What I’ve Watched Lately

Since going back to a 9-5 job, rather than the 8-8 shifts I was working before, I’ve definitely found that I’ve had more time to enjoy some of the simpler things in life, like just spending an evening watching TV, taking advantage of my Odeon Limitless card, or binge watching things over a weekend; its been great.

Over the last few weeks especially, I feel like I’ve watched a lot of pretty great things, and so I figured I’d share some of them with you!

TV

Hunted

I know it was the third season this year, but up until now I had never seen any of the Channel 4 programme. Well, my parents started watching it and were hooked, so Matthew and I decided to give it a spin too – although Matthew had seen some of a previous series. Well, we also ended up pretty obsessed too. Not only did we catch up to my parents in the current series, but I also went back and watched the entire first season in a few sittings, and am now getting started on season 2 – its just so more-ish! I really thought that I wouldn’t get sucked into it but wow..

Death in Paradise

I love a good murder mystery, and despite having watched Death in Paradise on BBC since the show first started, they’ve just released the earlier series on Netflix, so now I’m going back and rewatching it from the start as well as waiting for each new episode on Thursday evenings. Its so unrealistic in terms of the number of murders occurring on a small Caribbean island, but also just so entertaining, and what’s great about re-watching it is I can’t remember who did it from the first time round!

Movies

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

If I didn’t have Odeon Limitless, this would not have been a film that I would have bothered paying for as I wasn’t massively interested in it at first, but I actually thought it was brilliant! The storyline was always going to be just a little far-fetched, but the cast were amazing – I mean, The Rock, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, it was never not going to be funny. If you’re on the fence, just watch it, I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

The Circle

This is a Netflix original movie, and one that I have scrolled past time and time again while looking for things to watch, but Matthew actually bothered to read its little synopsis and so we decided to try it out because let’s face it, Tom Hanks is great in everything, right? Well its another one that really surprised me. From the first 15 minutes or so it doesn’t feel like its going to be much, but from then onwards I was pretty glued to the screen. For a fairly low budget film, its got a cracking cast, an interesting story and I was actually pretty upset when it was finished because I wanted more.

Black Panther

This movie was all the reviews had it cracked up to be and then some. I’m not going to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet but Marvel are gonna find it hard to beat. The casting, the costumes, the cinematography, the underlying message of the film, it was all completely spot on and I think it deserves every accolade coming its way.

Have you watched anything good lately?

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Tokyo Kawaii Club Magic Mailer Haul

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tokyo Disney has the best merchandise. I’m sorry, but you just can’t compete with the Japanese on this sort of thing.

When I visited Tokyo Disney in 2015 (wow, was my trip almost 3 years ago now?), I wanted to bring home absolutely everything, and if you’ve read my haul post from that trip, you’ll know that I did bring back a lot, but not a day goes by that I don’t see something new and adorable on Instagram and have to fight the urge to jump on a plane to Japan and blow my credit card balance in that happy place.

So when I discovered that Tokyo Kawaii Club make amazing little packages of magical merchandise and ship them to all over the world, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a little taster to tide me over until I can get out there again. I ordered the Magic Mailer back in early January, and my package arrived last weekend, although I did have to collect it from the sorting office because I had to pay a customs charge on it, and I was so excited that I ripped it open as soon as I got home. So what did it contain?

Firstly, I got this AMAZING Donald Duck diary. I love Donald and I’m a sucker for a cute notebook and this is just perfect for me. Its got a double-page calendar spread for each month, and then pages at the back for notes and doodles, and each page has a little Donald sketch in the corner.

I also got a cute little Pluto keyring, which having just had Lunar New Year and bringing in the Year of the Dog, which is also my year of the Chinese zodiac, it was perfect timing, plus I got this sweet little heart-shaped Donald and Daisy button.

Speaking of heart-shaped, how sweet is this little tin? Its full of individually wrapped chocolates with a little Mickey imprint. I also got a set of Tiana notelets which fold up into little paper princesses!

Finally, the biggest item in the mailer was this Belle tsum tsum. I’m not sure what its official size is called because its much bigger than a mini tsum tsum but about half the size of the medium tsums that I have, but its still super cute!

Tokyo Kawaii Club offers a few different mailer options, and you can even set up a repeat order and have it as a monthly subscription! Michael did a really great job of personalising my mailer with my favourite characters, so I’d love to see what he would conjure up another time for me!

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My Thoughts on Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

I have tried to keep this post spoiler free, but there may be a few minor leaks.

Ok so I am SO late to the party, but yesterday I finally saw the play that everyone’s been talking about for almost two years now: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.

When the play first opened, I was so sure that I’d never get the opportunity to see it that I did let myself read the book, but given that it was over a year ago, I had only a rough idea of what was going to happen and had forgotten a lot of the detail, so I went in with a fairly clear mind.

We did parts one and two in the same day, and living two hours drive from London, that meant that our whole day was taken up with the show, once you factor in travelling and getting around London and over 5 hours of being in the theatre over the two sittings.

Its safe to say that the show was incredibly impressive. The staging and the special effects were second to none, from curses flying through the air, beautiful patronus charms, terrifying dementors and objects (and people!) flying left right and centre. But aside from the special effects, even just the regular movement of cast and props on the stage was brilliantly thought out, to Hogwarts famous moving staircases to things disappearing with a swoosh of a cape, and I also loved the talking portraits.

The cast also did a fab job, although it took me a little while to get used to all of them – I thought some characters were a little over-acted, but once we got into the second part I’d either gotten used to it or it had been toned down a touch. Scorpius and Albus really were the stars of the show, and what I thought was great was how hilariously funny some bits of the story were, which was something that didn’t seem apparent in the book of the play; the whole audience was in stitches at times.

Personally, my only real negative is that I really felt like it could have easily been condensed into one play, and given how easily I think that could have been done, I think that its a little unfair to make people fork out for two tickets to be able to see the complete story. There were quite a few scenes that felt a little stretched out, some parts that probably weren’t strictly necessary at all and didn’t add much to the play as a whole, and I just thought that you could nip and tuck a few places without losing any of the main story at all, and get it down to a normal, if not slightly longer, single show, rather than 5+ hours that the two parts make altogether. Its my only gripe.

Did I cry though? If you know me even only slightly well, the gauge of how good something is in whether or not I cry. I think I expected to cry in quite a few places, but I didn’t, and that’s not because I wasn’t loving it, its because I was so busy being swept up in whatever emotion the play was making me feel. I did have a little sob though, right near the end, as the cast stood together on the stage and ‘watched’ something that the audience couldn’t see, but we could hear – I’m trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but if you’ve seen the play I hope you know which bit I mean. The same part made me cry when I read the book of the play, but hearing it rather than reading it just hit all sorts of emotions and the tears came streaming down. It was the only part that I cried at, but it was probably the most important; it was so well done and I didn’t know how they would portray it on stage, but the way they did it was just right.

I’m so glad that I can finally say that I’ve seen it, and now I know that the book doesn’t do the story much justice at all, so if you have read the book and felt a little meh about it, trust me, watching it is SO much better. On stage it was, well, magic.

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Six Month Fluff Update

Today marks exactly 6 months since our two little rescue kitties, Ozzy and Ronnie, came home to live with us. Back then, Ozzy looked like this:

Now, he looks like this:

A lot has happened since the last kitten update that I posted, with the biggest development being that they are now also outdoor explorers!

Due to their size, and being black cats in dark winter days, we were maybe a little over cautious in waiting as long as we did to let them outside, starting off with a few short, supervised excursions to the garden, and then once we finally got round to getting their pet insurance sorted and getting the cat flap fitted, Boxing Day was when we let them have free reign over the garden.

It was fairly terrifying at first – more for me than the kittens! – but eventually they learned their way around not only our garden but some of the neighbouring ones, and more importantly, how to get back again. The cat flap, on the other hand, was a slightly more difficult thing to teach.. It took a lot of pushing them through, leaving it propped open so they could actually get back in again, and handfuls of treats, but they finally got the hang out not only going out (which they worked out first) but also getting back in again! We have been locking the cat flap at night to stop them going out in the dark, but they’ve actually got so used to their evening routine of dinner followed by sofa time that they don’t actually seem to have any interest in the outside world past sunset!

Obviously they’ve grown a lot. Ozzy is now the size of most normal cats, but that’s helped by all his fluff, while Ronnie remains the smaller of the two, as he always has been. Personality wise, there’s also been a lot of change; Ozzy has become very confident in terms of exploring outside (including being seen following the local fox around the garden), while Ronnie often sits at the back door and meows for people to come outside and play with him, especially if Ozzy has gone off without him! Ronnie is super needy and loves being around humans, and while Ozzy is still the more timid of the two when it comes to interaction with people, he’s come such a long way, and I pick him up for cuddles every day.

I don’t think any of us could imagine them not being in our lives anymore. They snuggle with us on the sofa, Ronnie sometimes sleeps on the bed and Ozzy frequently naps underneath our bed. Even though they love it outside they do still spend a lot of their days asleep inside, probably because its been quite chilly, but also due to the fact that they just seem to like being with us, and we just love that.

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Kayla’s Bikini Body Motivation & Habits Guide

Now I’ve never believed in the term ‘bikini body’ or ‘bikini body ready’ – for me, a bikini body is any body in a bikini, simples. I’ve also never really trusted these fitness influencers or Instagrammers as I’m very wary of some of the products and diets that they endorse, so when it comes to Kayla Itsines I’ve generally not paid much attention.

However, I saw this book in the supermarket the other week; Matthew pointed it out as we’re trying to keep healthy and active in preparation for our trip to Hawaii in April, and at first I kinda scoffed, but then I had a little flick through and noticed that despite the title suggesting otherwise, at least half of the book is recipes, and I’m a sucker for a good recipe book, so it ended up in our basket.

Spoiler alert, I’m now treating this book like my bible.

The book is actually so insightful. The first part talks about habits and motivation, and some of the psychology that goes behind it, and how you can combat the set-backs and hurdles that many of us face day in day out. I must admit that I haven’t read all of this as I’ve got a lot of other books and journals that I use for habit tracking, so I didn’t feel this was particularly relevant to me, but after this bit, the book gets really good.

The next section of the book is all about nutrition and meal-planning. I went into this with a pinch of salt ready to read things suggesting certain foods are really bad for you, or you should cut down on this or that, but there wasn’t any of that and I did a little happy dance. Everything written is informative, well researched and completely balanced, and the nutrition part covers everything from your basic food groups to micronutrients to non-dairy, vegetarianism and veganism, so it covers a pretty good range of dietary needs, but what I love the most about this book is the meal planning.

Now the book itself has a 4 week food plan, including 3 meals and 2 snacks every day over the 28 day period, so if you like to follow something by the letter, this is absolutely great – it even includes your weekly shopping list! However, if like me you struggle to stick to an exact plan day in day out, Kayla also includes an example meal plan, that is a guide of how many portions of what food groups you should be eating each day, and how you can mix and match these to suit. Did I mention how much I love this?

Also included is a big glossary of example foods for every food groups, and portion sizes, so if for example your meal is going to be 2 grains, 2 veg, 1/2 dairy/alternative and 1 meat/alternative, you can simply flick to the back of the book, have a look at what these could includes and make up a meal from there. This makes everything so flexible and easy, and there’s absolutely no calorie counting, or cutting out certain foods – its all about getting the portions and proportions right. Its a meal plan, not a diet.

The recipes offer so many options, and not only have you got every recipe for the 28 day meal plan, there’s also extra recipes that you can substitute in if whatever’s on the menu doesn’t take your fancy! All the recipes are quick, easy, and based on a single portion, which is great because I hate having a recipe designed for 2 or 4 people and having to go through and scale all the ingredients down. Oh, and there’s also a section at the back for desserts!

I have been following the meal plan, in my own way, for two weeks now and I’m already noticing a difference (along side my regular gym workouts and running). Some meals I haven’t changed at all from what I was eating before, but I’ve just got a better balance in what I should be eating and the size portions I should be having. Its so easy to break down every meal into groups, so all I count is the number of portions of each group I’ve had – absolutely no stressing over calories or not eating this or that. Most importantly, I feel so good within myself because I’m eating well.

The final section of the book is workouts, and you get a little 28 day workout guide poster that you can follow along with your meal plan – again, given that I go to the gym 4-5 times a week as it is and know my stuff quite well, I wasn’t so bothered by this, but it is a good little plan.

So while the title of the book didn’t endear me to it in any way, I guess its just proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover!

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Fitbit Flyer Earphones Review

I have been a Fitbit girl for about 5 years now, give or take some time off in between killing my little Zip in a washing machine and replacing it with my current Charge 2. I have always loved their fitness trackers, so much so that I have never been tempted to try any other brand, and so when they announced last year that they were releasing their first pair of wireless headphones, I was pretty convinced that I was going to want them. Lo and behold, they came in a copper/rose gold kinda colour, and I knew that I wanted them.

I got the earphones for Christmas, and have been using them for running/working out at the gym ever since, although I tend to alternate a little bit with my Urbanista headphones when at the gym, but I guess its been about 6 weeks of using them at least once or twice a week.

The only real concern I had with these, or any wireless earphones for that matter, is whether or not they would stay in my ears. Typically in the past I’ve never bothered running with earphones because of the endless struggle of having to push them back into my ears every 30 seconds, and I really didn’t want to be doing the same with these. However, the great thing about the Flyer is that they have an interchangeable design, so each pair comes with a few different sizes of the ear buds, and then also two sizes of both ‘fins’ and ‘wings’, which are both different fittings to help the earphones stay in your ears. I’d watched some YouTube reviews before deciding whether or not to take the plunge with these, and more than one review said that the fins were not great, but that the wings were awesome, so I’ve always used the smaller of the two wing sizes.

The wings tuck underneath the little inner loop of your ear – when I googled it, I saw a lot of websites referring to it as the rook, but that was mainly in terms of piercings, but maybe you know what that means! Because they’re rubbery and flexible, this means that they bend to fit the space and then keep a pretty firm grip there, and as soon as I tried this type of fitting I knew this would be the best type for me. What I really like about this is that there’s nothing going around your ear, like many wireless earphones have, so you don’t feel any real weight or pressure on your ears.

There’s a little on button on one of the ear pieces, and whenever you turn them on a little voice tells you how much charge the headphones have, which is really handy, and if the battery is running low during your workout, it will also pop up to tell you, and also tells you roughly how much time you’ve got left, which is pretty neat. There’s a little control panel on the adjustable cable for volume, and you can also press and hold each of the volume + or – to skip tracks, so you can keep your phone tucked safe away.

I’ve not had a single problem with the Bluetooth connectivity, and can easily walk from one side of my gym to the other before experiencing any sort of skipping. Before getting these, I have on occasion used my boyfriend’s Beats wireless earphones, and found that they skipped a lot more than the Fitbit, even when in close range with my phone, so that’s something! Once set up to your phone, they instantly connect every time you turn them on, and I’ve never had to faff around with having to reconnect them if I’ve not used them in a few days.

Sound wise, I have absolutely zero complaints. The music is clear, there’s no distortion from the rubber buds and they even do a little bit of noise cancelling too. Apparently there are actually two different sound settings, but I’ve always been pretty happy with how mine have sounded so I’ve never looked into how you change settings or what the other setting gives you!

Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with these earphones, and I certainly haven’t experienced the annoyance of constant readjustment and pushing them back in every time I go for a run. The one thing I would say is that it does take a little bit of time getting used to how you want the fit in terms of the attachments and the strap, so there’s a bit of trial and error in the first week or so, but honestly I do think these are a great pair of fitness earphone, which is ultimately what Fitbit designed them to be. My colour is officially called Lunar Grey, but there’s nothing grey about them, and I think they’re a really good looking pair of earphones, and they do also come in Nightfall Blue if the copper thing isn’t really your style.

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Ways I Want to Help The Planet in 2018

In the last few years, saving the planet in an environmental sense seems to have slipped from the minds of a lot of people. Sure, we have a tonne more recycling bins now than we ever did, and you’ve gotta pay for a plastic carrier bag now, but I think most people just think of that as a bit of a hassle, rather than remembering the reasons behind it all.

Then Blue Planet 2 hit our screens, and thanks to David Attenborough and his ability to capture an entire nation through the TV screen, suddenly the impact that the human race is having on Planet Earth suddenly started to really hit home again. I was blown away by the number of celebrities, bloggers and influencers discussing such an important topic, and using their platforms to get other people talking. Not only that, I was seeing ideas; what we can do to help this place we, and millions of other creatures, call home.

Its a subject I’ve always been passionate about, but like many others I’ve slipped back into bad habits, but in 2018 I’m determined to bring it back to the forefront of everything that I do, and here are a few specific plans I’m making:

Buying more responsibly

Local produce, UK based companies, more sustainable products etc. This beautiful top from Monki is made from 100% recycled fibres and I had no idea something so pretty could be made from recycled materials!

Donating and recycling my old clothes

On Christmas Eve I took two huge sacks of old clothes to a local recycling centre that actually sends the decent items to Africa for people living in poverty to sell in order to make money, creating industry and supporting those who need it, and the stuff that isn’t good enough they recycle, plus, you can take down old sheets and towels which they donate to the RSPCA. I still have another bag of clothes that I want to take to local charity shops to give them a new home.

No more disposable coffee cups

I’m not a tea or coffee drinker, but I do love a Costa hot chocolate, especially from a winter menu. From here on out though, I’m going to be carrying my own travel cup so that I can benefit from the discount that a lot of coffee places give to people who bring their own cups, and also save on unnecessary use of paper cups and plastic lids. No mug, no drink!

Making my small businesses more eco-friendly

Over the next few months, I’m going to try and source more sustainable packaging for all my products, as well as making more of an effort to raise awareness with my customers.

Eco-blogging

I have the gift of this platform, and I’m going to use it. Stay tuned this year for more eco-friendly content, from recycling to upcycling and so much more!

Here’s to a responsible 2018!

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