Archive | March, 2012

By the time I’m twenty three….

26 Mar

So…I’m approaching the dreaded age of twenty-two, which I have been feeling a sense of impending doom about for a while now. That time of life where you can no longer be put in the category of the young and restless, but instead can categorize yourself as ‘in your twenties’ which is disturbingly ambiguous to say the least. Not to mention that with the title of ‘in your twenties’ comes a whole host of expectations and responsibilities, not that I’m obverse to being sensible and beginning an adult style of life, mentality ect. But from twenty-two it’s a slippery slope downwards towards the time in life when I will be put in to the category of late twenties, which I am so not ready for. So to try to placate the ‘quarter life crisis’ (as my friends have designated it) I have decided to do what I do best, and make a list, a list of all the things I want to do, achieve, visit ect before I reach twenty-three (god help me!) and then recap in a years time to see how far I’ve got.

I got this idea from a blogging friend, and apparently its a great way to take control of your life, setting clear goals, helping you to make sure that you achieve everything you want to. (I know it sounds all self-help, new agey rubbish but I’ll give anything a go once!) So I encourage you all to make your own lists as well, you might be surprised what ends up on it, see what you can do in a year!

Heres mine!

1. Pass my driving test!

I have been learning to drive for what feels like forever, but in actuality is six months, I may not be able to afford a car in this lifetime but I still cant wait to get my hands on that shiny pink license. My test is at the end of April and hopefully I’ll only need to take it the once! But I am determined that I will have a full driving license by the time I’m twenty-three, so I can claim that I take public transport by choice not necessity.

2. Be in employment, working towards a career

Sort of an obvious addition to my list, by the time I’m twenty-three I want to be in employment in a position connected to my field, frankly I’m tired of doing endless work experience and internships, great for experience and the curriculum vitae but not helpful in working your way up the career ladder, to do that I need to be in paid employment in my field. So a communications/public affairs/PR/ media related position by twenty-three  please! (If I only manage one thing on the list let it be this!)

3. Visit a karaoke bar and sing Ne-yo’s ‘Never knew I needed’

I love karaoke and have been trying to convince my friends to go with me for three years now, the fact that most of my friends are boys doesn’t help so this may be something I drag my girlfriends along to! For my number of choice it would have to be ‘Never knew I needed’ by Ne-yo. I’ve fallen in love with that song. A hilarious experience that requires courage and confidence, so I hope by the time I’m twenty-three I’ve sung my little heart out in a karaoke bar (and also not been booed off stage.) 

When karaoke bars are as cool as this, why wouldn't you want to go?

4. Have another amazing group holiday with my friends

Kos 2010 was the holiday of a lifetime, so by the time I turn twenty-three I hope to go on holiday again with my friends (or at least have a holiday booked) I think we all deserve a bit of a break and in a years time we definitely will!

5. Have my own flat/house/space

If I manage to achieve number two on my list then number five might be achievable as well. I would love to have a place of my own, or rent somewhere with my friends. I enjoyed the independence I experienced at university living with my flatmates, and although I don’t wish to experience drunken four am wake up calls, the smell of weed drifting down from upstairs and the kitchen being trashed on a regular basis (it was only fun the first time round) I do want the enjoyment of living with friends and enjoying some independence again.

6. Visit in the UK

Honestly the amount of places I want to visit most likely require their own list, but these places mentioned are the main ones that I’d liked to have visited by the time I turn the magic twenty-three. Stonehenge- everyone who has been to see it has told me its overrated but I would like to have the opportunity to decide for myself. Hampton Court- I went when I was a child but have virtually no memory of it so its high time I return! The making of Harry Pottor tour- I grew up with Harry Potter book releases marking the summer holidays and the films as a child, so it would be wonderful to see the magic come to life. Tresco Abbey Gardens on Tresco Island- Its a two and a half hour ferry ride but well worth the visit, meant to be a magic hideaway island with lots to offer and a garden that’s home to beautiful exotic experimental plants and flowers, its been on my list for quite some time.

I could happily spend time here...

If I make it to even one of these places then I’ll be a happy girl!

7. Learn to swim

Friends know that I have been saying I want to learn to swim for years and each year say I’m going to do it. The lack of swimming ability hasn’t stopped me swimming with the dolphins or enjoying pools and beaches on holiday (I have life jackets and floats to thank for that.) However I have younger siblings growing up fast, and it would be nice if I could keep up with them and my friends in the water. The safety aspect of basic swimming skills is also important, perhaps by the time I’m twenty-three I’ll ‘take the plunge’ as it were and have finally learnt.

8. Go all culture vulture and Dora explorer

In my younger years I use to go to markets and quirky festivals, I was always at the theatre and I would frequent museums and exhibits. For some reason I don’t manage to do these things anymore, so in a year I’d like to get back to the things I use to enjoy. I would also like to go off the beaten track more, and explore my surroundings rather than just stick to where I know! Explore a little part of the world as I go along (hence the Dora reference!)

9. Shop till I drop

The British economy being what it is I can’t really afford to do this at the moment(who can?) But in a years time I’d like to think I will have put a fair bit of money aside so I can go shopping in Westfields or The Bull Ring and really treat myself to some heavy retail therapy. Its been a rough year getting here, so the idea of going out and being frivolous blowing money on items I want rather than need, really appeals to me!

10. Spend some time

The last thing on the list has to be to spend more time with my family and friends, the people who are important to me. Everyone is always really busy, including me. But when we only have a small amount of time allotted to us we have to make the most of it and be with the people we care about. I think sometimes we can all be accused of forgetting to appreciate each other, so I will risk sounding very clichéd by saying in the year between my twenty-second and twenty-third birthday I’d like to spend more time with family and friends.

Lets see how far I get in a year!

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Welcome to the best exotic marigold hotel!

15 Mar

My new phone contract is the gift that keeps on giving, as now I have another excuse to spend my time in the cinemas thanks to Orange Wednesdays, for the first time in my life yesterday I sent off my text to Orange awaiting with anticipation the magic code that would allow me to get two for one cinema tickets!  And what better way to use that two for one offer than seeing the surprise hit of the box office, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Take a journey to exotic India!

Sitting down in our seats my friends commented that we were the only people under forty in the room, which made me slightly nervous as to my choice, and whether I would be receiving some severe ribbing if this all went disastrously wrong, but that worry soon faded when the film had us all laughing only three minutes in.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes us on a journey with seven british retirees who for different financial reasons are unable to afford to retire in Britain, and decide on spending the rest of their twilight years abroad in exotic and more affordable India. Newly widowed Evelyn (Judi Dench), recent high court judge Graham (Tom Wilkinson), aging Lothario Norman (Ronald Pickup), man hunter Madge (Celia Imrie) , married couple Jean and Douglas (Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighly), and bitter racist Muriel (Maggie Smith) are lured by the advertisements of a beautiful new refurbished hotel and luxury lifestyle. However on arrival they find that so many things were not quite as advertised, the hotel is dilapidated, the facilities almost non-existent and the food a spicy change from their usual cuisine.

Sonny (Dev Patel) , the young well-meaning optimistic dreamer, is the manager of the hotel. Excited by his first real paying guests, armed only with enthusiasm determined to make the hotel and his dreams of ‘outsourcing retirement’ a success, fights a losing battle struggling to balance his financially challenged hotel, grumpy guests and controlling mother. Each member of the group makes their own discoveries as they all clumsily settle into their new lives in India, finding themselves again in a way they never could in Britain.

This is a film that will definitely make it to my DVD collection when it is released, the acting was brilliant, particularly Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighly and Maggie Smith. If you ever have any questions on why these actors are considered of the highest calibre, watch this film, it really showcases their comedic talent. Dev Patel had me laughing out loud, he played his role as the optimistic dreamer very well, his line ‘everything will be all right in the end, if it’s not alright…then its not the end’ not only made me giggle but also made a lot of sense, and spoke to the optimist in me. I may be referring back to that quote in the future when times get hard!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel drew me in and had me emotionally involved, I found myself rooting for the characters and getting into the spirit of the film. Part of this films magic is how it captures you, makes you think about your own life and where you’ll be in the future. Personally I hope I have at least half of the adventurous spirit that the characters in this film had, when I reach their age!

I don’t usually give ratings in my film reviews, as unless a film is truly terrible I find it hard to sum up each films individual qualities and reduce and place them into a generalist stat, as each film is different and has something to offer. But I shall conform this once and give it nine out of ten, the only reason it lacked the ‘ten out of ten’ rating was because in the middle it dragged slightly, but that is certainly forgivable when you take into account how good the film is in its entirety.

So pay a visit to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and open yourself up to an exotic adventure in India that you’ll never forget!

Happy World Book Day

1 Mar

Happy World Book Day everyone!

I’ve loved books since I was a little girl,  reading ‘Roger Redhat’ to my no doubt exasperated father every bedtime, it turns out that a love of the literary starting from early childhood grows and if nurtured is a life long passion, which is why I can work my way through two or three books a day and have a book shelf on the verge of dangerous collapse. My family however don’t share the same love of the written word as I do and I often feel a bit disappointed not being able to pass on amazing books that have changed my thinking, or that I’ve really enjoyed, which is why I adore World book day. A chance to discuss and celebrate the works of great authors that allow each and every one of us the opportunity to explore new worlds and concepts, experience adventure and become part of a journey that starts with the turn of the very first page .

So since its World Book Day and I have a strange compulsion to make lists, I thought I would make a list of my top ten books.

Time to celebrate reading!

1. Run by Blake Crouch

This book I read in one sitting I was that engrossed in it, ‘Run’ is a fascinating exploration of human morality and what happens when the conscience and morality that guide our everyday lives and choices is removed. It’s a normal day in America until a rash of strange and senseless murders sweep the country, strangers for no reason start killing, mass shootings at schools, brutal murders in nursing homes, death on every street corner in every town in America. The President begs for calm but the horrific and inhumane murder continues and increases, until it becomes clear that half the population has become contaminated by something compelling them to kill those unaffected, without mercy. The emergency broadcast system announces names and addresses of those next to be killed, Jack and his family are among them. ‘Run’ tells the story of Jack and his family trying to survive in an impossible situation, where the boundaries of humanity, what it means to be human, and how far you would go to survive take you to the brink and back.  This is amazing, I can’t imagine anyone finding this book boring, its well worth picking up!

2. Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George

This won’t be for everyone, but personally I can’t stop re-reading this book,  I love historical fiction and Cleopatra has always been a female heroine figure of mine shrouded in mystery, which I’ve  wanted to know more about. ‘Memoirs of Cleopatra’ allows you to explore the life of one of histories most famous femme fatale’s from her early childhood, up the infamous asp death scene that have given artists and poets plenty of inspiration over the years. A fictional narrative based on solid facts creates a vivid account of her life, that is an interesting read if you have a love of history.

3. Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella

I have a complete eclectic taste in literary genres, so I’m not ashamed to admit that I love this self-proclaimed ‘chick lit’ series of books. It has to be the funniest series of books I’ve ever read that has me laughing out loud and attracting the stares of worried passersby. This series follows the life of trouble prone Becky, who has a relationship with her credit card that puts me and even the big bad bankers to shame! Compulsive spender Becky gets her self into all kinds of bizarre incidents that spiral completely out of control,  and hilarity soon ensues! Another reason to adore this series is because we can all find elements of ourselves in Becky and Kinsella brings to life those elements in a comical fashion that allows us to appreciate even the worst parts of ourself.

4. The saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan (O’Shaughnessy)

Ok so these books are not exactly aimed at adults, I discovered them in my teenage vampire groupie stage but whilst I’ve grown up they have remained a brilliant series, with lots of interesting plot twists that keep readers guessing. The ‘saga’ gives a completely different interpretation of vampires from the usual, and quite expertly creates a whole little universe with its own rules, traditions and customs for the readers to associate with vampires, before Twilight came along and made vampires sexy model like creatures that have more of a hunger for lust than blood, this was the most realistic interpretation of vampires for most people, and pray god still is. The story focuses on Darren, a young teen boy who becomes tangled in the world of vampires and a bloody war, when he becomes a vampire himself to save his dying best friend, blood, horror, war and destiny, what more could you ask for?

5. The tea rose by Jennifer Donnelly

My cousin introduced me to this book and its sequel ‘The winter rose’ and I can’t thank her enough as I had been missing out!  Set in the Victorian era it follows Fiona Finnegan who dreams of doing what no other woman in her world has, to own her own business. With the intelligence, willpower, strength of her family and love of her life Joe by her side she knows she can not fail. But Fiona’s life soon starts falling apart when her family experience tragedy and Joe is forced into an unhappy marriage with another girl, with little left to her Fiona starts again in the land of opportunity, America, where the dream she had to put on hold is now her only chance of surviving. Romance, drama and intrigue set against the backdrop of one of Britain’s epic passages of history.

6. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Almost everyone has heard about this book but if you haven’t then you have missed out on an amazing experience. Exploring themes of racism, love, power, self-worth and violence I have yet to meet anyone who can fail to be moved by this book. History tells us that white dominated black, but in ‘Noughts and Crosses’ this history is re-written with black supremacy instead, where white people ‘noughts’ never achieved equality. Sephy and Callum are the Romeo and Juliet of this piece, desperate to be together despite the fact that the world won’t allow it. What difference does colour make and how and why does someone who is of a different nationality, race, colour, religion become hated, feared and less human? This book made me question all my beliefs and ask some important questions, read it and you’ll discover a lot about yourself.

7. An evil cradling by Brian Keenan

Ironically when I studied this at A level I found it incredibly tedious, but at that point I was being made to write four page essays on single paragraphs, no wonder it lost its charm! Re-reading it a few years later I realised that I hadn’t appreciated just how good it was. A true story written by the hostage himself Brian Keenan, Brian takes us on the journey of his long four and a half-year captivity spent in solitary and in companionship with his captors and fellow captives. It’s not just an interesting account of a hostage experience, but of the mental state of someone who experiences the full range of emotions including madness, and the coping capabilities of humans when faced with this situation. Painfully honest in every way, but I found that refreshing, its insightful and you’ll finish with questions, ideas and maybe some self realisation.

8. Sister by Rosamund Lupton

A great psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the end, ‘Sister’ makes you think about how well you know anyone, even your own family and what may be going on behind closed doors. Beatrice has the ‘perfect’ life in New York with her fiance, so when her mother calls with the news that her sister Tess has gone missing, she can’t quite believe that this could be happening to her. Beatrice flies straight back to the UK, desperate to track down her sister who she believes she is so close too, but what Beatrice does discover is that she doesn’t know Tess quite as well as she thinks.

9. Sea Change, Escape, Fiesta, Footloose by Kate Cann

My guilty pleasure, these books are the ideal holiday reads,  full of sun, sea, sand and that other thing 🙂 The girls in these books all escape to exotic new lands where they make self realisations, find true love and make life changing decisions. Which is more than I ever do on holiday! (Maybe I’m doing it wrong?) I hate to say it, but they are the perfect trashy read for the beach bum in me.

10. Keeping faith by Jodie Picoult

I love a good controversy and Jodie Picoult always delivers, this particular novel by Picoult is my favourite of her series. Mariah White struggles getting from day-to-day after her young daughter Faith walks in on her husband having an affair, trying to move on in a life without her husband Mariah’s problems increase when Faith claims to have an imaginary friend that she calls her ‘guard’ and begins quoting passages from a bible she has never read. Things spiral out of control when Faith begins to experience stigmata, and performs miracles. With the church, press and social workers at her back and her ex husband ready to fight for custody of the daughter he abandoned, Mariah begins to lose control of her life and of the one thing in her life that keeps her going, her daughter.

So these are my top ten books, they changed my way of thinking, my outlook, ideas. Expanding your horizons is always worth doing and perhaps one of these books might just do that! If you have any book suggestions for me then please comment! Pass on your favourites!!!!

 

 

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