Watched, Read, Loved: November and December 2017 and a (belated) happy new year!

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Happy New Year dear friends! The past two months have been whirlwinds! I’ve forgotten how to even blog, and I will be super surprised if my WordPress account actually allows me to log me back in.

Needless to say, it has been hectic – when is it ever not though? I finally completed my degree. I always imagined how it would feel getting that notification, and nothing came close to it because hyperventilation was the prevalent feeling – this panicked excitement and too much happy. I’ve also subsequently been promoted, so November and December were interviews and crazed stress. January is all about settling in to my new role and getting my replacement into her new role, so I can promise some extra crazy moments around the office.

We had my sister’s babyshower, and it was a wonderful day. She’s had some scares with her pregnancy, but I am happy to report that her baby girl is now happy and on her way at the end of January. The day of the babyshower was extremely hot! (It was after all December in South-Africa). We made way too much food but had a lovely time celebrating. If I may say so myself – I can organize an event! 😀

I also managed to have some recreational fun. We went to Sun City in Rustenburg, South-Africa. It has a “sea” and it was a fun day away from Johannesburg. (Also an international five star resort, and looks like the intro to Jurassic Park) However, if I ever go again, I will stay the night. The drive back was straight from a horror movie.

We also went to The Garden of Lights, annually hosted by Emperor’s Casino. It was nothing like I imagined it would be – so charming and gorgeous. It is definitely something I will revisit in the years to come.

Another nice day was visiting the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. They are so wonderfully green now and it was therapeutic strolling between the plants.

I went on another Tinder date. It’s actually a recurring event with this one guy. I just don’t know what to make of the situation at this stage. I’m sure he’ll make a decent boyfriend, I’m just not sure if he will make one for me. I also went to another singles event, which was really nice. However, the people that attend persistently do good in short bursts but later just fade into the background.

It seems too few paragraphs to describe the past few months. I feel like my life has expanded and grown, and you won’t hear from me that 2017 was a bad year. It was a pretty good year for me. I’m extremely grateful how much I’ve managed to achieved, and hopeful that I will reach some major milestones this year – which I’m keeping secret for now, but the moment they happen I will let you know.

I only have one “resolution” this year, and that is to use less plastic. Plastic consumption in South-Africa is pretty bad, and I am also a culprit. The government implemented costs on plastic bags a few years ago, but as it is still only about 20 cents a bag there hasn’t been a lessening in the staggering plastic consumption in South Africa. So I am planning to take a woven bag with me from now on and to pack my groceries in there when I shop, so as to help in a small way save this planet of ours.

Well, here is a rundown of my entertainment adventures below. Let me know your opinions! (Sitting on a thousand unread personal emails, so I might have missed some really important moments)

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The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Hmm. There are so many strong feelings about this film currently on the internet.  Let me tell you, my feelings were strong after exiting the cinema. I’ve mellowed some, but I am not a fan of this film. I need to write a proper review for it, and I will save my commentary for then.

Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017): These amazing ladies have decided to exit while they are on top. I enjoyed this film so much. It is such silly humour and can be pretty darn vulgar, but at the same time it does my heart good to see female driven comedies shine on their own.

PSILY

PS I Love You: Gerard Butler, my pants were on fire. I like this film, despite fully knowing so many people hate it.

lego-batman-movie-poster

Lego Batman (2017): What a smart, funny, dialogue savvy film. The best Lego movie and one of the finest DC movies.

50-first-dates

Fifty First Dates: I remember loving this film as a child, and eagerly ordered the DVD when I stumbled upon it. It’s still good – a strange mix of Adam Sandler’s best and worst sides. I can at least let my Adam Sandler movies I actually like list grow to three – The Wedding Singer, Mona Lisa smile and Fifty First Dates. The rest remain garbage though.

lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 3 – I got the third and the fourth movie to watch after Zoe and I watched the first two. I had a great time with this one as well, and the three movies I’ve seen are all equally good. How looky was Mel Gibson before he became the bitter old white man?

grease

Grease – It really seems unnatural the way John Travolta’s hips move in this film. How young was he?! How young was Olivia Newton John?! Had a lot of fun watching Grease, but it is undeniably a long film.

sy-klink-soos-lente-1

Sy Klink Soos Lente – I got in my Afrikaans fix twice in films the past few months. Both (the second below) made me so happy and proud of my language and what we are achieving in cinema. Sy Klink Soos Lente is funny, smart and sweet, and I have watched it once more since the first time.

Vir die Voels

Vir Die Voëls – Same as the above. The writing is significantly better than most South-African films, and there is an awareness of dialogue in both these films that impressed me. It’s not just words, it is how Afrikaans people speak. I will definitely sit down for this again!

Eat Pray Love – I grabbed this off the shelf for something to watch with my mom. I’ve always liked this film, but this time around I found myself slightly irritated with the level of first world problems the character experiences – it’s just so much easier to have a midlife tantrum when you can travel the world. Javier Bardem in this remains gorgeous.

The lord of the rings

The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King: My heart. I am so attached to these films. They are everything. I actually don’t want to review them – how to bring justice to some of the best films ever made? My heart.

Justice league 2017

Justice League – Yep, seemed to have done this in November/December too! To be perfectly honest I enjoyed this more than – gasp – Star Wars. It is definitely one of the better offerings from DC.

Italian Job Poster

The Italian Job (2003) – Another Blindspot off my list! This went okay, just not a favourite Blindspot this year.

series

Zoë got me the best Christmas gift EVER – all the way from England (I’m still naive enough to get such a massive kick from an international shipment). DOWNTON ABBEY BOXSET!!!!! I cannot describe my intense love for this show – it is simply so wonderful. I am already on to season two, and the sarcastic remarks, the amazing running commentary of the Dowager Countess, and the unbearably lovely Matthew Crawley (SOB) keeps my so entertained my pinkie is going to shoot in to the air anytime soon.

books

I actually have read way too much to even remember. I am still busy with Under Rose Tainted Skies – it’s good, just very angsty. I’ll finish it soon and tell you all about it, but teenagers are generally difficult to deal with and this one even more so. I am currently devouring Marian Keyes’ This Charming Man, arguably my most favourite read of hers. It’s written so well and flows through the course of the story easily. I also revisited Laurian Clemence’s Mushy Peas on Toast, one of my favourite South-African reads ever, and consumed an unhealthy amount of Nora Roberts. Nora is a spiral – I will read so much of her and then not look at another author for ages, which is lazy and unhealthy on my part. I know I read the two books in the Stanislaski brothers again – which I enjoy despite my opinion on Ukranians not quite matching Nora’s, I also read one of the MacKade books (Return of Jared MacKade), and revisited the Guardians Trilogy. I also read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (the original book, not the play, which I avoid on principle), and this makes me in the mood for Harry Potter, a complete reread. Who knows, maybe I will even watch the movies as a series. I am also in the mood to read Eat, Pray, Love again by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s the True North of my love of her books, and I’d like to experience it all over again.

What were you up to this festive season? Let me know!

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Book Review: Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Big magic book cover

Rating: 8/10

It is no secret that I am a massive fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. The woman has penned Eat Pray Love, and even though there really is a fantastic amount of injured white privilege to experience reading it, it is also a shining example of what an excellent author can write and deep emotional growth.

Self-help books irk me. I’m even at the point where I shun religious assistance books – if you are Christian, read the Bible, not ten other books (just my opinion there). The same goes for other religions and a variety of ailments – dieting books, depression assistance, divorce material – why are you reading this garbage? I find it so preposterous that we waste out time reading material where the author tries to tell you what’s wrong with you as a person – they don’t know you, how can they diagnose you?

Now that that cat is out of the bag, I don’t feel that Liz Gilbert is a self-help author, and bless her for it. Her books are all based on her personal experiences and growth, and it comes across in a “hey, this is me, maybe you feel like this too” scenario, and that is something that I can work with.

What I enjoyed the most about this book is the idea that ideas float around as a separate entity waiting to be captured by a willing mind. I was stuck on this for days! The other thing I really loved is that creativity should not be associated with suffering, because it was never meant that way.

Basically, this is what the book made me feel:

interstellar

It is positive, thought provoking, well written and a book that she obviously spent time thinking about. I would recommend it to people who would like to read something that can activate creative thinking and a change in perspective.

Have you read Big Magic? What did you think?

#100HappyDays: Day 81 – 92

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Day 81:

Easter was such a lovely family event. Way too much sugar was ingested, ensuring that I felt vaguely ill for a few days. But it was totally worth it! How lovely are these cupcakes, cleverly decorated by my sister’s mother in law?

82

Day 82:

Following the great sugar ingestion of Easter, I forced myself to go for a walk/run in the nature reserve. This week my sole focus is sorting out a gym contract, because I’ve proven that I can’t exercise on my own at home. It is stalling my weight loss project and I really think if I can sort that out, the rest will be much easier.

83

Day 83:

Did my nails with this Avon gel polish, but I was so disappointed by the quality and that it peeled within the first day.

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Day 84:

Reading this wonderful series again. The books remain so touching, hilarious and entertaining.

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Day 85:

Driving in peak hour traffic in Johannesburg is such a schlep, but scenery like this makes it slightly more bearable!

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Day 86:

Another day, another iced coffee. Nom!

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Day 87:

Me, pictured through the sunroof of a limo for a bachelorette. This whole night was quite insane, but fun. But I’m never driving in a limo again.

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Day 88:

Doggie cuddles!

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Day 89:

Continuing the insanity of the weekend, my house flooded. I am just going to say that my reactions and that whole day was not something to post on a 100 days of happy post. However, I found this pic of my sister and myself in primary school. How adorable?!

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Day 90:

Finally in the 90’s! Can you believe I got this far?!

Our company gave us all a mammoth pack of stickies. It made me happier than I ever thought possible.

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Day 91:

After the longest struggle imaginable with my service provider I finally upgraded to the Sony Xperia Z5 compact. So far I’m loving it!

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Day 92:

Finished this incredible book (review up this week), and it has been such an interesting read.

Life Lately: February 2016

February

So, February. I am totally okay that you are here. January wasn’t even bad, but it was the trial month for the year and I am happy to get things in full speed right now.

 100happydays

#100HappyDays: This project is still ongoing, and I am still enjoying it. There are days where I struggle to find things to post about, so the challenge proves its’ point: you need to be able to find something happy daily regardless of how small it might seem to you.

Blog: I am actively considering renaming my blog. I’m not going to say what the title is going to be right now, because someone might nab it before I have it set up, and then I will be mightily upset with whoever it is. (#paranoid). I DO like the sound of it and have run it by my confidantes, who agree. I just want to work out the logistics of things before I go full speed into it.

 longestride

Reading: I somehow misplaced my darling Big Magic book. I am so peeved. I need to finish reading it and then I need to gush on here about it. Like, WHY universe? I will find you book! I also started with The Longest Ride. It is written by Mr. Soppy himself, Nicholas Sparks. It’s part of my book reading list for this year and I just want to get cracking on it.

Blindspot: This is officially in disaster mode. I swear I have such affinity for ignoring the fuck out of deadlines. Each. And. Every. Time. I looked around a bit for copies of what I need to watch, gave up pretty quickly, and am now stuck. ANYWAY, I’ll get watching soon and be posting ALL THE REVIEWS.

 Arrow

Series: Goodness. Finally got around to Arrow. The acting. Erm. It is… SPECTACULAR? The plot is good enough, the acting and the effects are just a bit hilarious tbh.

Tinder: I should seriously get up a few posts on my experience over there. Let’s just say restraining orders and a dictionary are things I want to get for some of the guys I’ve spoken to.

Unisa: Studies and assignments, here I come. Now that I know what to expect for the practicals, I am really excited for that too. Just still so disgusted with Unisa that they mess around with their students so badly.

Being healthy: I’m really excited about this. I’ve said from the start I am not going to starve or deprave myself, and I certainly won’t be following any Fad diets. I just want to find a way of lifestyle that is maintainable as well as healthy. I’m getting there. The hardest right now is the sugar. I’ve cut it out that I’m about 98% sugar free in whatever I consume. I’m still growling at hidden sugars. They are the reason I have trust issues. Moving on. I plan to write about my revelations about changing your eating habits, and what myths I’ve come to believe and not believe about losing weight. I can tell you if you use the word “diet”, I don’t like it. It contains about as much positive reinforcement as the phrase “New year’s resolutions”. Sure, lifestyle change sounds way pompous, but if it isn’t a lifestyle change, it’s not going to work. BOOM.

Tinder. I hope to get up some posts about his experience in the next two weeks. It is just the right time of year for all the romantic fools out there.

Excited for:

Literally ALL THE WEDDINGS. I have two weddings and an engagement party in March and another wedding, bachelorette and kitchen tea in April.

How to be single – this looks so great

DEADPOOL!

Deadpool

 

 

 

 

Reading Challenge for 2016 and what I’m currently reading

Everyone has challenges in the new year. Lose weight, find love of life, clean your room regularly, etc. While I completely share these dedications, I would also like to declare my dedications to my reading addiction this year. Below is a challenge I am going to take, and following that is the books I currently have that I want to finish. Comment, please!

readin list 2016

  1. A book published this year: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
  2. A book you can finish in a day: (still looking for one)
  3. A Book you’ve been meaning to read: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
  4. A book recommended by a local librarian or bookseller: Brida by Paulo Coelho
  5. A book chosen by your BFF: BFF, tell me!
  6. A book published before you were born: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. A book that was banned at some point: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossini
  8. A book you previously abandoned: Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes
  9. A Book you own but have never read: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
  10. A book that intimidates you: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  11. A book you’ve read at least once: Emma by Jane Austen

Currently on my bookshelf waiting to be read:

  1. Currently reading: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have so much love for this writer and the book at this point. Really having a fantastic time. I can’t read too much at a time, because the book simply has such big ideas.
  2. Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding. I really do love the original Bridget Jones, so quite interested to see what this is about.
  3. Brida by Paulo Coelho. Coelho is such an obscure, strange author. I’m never really sure what to make of his work.
  4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. Oh, because I need cheese in my life.
  5. Live in Dreams by Josephine Cox. Started it and put it down again, but I will finish it just to be scathing.
  6. Indelible by Karin Slaughter. To continue the series.
  7. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. Because it was a mad hunt to get a copy and I want to be able to say that I’m done with the series.

What are your reading plans for the year?

#100HappyDays: Days 9 – 16

day 9

Day 9: When I moved into my new place at the beginning of #2015wasashittyyear last year, my dog had to go live with my sister. While I am really grateful and happy that Nicci Noodle got to go to a safe and happy environment and be with people that love her, I still miss her snuggly warmth every day. I got to spend some time with her recently and that made me really happy. I’ve also been kind of obsessed with block heels since they came back at the end of last year. They are great – you can actually work in them because they provide support for your feet, and they look uber cool – I feel like I can do anything when I wear them. I saw this pair in the shops but they didn’t have my size, and when even the online store for the retailer didn’t list them anymore I wrote it down as bad luck. So when I found them in another branch, my happy cup filled over and I was dancing (at least in my head) in the shop.

day 10

Day 10: Started watching Homeland Season 5 – oh goodness, what a crazy great and intense season! Also did nails in a gorgeous new color and continued with my adult coloring book.

day 11

Day 11: This sassy little book bag gave me such joy when I bought it.

day 12

Day 12: I’m busy reading this incredible book from Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic. It is everything I want in a book that wants to be self-helping. I am having such a great time. The woman is sensational and I just want to be like her when I grow up.

day 13

Day 13: Johannesburg was being lovely

day 14

Day 14: Had some delicious meals throughout the day and updated blog’s look as well.

day 15

Day 15: These Paris prints in my room makes me so happy. Motivation and reminders of what I want to do in my life.

day 16

Day 16: I’m doing really well with the no-sugar thing so far. However, with amazing cappuccino I don’t even think about sugar. How amazing is that?!

What made you happy this week?

 

 

Book Review: Committed (Elizabeth Gilbert)

committed-a-love-story

“Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone.”

Elizabeth Gilbert continues to share her romance with Felipe, whom she met Felipe at the end of her yearlong travel across Italy, India and Indonesia. It was easy to love in the picturesque Bali, but as a journalist and author, Elizabeth eventually had no choice to return to the United States to work

In love and committed to each other, the two lovebirds created a seemingly fool proof plan: to travel together across the globe, attending their respective work responsibilities together.

Liz and Felipe forgot something vitally important: the suspicious American government, post 9/11. It took one official to notice Felipe’s passport carrying a suspicious amount of travelling stamps for the kind and carefree Brazilian to be detained at an airport for hours.

Elizabeth and Felipe were fortunate enough to meet with a kindly officer, but they were laid down the law nonetheless: either go through the arduous process required for an American to marry a foreigner and get married, or permanent deportation of Felipe .

What sounded like an easy solution certainly wasn’t. Not only did they have to go through various channels and mountains of paperwork to get married, they both had to deal with the idea of being married again – something the couple did not want in the least as they both had gone through difficult divorces. The alternative was something they would not consider: the end of their relationship or Elizabeth’s relocation.

Elizabeth, in her travel-enthusiastic nature, devised a plan for them to travel the world together while they tried to sort out the drama back in the States. Travelling to many small, primitive towns and cultures, Elizabeth sets out to determine how marriage is seen in the world and what they do to keep it intact.

Rating: 6.5/10

YAY! I finally finished this book. To get it done, I refused to read anything interesting until I got through it. I had been sitting with this book, occasionally peeking at it and wondering why I couldn’t finish what was essentially a good book, and I found my reason: It is too much a textbook to provide easy, continuous reading.

Gilbert extensively researches marriage, its history and customs and seeks advice from across the globe, and documents most conversations, theories and ideas quite intensely. I found it interesting and intelligently written, but the material is very intense AND thought provoking, causing me to stop every few paragraphs just to take a breath and think about what I read.

Producing a novel worthwhile to compete with the colossal success that Eat Pray Love was could not have been easy. Gilbert continues with the story of her and Felipe but it is never on that level of adventure and romance. The story concerns them intimately, but their relationship is merely a stepping stone that was used to provide a storyline. I wish she could have focused on her relationship more – for all the fanfare she created to marry the man she loves (because we are ALL so against marrying men we love), she sorely forgets that being with him would be her ultimate prize.

It sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I did. I just found it confusing and sometimes lost of focus. I really learnt a whole lot about the different forms of marriage and how the ancient ceremony has evolved over the years, and how each country, no matter how primitive, finds a way to bind themselves to each other.

Recommendation: If you read Eat Pray Love, you will most likely enjoy its sequel, although be warned that it is not on the same scale.

Thoughts 6.1: June

So, wow, it is June. As per usual the year is flying. I read once years go quicker when you are older because you have more time behind you. For a young child the year takes ages simply because its ratio is so much larger than the ratio older people have to the 365 days. (Totally random, but forgive me – my brain is fried)

I have to say this year has been a mixture of good and bad so far, with plenty of learning curves thrown in. Work and life has been challenging, but definitely worth it. I have achieved most of my new year’s resolutions, so GO ME GO.

By the way, thanks for all the reblogging of Friday’s Quote For the Week! I truly appreciate it 🙂 This site, this site  and this site  all were kind enough, so go take a look, maybe you will love them too!

Rob’s Genre Grandeur for June is such a cool topic – Comic Book movies. You might have noticed in the past I have an affection for Comic Book Movies, so I am really excited. Go have a looky!

This is a bit further down the road (it starts in July), but Eric of the infamously cool IPC blog is hosting his Shitfest again. Everyone has seen a shitty movie (there are so many), so go take a look and see what is cracking over there. And check out my awesome Best Friend In The Universe, Zoe, did on Eric’s blog last week.

Unisa  

I will write my last exam for the first semester on the 3rd of June. YAY! I have good hopes so far that I will pass everything. The second semester will mean some very difficult shizz for me, but I hope to actually stick to my schedule and manage it all. I will someday post a post about what it means to be a part time student, because it is so challenging and I think so many people can relate.

Movies and Books, Series

This week The Fault in Our Stars is opening in cinema. I have anxiously waited for this movie since reading the book by John Green, which is one of the most amazing and beautiful books I have ever read.

Speaking of books, I am once again attempting Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have read some pages sporadically, only to be side-tracked by other material. The worst is this book is actually good and an excellent successor to Eat Pray Love, but I just keep stalling and stalling. Do you have any book that you can never finish?

Game of Thrones

I am hoping to post the review of season two up within the next few weeks. Season one’s review is here and I can say that season two was just as entertaining and shocking as the first season. I can’t believe I stalled so long in watching this. It is AMAZING and I do still not trust ANYONE because so many deaths have been spoiled for me.

The Mentalist season six has some truly heart stopping moments in. I had a very true Eomer moment in here with one of my favourite characters and nearly started smashing things around. #emotional

Eomer_crying

I saw That Awkward Moment and Springbreakers recently. TAM was not good at all, but at least had some saving graces and a few fun moments. Springbreakers, however, will now forever be remembered as one of the shittiest pieces of shit I have ever watched. IT WAS SO BAD. WTF man. WTF. You can expect a scathing review on it soon.

To round off this completely random post, here is something funny:

sarcastises

Have a good Monday 🙂

PS: I lost the source to the pic above while writing, so if it belongs to you, please let me know and I will link it back!

May – you better be good to me.

Happy May.

Firsly, April was so crap I am only too glad it is over. When I say everything went wrong, that really is the truth. I got sick, then got an ulcer, which felt like someone was drilling into my mouth at a high speed and very often. Work was insane, petrol was fucking expensive (still is, FYI), and my brand new laptop broke, and my bank balance is sadder than Zimbabwe’s.

So, May

I really hope you are good to me. I am writing exams this month, but I will take it in the hope that I 1) pass and 2) anything will be better than April. I really want to start reading constantly again. I love books and reading helps me relax. It is really the best escape valve there is because it takes you to another world completely.

I want to finish Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. I do not know why it is taking so long. The book is well written and interesting and I don’t understand why I can’t just finish it.

I want to read my third Karin Slaughter book. She is an amazing author who I am still surprised I enjoy so thoroughly.

I am rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the millionth time. It is so good and entertaining and sad and funny.

Walking slash running.

The-Best-ABS-Exercise

I am finally doing frequent exercise and I just want to continue in May because it leashes the crazy. I am still going a bit slow, but I am definitely improving. I already feel much better than a few weeks ago.

Movies

I love watching rom-coms and chick flicks and I am not afraid to say it. BUT, I want to start watching some decent stuff too. I can’t wait to explore and see what I love and hate.

What are your plans for May?