2016: Some Favourites

In 2016 I have discovered many things that I love and enjoy from books to squishy Disney sausages. Here I am going to share with some favourite things that I have enjoyed throughout this year, however please note that many of these things were not released in 2016 but that’s when I have found them.

I’m going to give a few categories including books and films, which I will discuss, with a miscellaneous section at the end for bits and bobs.

Books: (I have added links to the books on the Book  Depository)

There are many books I enjoyed this year and I’ve found myself reading more non-fiction however a book that really stood out to me this year was Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill and I have written a review on Goodreads if you want to have a look, but it does contain spoilers. However, it holds many parallels with modern day life and the pressures on young women in society. I desperately want to reread it so I am able to really pick it apart.
A fantastic non-fiction book I read this year was Girl Up by Laura Bates which is funny and intelligent in the way it discusses the issues that women face and it’s a great pick me up for when you’re feeling low. I laughed many times whilst reading that book and I barely went a few hours without picking up the book again.
A link to my Goodreads is here, if you want to see any of the books I read this year along with reviews. However, some other notable titles that I read this year, which I suggest are On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Films:

I don’t watch many films, I much prefer to read books and the only notable film I have is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which whilst I enjoyed the film, I do have problems with, however I have written a review in a previous post so if you wish to read the review, you can.

Shows:

I have been extremely lucky to see a number of musicals, a couple of plays and go to a concert this year and I adore going to the theatre. The most notable show I saw was in 2016 was Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre with the original West End cast. Any show that has me laughing and crying before the interval has to have a solid mention. I adored the shows, it’s funny, heartbreaking and the songs are so so good. Even if you’re unable to see the show, listen to the music, it’s worth it.

Games:

I do enjoy sitting on my bum playing games on my laptop and this year I have played a lot. A particular favourite was Prison Architect (available on Steam) as the way I play and build prisons has developed and will continue to do so as play more. It is also useful to watch other people play the game – whether its in the flesh or online – as it can help developed your own game play.
I have also enjoyed playing the Sims 4 with many expansions and game packs, The extra packs I have are:

Expansion Packs: Get to Work, Get Together, City Living.
Game Packs: Spa Day, Dine Out
Stuff Packs: Perfect Patio, Movie Hangout, Romantic Garden, Kid’s Room, Backyard Stuff, Vintage Glamour, Holiday Celebration Pack
I tend to use the Sims 4 for building houses and creating interesting characters which I then share to the gallery but it’s always fun to just mess around with a Sims life.
Other games I enjoyed playing this year were, Life is Strange, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 and Papers, Please, all are fantastic games and I may do a thorough review of some of them at a later date.
Other random things I really like:

  • Disney tsum tsums – they are cute and squishy and Disney. I have a neat little collection in my room as they are often gifted to me.
  • London Underground – Okay. Hear me out. That network is amazing and safely gets me (and often my girlfriend) from A to B and the staff who work on the lines are so understanding and nice (and they deserve a lot better than they get.) I love spending time on the tube, regardless of whether that makes me a loser.
So, there you go. Some favourites of 2016, I hope some of there’s something you will all be able to enjoy here and here’s to 2017…
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The Importance of Pets

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals. I was born into a family who had a dog and a cat. On my first Christmas (I was 9 months), my sister and I received our first pet guinea-pigs. Our pets have always been a part of the family. The dog was my parent’s third child and my sister’s cat was her baby.

It is easily to determined that I have may have been somewhat conditioned to love animals, and I do, regardless of whether my history of having pets determines this or not. I would hate to live in a home without a pet.

Unfortunately, in August of this year, my first cat (Alfie) had to be put to sleep, it absolutely broke my heart. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t on any level expect it to be.

Alfie

However, soon after, I adopted a kitten called Hiccup. He had been born (along with his sister and brother) at a cat refuge centre and his mother couldn’t look after all three of them (as she had cat flu), thus he had always been reliant on humans since a young age. He was a handful for the first few weeks, and fairly needed but he settled in and seemed happy, that’s all that mattered to me.

Hiccup, a few days after we adopted him
Now, he has been with my family for 4 months, and he is my baby. He shares my bed and comes running to find me when I get home. I like to think we’re a team and I love him to bits. The amount of love and effort I have put into this little guy just overwhelms me.
Hiccup recently
Having a pet for me to cuddle when I’m feeling lonely, is a wonderful feeling for me. I love being surrounded by animals, They don’t talk back and they don’t judge, and most importantly for me is that they are there. I’ve learnt the importance of caring for another life, making sure they eat and sleep and are generally okay, from a very young age.
In the future, I know I will look after the animals in my life as if they are my own. Therefore, pets will always play an important role in my life as they created memories that you just can’t with humans.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | Movie Review – (May Contain Spoilers)

Okay so this weekend I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and here are my thoughts. Please note, I am not a professional critic by any means but as a animal person and a Harry Potter/Wizarding World I have a few opinions to share.
WARNING – THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

Before I get to really getting into my criticisms I’m going to start of by praising the film.

Firstly, the acting throughout is incredible. Not only Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) but Katherine Waterstone (Porpentina Goldstien), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kolwalski) and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstien) were all amazing and I cannot praise them enough. I must say the cast is brilliant. Something I have to state and whether this was intentional or not was that Seraphina Picquery (the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America) – portrayed by Carmen Ejogo – was a woman of colour and for a film set in the 1920s this thrilled me to pieces.

The whole 1920s America setting made me extremely happy as I am a history freak but also because of the entire atmosphere it gave to the film and it was enjoyable to see the Wizarding World in a different century. It was so familiar, regarding the magic but also so different.
Okay so, the Beasts. Newt’s suitcase was full of  creature, some of them notable cuter than others – *cough* the Bowtruckle *cough* I think there are blooming adorable and I want 12. However, the creatures are all consistently, fantastically developed and I was very impressed.

The relationships developed between the 4 ‘main’ characters is beautiful throughout the film. From the moment you see Queenie and Tina interacting as sisters to the scene in which Jacob is obliviated (which made me cry) (a lot in this film made me want to cry), it is beautiful and touching. Even the relationship between Newt and his creature overwhelmed me because it was so heart warming, to see a character caring about the creatures of the Wizarding World rather that Wizards and Witches.

So, the plot is where I do get picky. Whilst I feel like some parts of the plots are incredible, there is one point which irritates me. With the title ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ you would think that the entirety (or at least the main plot) to be about Newt and his case of animals – however, around half an hour before the end of the film, that appears to have sorted itself out. Oh. Therefore, I feel like the title of the film is a little misleading. However, saying that, the main plot point regarding the Obscurus, is pretty darn cool but damn, doesn’t the Wizarding World get into a mess a lot, especially in the 20th century. Despite this, with the constant scenes featuring Credence throughout the film, it felt inevitable that his character would be important in some way. Although this annoyed me in the story, I am intrigued to see what happens next (because let’s face it, he’s not dead.)

Another thing that bothered me was how detached this felt from Harry Potter and I’d go as far as saying the Wizarding World. It just didn’t feel quite right but I’m presuming that it because I’m so used to see Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Wizarding World but I am confident that I am going love the characters from the 1920s Wizarding World probably more than I love the Golden Trio.

Overall however, this film is well worth the watch. Even though some may see it as a mere money grabbing scheme, it is a fantastic (hehehe) film to add to the Wizarding World and if nothing else sells it to you, it the Wizarding World in the FREAKING 1920s. It made me laugh and cry and I am, for one excited to see what comings of this story within the Wizarding World.