Mojo is a funny thing. Sometimes I have so much of it overspills out of my pores. Sometimes I have none at all and all I want to do is lay in my room in the dark and not do anything. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, mainly due to external forces but partly my own doing, as well.
But here I am, writing a post after what seems like a lifetime. How is everyone? What have I missed? I’ll be attempting to catch up with the blogosphere once this is posted. It’s not that I haven’t missed the blogosphere, it’s just that I got to a point where I couldn’t bear to do anything. All I wanted to do was watch TV (mostly Steven Universe) and eat a lot of crap.
My writing has suffered so badly because of this. I haven’t written properly in months; not even a smidgen. Camp NaNoWriMo is next month, so I will be attempting that in order to get my creative juices flowing.
It’s been hard, people. I cannot lie. Even writing this now requires a lot of effort from me but the thing is I do want to do it – I just have no energy. I have been drained. It’s so weird. I’m slowly getting back to my old self, though. It had gotten to a point where people at work were starting to notice that I wasn’t myself but slowly but surely. I’ll be fine. Self-care is so important.
So, where do we go from here?
Blog Revamp ✨
As I’m sure you’ve noticed I have a new blog layout! It’s nothing fancy and if you’ve followed me for a long time, then I’m sure you know I love a minimal design. But seeing as I’m trying to creep back into the blogosphere, I thought I might as well come back with a new look.
As I mentioned, I’ll be attempting Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I really want to make some headway on my book. I have 50k+ words down already, for God’s sake. I hate myself for being such a procrastinator and I know the book will not be written by itself. I’m doing some brainstorming and coming up with some new ideas. I’m refusing to go back and touch what’s already been written because I know I’ll get sucked into a black hole and never come out to actually continue the story.
I’ll also be making a conscious effort to post more on the blog and my portfolio. There was once a time that I could churn out 3 blog posts in a day and nowadays it takes me a whole day just to think of half a post. That needs to change. Writing has always been my first love, and need to keep nurturing that if I want to get anywhere in life.
I’m the sort of person who reads about 50 gagillion books at the same time. At the moment I’m reading:
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The Waste Lands by Stephen King
How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
I also still have a summer reading list from like 2015 that I have yet to complete. To be a bookworm. If you have any other suggestions for new reads, though, my inbox is always open. 😬
Fitness Journey ⛹🏽
I attempt one every year and it always fizzles out, but I’m trying really hard this year guys. I’ve been to the gym more frequently with Mutay and it’s been amazing. I’ve found I don’t have to post every time I go to the gym just to hold myself accountable. Not everyday social media. Do the #gainz for yourself, right? Been busting that 4.4L of water every day – my skin is a lot clearer than it used to be, although not the best. I think it’s because I love alcohol too much, but irrelevant.
Self Care 💆
I’ve realised that self-care doesn’t mean locking yourself in your room and wallowing in self-pity. Actually, I knew that already and I’ve written before about what to do to cultivate positivity. I must confess that I sometimes don’t listen to my own advice. Have you ever found that it’s so much easier to give other people advice, but when it comes to listening to yourself it is so much harder? Television is so cathartic for me. It is my greatest escape tool and I will always default to it when nothing else works. I’ve been listening to podcasts and music. Simple pamper sessions: sheet mask, painting my nails, bubble bath, Netflix – they do wonders for me. Little, little things to try and get me back on track.
Clear Out 🗑️
The thing I’ve been attempting to do since last year is clear out my wardrobe. There are so many clothes that I own that I know I will never, ever wear again but for some reason, I’m still hanging onto them. I keep telling myself that on my days off, I’ll start my clear out but I never do. I have no idea how I’m going to get around to it, I just know that I need to. Especially as I basically just wear the same clothes everyday, anyway. It’ll be so refreshing, as well.
That’s where I’m going from now on. You know that song by Miley Cyrus? The Climb.
There’s always gonna be another mountain I’m always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose Ain’t about how fast I get there Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side It’s the climb
I last went to Prague about 5 years ago but didn’t have the pleasure of exploring the city as much as I would have liked to. When my friend suggested we go to Prague, I jumped at the chance. An opportunity to go away and just forget all the stress and worries of real life? Yes, please, thank you, sir! We found a really good package deal via British Airways, so it was really a no-brainer. So on April 24th, we flew out to the wonderful city of Prague to start my first adventure of the year.
Want to know what to visit, where to eat or what to do when in Prague? Be sure to read on and take notes! 📝
Our first full day consisted of 15,866 steps. That is a helluva lot of walking. We started off by attempting to find Wenceslas Square. Google decided to take us on a complete hike, but luckily we found a quicker way after that first trek. The weather was so beautiful, so we decided to chill in the square for a bit before continuing our journey.
Wenceslas Square is one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic
OLD TOWN SQUARE
After Wenceslas Square, we made our way to Old Town Square. Old Town Square is a historic square in the Old Town quarter of Prague. There are many buildings displaying different architectural styles in the square and it was such a beautiful sight to take in. We made our way to the Old Town Hall Tower, as the Astronomical Clock is currently under repair. For 250 CZK (£8/$11) you can go up the tower and witness astounding views of Old Town.
After taking many photos in the square, we made our way to Charles Bridge. Charles Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished at the beginning of the 15th century.
We walked over that bridge many times during our trip and it never got old. It is absolutely amazing and is decorated with about 30 statues and statuaries, depicting saints and patron saints. It is such a beautiful bridge to walk over especially when the weather is gorgeous.
The Crucifix and Calvary on Charles Bridge
After making it to the other side of the bridge, we decided to try and find the Dancing House. Also given the nickname Fred and Ginger, the Dancing House is located on the Rašín Embankment – it is not the typical Baroque, Gothic or Art Noveau designs that Prague is famous for but I definitely loved it and it is very different to any building I’ve ever seen.
I was genuinely expecting to find a grand castle upon us deciding to go to Prague Castle, only to find out it’s actually a castle complex consisting of palaces, churches, gardens, etc. It was still a very interesting place to visit and they even had a changing of the guards. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world!
There are several types of tickets you can get when visiting the castle (because come on, what tourist attraction is really free these days?) – we chose Circuit B for 250 CZK (£9/$11) which allowed us to visit St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and Golden Lane.
I’ve mentioned before that I love cathedrals and St. Vitus’ was no exception. I was astonished by the stained glass windows and even though the cathedral was chock full of tourists, I still felt at peace somewhat. I wanted to light a candle, but they had these fake ones which I don’t fw, tbh.
One of the stain glass windows in St. Vitus Cathedral
The cathedral was my favourite part of the circuit, but I did enjoy the Old Royal Palace which apparently holds a copy of the Czech crown (I didn’t see) and St. George’s Basilica. I also really liked Golden Lane, with its cute brightly coloured buildings.
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. George’s Basilica
Rather randomly, there is a Lennon Wall located in Prague which we had to visit. It was once an ordinary wall but has since been filled with Lennon-inspired graffiti. Also a little further down from the wall is a small bridge with lover’s locks (eye roll).
We never actually got to go inside the chapel because it looked like renovations were taking place so we ended up having to just take pictures of the outside. The Bethlehem Chapel is a medieval religious building in the Old Town of Prague, notable for its connection with the origins of the Bohemian Reformation.
OLD NEW SYNAGOGUE
This is Europe’s oldest active synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. We didn’t go inside the synagogue either but just observed the outside. It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague’s community is kept.
JOSEFOV (THE JEWISH QUARTER)
This town quarter was once the Jewish ghetto of the town. Most of the quarter was demolished between 1893 and 1913 as part of an initiative to model the city on Paris. What was left were only six synagogues, the old cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall. There were a few stalls that we visited selling their wares and I bought a bracelet from one of them.
Before we arrived, I had already done research on some restaurants that were considered really good according to TripAdvisor and Time Out. I already knew that I was looking to eat well when I was out in Prague and wanted to get a scope of the different kinds of food they had there.
This cafe is reportedly visited by many locals and is located on the second floor of Palac Adria. We got to sit out on the terrace for dinner, making the whole experience even better. Offering both local and international dishes, Kavarna Adria had an extensive menu. I already knew what I was going to order before I’d even stepped into the cafe – beef goulash with Vienna onion and speck dumplings.
This is the sort of meal that will send you to SLEEP. The beef was deliciously tender, the gravy was rich and meaty and the dumplings rounded it off perfectly. I thought it was decently priced at 199 CZK (£6/$9). I also ordered a tequila sunrise because you can’t go wrong with cocktails.
It was really relaxing sitting out on the terrace above all the hustle and bustle of Central Prague. The service was good, with the waiter being nice and friendly. Would definitely visit again!
GEORGE PRIME STEAK
I wanted to be bougie for one night and, to be honest, you can’t get any bougier than George Prime Steak. Also, I really love steak!!
I immediately felt fancy as soon as I stepped into the restaurant; the ambience was amazing. Amazing setting and location – the atmosphere was relaxing, the chairs comfortable and the food delicious.
We didn’t get this, however, a waiter goes around with a display of the various cuts and gives recommendations on how they should be cooked. I always go for my steak medium rare, anything above is atrocious.
I ordered a T-bone steak (2 for 1, baby) with creamed mash potato and stir-fried baby bok choy. I could have eaten it all over again if I could! I also ordered one of their signature handcrafted cocktails – PAPA REVOLUTION: Bulleit Bourbon, Bitters, DON PAPA RUM, Roger Groult Calvados, Passionfruit Puree, Touch Of Apricot. So yummy! If you can’t tell, cocktails are my weakness.
Although pricey according to Prague standards, I would not hesitate to come back again.
This cafe offers a garden area and an indoor eating area. We decided to sit outside because how often do you get to eat outside especially if you live in London? It may look high end but the friendly staff make you feel right at home. Excellent food, excellent service – what more can I say?
I ordered the pork tenderloin marinated in garlic and rosemary, smoked meat-stuffed dumplings and stewed cabbage. There’s only so much cow you can have. It was absolutely delicious. The sauce complimented the meat and the dumplings were there to soak up all the deliciousness.
Again, decently priced at 219 CZK (£7/$10) so definitely a place I would visit again.
Trdlo or trdelník is very popular pastry in Prague. Everywhere we went there were loads of trdelník shops and it smelt so sweet and yummy! We had just walked over Charles Bridge for the 1000th time and decided to stop by one of the shops and try this delicious snack.
It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and cinnamon. I went for the Vanilla Dream – vanilla, strawberries and whipped cream. It was so good!
This is the cutest bar I have ever been in! Inspired by Ernest Hemingway, this little bar specialises in freshly mixed cocktails. We were lucky to get a seat because apparently it does get quite busy.
The server we had was amazing! She explained each of our cocktails to us in such detail. There was many to choose from on their menu.
Firstly, I opted for the Candy Shop – Pisco spirit, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, raspberry purée, rhubarb bitters, egg white, soda water, pop rock candy, homemade figue marshmallow. Our server suggested I take a bite of the marshmallow and then a sip of the drink, which I did and it was so yummy! Sweet and sour at the same time.
For my next cocktail I ordered the Magic Moment – Beefeater gin, mallow and nettle cordial, magic moment. If you’ve been on my Instagram then you’ll have already seen what the “magic moment” is, but it sure was pretty and pink! The drink was quite strong and I’m not usually a gin drinker, but I did enjoy this one.
SEGWAY EXPERIENCE PRAGUE
My colleague at work suggested that we do a Segway tour and after finding pamphlets for it in our hotel, we decided that it was going to happen. I had the BEST time doing the tour. We were lucky enough to actually get a private tour because no one else turned up and so basically paid group price for a private tour. It also ended up being longer than the allotted time, so we got even more for our money.
Our guide, Peter, was amazing! He was so patient with us as we learned the ropes and was full of amazing historical facts about Prague. If you ever go to Prague and do this tour, see if you can get Peter because he is the best.
Peter took us to a few monasteries including Strahov Monastery and Brevnov Monastery. As we approached Strahov Stadium we also got to freestyle in the parking lot which was a lot of fun! We didn’t get to see inside the stadium because it was blocked by sandbags. We also got to go through Ladronka Park and visit the village estate of Spiritka.
It was such a fun experience whizzing through Prague on a Segway and I would definitely do it again!
DRUNKEN MONKEY PUB CRAWL
All I can really tell you is that there a 2-hour open bar and beer pong. And really good music. And really fun, crazy, amazing staff.
What I can’t tell you is what happens after you leave the Drunken Monkey because girl. Anyway, if you’re looking for a lit last night in Prague then I would definitely recommend. I just wouldn’t recommend mixing your drinks. ✌🏾
… can be difficult especially in the age of social media. So often, I’ve scrolled through my Instagram feed or Twitter timeline and felt myself sinking into an abyss because I see that people are having a better run at life than I am. But then I remember that social media is a highlight reel, and unless they turn around and show it then I’m not going to see that person’s bad days.
But how to cultivate positive thinking when my phone is an extension of my hand and I have no self-control to speak of yet, so can’t just switch off just like that? I try to use it to my advantage. I listen to podcasts that get me pumped throughout the week (The Receipts Podcast, Say Your Mind, 2 Dope Queens (as of recent)) and I try to focus on social media posts that talk about the person’s achievements or specifically positive thinking.
Outside of that, if I’m feeling down I resort to my go-to definitely going to put me in a positive mood – reading. My cousin recently gifted me Lilly Singh’s book ‘How To Be A Bawse’ (thank you so much, bby girl, I love you, you the best) and whilst the majority of it is stuff I already know, the way she writes make it so relatable and got me thinking, “Okay, Chynna. Don’t just soak up this advice. DO something with it.”
This past week has been so up and down internally for me. So despite getting good news during the middle of the week, I was still in a foul mood all day. It wasn’t until I listened to something that my mood immediately lifted. I ended the day laughing and smiling and feeling so inspired. It’s amazing how a little thing can immediately turn your mood around.
It’s not going to be easy to be in a positive mindset 24/7. Allowing yourself to have a ‘bad’ day, so to speak, is still good for you. Just to acknowledge that these are feelings you are allowed to have.
If I could I would quit my job and go travelling. And whilst I know that there are jobs out there that will allow me to travel and work at the same time, I don’t know if that is something I could do. Perhaps with time and research, it could become a possibility but for now, I like the fact that I have a stable paycheck which allows me to save and then go to the places that I really want to go.
So, in saying that I, of course, have a travel bucket list. Mutay and I sat down when we went to Edinburgh last February and came up with a master list of places that we want to travel too, and boy it was long.
I had a look at the Destination2 website the other day for some more inspiration because the world is such a huge and wonderful place, and ideally, I would love to visit everywhere. Mutay and I are looking to go to LA this year (hi, Nancy 😉), and I’m already planning to go to the Philippines next year in December. Hopefully, next year will be the year that I get to visit more places!
Without further ado, here is my travel bucket list for 2018.
Every time I surf the web I swear I see adverts with deals to Iceland. Which, of course, increases the need to visit Iceland. Who wouldn’t want to see the Northern Lights? The Blue Lagoon? Go on a Puffin Express cruise? Go on a hot spring adventure? The closest I’ve been is a stopover in Reykjavik when I was flying to New York, but I want more than a stopover!
I watch a lot of Just Kidding News and they are always going to Hawaii. There is always a sense of FOMO whenever I watch the vlogs of them visiting Hawaii because it looks glorious. Gorgeous beaches, good food and from what I can tell the friendliest people. I want to be greeted at the airport with a lei. I want to visit the Volcanoes National Park, take in scenic views of Waipio Valley and soak in all the culture possible.
My friend moved out to Dubai middle of last year and every time she posts a photo on Instagram my heart is screaming, “BOOK A TICKET. JUMP ON A PLANE. GO GO GO.” You can go to Dubai with Destination2 and from just looking around they have some really good deals, so it’s possible I’ll be heading there sooner than you think. I know a few people who have been to Dubai and have had such a blast! There are so many things to do like the Aquaventure Waterpark, taking a helicopter ride for some amazing satellite views or visiting Burj Khalifa, a mega tall skyscraper that would probably make me crane my neck like no man’s business.
This country has been on my list for the longest time (most likely fuelled from a stopover I took when I went to the Philippines – notice how I’m always stopping over but not visiting?). I’m always seeing photos on Instagram of the Gardens by the Bay which looks so colourful and futuristic. They also have Universal Studios and I love a theme park and who wouldn’t want to stay at Marina Bay Sands and enjoy the world’s largest infinity pool?
I’ve always written letters to our past selves, but really what good will that do? We can’t go back and change the past, we can only learn from it. I thought that this time around, we’d have a go at writing to our future self.
I also didn’t want to write a generic letter that states the goals that I want to be achieved at this certain time, blah blah blah. I’m still at a stage in my life where I don’t know exactly where I want to be in say 5 years time. I just know that I want us to be happy, as cheesy as that sounds, and have a book published. Whether we’ll be in a long-term relationship or by ourselves, as long as we’re happy that is all that matters.
Ideally, we should be settled, living away from home and in a job that makes us financially stable. I think those are realistic expectations, so it’s all about taking the steps to achieve these goals.
In the pursuit of happiness, things get difficult but it’s what we do that makes the difference. Do we just sit there and moan and complain that nothing is going right? Or do we stand up and do something about it?
Life has its ups and downs but with a good support system then you know that things are going to be okay. Life is not perfect but that’s what makes it fascinating, exciting, amazing. If we let all the bad shit that happens to us get in the way then we would be worn down to a husk of a human being.
When we feel like crying, let it out. When we feel down, find someone to talk to. When you feel happy, share that with someone. When something good has happened in your life, shout it from the rooftops!
I am a firm believer in karma – put good into the universe, and you will be rewarded, no matter how small. No one needs negative vibes – we only subscribe to positive ones.
Of course, not every day will be a good day – it’s unrealistic to expect that but if we go about life with a positive mindset and just keep doing us then it’s going to be alright. The goals we’ve set, we will have achieved by now because you know what? We. Got. This.
January went by in a haze of brokeness, post-Christmas blues and feeling a fat lump because I ate too much. Doesn’t the winter make you want to hibernate and do nothing else? The way London is moving these days, as well, I actually can’t deal and I need a sun holiday ASAP. (Does anyone want to buy me a ticket? Anyone?)
Did anyone feel like January is always the longest? “What day is it?” “January 74th.” Wheeew. Despite the longness of January, let’s move onto some of my favourites of the month!
I love stationery. I have tons of notebooks, coloured pens, pencils, coloured pencils, everything and I must admit it is a bit ridiculous but I can’t get enough. I don’t remember how I found out about Notebook Therapy but their site had me wanting to buy everything on it.
In the end, I settled for their star sign collection and now I’m practising bullet journaling. Don’t ask me how long this phase will last (I’ll be the first to admit that I get hyped about things and then I get too tired) but I hope it actually works out. I tried out weekly spreads but realised monthly spreads are better for me. I’ll be using in conjunction with my Trigg planner, so I feel extra organised.
Speaking of Trigg planner, I am absolutely loving mine. I did mention before that it was a bit daunting because there’s so much in there, but now that I’m in the flow I can’t get enough! I just love that it’s split into sections that really allow you to focus on what you want to focus on and each month has different intentions. So, January’s intention was ”, and my planner really helped me to hone in on that.
Tara was kind enough to share with me her library of eBooks, so I’ve been having fun delving in there and trying to reach my book target for this year! I started reading Animorphs, and I’m also rereading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I have an eReader, but I haven’t used it in ages. I don’t even know where it is, to be honest, but I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I can read on my journeys to work.
Say Your Mind Podcast
Say Your Mind, unofficially known as Suck Your Mum, is a podcast by the amazing Kelechi Okafor. She gives her unique take on current events and it is giving me life. I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but this one has me looking forward to tuning in on Mondays. I must say, though, that listening to this on the bus is HARD because most times I want to start jumping up and hollering or cackle like a mad woman because Kelechi is so funny and relatable.
My wig gets snatched every time I listen to a new episode. Kelechi is witty, insightful and just a baby girl. I love this podcast because it is unfiltered and people need to be slapped with the truth, let’s face it. She gives me so much Monday motivation and I love that she reads out tarot cards on her show, too. When she explains the meaning behind the card that she’s pulled I am genuinely like:
This was inevitably going to be on this list because if you follow me on Twitter then YOU SHOULD KNOW ALREADY. January dramas included:
I Am Not A Robot
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
Cheese In The Trap (still watching)
A Korean Odyssey (still watching)
I won’t go into too much otherwise this post will go from 0 – 💯 real quick and let’s face it I’m sure the majority of you won’t stick around for that. But to boil it down, I’ve basically been in my feelings the whole of January. There’s nothing like coming home, eating dinner and then throwing on my onesie on and snuggling in with a drama. NOTHING LIKE IT.
There have been 20 entries in The Food Diaries! People seem to enjoy them, which I’m glad to see and I enjoy writing them because what’s not to love about food? (Except when you’re dying from an allergic reaction, ahem)
These days I’ve been craving fried chicken like a pregnant lady, so it’s only right that I must write a post about fried chicken. More specifically fried chicken burgers.
Other Side Fried were promoting on Instagram free chicken burgers for the first 100 people that headed over to Dirty South in Lewisham. My fat ass obviously had to get in on the action. Unfortunately, I missed out on the free burger but still got 30% off my order.
What came next was an unbelievable amount of happiness because their burgers are out of this world. And I don’t put that lightly.
I ordered the O.S.F burger – fried chicken, brown butter mayo, parmesan, garlic, lettuce. Whoever came up with brown butter mayo deserves an award because what the hell? What is that sweet elixir? The fried chicken was the perfect amount of crispy and juicy. Have you ever bit into a burger and the juices come running down the side of your mouth and you look like a hot mess? But you’re okay with that because the food is so damn good.
Alongside the burger, I also ordered the Dirty Fries – bacon, parmesan, hot sauce, ranch sauce. Aside from fried chicken, cheese is another one of my weaknesses. (Now that I write that I’m wary that people can actually exploit me because all they need to do is give me fried chicken and cheese and I will do anything for them).
Speaking of, potatoes are so versatile, don’t you think? I could probably write a whole post on the versatility of potatoes – boiled or baked, to steamed, roasted, microwaved or fried. EVEN ALCOHOL. But anyway…
The fries were so delicious, especially with all the toppings – such an explosion of flavour in my mouth. It was a religious experience. There was a feeling of complete satisfaction when I finished the meal ~ the kind where you have to lean back in your seat and pop the button on your jeans. (I usually wear stretchy pants on food trips, but I don’t know what happened on that day)
You’ll be pleased to hear that I did manage to get a free chicken burger in the end at the opening of Peckham Levels back in December. This time I went for the Honey Butter burger – fried chicken, smoked honey butter, bacon, pickles, lettuce. It’s not me that is crying. It’s you. When the honey butter drips onto your fingers, you got to lick that shit clean because YOU ARE NOT A WASTEFUL PERSON. 😍
Could I wax any more lyrical about Other Side Fried? Yes, most likely. But then you’d all be like, “Shut up, Chynna. We get it. You love fried chicken!” when really you should ultimately be planning your next trip to Other Side Fried. Okay? Okay.
It is now me that must go to every single spot that they serve their burgers. Obviously.
Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PQ
Dirty South, 162 Lee High Road, London, SE13 5PR
Peckham Levels, Peckham Town Centre Carpark, 95A Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST
Unit 62, The Loft, Camden Lock Market, London, NW1 8AF
I’m planning to write a post about my reading goals for this year. I was inspired by Rezina who managed to read 88 years books in 2017! I did set myself a target of 50 books last year, but I didn’t manage to reach it. This year, however, with the help of Tara and her library of eBooks, I am totally gonna smash my goal.
Have you ever read a book and after you read it you felt like your whole life changed? Or you started questioning your existence? Or ultimately just stared into space after reading, wishing that you had the chance to read it all over again for the first time? There have been a few books that have done for me, and these are books that I know even if I read them, again and again, I will never get bored.
Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter had to be mentioned first, especially as J. K. Rowling is the one who inspired me to write. Rowling built the perfect world for me to escape into – witches/wizards, spells, potions, fantastic beasts. She had me wanting to whiz down Diagon Alley, play Quidditch and sincerely hope that I would receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter when I turned 11 (I’m still waiting).
It was always such a joy to follow Harry on his adventures at Hogwarts and subsequently watch him grow up. It wasn’t just the fantasy part that was good; I loved how it tackled relationships both romantic and platonic, those awkward teenage phases, school stress, etc.
Harry Potter is no doubt one of my favourites and I will sincerely miss the feeling of a new book being released.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
I’m going to tell you a secret (well, it’ll no longer a secret once this is published): I had a crush on Captain Corelli. 😂
I remember having to read this book for English GCSEs and I don’t know what it was, but I absolutely adored the character. I even wrote ‘Captain Corelli <3’ in pen on my Converse. I don’t blame you if you’re judging me, right now.
This book was one of the first historical fiction books I read. Before I had mostly been reading YA books, but when I read this book I was immediately sucked in. It has always been the book that stuck out to me whenever I think about books that have changed my life – it left a deep impression on me because of its themes of totalitarianism such as Fascism, Nazism and Communism.
The Color Purple
I remember after finishing this book, I was sat on my sofa for a full 10 minutes thinking, “Wow.”
When a book makes me cry, I feel that sadness all the way to the bottom of my heart that sometimes it actually hurts. The relationships that Alice Walker forges throughout the book, specifically the female ones are so strong. I love the female bonds formed to allow women to help each other fight the oppression and dominance by men.
This book spans over 30 years and is told through letters that Celie sends to her sister, Nettie. I like that the point of view is from Celie and because of the letter format, it made the book confessional much like a diary.
The Handmaid’s Tale
I am a big fan of dystopian fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale was the first dystopian novel I read and it’s left a huge mark on me, especially in the current social climate that we are living in. It may have been published 30+ years ago, but it’s still relevant today.
There are many themes that Margaret Atwood covers including gender, class, religion. Just one of them covered is the culture of victim blaming that Offred, the main character, highlights through a flashback – something that still happens now. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those books that could be served as a prediction – much like George Orwell’s 1984 – which also makes it slightly terrifying. Nevertheless, this book is high on my list of books you must read before you die!
Even though it has been made into a TV series, I’m still cautious about watching it because many a time have my favourite books been turned into live action and just bombed. I’ve heard it’s good so I may give the first episode a try.
The Secret History
This book knocked me out.
It is one of the lengthiest books I’ve ever read, and it took me a while to read – a shock because I usually devour books as fast as I devour my food (0.02 seconds flat), but this is the sort of book that I had to take time to get my head around.
This book isn’t a ‘whodunnit’ but rather a ‘whydunnit’. From the get-go, you know exactly what has happened, but the book delves into the why this happened and weaves a tale of the many complicated main characters. It was hard for me to feel sorry for some the characters, but I think that a writer that skilfully makes you hate a character with the fire of a thousand suns has done well. You can’t like everyone – it’s a reflection of real life.
Half of a Yellow Sun
For someone who didn’t know anything about Biafra, this book opened my eyes and then some.
Centring on twin sisters, Olanna and Kainene, the book not only covers the ruinous effects of war but also love, loyalty, betrayal, and how complicated relationships are. There’s something beautiful in the way Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes that sucked me right in and I felt like I was living in that world in the book I was reading.
The book for me is a history lesson but something that I can get behind because the way it is written is so much more immersive and engaging.
I developed such an emotional investment in the characters, that I was really sad when the novel came to an end. I found myself flipping the pages with vigour, wanting to know what was going to happen next now now now. I would highly recommend you read this book as it not only educates you but because of the passion behind it, as well.
Have you read any books that have changed your life? Let me know in the comments below!
I used to blog a lot about television. I remember when I used to get really excited about a new Doctor Who series coming out (I mean I still do) and would immediately have to tell everyone that reads my blog that they need to watch it when it comes out. I used to write listicles of TV shows I was currently watching. I would gush about Firefly and lament because it got cancelled after only one season (I am still devastated about that).
Television is a passion of mine. As much as I love books, I love watching television on an equal level. I turn into the biggest fangirl when it comes to my favourite tv shows and can spend hours on Tumblr just looking for GIFS/videos/fanart. I did have a page on the blog where I kept track of the shows I’m watching but then I lost track because that’s how much tv I watch. 😂
But I’m babbling. This post is really about what I’m watching on Netflix at the moment/what I have watched/my favourites. I love that with my mobile phone network I get to watch as much Netflix as I want without worrying about my data running out. So on my way to work if I’m not reading then I’m definitely catching up on the latest episode of something.
A Korean Odyssey
Ok – I’m pretty sure that everyone and their mother and their dog is aware that I loveKorean dramas. It’s all I ever tweet about these days and I’m pretty sure my followers are sick and tired of me fangirling, but can’t stop, won’t stop. I am so glad that they’ve made some dramas available on Netflix. I usually watch on Viki but not all of the ones on my list are available in my region but are available on Netflix. How do I sit there and watch 1hr20mins episodes? It takes a certain skillset. I’ve been perfecting it since I was 16 years old when I watched my ever kdrama, Full House. Ask me to sing the Three Bears Song. I dare you.
In 2017, Son Oh-Gong and King Wooma are in conflict with each other as they look for a true light in a dark world where evil thrives. Having made a contract with Seon-mi 25 years ago, entitling her to seek help from Son Oh-Gong whenever she calls him in exchange of letting him free, the two meet again in a fateful encounter. From there, Son Oh-Gong is bound to his protective role towards Seon-mi, the little girl he had met years ago.
The soundtrack to this drama is actually so lit. As soon as I hear the opening chords, ya girl is immediately like 💃. It’s currently airing, so only 6 episodes have been released but I am loving it, so far. I am a sucker for kdrama cliches. I know y’all are gonna do the piggyback eventually and the wrist grab and the awkward kiss, but I am all. the. way. here. for. it. 👏🏾
Based on the characters of the Archie comics, how do I even begin to describe Riverdale?
The series follows Archie Andrews’ life in the small town of Riverdale and explores the darkness hidden behind its seemingly perfect image.
I am not going to lie, this latest series is stressing me out and I swear the writer’s are playing games but I am obsessed and even if I miss out on an episode for like 3 weeks, I always go back. I need to see where Jughead and Betty aka Bughead are at. I need to see if Archie and Veronica are doing okay. Let me just check if Betty’s mum is still doing the most.
I can’t remember the last teen drama I watched – I’m thinking probably Gossip Girl – but it sucks you in. Their drama is your drama. Their stress is your stress. Their woes are your woes. This show actually makes me clap my hands in frustration at some of the character’s shenanigans.
Once Upon A Time
I actually didn’t start watching this on Netflix. I used to watch it religiously back when I discovered it in 2013, but then, as usual, I got distracted by other tv shows and the plotline started to get a bit samey. I recently started rewatching it and I have fallen in love with it all over again.
The show follows various fairy-tale characters who were transported to the real world and robbed of their original memories by a powerful curse.
I am a big fan of fairytales and I especially love when they put a twist on the story. In the latest series, Cinderella is Latina! Now that there’s been a time jump, it’s gotten a lot more interesting and there’s more of a focus on Alice from Alice in Wonderland, which I love as that’s one of my favourite books.
The Good Place
I think it was Mutay who told me to watch this and when someone suggests a tv show to me, it may take me a while to get round to start it but once I do I binge the eff out of it (examples: Rick and Morty, Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Archer).
The series focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael to “The Good Place”, a Heaven-like utopia he designed, in reward for her righteous life. She realizes that she was sent there by mistake and must hide her morally imperfect behavior and try to become a better person.
This show is so funny and my favourite character is definitely Jason. How can a person be so dumb yet endearing at the same time? Also, slightly biased because the actor is Filipino and I’m here rooting for more Filipino actors on tv (see: Grimm). I love the premise of the show as well – it has a nice set up for ideas about morality, personal ethics and loyalty without feeling like you’re in a classroom.
Am I allowed to say that I don’t care for the monarchy? Will I get done for treason?
J O K I N G.
The Crown traces the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 to the present day. The first season depicts events up to 1955, with Claire Foy portraying the Queen in the early part of her reign.
There are only 10 episodes in the first series, so please believe I binged that so quickly. I have yet to watch series 2 but soon come. I like when historical pieces are done in this fashion because it’s easier for me to take in rather than sitting around reading a bunch of dusty textbooks or falling asleep to the sound of my history teacher’s boring voice.
I like how in depth the series goes in on the royal family, sort of stripping away a mask and showing us that they are human too even if they are royal. Of course, even though you can pretty much get spoilers a click away (I mean it’s historical and happened ages ago) there are still a few plot twists that had my heart like, pow.
A colleague at work mentioned that he saw a father and son watching this show together on the train and I was immediately like 😳. At the same time, though, this show is actually a really good way to inform your kids about the ways of life without being too cringe.
The series follows 7th grade best friends Nick Birch and Andrew Glouberman as they navigate their way through puberty, masturbation, and sexual arousal. Acting as sex-based shoulder angels are the hormone monsters Maurice, who pesters Andrew and occasionally Nick and Jay, and Connie, who pesters Jessi and occasionally Missy. Throughout the series, the kids interact with people and objects who are personified in one way or another and offer helpful, albeit confusing, advice in their puberty-filled lives including the ghost of Duke Ellington, a French accented Statue of Liberty, a pillow capable of getting pregnant, and even Jessi’s own vagina.
Even reading that synopsis probably has you like, wtf? I’m thinking where was this show when I was younger? It’s funny and informative at the same time and I can totally relate to the feelings the kids are having for the first time – like when Jessi gets her period for the first time. My absolute favourite character is Connie, the Hormone Monstress – she is everything I want to be in life and more. She smells so good because “I don’t use deodorant and I only take bubble baths.” screams
Once I started this show I couldn’t stop and at one point all I was watching was Archer. Even at work, I was watching it (nowadays I’m watching kdramas on my break/lunch).
It follows the exploits of a dysfunctional group of secret agents—Sterling Archer and seven of his colleagues—Malory Archer, Lana Kane, Cheryl Tunt, Pam Poovey, Ray Gillette, Cyril Figgis, and Dr. Algernop Krieger.
This show is beyond ridiculous but so much fun. From Archer always shouting Lana’s name to ~danger zone~, there is always some kind of ridiculous shenanigans taking place in each episode. This freaking show has the International Secret Intelligence Service – ISIS. Hollering. Also, Jessica Walter voices Malory Archer and I absolutely loved her in Arrested Development.
“Charlie Brooker is a genius.” I’ve been saying this at work every time someone mentions Black Mirror. I’ll just turn around and scream it in their face.
Black Mirror is a British science fiction anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker, with Brooker and Annabel Jones serving as the programme showrunners. It examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies. Episodes are standalone, usually set in an alternative present or the near future, often with a dark and satirical tone, though some are more experimental and lighter.
I am so glad that Netflix picked up this series because just wow. Literally, every single one of the episodes has me pausing and questioning my existence/life. Brooker skilfully brings to light how much technology can affect society, especially in the episode Nosedive where people are ranked on a five-star scale. Your ranking can severely affect your standing in society – it reminds me of Instagram and likes. I think what hits home with Black Mirror is how close we are to becoming that reality in some of the episodes. Y’all need to stop playing games with technology before it comes and kills you. 😳
Favourite episode of series 4 (latest series): Black Museum. HANDS. DOWN. DON’T @ ME.
Rick and Morty
Do I like this show because I am an intellectual? Do I like this show because it’s parody of Back to the Future? Do I like this show because I am trash?
I will never know.
THIS. SHOW. THOUGH.
The series follows the misadventures of cynical mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his fretful, easily influenced grandson Morty Smith, who split their time between domestic life and interdimensional adventures.
Created by Dan Harmon, creator of Community (another favourite tv show. I’m still annoyed they removed it off Netflix) and Justin Roiland, this show is deliciously creative, funny and clever. I am a sucker for science fiction, and this show feeds my love. I love going on Reddit and reading fan theories (I once stayed up until 2 am just reading these) about the show because there’s always something in each episode that makes you question something that happened previously. It’s crazy.
I have no idea when series 4 will be aired. Mr Poopybutthole told us we would have to wait a long time and this makes me sad. I guess the only thing that can be done is rewatch all of the series again and again.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
From the very first episode, I was hooked. I remember laughing so hard I actually couldn’t breathe. If you’re a sensitive person, I wouldn’t suggest watching this show because it’s so non-pc, it’s hilarious.
The series follows the exploits of “The Gang”, a group of debauched, self-centered friends who run the Irish bar Paddy’s Pub in South Philadelphia.
The Gang are a group of idiots that I have come to dearly love with all my heart. Charlie is my favourite character (there’s a recurring theme here of me loving dumb but endearing characters), but all of them are equally hilarious. Danny DeVito joining the cast was actually a really good move, because he is so funny and brings even more weirdness to the cast.
I’m just going to leave this video of The Nightman Cometh right here. (I am actually cracking up again watching it right now, I can’t breathe). FiGhtER oF tHE NiGht MaN AAAaAaaaAAAa.
Grimm – If you like fantasy, Grimms’ Fairy Tales and police procedural dramas then you need to watch this show. Now.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – TERRY LOVES YOGHURT. I actually have a huge crush on Andy Samberg. Bloody hell.
Arrested Development – You know when the Duke of Weselton does the chicken dance in Frozen and Ana and Hans sing about finishing each other’s sandwiches? THOSE ARE REFERENCES FROM THIS SHOW. You need to watch it, now. Honestly.
I hope you’ve found some new shows to add to your list! What are you watching on Netflix?
Bar crawls are actually my favourite. If you’re in a different country and are looking to make new friends, then go to a bar crawl. Looking for cheap drinks on a night out? Bar crawl. Looking to just let loose for one night with no some consequences? Bar crawl. I mean, if you ask me, then bar crawls are the answer to all your problems.
But who am I? A guru?
Mutay and I got to join London Party Pub Crawl last Saturday and it was so much fun! The last time we both went on a bar crawl was in Croatia, which ended up… messy. Thankfully, whilst we were grooving and moving all night it didn’t get too messy.
They have 3 different bar crawls to choose from – Central London, Shoreditch and Camden. We decided to go to the Central London and so we found ourselves meeting our hosts outside Picadilly Institute! The ticket includes free entry to 5 bars/clubs, discounted drinks and a free shot at each venue. We actually missed out on the first bar, but nevertheless still had a blast at the remaining 4 we visited.
There’s nothing quite like going on a night out, getting cheap drinks and dancing to some good, good music. We started off at Piccadilly Institute then made our way to Zoo Bar, the Long Acre then Ruby Blue before ending the night at Rumba.
Ruby Blue was definitely my favourite – if you go upstairs they have a balcony where you get a really pretty view of Leicester Square. It was actually the Lumiere festival that weekend, so they had some really pretty lights up.
The highlight of the night: random Irish guy standing outside in the smoking area singing all the words to Angel by Shaggy ft. Rayvon. I mean all of them. 😂
I must be showing my age because I was absolutely shattered by 1AM, but nevertheless, I had such a fun night despite a few mishaps, like the bouncer shouting at Mutay just because our bags were on the floor next to the ‘VIP’ section. 🙄
The bar crawl definitely ignited a need to go out more, which is actually one of my goals for this year. Sometimes just gotta let your hair down and shake a leg, right?
Thanks, London Party Pub Crawl for an awesome night out and a big shout out to our hosts for the night! I will definitely be going to more crawls in the future. 🍻
I was provided with free tickets in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and are not influenced by London Party Pub Crawl in any way.