My 2017 Blogging Resolutions

Happy New Years Eve everyone! I may be a little early for a resolutions post, but this time tomorrow I’ll be enjoying a roast dinner with my family and preparing for the debut of Sherlock Season 4, so I may as well start now! For many years I’ve made resolutions to be more healthy, exercise more, ‘new year, new me’ and so on, but let’s face it, by March I’ll have given up my gym membership and really, I should just eat better anyway!

That’s why this year I’m setting myself 3 fun, blogging related resolutions. Hey, you’re more likely to stick with them if they’re fun, right? So, here goes nothing…

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#1 Watch 150 movies, and at least 12 ‘classics’

According to my Letterboxd diary, I’ve watched 150 movies this year so far, so this should be fairly easy to do again. What won’t be as easy is watching some ‘classics’. I don’t have a proper definition of that yet, but at the moment I feel like classing it as anything I haven’t seen yet which is on either IMDB’s Top 250 or any other similar list. In the past I’ve tried to complete the Blindspot challenge, but I’ve chosen movies I don’t really have much interest in, so I’ve fallen off the wagon.

#2 Read 12 books

Okay, okay, you can stop laughing now! In my defence, I read a grand total of 3 books in 2016, so this is quite the challenge for me. I’ve always loved reading, but I’ve never really strayed from the Fantasy genre, and so I’d like to expand my interests a little. To do that, earlier this month I researched some of the most popular books from the past year over a wide variety of genres, and picked 12 of them.

My primary aim is to read one each month, but in an ideal world I’d transform back into the bookworm my teenage self was, and complete the list much sooner. Of course if I do, I can simply expand my list! For reference, these are the books I’ve chosen:

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware
Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King
You’re Never Weird on the Internet, Felicia Day
Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty
Lily and the Octopus, Steven Rowley
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover
Dark Matter, Blake Crouch
Bloodline, Claudia Gray
The Fireman, Joe Hill
Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick
Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris

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#3 Complete a Video Game

I realise I my have lost you by this point, but let me explain! I play a lot of video games, less than I used to, but it’s very rare that I actually complete one. It feels like when I can feel the end drawing near, I stop playing the game all together. Perhaps it’s why I love the MMORPG World of Warcraft so much, it’s literally impossible to complete! So, I don’t know which game it will be, but I’m going to make it to the end credits, and actually finish something for a change.

I am honestly so excited to complete these challenges in 2017 that it’s killing me to not start one of the 12 books already! But what about you? Do you have any resolutions this year? I’d love to know, or please point me in the right direction if you’ve got a blog post of resolutions yourself!

But for now, keep safe tonight and party hard, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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Review: Passengers (2016)

Somehow, I managed to put the left over turkey down long enough to make it to the cinema yesterday! Whilst holding off the temptation to see Rogue One again, I made myself see Passengers. Don’t get me started on the trailer that gives away the whole movie, but I was excited to see Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in space. I mean, that’s a winning combo for sure, right?

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I’m going to warn you right now of possible spoilers in this review. Normally I keep my posts safe, but I’m not sure how with this one, so if you’re really looking forward to seeing Passengers, just go ahead and bookmark this page for later!

So, you’ve seen the trailer, you know the plot. Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) are passengers on this huge ship headed for a new planet. The journey will take 120 years, so them and the rest of the passengers are held in suspense pods to keep them preserved. But something happens, and they wake up too early. 90 years too early. Then here’s the movie’s tagline, “There’s a reason they woke up”. Hoo boy, what could the reason be? Sabotage? Were they chosen for something? By someone?

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No. Sadly, there literally isn’t a reason they woke up. Well, we learn how they woke up, but there’s nothing that special about it. Passengers could possibly be the most wrongly advertised movie I’ve ever seen because of that. The plot is kind of lame, and pretty predictable. And yet, it’s still fun to watch. Jim is the first to awake, and I think I’d have been happy with the whole movie being about him exploring the ship. The scene in the cafeteria where he learns that everything but a plain, large coffee is reserved for ‘gold’ members only is kinda hilarious, and there’s plenty more dry humour scattered about.

It’s also super pretty to watch on the big screen. No expenses were spared in the visual department, and the ship itself and the space in which it’s travelling is beautiful, if not a little empty. Plus, with two of the hottest stars in the movie industry as our leading couple, this is going to please both parties on a cinema date, let’s face it! It’s much funnier than I thought it would be, Martin Sheen’s robotic barman was full of character and never fails to provide a few laughs here and there.

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Now I’m really going into spoiler territory, so I’m changing the font colour to help you skip. I wasn’t expecting Laurence Fishburne to turn up, angry bout the fact someone plated a tree on his ship. Sadly, it was kind of obvious that his only purpose was to open the locked door of the command bridge and then die 5 minutes later, after giving Jim and Aurora his security pass. Sigh.

So all in all, Passengers isn’t 2016’s greatest Sci-Fi by a long shot, but there are certainly much worse ways to spend 2 hours of your life. This movie gets 3/5 large coffees from me!

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Christmas Catch Up & Rogue One Thoughts

Merry belated Christmas everyone! Thankfully I haven’t worked out a proper schedule for this blog yet, because I’m currently in that limbo period between Christmas Day and New Year’s day where I don’t know what day of the week it is, or even time of day. Not that it matters that much, because every meal of the day consists of turkey and chocolate right now. Whilst sitting in my current food coma though, I thought I would catch up on everyone’s posts and share some thoughts on Rogue One which I saw yesterday.

Christmas Day was wonderful, and I got to split the day with both sides of my family. Don’t you just think a home cooked Christmas dinner is the greatest part of the day? Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I could have wept tears of joy at the sight and smell of pigs in blankets, roast parsnips and sausage meat on the table. I just wish I could have eaten more!

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Of course, I also had some wonderful presents! My husband and I didn’t buy each other gifts this year because we’re in the process of buying our first home (help!) but I was blown away by the generosity of my friends and family. There was a big Star Wars theme going on which was great fun! 15-year-old me would be so proud and confused to learn that her future self 12 years later was still asking for the same presents, a new pair of Vans and the latest Pokemon game! That’s right, I’m currently playing Pokemon Moon and my husband got Pokemon Sun. My Vans weren’t any old Vans either, but the new Woody editions from the Toy Story collection! I should have tried to take a good photo of them straight away but I was too excited and haven’t really taken them off yet.

I also got the full Series 4 set of the Lego Star Wars Microfighters which were extremely fun to put together, and the Lego U-Wing from Rogue One which I haven’t even dared to take out the box yet, that’s going to take at least 3 hours to build!

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Boxing Day brought my family’s group trip to the IMAX, a group which seems to get smaller each year sadly, but us hard-core cinema goers packed into the car and said ‘no thanks’ to the sale shopping. It feels pointless stressing this to you guys, but I just love IMAX so much. The intro sequence gives me chills, and it’s the only way to watch a movie like Rogue One!

As for the movie itself, I feel like I need a second viewing before I can put together a proper review. It was so much different to what the other Star Wars movies have been like, but at the same time, it felt so right! I’m just pretty incoherent about it all still, really. At first I was disappointed that most of the clips in the trailer never made it into the final movie, but I get the feeling the powers that be changed their mind on how it would all end. I’m absolutely in love with that a*****e droid, K-2S0 though, he was my favourite part by far! Move over, BB-8.

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We’ll be with you, Jyn. Cassian said we had to.

I think I need only say ‘corridor scene’ and you’ll all know what I mean. Chills, man, chills. Also, ‘be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director’. Ugh! Chills again. Scary as hell. Also scary? The level to which CGI has come. It’s not quite advanced enough for it to be perfect, but still, kudos!

I’ll get a proper Rogue One post ready over the next week or so but for now, another island challenge awaits me in Pokemon Moon, and I’m also preparing a list of books I’m planning on tackling as part of a New Year’s resolution. What about you, what was your favourite Christmas gift this year?

A Merry Fictional Blog Challenge

I can’t believe that in a week’s time, Christmas will be over! It feels like we spend so long getting ready for the huge event, and then it passes by without us barely noticing. With 4 work days to go I was in need of some festive cheer, so when I saw Katy at Oh So Geeky post her answers for her ‘A Merry Fictional Blog Challenge’ she couldn’t have had better timing!

If you’d like to get involved also, simply check out Katy’s original post. But without further ado, here are my answers!

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Advent Calendar: Traditions you celebrate during December?
Aside from the usual family traditions, we have a long standing tradition of a big family get together to the cinema on the Sunday before Christmas. It started many years ago with The Polar Express, and we’ve been every year since. In recent years we’ve seen The Hobbit trilogy, last year we saw The Force Awakens, and this year will be Rogue One. I say will be because we’ve had to change the date this year to Boxing Day!

Carols: What’s your favorite song(s)?
There is no possible way I could pick a favourite Christmas song, it’s my favourite time of year and there are too many! However, it always seems to be that Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is the first to be played on the radio, and that song is glorious.

Coal: A naughty character you’d send coal to?
I’d send coal to Ajax Francis, from Deadpool.

Fireplace: Favorite Christmas movie that melts your heart?
My favourite Christmas movies are Jingle All The Way and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but they’re comedies. There has never been an instance that I’ve watched The Polar Express without ugly crying into a mug of tea, however.

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Gingerbread: What’s your favorite holiday snack?
This might be an odd one, but After Eight Mints, and Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. I don’t know if they’re a worldwide thing or UK only, but I can eat an entire box of mints and/or an entire orange and not feel bad about how sick it would make me.

Hot Cocoa: What’s your favorite drink?
I don’t like hot chocolate or coffee, but Costa are doing a Hot Spiced Apple drink this year which is absolutely to die for!

Mistletoe: Character you’d like to meet under the mistletoe?
Only one?! I’ll go with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.

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He seems confused…

Mittens: A cozy outfit that keeps you warm during winter?
The weather can be so odd here in the UK. In the winter I tend to wear exactly what I would any other season, but with a big winter coat and gloves in my pocket just in case!

Naughty: Three characters who’d make the Naughty list.
Paul Spector (The Fall), Man in Black (Westworld) & Rowan North (Ghostbusters).

Nice: Three characters who’d make the Nice list.
Moana (Moana, funnily enough), Jyn Erso (Rogue One) & Dustin Henderson (Stranger Things).

North Pole: If you could spend Christmas anywhere (even fictional), where would you go?
Maybe this is a boring choice as it’s real rather than fictional, but after spending 2 days at Disneyland California this year as part of my honeymoon, I would love to go back for Christmas, it would be magical!

Presents: A book or movie on your wishlist?
I’m planning on doing a lot of reading in the New Year, much more than the 2 measly books I managed in 2016! So I can’t think of one specific book right now, but I’ll have a whole list by January.

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Rudolph: What’s your favorite TV holiday special?
I’m sure there are some great ones out there, but another family tradition of mine is watching Shrek The Halls on Christmas Eve. It’s been so many years now we know all the words. We’re probably really embarrassing, come to think of it.

Santa: A character you’d love to exchange presents with? What would you get them?
I would love to work in the office from Parks & Recreation and take part in an office Secret Santa there. I’d rig it so I could buy for Leslie Knope so I could get her all sorts of stationery and organisational tools, because we have a shared passion in that area.

Scrooge: A villain you’d help see life in a different way?
Kylo Ren for sure. It wouldn’t work (I already tried at Disneyland) but I’d still give it a go. I would either end up a quivering mess on the floor (again, happened at Disneyland) or I’d get cut in half before I finished talking.

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I tried to sass Kylo Ren, and he really wasn’t impressed. I was legit terrified!

Snowflake: Something that makes you feel special.
Last weekend, doing a food shop at the supermarket. They were playing Christmas songs non-stop, and in the bakery isle there was a bit of a sing-a-long going on between some strangers, and it’s honestly one of the most special things to be a part of. It’s the littlest things in life sometimes!

Tree: What do you decorate your house with for the season?
We have our usual Christmas tree, tinsel around every surface we can find, and a few silly decorations too. This year my husband and I are sharing the Lego Star Wars advent calendar, which has a prime location in the living room.

Yuletide: The top 3 things in your life that make you the most happy?
Aside from family and friends (who are the true number 1) I would say coming home from a pants day at work to find my husband and 2 cats who are always happy to see me, lazy evenings spent on the sofa watching a movie, and pizza. Definitely pizza.

BONUS: Ugly Christmas Sweater: Would you wear a sweater Molly Weasley made you or avoid it like the plague?
OMG I WOULD WEAR IT WITH PRIDE.

Girls: Season 6 Trailer

Gather round, and cast your mind back many, many months ago to November 2015. Okay, it’s not that long ago I know, but it sure does feel like it. I’d just finished watching all 6 ‘episodes’ of Star Wars for the first time, and I was excited for The Force Awakens, especially that masked grump we all know as Kylo Ren. He fascinated me, and I wanted to know more about the actor playing him, Adam Driver. Whilst scouring his profile on IMDB I recognised the name of a show he played a big part of, Girls.

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I needed a show to get stuck into, so that very night I ran myself a bath, and set my tablet up to watch the first episode, armed with a couple of homemade cinnamon cookies (I have no shame, it would seem). Imagine my surprise when during the very first episode of Girls, Hannah (Lena Dunham) is sat in the bath eating a slice of cake. This is my kind of lady! It’s safe to say I was hooked very early on. It took me about 5-6 weeks to binge on the 4 seasons that were released, just in time for Season 5 to start.

As much as I love the show and all the characters, Season 5 wasn’t my favourite. Whether it was Marnie (Allison Williams) making mistake after mistake, or the impending feeling of doom for Hannah and Adam’s (Adam Driver) relationship, I just felt down in the dumps about it all. However, the Season 6 trailer was released this weekend and I am all kinds of excited again! Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet:

Unlike Season 5, I have no expectations in my head of where the story is going to from here. I’ve lost all hope of Hannah and Adam having a happy ending together, but as long as Adam’s story doesn’t end with him alone, raising a child he had with Jessa (Jemima Kirke) who then left him, I’ll be content. Let’s just say I’ll be going in open minded. It’s going to be sad to see a beloved show end, but I’m glad Lena Dunham and the team are ending it on a high rather than running it into the ground (I’m looking at you, Dexter!)