YouTube in trying to catch up, I’ve not watched a lot of TV, Film or streaming services. But my partner and I have been watching one particular quiz show with dinner because our friend worked on it and it’s exciting and nice to support what our friends are doing (other than live sport, I just can’t bring myself to watch that) – so we’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Wheel’. It’s a Michael McIntyre hosted socially distanced quiz show that is just really fun (despite how annoying the theme song is). I love a quiz show, I love learning new things and I like how impatient my fiancé is that he has to google all the answers before they’re revealed.
This year has been bloody weird, so finding favourites isn’t always the easiest, but even if it’s hard to remember, there are always good moments. Whether it’s a book, a quiz show or a good find in the Boxing Day sales, there’s always something good to be found.
This is my last post for this year but I’ll be back on New Year’s Day with my 2021 goals!
Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!
Oh how my favourite month has come and gone and I feel like I missed it! The last six months have gone so ridiculously fast that I feel like I haven’t been able to keep up but another month has passed and it’s time for another instalment of my supposedly ‘original’ take on what is essentially a favourites post.
As we edge ever close to Autumn, cosy knits and hot chocolate season, my birthday has been and gone and the end of the year is drawing to a close. It’s been a busy month with trips to see family, a couple of socially distanced bowling trips and a ring on my finger to match the engagement my fiancé and I decided on in January.
So these are some of the things I treasured in September!
I’ve got two favourites from this month and they’re both clothes! I bought myself a new hoodie from Primark that I’ve been living in because it’s so soft and cosy and I treated myself to some new Snag tights with some birthday money! I definitely need to stop ‘treating myself’ to new things in October but for now, I’ll snuggle down in my new hoodie and comfy tights.
I’ve been making a roasted tomato and bay orzo dish from The Green Roasting Tin book and it’s taken me a few attempts to figure it out (it takes about twice as long to cook than the recipe suggests!) but now that I’ve got it it’s delicious! I’d never heard of orzo before making this dish but it’s like tiny rice shaped pasta and cooked in the vegetable stock makes it so flavourful and delicious. Although it negates the ‘vegan’ nature of the dish, it goes perfectly with garlic bread and a little parmesan!
The longer the pandemic goes on, the more I crave nostalgic music I already know all the words too! I’ve done a few long drives this month and I’ve listened to the Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a beautiful film where Matt Damon plays a sassy horse), Starstruck (a Disney Channel Original Movie that I’m worried to rewatch in case it’s not as amazing as I remember) and I’ve curated my own playlist of songs I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs in the car (apologies to any other drivers who may have witnessed this).
As ever, I don’t watch YouTube frequently enough to keep up with my subscription feed so I’m still watching videos from months ago but I loved this SFX/beauty make-up video from Mykie (Glam and Gore) making the most wonderfully extra face mask.
This video of Hannah Witton teaching herself a dance routine to a song she loves made me think that I need to find some choreography dance lessons on YouTube because I miss dancing so much.
And this video from kickthePJ about moving house really stuck with me – I can’t say for why, but it’s beautifully sentimental, a lovely montage of memories and a little bit different for PJ but I’m always in awe of how incredibly creative his content is; massive inspiration!
books I’ve read
I knew this would happen but I didn’t think it would take this long – 8 months of reading 4-6 books a month and September was the month I didn’t finish anything. As I write this, I’m halfway through ‘The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne and considering I’ve seen the film and I’m aware of how it ends, it’s surprisingly not as heavy as I thought it would be.
I’m hoping to power through the last 100 pages before the end of the month and get back into it but I’ve definitely fallen off track for my little personal goal of 52 books in a year (my goodreads goal is 12 but when I hit that in March I did wonder if I could maintain one book a week!) but in my defence, these past few weeks I’ve really understood when people say they’ve been ill with their mental health because I’ve never experienced anything like it. My routine (if I ever had one), completely fell out the window and my sacred evening routine (shoutout to my 9pm bedtime crew) was replaced with not sleeping before 2am and wasting most of the morning in bed.
I’m hoping to crack down and get back into it, not just because I love reading but because I need to make the effort for the sake of my own mental health. Any tips are more than welcome!
Other than a craving for Malted Milk biscuits, the best snack I’ve had this month is actually something I’ve baked myself! My mum used to bake these amazing cookies with smarties on and I’ve made a couple of batches this month and they’ve been amazing – the recipe makes about 12 (or about 6 big cookies) and when they’re fresh out the oven oh boy I could eat the whole batch. I’m salivating thinking about them.
They’re super easy – I’ve not done a recipe post for a really long time, would you like to see one?
something to watch
With my fiancé being away at work and having a friend stay for a couple of weeks until she can move into her new flat (all COVID safe, I promise) I’ve been watching more Netflix and Disney+ than usual! We watched the new Millie Bobby Brown film ‘Enola Holmes’ which I thought was surprisingly heartwarming, a very interesting 4th-wall narrative and a mildly disappointing ending but a pleasant watch all the same.
I finally got round to watching Frozen 2 – I’m not a massive Frozen fan, so I wasn’t obsessed with it (Tangled is a better film, don’t @ me) but it was fine, I guess? ‘Into The Unknown’ is a bop but wow ‘Show Yourself’ is underrated!! Definitely need to give the soundtrack a listen but it was nice to have a bit of context for my sister’s Anna cosplay (follow her tiktok, it’s adorable).
Otherwise, we’re now rewatching a bunch of Disney classics – I’ve been fancying watching Treasure Planet for a while and last night we watched Mulan and Mulan 2 and had a wonderful time!
wedding planning update!
Not much to update on the wedding front! We’ve negotiated a quote with the venue and we’re just figuring out our finances to pay the deposit and book the venue! Then it’s booking the registrar and hunting for a photographer/videographer – if you have any recommendations for someone in the Rutland/South Lincolnshire region, please let me know!
I still can’t believe how fast this year is going – I don’t know if it’s the pandemic, my impending dissertation deadline (less than a month now!) or if this is just adult life now but I’m sure I’ll soon be baffled by how quickly October has gone in my ‘Treasured In…’ post next month!
Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!
Another month has rolled around and I’m trying really hard not to comment on how fast the month has gone but also, pretty sure it’s still April and summer’s just around the corner?
But alas! August has been an interesting month – I’m definitely getting more stuck in to my dissertation research as the deadline for that looms ever nearer, I’ve been trying some new things with my time management to work with my fluctuating mental health and I had a couple of splurges too so here’s a little roundup of the things I enjoyed in August.
I may or may not have had a sad spending trip to Hobbycraft earlier this month… I needed one last colour embroidery thread for my latest cross stitch project and I found a book on meditative crocheting and I picked myself up some crochet needles last month and I loved the idea that it came with breathing and meditative exercises to follow along with in the book. Perhaps a tad pretentious but I’m excited to give it a go next month!
I also picked up a couple of cross stitch kits that I’m working on intermittently and I just find it so much fun – if you want a new hobby that isn’t particularly skilful but is offline and you get a pretty picture at the end of it, I thoroughly recommend cross stitching!
I’ve been experimenting more with the ‘orange lid’ spicy seasonings in my cupboard this month and whilst I’m the worst at handling spicy food, cooking up a bunch of vegetables, mixing it with some rice and using turmeric, smoked paprika and a little cumin with a bit of garlic puree is so yummy! It’s so simple but makes the meal so much more tasty and I’m trying to acquire new seasonings every time I go to the supermarket – am I brave enough to try chilli flakes? Probably not, but I’m going to try some new recipes from The Green Roasting Tin book this month so maybe I’ll find something new there!
The only thing my boyfriend and I have been singing at each other is the tune to ‘Savage Love’ by Jason Derulo because we’re late to the tiktok trend… It’s just too catchy!
I’ve also just discovered Kings and Queens by Ava Maria but the chorus is the only bit I like so I’m mostly listening to covers on tiktok… I also ‘discovered’ tiktok this month, I can’t stop.
With my boyfriend going back to work and having the house to myself, I have watched a lot of YouTube this month! Nothing jumped out at me immediately but from scrolling through my history, I picked out my top three.
This video from Carrie Hope Fletcher and Oliver Ormson was very fun and picked out some of my favourite Disney songs.
I’m not a huge fan of Dodie anymore but this arrangement of two songs was beautiful and the video is very clever and creative.
And this video from Jessica Kellgren-Fozard was very fun and I love the dynamic she has with her wife – they’re both hilarious and adorable together.
I still have over 300 videos left in my watch later, so who knows how long it’ll take me to watch videos that aren’t a couple of months old…
books I’ve read
I’ve been reading loads this month so here’s a quick run down (with links to my reviews on Instagram)
I only finished Checkmate last night so a few words – I was so impressed with Noughts and Crosses and the rest of the series has been such a disappointment. The beginning of Checkmate gave me hope because it was set a bit further down the line and I thought it had a different main character but it was just a new character and all the things that annoyed me about Knife Edge annoyed me about Check Mate too.
I’m about to start the fourth book in the series, Double Cross, because I bought the series and the painfully optimistic part of my brain keeps hoping that it will get better, but I don’t have a lot of hope. I definitely won’t be buying the fifth book that came out semi-recently.
I have two very contrasting snacks for this month and I’ll start with the boring one first.
Tins of sliced peaches – I don’t know why I had these as a kid, but I recently rediscovered them and keeping them in the fridge on a hot day is glorious and relatively healthy because it’s fruit so I can enjoy it guilt free. If you gave me a normal peach would I like it? I don’t know, I’ve never tried one and I’m not very good at trying new things but tinned peaches? Gimme more!
And the second thing is a small Victoria sponge cake with Harry Potter house themed crests as decoration on the top. My partner and I went on a cake run to Asda because something popped up on Facebook memories and we decided we needed cake to celebrate… and then I ate the whole thing. Then I got another one in our weekly shop.
I’m going to stop myself buying them now but a £4 Hufflepuff themed Victoria sponge has brought me much joy this month!
I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube this month so I wasn’t sure whether I’d have anything to write about, then my boyfriend and I binged the entire of Umbrella Academy season 2 on Netflix in a day and it was glorious. 100% on par with how brilliant the first season, amazing character development, same incredible sense of humour and generally so much fun and such a huge twist of an ending! Already eagerly anticipating season 3.
wedding planning update
It’s mostly been a month of waiting on the wedding front – we sent an inquiry to the venue we like to discuss the quote we were given but I haven’t heard back. Though I did spend an afternoon reading about how the heck a registrar works and how to arrange a civil ceremony so I’m all prepared to ‘give notice’ within 12 months of our wedding date and then just waiting for the venue to confirm before I ‘book’ (if that’s the right word?) for the registrar to perform the ceremony. It all feels a little more real now!
I’m sure September will absolutely fly by but with a couple of trips, my birthday and drawing closer to the end of my masters it’s looking to be an exciting month.
Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!
As we come to the end of our second full calendar month in lockdown, little posts like this full of things I enjoyed and want to share are more important than ever. Everywhere I look people are complaining about the government, singing the praises of the NHS and arguing about what are appropriate social distancing activities (though how anyone could defend packed beaches I really don’t know) so having this little list of happy things will be a nice little mood boost for me as well as you!
Here are my the things I treasured in May!
I really made more of an effort to read more this month – I’ve been on the hunt for bloggers that don’t exclusively talk about beauty, fashion or other stereotypical ‘successful blogger’ categories. I really want to find people like me who don’t necessarily blog for income, writing about the ramblings trapped in their heads and talking about all their random hobbies without limiting themselves to a ‘niche’.
I’m still hunting, but these two blog posts from YouTube influencers I follow were topical and well written.
I don’t think I’ve tried anything that particularly blew me away this month – I made this creamy chicken chorizo pasta bake which was nice but we’re not rushing to make it again. I’m still really enjoying the bacon and pea risotto that I linked last month, I’ve somewhat rediscovered a good jacket potato and we made a really nice lasagne but it all came out of jars so it wasn’t anything to do with my ability to cook!
Top tip for ‘homemade out of jars lasagne’ – use a Mac and Cheese sauce rather than a white sauce, it worked really well for us and is making me hungry just thinking about it!
Again, this month I didn’t find anything new – I had one last big assignment to finish off my semester 2 work for my masters and with lockdown and a generally not good course, my friend and I who were working together on it (group project, not cheating I promise!) spent more time teaching ourselves than knowing what we were doing.
So I learnt a lot about the Maya animation software, modelling environments, materials, different animation types and multi-camera set ups, but I didn’t find a course online to take myself.
Next month I’ll be starting all the self-teaching I have to do for my dissertation project so I’ll be rambling all about designing a video game, making a 2D animation and writing scripts for both!
The only time I really listen to music is when I’m cooking – when I’m trying to write or work, it means I can’t concentrate and if I’m knitting or doing my cross stitch I use it as an excuse to catch up on YouTube videos (I’m 300 videos deep on my watch later…).
With everything that’s been going on, I’ve been craving a bit of nostalgia so my partner has been finding playlists on Spotify along the lines of ‘year 6 disco’ and ‘the best of the 2000s’ and we’ve been listening to everything from S Club 7, Steps, Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers to Bob The Builder’s ‘Big Fish Little Fish’. Thoroughly recommend a throwback disco if you need a little boost!
Most of the YouTubers I’m subscribed to are vloggers, so watching vaguely ‘normal’ home life vlogging has been most of what I’m watching and it’s been nice to feel that little bit ‘normal’ by watching the creators I’ve been following for years just living their daily lives.
So I’m going to use this section this month to talk about one of my own videos – it’s currently unlisted on my channel because it’s for a uni assignment and I always feel funny about publishing my work while it’s still being marked (so it’s a fun little secret for my blog!). But this is the animation my friend Agata and I made for our assignment – the main character is animated from motion capture data and we built pretty much everything in the environment ourselves.
I’m so ridiculously proud of this little animation and I loved working on it with one of my best friends (even if we did the majority of the work in the three days before it was due…), so here is Life After Lockdown; a little topical comedy animation for our assignment.
I loved this book – this take on life after death and the way the characters have conflict without antagonising each other (except Evie’s mum, she was actually evil). It was one of those books that made you think about what life after death really is like – I genuinely think this is a pretty good idea and worth a read in these challenging times.
I read this because my boyfriend loves the Game Grumps and recommended it but it wasn’t for me – I didn’t find it funny but it felt like they were trying way too hard to be funny, the murder mystery was a bit too Scooby Doo for me, but it was entertaining enough.
This book is taking me actual weeks to get through – I like the writing style, but it feels almost non-fiction and there are so many characters that Pomerantz clearly expects the reader to remember who they are, how they were relevant and details about their life and career. It’s about a plane crash and it’s really depressing and long and there’s not much of a story yet and I’m about 75% through? I think the main thing putting me off is that on the back it declares that this back will become a classic but… it definitely hasn’t and I just can’t vibe with someone arrogant enough to assume their work deserves to become a classic. But I’m nearly done and a review will be on my Instagram when I do!
I never thought I particularly liked minty chocolate – I can appreciate a few After Eights at Christmas and maybe a packet of softmints every now and then but not big on mint. I thought I’d prefer plain chocolate aero bubbles to the mint aero bubbles but my boyfriend opened my eyes and I have to stop myself buying them or I will eat the entire packet.
I also picked up a packet of Tesco’s own Salted Caramel Munch Bars thinking it would be an easy breakfast option – they’re really good but they’re so not good for you in any way that I’d be better off going back to a slice of toast in the mornings. But they’re really yummy and if you’re not really a breakfast person then something is better than nothing right?
I’ve not watched any new TV this month but my mum, my sister, my boyfriend and I have started a remote film club using a 52 Week challenge book my mum picked up on Amazon – 52 challenges, divided by 4 people means 13 categories each. This month we watched Pulp Fiction, Eighth Grade, Dumbo (the live action one) and Top Gun and I’m really enjoying the excuse to watch all the ‘classic’ films I haven’t seen but should have as well as some newer films that I want to see.
Pulp Fiction was an interesting choice and having done a unit where one of my lecturers tried to teach us artsy-fartsy film theory (when he shouldn’t have been) it did make it more interesting to think about the decisions the director made, but then I thought about if a film makes you think about the decisions the director made and takes you out of being fully immersed, is it really a well made film? Either way! Eighth Grade was fun and a really accurate portrayal of life as a 13 year old, Dumbo was alright but I prefer the original (and Colin Farrell’s character was literally useless) and Top Gun was an action for the sake of action, ‘put it on in the background’ kind of film that really proved that Tom Cruise literally only plays one character in all his films.
Other than that I’ve watched a lot of Kim Possible on Disney+…
wedding planning update: Before lockdown, I attended a couple of wedding fairs and one of them was near my old hometown. There we spoke to a lady who was representing the most beautiful venue near a lake that my boyfriend and I are very sentimental about. It was beautiful, it’s a great location and it makes me feel a little bit emosh just thinking about it! We’re 90% sure it’s the venue we want to go with but we don’t have the deposit money yet. However, with two months of lockdown, people are re-planning weddings for years to come and our date of November 2022 is looking like it’s going to get infringed on quite quickly, so I want to contact the venue and at least get our foot in the door for our date so we don’t lose it. Otherwise, there’s nothing much more I can do in lockdown other than coming up with more and more ideas on Pinterest…
So I’ve not done any wedding planning this month but we have reached this decision, so there’s a bit of progress there!
On the one hand, I hope that the country is safe enough for some restrictions to be lifted in June so we can do more things, I can visit my family etc, but I really don’t want restrictions to be lifted early just because people are getting grumpy about not having their hair cut, so I’m apprehensive.
I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!
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!
I love baking, but I don’t often get the chance to do it because ingredients are expensive or I’m trying to eat more healthily or I don’t have time. But I have, however, perfected how I make brownies and I love writing these recipe posts so I thought I’d share!
8 oz butter
1 lb soft light brown sugar
3 oz cocoa powder
4 oz self raising flour
4 oz plain chocolate
The first step is to pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees. I always feel like I’m doing it too early but if I don’t do it now I forget to do it at all.
Next step is to measure out the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder and melt them all down. Don’t do this until all the ingredients are fully liquidised otherwise they’ll burn – do it in thirty second bursts until it’s just a few lumps that disappear when you stir them. I find two bursts of thirty seconds in the microwave is fine.
Whisk the eggs and the brown sugar in another bowl (yes, you do need that much brown sugar). Then add the previously melted chocolate and mix it all together. I find it works just as well with a wooden spoon than an electric hand whisk and it keeps it all light and fluffy and airy or something.
Measure out the self raising flour on top of all the other ingredients and mix it all together gently, making sure all of the flour is definitely mixed into the rest of the ingredients.
Line a rectangular tin with grease proof paper – personally I find it makes it a lot easier to remove the brownie in the end but that might just be me being very lazy. If you don’t use paper, grease your tin properly! It’s meant to be quite a gooey brownie.
Once you’ve transferred your mixture to your tray, put it in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes! I thoroughly recommend checking it at 30 minutes (if not earlier) then deciding how much longer you want to leave it in for, then if you want it particularly gooey in the middle, or any other feature to your preferences, you can monitor it more closely.
If not, cook it for around 35 minutes (it worked best for me!) and just poke a knife straight through the middle to make sure it’s cooking – if it comes out completely clean it’s done!
Remember to turn the oven off. That helps.
Leave the brownie in the tin for five minutes, then take it out the tin and leave it to cool for five more minutes than tuck in to your hearts content! I find between me and two hungry male flat mates, half the brownie is gone in one night.
Last tip! Whilst milk chocolate does make a nice brownie, to get that rich gooeyness that makes people pull really funny faces of pleasure when they take that first bite, plain or dark chocolate is the way forward.
In general, plain or dark chocolate is the way forward but particularly in brownie.
(Yes, I know I missed another Wednesday post – I’m going to make some mental changes to the diary to make sure Wednesday posts can continue to go up on time in the future!)
Thank you for reading and good luck with your brownie!