My Life

More personal ramblings.

Thoughts on… Living Alone

I’ve been living with a flatmate for a year now and it’s going really well. We have different schedules, I work 9-5 during the week and he works from home and stays up super late, so we don’t really see each other that much but it works for us.

Every now and then my flatmate goes away for anything between a few days to a couple of weeks for either work or a holiday. He’s away at the minute and he’s been gone for almost a week and won’t be back for another week and a bit, and anytime he’s away I find myself acting like how I presume I would if I lived alone.

Let me explain. First of all, my flatmate doesn’t cook. Seriously, all he uses is the microwave and the toaster. I’m not exactly an adventurous cook but I do regularly use the oven and/or the hob so that means I use a lot of kitchenware. We have a dishwasher, but my flatmate is the only one who uses it as I’ve previously never lived anywhere that had a dishwasher, so I don’t know how to use the thing. That means I wash all my dishes and pots and pans in the sink – I’m happy to do that as it’s what I’m used to. When it’s the two of us, I wash and dry and put away all the stuff I’ve used straight away. But, when my flatmate’s away I find myself still washing everything up straightaway, but I leave it on the draining board to dry and then it might take me two days to put things back in the cupboard. To be honest I haven’t put the bowl and spoon I have for my cereal each morning away since he’s been gone – it lives on the draining board now.

I find myself doing other odd little things as well like leaving things in the lounge when I’d normally put them straight in my room or walking around the flat in my pyjamas when I’d at least put a hoody on top first.

None of this stuff is particularly bad, and I’m sure he has habits or forgets about certain things when I’ve been away for work or a holiday, but it makes me think that if or when I ever get a place to call my own (#millenialproblems) will I leave stuff to dry on the draining board, or will I want my home to always be neat and tidy? I don’t know.

I know I’d tidy up and make sure all the dishes were away if I ever invited friends over, so why don’t I do that extra step when I’m on my own? Let’s be real, I know the answer to that – laziness. Still, while I’m sharing this flat with my flatmate, I’ll keep all the shared living space clean and tidy, at least when he’s here! I’ll make sure everything’s back to normal the day before he gets back!

Advertisements

Thoughts on… a Month of Photographing My Life

I meant to write about this months ago but then life got in the way so now it’s the perfect post to take up a day of blogmas!

In September I decided to take a photo every day of the month of things in my life and share it on my Instagram. It was an interesting experience to say the least and I learnt some things about myself and my life.

When I started this self-inflicted challenge, I did think about maybe trying to taking and sharing a photo each day for the whole of 2019. Soon I realised that my life isn’t interesting enough for that and I struggled to take a somewhat interesting photo every day for just 30 days. I work 9-5 every week day so most of my photos during the week were of what I saw on my walk to or from work, or when I wandered around town on my lunch break. Then on the weekends I didn’t always do anything interesting, or even leave my flat sometimes to be honest! I’m a big fan of the lazy weekend.

Having to take and share a photo of something each day did make me a bit more aware of my surroundings. I took a photo of a clock tower I hadn’t noticed before even though I’d walked past it like a hundred times. I also paid more attention to the flowers and wildlife I’d normally walk straight past leading to some cute and pretty pictures if I do say so myself.

I think my photography skills did improve a bit through this experience. I begun to get better at framing things and I did use filters and edit photos on Instagram but I think I started to learn how to bring out the best in a photo through editing instead of turning it into something completely fake.

Maybe next year I’ll do a month of photography again, or maybe just the odd week now and then. It was a fun and interesting experience, but as I say my everyday life isn’t that exciting so it was a bit difficult at times.

    

Thoughts on… Film Festivals

This year I attended the Cambridge Film Festival for the first time. This was mainly because I now live in Cambridge but to be honest previously I didn’t know it existed. I was lucky enough to receive press accreditation, so I got to see a lot of films both as screeners and in the cinema for free as I was reviewing them for JUMPCUT Online. I also went to the London film Festival a couple of times this year. I try to see a couple of films at least at the London Film Festival each year, it’s not that hard for me to get into London and spend a Saturday or Sunday seeing films.

I was pretty exhausted after a week of festival viewing and it took me a while to write up all my reviews. (This is in part because my laptop decided to die – the charger port stopped working so I sent it away to be fixed and it was almost three weeks before I got it back. But that’s another story)

I’ve been thinking about what I want to get out of film festivals. Obviously, it’s a chance to see a film before the general public. Film festivals are especially helpful for that in the UK as, in comparison to America, we sometimes get smaller indie films or films that are likely to get awards buzz anywhere from one month to about three months or even longer after our American friends. For me, the films I make an effort to see at festivals are ones that are unlikely to get a cinema release, or if they do it would be a very small one and hard to find it in the cinema or even online on streaming or rental sites.

For instance, at the London film Festival this year there were films like Widows and Colette and they were all going to get UK releases – Widows was released last month, and Colette is set to be released in January. Take Widows for instance, from its UK premiere at the London Film Festival to when it was released in the UK, it was three weeks which is nothing really and so I would rather see the films that might be a foreign or indie film (or both) which I am unlikely to see in my big local cinema chain.

There’s also the community or networking side of film festivals which I do enjoy. A twitter pal arranged a #FilmTwitter meet up at the London Film festival and is was great to meet new people and to talk to people I’d met online in person. I really enjoyed the couple of hours I spent with all of them before we all went to another film screening or off home. It was a nice bonus for me as generally speaking my film festival experiences on the whole are quite solitary. This is due to what I’m interested in seeing, the cost and just the timings and people’s availability.

Due to the fact I was press at Cambridge Film Festival, and I lived so close to the cinemas so could go after work or walk from my flat, I packed in a lot of films in just over a week. I would see three films in a day, and in amongst the film watching I tried to review as many of them as possible. I was exhausted when I was finally finished and to be honest, I don’t think I paid as much attention to some of the films because my brain was getting over-saturated.

From that experience I definitely learnt that less is more with me and film festivals – I say that as if I won’t apply for press accreditation again next year! It’s cool to see films early before “everyone else” but I would rather spend the money on seeing more obscure films that don’t yet have a UK release date than ones that I know will get a decent to large scale release in a matter of weeks or months.

Have you ever been to a film festival? What was your experience and what do you like to get out of them?

Over 500 followers! Thank you!

I have over 500 followers now, in fact it’s very close to 550, and I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all you people out there who’ve clicked that follow button or who just generally read my posts. It means a lot.

I actually passed the 500-follower mark a while ago, maybe a month ago now, but life’s been busy so I haven’t really had the chance to say thanks. Thank you for following, thank you for commenting and sharing and liking my posts. Thank you for coming to my little corner of the internet and sharing your opinions. While I may be slow at replying to comments, I do enjoy reading them and interacting with you all.

I thought I’d use this post to share my plans for my blog, the last time I did this was when I hit 100 followers and my plans haven’t changed much since then to be honest. I’m going to continue to post a film review on Mondays and a book review on Thursdays (I like how it shows off my interests equally and I like the spacing between days) and I think it would be cool to post at least semi-regularly on Saturdays. Though I’m not sure what the topic of those posts would be so we shall see how that goes or how inspiration strikes me. My stats have gone up significantly this year and I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because of my MCU rewatch reviews (that was extra content I was posting every Saturday and I did like how I had more posts on my blog each week) so I could post more Marvel-related stuff – I could talk about some of my favourite characters for days. It’s a thought.

I also wanted to use this post to ask you my dear readers, whether you are old or new, if there’s something you’d like to see me write about or feature here. Do let me know any ideas you might have for posts or if there’s something you’d like my opinion on. I won’t guarantee I’ll do any, or all, of your suggestions, but it would be cool to see people’s thoughts. Also I occasionally take part in Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday and am always keen to hear about similar features, bookish or otherwise, as I think it’s a great way for me to discover new blogs.

Finally, thank you again for following this here blog. I can’t quite fathom how many people follow my blog or visit it every week and from all across the world too. It’s wonderful. I enjoy blogging and don’t plan on stopping any time soon, so I hope you won’t get bored of me.

D is for Dancing Queen by ABBA

I grew up listening to ABBA thanks to my mother – ABBA cassettes, and then CDs, were always playing in the car so I fell in love with ABBA’s music just as much as my mum does.

ABBA has so many great songs – there’s sad songs and the happy ones you just want to dance to. Dancing Queen is definitely the later. As soon as the music starts you can’t help but move, even if it’s just bopping your head to the rhythm.

I remember I was at a friend’s wedding, I was getting tired from the dancing and had just sat down to give my feet a break, I’d barely sat down for thirty seconds when the sound of Benny running his hand down the piano keys and I was up again as I heard it. I just couldn’t not dance to Dancing Queen, no matter how much my feet ached. The song gave me a second wind and I danced the night away with my friends.

I feel that Dancing Queen is one of the songs that’s quintessentially ABBA. It’s fun, perhaps cheesy, but it’s certainly a feel-good song. I love it.

London Bookshop Crawl 2018

This time last week the London Bookshop Crawl was just beginning. A weekend-long celebration of books and bookshops across London, there was event, guided bookshop crawls, book swaps and so much more with the dozens of bookshops taking part.

I only took part in the London Bookshop Crawl on the Saturday, but I still had an amazing time. I had gotten a ticket for the guided tour around Waterloo & Southbank and there I met fellow bookish people – both old (previous bookshop crawl participants I’d met on previous years) and new. The tour was led by Cathryn and she was very friendly and knowledgeable throughout the tour and brought a great energy to the group.

We met in Starbucks for coffee and sustenance, so we’d be ready for all the bookshops! Then it was off to Somerset House Bookshop. This shop was full of beautiful illustrated books, both for children and adults. There were so many cool books there, but I managed to restrain myself and just by the one – I Know a Woman by Kate Hodges and illustrated by Sarah Papworth. This book is all about famous and influential women throughout history and the connections they have with other women. I fell in love with the art style and how vibrant the illustrations are and I always like to learn more about women that history might have forgotten.

Next, we had a walk across to the other side of the Thames to go to the National Theatre Bookshop. Naturally, there were a lot of plays and books about drama and theatre criticism but there were also some more generally fiction books and some interesting gifts too.

Then we had a little bit of a walk to The Bookshop Theatre which had an eclectic mix of plays and political and philosophical theory books. It had a mixture of new and second-hand books which was nice. There I bought an illustrated Folio Society edition of Othello by Shakespeare. I’ve not read Othello before and know very little about it, but my best friend said she’s taught it for A-Level and both she and the kids in her class really enjoy it.

Just around the corner from The Bookshop Theatre (or least that’s how it felt to me) was Travelling Through… and this was my favourite new-to-me bookshop on the crawl. It’s got a great selection of books from around the world from international authors as well as some second-hand books and a cute café downstairs. The staff were very nice and friendly too. There I bought three books that will be perfect for my Read the World ProjectDust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuro my read for Kenya and actually a book I had my eye on before the bookshop crawl, everything else were impulse buys, Allah is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma, a book for Côte d’Ivoire, and So the Path Does Not Die by Pede Hollist which will probably be my read for Sierra Leone. I will definitely be visiting Travelling Through… again next time I’m in that part of London.

The next and final stop on the guided tour was to The Feminist Library – a place I would’ve loved to visit because it sounded like it stocks just my sort of books, but I was meeting the aforementioned best friend for a late lunch. I said goodbye to my fellow crawlers and vowed to go to The Feminist Library soon.

But I had time to visit one more bookshop as I was meeting my bestie at Daunt Books in Marleybone. I first visited Daunt on last years bookshop crawl and I have been back multiple times since, so as I was in London I just had to go there. In Daunt I bought two more books I could use for my Read the World Project, The Hotel Tito by Ivana Bodrožić, potentially my read for Croatia, and A Fortune Foretold by Agneta Pleijel, a book I first picked up because of the texture of the cover was so unusual and now it’s likely to be my pick for Sweden.

And that was me done for the London Bookshop Crawl 2018. Five bookshops, four of which were new to me, and seven shiny new books brought home. I had a wonderful time on the crawl, talking all things books and giving and receiving recommendations. My feet and shoulders (from a heavy backpack) were definitely sore by the time I got home but it was worth it.

This was the third year of the London bookshop crawl and I love how much it has grown in such a short space of time. If you’re interested in the bookshop crawl check out the website and there’s due to be two Summer Bookshop Crawls, one in York and another in Canterbury, so if you’re interested in either of them make sure you follow the Twitter account and sign up for updates via the website.

Until February 2019 and the next London Bookshop Crawl! I better get reading!

Five Brilliant Bookshops I’ve Discovered Thanks to the London Bookshop Crawl

It’s just over two weeks till this year’s London Bookshop Crawl! It’s a weekend long event from Friday 9th – 11th February and, as its name suggests, it’s a bookshop crawl in London where you can either join organised groups or plan your own bookshop crawl with handy maps with your friends and family. Dozens of bookshops are taking part and in some cases, that might mean there’s freebies or discounts to those participating in the crawl. It’s all very exciting and you can learn more about the London Bookshop Crawl here.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s crawl. I’m going to be a part of a guided group that’s going to be visiting bookshops in the Waterloo and Southbank area – a part of London I’ve been to a fair bit but never been to any bookshops round there.

As I’m so excited about all the new bookshops I’m soon to discover, I thought I would look back at previous London Bookshop Crawls and talk about some of the incredible bookshops I’ve discovered thanks to this wonderful event.

Persephone Books
This is a very unique bookshop. Persephone Books is not just a bookshop but a publisher as well. When I visited it on the first Bookshop Crawl the nice ladies there told us how the publisher worked and how it chose which books to print – because Persephone focuses on out of print works from the twentieth century, the majority of which are women. There’s a whole range of genres to be found there and the people who work there are happy to give recommendations. All their books have grey covers and have different patterned endpapers.

Any Amount of Books
This is a second-hand bookshop just off Leicester Square and it’s now somewhere I pop into every time I’m in that part of London (which is a fair bit because Leicester Square is often the meet up point for my friends). The books are in such great condition and there’s a wide variety of genres and books of various ages. There’s new releases and hidden gems and the shop has a basement that’s chockfull of books. It’s a smaller bookshop but it’s got a lot of cool stuff if you’re happy to have a rummage.

Word on the Water
This is a very unusual and cute bookshop, for one thing it isn’t on solid ground. It’s a second-hand bookstore on a barge! It’s a tiny place but that adds to its charm. There’s books to look through on the bank of the river, and you can go inside the barge too to browse more books there and maybe even sit on one of the few chairs by the fire. Word on the Water is a hidden gem on the river and there’s a dog there too to make you feel welcome.

Belgravia Books
This is a small independent bookshop a short walk away from Victoria station. It’s got a lot of books, fiction and non-fiction, from international authors and they’re not all the typical books you’d normally find in your high street Waterstones. Side note: I have nothing wrong with Waterstones, they’re fab, but it’s generally the bestsellers/books that the publishers give a huge push to in their stores.

Daunt Books
Daunt Books is one of my favourite discoveries from the London Bookshop Crawl. It’s a big bookshop, with your typical YA, children’s and popular fiction sections but the thing that really make it stand out is how a big portion of the books are divided by country. For example, if you go to the Austria section, you’ll find the usual travel guides and memoirs for that country but also fiction books set there and by Austrian authors. The top balcony has books from around the UK, the ground floor is all of Europe and downstairs is books from America, Africa, Asia and Australasia. It’s a great place to find books to help broaden your reading horizons and to discover literature from all around the world.

I could go on much more about the other interesting bookshops I’ve been introduced to thanks to the London Bookshop Crawl, but thought it’s best to stick to five – that’s a manageable amount. If you want to read about the other bookshops I’ve visited, you can read about the 2016 London Bookshop Crawl here (it was so much smaller back then and it’s incredible how much it’s evolved in a few years and that’s all down to the amazing Bex) and the 2017 one here.

There’s still time to plan your London Bookshop Crawl! There’s a list of all the bookshops involved, bookshop crawl maps, the all important Bookshop Crawl ID and more on the website.