Wednesday, 11 October 2017

FEELING CRAP: Grief + Uncertainty

Hello all, it's been a while and for that I'm sorry.

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind since I last posted back in February, some of it good, some of it bad. The last few months have shaped me pretty drastically as a person, likely forever. I know that sounds entirely dramatic, but I felt that I've been put in a ringer, picked up, chucked in a pen with some hungry bears, picked up again, and been dumped in a swimming pool full of very angry bees.

To say I feel chewed up, spat out, tired, and fed up, is an understatement of the century. My life for the first half of 2017 has been a rollercoaster, one that I will never ever go on again and would give 0/5 stars to on Trip Adviser: "Never again, made me puke and have an existential crisis while crying on the floor in my underwear snuggling a crate of ice cream. AVOID!!!11!".

Self-deprecating witticisms aside, 2017 has been a bitch of a year for me and I've never wanted a year to end so badly. for now, he's a recap and explanation for my absence.

Back in February I was offered a job in a local school as a teaching assistant, something I had been waiting for since November. I happily snapped up the place, happy to be able to be in a good job, doing a good thing. It look me a little while to adjust, but once I felt comfortable, I loved it. I loved my fellow TA's, the teachers, even the kids. I was extremely busy making resources, taking revision classes an so on that I found little time not energy to update this blog around my responsibilities. 

Sadly as I was JUST for the English department and JUST to help the kids come exam season I was let go...with three days notice. I knew it was always a possibility with agency work, but actually being told on a Tuesday that my last day was the coming Friday with no way to say goodbye to the kids I'd been working with was extremely hard. Anyone who has worked in education will likely now this feeling, they became my little ducklings that I held under my wing and helped as best I could. I actually sobbed when I saw some of my students in the local paper receiving their GCSE results. Perhaps I'm just a soft sap, but they were my kids and I am still ridiculously proud of them and still very sad I didn't get to tell them how much so.

In desperation, I took a cover job for the remainder of the school year at another school in Essex. It took me forever to commute, the kids had more behavioural issues (with inadequate support), and I was pushed beyond my limits, skills, and expectations. I was threatened, belittled, and treated with no respect from both students and higher levels of staff, plus derogatory comments were made online about me and fellow supplies. Yes, really. 

Going from working in a place that, on a whole, appreciated me and did all they could to support me, to a place that didn't seem to care about my physical or emotional well-being was hard. The students were being let down by school that focused more on its outward appearance as opposed to actually fixing it's deep-rooted issues, which made some children lash out on me. I was made to feel that I was single-handedly the person letting these children down, which is a deeply traumatising notion to deal with.

It was only recently when my friend shared her own, and fellow trainee teacher experiences that I realised my situation was exactly the same. I was having the same experiences as a trainee teacher, it wasn't my fault, it was relatively 'normal' for someone new to teaching, but I was made to feel, on a public platform no less, that I was an utter failure. I experienced what that same friend has called 'Teacher Trauma' which is a very real, very scary thing; it is something I will probably dedicate a whole post to in the future due to the fairly invisible nature of it in schooling.

Leaving said last school at the end of the academic year was a relief, a huge breath of fresh air, and a much needed respite given the hard few months I'd had.

Preceding my job woes, my Nan passed away suddenly in May. It was an extremely hard time, we were extremely close, with her being more of a second Mum than a Grandparent. She was my best friend, my confidant, and I spent an exceedingly crazy amount of time with her. Her loss is something I'm still struggling to fully understand as a lot of my identity was enmeshed with her. I was her carer, her confidant, her librarian and wheelchair driver, not to mention toffee smuggler.

It's still, a few months on, something I struggle with daily. Losing someone you are close to is hard, losing them so suddenly is even harder, and losing someone who was such an integral part of yourself is dehumanising. I haven't fully returned to my old self since before her death, I dress permanently in jeans and baggy jumpers, I struggle to put on half way decent make-up, and I resign myself to a messy ponytail pretty much everyday, because I honestly can't manage anything else consistently anymore.

My experience with grief is something I will explore more in specific posts; grief and its aftermath are not something that can truly be 'tagged' on to an update post like this, not in its full potency anyway. For now I will say that grief and loss are not talked about enough, the experiences we all have in the face of loss are so uniquely devastating and intrinsic to each of us that I don't know what I can do or say that may help, but I feel the need to talk about grief in the hope that maybe one person can be comforted as they traipse a very hard path.

2017 has been a year of soul-searching, particularity in the last two months were I have considered my future options. Teaching is definitely not for me, the experiences I had were too traumatic for me to wish to return to secondary or primary teaching. I have taken up an MA in English to pursue my pipe-dream of becoming a University lecturer in the future, but I'm currently stuck in where to take my employment for now while I study for my MA, and later PhD. Do I return to my earlier dreams of journalism? Focus on monetising my art work and design? Do I become a full-time carer for my Granddad who is slowly in the need of more help as he reaches 90? Or do I take a more normal job, maybe in a bookshop or a cafe, and balance all of the above while adhering to the stereotype of Literature graduates working as a Barista?

I still have a fair amount of soul-searching to do and large decisions to make with very little space in which to work it all out. Professionally and personally, I've taken a battering in 2017 and, while it has destroyed me in some aspects, it has also forced me to work out my priorities and where my passions lie. for that, I am grateful, though when I'm writing my dissertation I'm sure I'll curse the day  I decided to complete my education so soon.

All I know currently is that I want to try and finish 2017 strong and to go into 2018 knowing I did my best to turn around what has been a truly shit year for the most part.

I don't know exactly what's in the cards for me yet, but watch this space, we might find it out together.

- Georgia xo


Monday, 6 February 2017

ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASES OF 2017


With the arrival of a new year comes an influx of gym memberships, a mass increase in the sale of spiralisers, and the joy of new book releases, and 2017 is no exception. 2017 is a year with a plethora of fantastic book releases, so many so that I found myself hard wrought to narrow down my most awaited releases. Somehow, I managed it, and below I have curated my top three anticipated releases in five categories, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short-stories, and young-adult. Check them out below!




Made for Love - Alissa Nutting
An intriguing tale from the writer of Tampa; Made for Love follows the life of Hazel as she moves in with her father, and his very realistic sex doll Diane, after running away from her husband Bryan Gogol, CEO of Gogol industries. After Bryan attempts to “mind-meld” himself and Hazel via computer chips he has developed Hazel realises the clinical and isolated life she has been subjected to is now too much. As Hazel attempts to create a new life for herself in a world she isn’t used to, she must also face the threat of Bryon’s relentless pursuit to bring her ‘home’.
RELEASED 4TH JULY

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
A highly anticipated debut from Gail Honeyman about a woman named Eleanor as her carefully constructed life is interrupted by Raymond, her colleague. The two bond, despite Eleanor’s struggles with social interaction and tendency to say whatever she is thinking, as well as her carefully scheduled life. The two meet Sammy, an elderly man they assist after he falls in the street; what follows is a story of the trios’ friendship as they help ease each other’s loneliness, and help Eleanor learn the importance of love.
RELEASED 18TH MAY

Everything Belongs to Us - Yoojin Grace Wuertz
Everything Belongs to Us documents the story of two women in South Korea of vastly different backgrounds as they struggle to make their own way during South Korea’s “economic miracle” in Seoul, 1978. Childhood friends Jisun and Namin wish to change their lives, Jisun by rejecting her privileged background and focusing on her schoolwork, and her underground activism, and Namin by working tirelessly in the hopes to bring her family out of poverty. However, the meeting of Sunam, a student, and member of the prestigious club ‘the Circle’, and his mentor Juno intertwines the fours’ lives in ways that impact their lives forever.
RELEASED 28TH FEBRUARY



The Otter’s Tale – Simon Cooper
Simon Cooper regales us with the tale of a family of otters he came to share his recently bought mill with in the South of England. Cooper developed an extraordinary bond with the otter family, being able to intimately document their usually secretive lives into this book, focusing on the story of the female otter Kuschta. Interspersed with Kuschta’s tale is the history of the otter, including its near extinction to the extent of the conservation efforts entailed to rescue one of the world’s favourite, but most elusive, mammals.
RELEASED 23RD MARCH

Emergency Admissions - Kit Wharton
Emergency Admissions is a frank, shocking, and at times funny collection of stories form the experiences of Kit Wharton, an ambulance drive for over a decade. In a time in which our NHS I under immense stress and critique, Wharton opens the reader eyes to the reality of the ambulance service, detailing the highs and lows, including; nuisance calls, sex parties gone awry, heart-breaking, and equally heart-warming stories of the patients he has attended to. Mixed in with the tales of discharges and broken bones is Wharton’s own unusual childhood that he accounts prepared him for the often bizarre nature on the front-line of British healthcare.
RELEASED 9TH FEBRUARY

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
An immensely successfully Kickstarter project, raising more than ten times the originally $40,000 goal, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a collection of 100 stories of the live of 100 extraordinary real life women, illustrated by 100 different female artists. A spin on the usual bedtime story fodder of princesses in towers waiting to be saved, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls focuses on past and present inspiring women, from the Bronte sisters, Frida Kahlo, to Serena Williams. This is a book that celebrates women and their achievements, and highlights them in a format that is accessible, beautiful, and enjoyable.
RELEASED 2ND MARCH



The Unaccompanied – Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage is a well-known figure in the world of British poetry, with his most recent works Seeing Stars, The Last Days of Troy, and Pearl receiving rave reviews. His lastest collection, The Unaccompanied returns to his contemporary lyricism, bringing warmth, brutal honesty to his already divers and engaging set of works.
RELEASED 2ND MARCH

British Museum - Daljit Nagra
British Museum is Nagra’s third collection of poetry, it consists of his retelling of the epic Indian poem Ramayana. His usual wit and joviality are present in a series of poems that meditate on the idea of heritage, in this case British, and the institutions that define this, such as the BBC or the British Museum, the namesake of the collection. British Museum pushes the reader to recognise and question personal morality and responsibility in light of a their sense of a national identity that is, at this time, greatly challenged.
RELEASED 18TH MAY

the princess saves herself in this one - Amanda Lovelace
Lovelace gives us an intriguing poetry collection that is set into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and “you”. This collection brings together the life of Lovelace, but also engages directly with the reader, exploring the ideas of loss, love, grief, inspiration, and empowerment.
RELEASED 15TH FEBRUARY



Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami
World-renowned author Haruki Murakami returns with seven tales of men who have found themselves without women, and are left inexplicably alone in their absence. Included are stories of disappearing cats, baseball, lonely hearts, and the Beatles, along with Murkami’s signature wry wit and humour.
RELEASED 9TH MAY

I’d Die for You – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’d Die for You encompasses the last of Fitzgerald’s unpublished works, the author renowned for the timeless classis that is The Great Gatsby. Included are stories originally published in magazines in the 1930s, movie scenario’s originally destined for movie studios, and some stories that, due to their subject matter, were never published, and perhaps may never have been if not for this new collection. Readers will experience the real, uncensored life of young men and women in the 1930’s, often inspired by Fitzgerald’s own tumultuous life, in a collection that spans his entire writing career.
RELEASED 4TH MAY

all the beloved ghosts – Alison Macleod
Alison Macleod, a Man Booker Prize-longlisted author of blends fiction, biography and memoir into an evocative collection of short stories that take us into history, literature, and the lives of iconic figures. Stories include; a woman in 1920s Nova Scotia emerging from mourning and wears a new fur coat that will change her entire life; a teenager looking for a lost love in the summer of 2011, in a riotous London; an author visits the gravesite of Sylvia Plath's, making an unusual and unexpected connection in the past. In a set of stories that capture the idioms of memory, media and mortality, Macleod has crafted a collection that captures the truth and experience of human existence.
RELEASED 9TH MARCH


One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus
One of Us is Lying is a Young-Adult thriller telling the story of how five strangers attend detention, but only four leave it alive. In a story that plays on and explores the idea of school-age cliques and personas, McManus delves into the human psyche to show that, whether jock, nerd, ‘beauty’ or outcast, everyone has something to hide, and that more meets the eye that trivial labels.
RELEASED 30TH MAY

Wicked like a Wildfire - Lana Popović
The women in Iris and Malina's family are born with a ‘gleam’, aa unique ability to manipulate different forms of beauty through magic. Iris sees flowers as fractals turning her visions into beautiful glassworks, her sister Malina interprets moods as music, while their mother, Jasmina, bakes intricate and beautiful sceneries into baked goods. Jasmina warns the girls against using their powers publically, and falling in love, as both risk the safe and quiet lives they have created. However, their peaceful lives are upturned as Jasmina is attacked and left between life and death, as the girls discover that there is more to their powers than they realised, and that powerful curse haunts their bloodline. This is the start of a duology about magic, love, and the qualities of beauty.
RELEASED 5TH OCTOBER

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls - Lauren Karcz
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls follows Mercedes Moreno, a struggling artist who has failed to pain since her award-winning art piece a year ago. The reason for her lack of inspiration could be her ailing abuela, who is comatose in faraway Puerto Rico after suffering a stroke. Or perhaps it is due to Mercedes feelings for her best friend Victoria, whom she is in love with, but refuses to reveal said fact. While she struggles with her artistic integrity; art comes to her in the form of a neighbour who invites her to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate. The Estate enlivens Mercedes creativity, allowing her to reveal her deepest secrets somewhere he feels safe, but the benefits she feels while at the Estate dwindle as she leaves. As her life outside of the Estate crumbles Mercedes finds herself torn between two live: a perfect world of art, or a messier reality.
RELEASED 25TH JULY

So that's my list of anticipated releases for 12017. What books are you most excited for in the oncoming months? I’d love to hear from you! Please don't hesitate to comment or get in touch with one of my social networks below!

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- Georgia xo


Thursday, 2 February 2017

HOW MUCH THE HEART CAN HOLD: SEVEN STORIES ON LOVE - REVIEW

What first gripped me with How Much the Heart Can Hold was the stunning cover; the textured matte cream hardcover compliments the anatomical drawing of the heart remarkably well, so much so that I display it rather gloriously on my shelf, cover pointing outwards so everyone can appreciate how beautiful it is. Yes, I’m that sad, but it’s so pretty; thankfully the inside of this collection is just as well-crafted as its cover.

How Much the Heart Can Hold explores the multitudinous concept of love and its many forms, including Eros, (sexual love) and Agape, (unconditional love)*, as well as five other stories exploring the complexity of one of our strongest emotions. The authors involved in this collection are: Carys Bray, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Bernardine Evaristo, Grace McCleen, Donal Ryan, Nikesh Shukla and D. W. Wilson, award-winning writers who have each written unique and enthralling depictions of love. Each story is exceptional, and play within each individual writers’ style and common themes within their larger works making the collection diverse and engaging, with every writer bringing a fresh perspective to the idea of ‘love’.

'No one has measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.' - Zelda Fitzgerald

Nikesh Shukla’s short story, White Wine, explores Philautia, (or self-love, learning more towards respect for oneself and achievements as opposed to narcissism), and follows the story of a brother concerned over the racist attitudes and behaviour towards his sister from her boss, and her prevailing desire to bond with said jerk. The narrative of this story echoes only too realistically the still burgeoning racism and discrimination in Modern Britain towards ethnic minorities, in this case, South-Asian, with Rupa’s boss nick-naming her team as “his favourite terror cell”, with Rupa as “their fearless leader, Bin Laden”. Yes, really. White Wine explores the question of whether racism has actually decreased, with Rupa questioning her brother on whether people can still be racist as “it feels so old-fashioned”, while also exploring the idea of Philautia and loving oneself in light of such attitudes. White Wine is, inarguably, my favourite in this collection and has spurred me on to read more of Shukla’s work. His ability to combine the idea of Philautia with modern social issues that are increasingly

While all the stories in this collection are excellent, some stand out to me more than others, such as Buchanan’s Before It Disappears; a story based on La Douleur Exquisite, (unrequited love) in which a husband struggles with his wife’s eating disorder, as spurred on by his liaison with another woman, with an appearance by a unicorn. This story is sumptuous in its description and Buchanan is a marvellously detailed writer, evoking brilliant and vivid images in the mind’s eye with his unique expression. Also a favourite story of mine is Codas by Carys Bray, a story exploring Storge, (familial love) with a sweet tale of daughter’s concern for her football obsessed father when he is hospitalised, and her motherly love for her son, a keen footballer and ballet dancer.

How Much the Heart Can Hold contests the idea of love as being purely ‘romantic’ and delves deeper into what love is, and can do to the human psyche. Emma Herdman, the editor of this collection, has managed to bring together a group of exceptionally talented writers who succeed in challenging the binary conceptions of what love is with immense style, crafting seven stories that are equally captivating, moving, and intriguing. As a fairly new reader to short stories, I was immensely pleased with my reading experience of How Much the Heart Can Hold, and it has opened my eyes to the boundless potential of a medium I initially thought would be quite limited in subject and impact. I strongly recommend this collection to anyone dipping their toe into the short story genre, and already avid fans of the genre. This collection is fascinating, pushing me to question the potentials of ‘love’, as well as introducing me to multiple writers whose further works I wish to explore in the future.

Disclaimer: How Much the Heart Can Hold was sent to me from Spectre to review for free, via Bookbridgr. This has not affected my review and my opinion towards the books I receive gratis are honest and impartial.

Rating: ★★

Have you read How Much the Heart Can Hold? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Please don't hesitate to comment or get in touch with one of my social networks below!

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- Georgia xo

* To any fellow Anime fans: These stories are not like Yuri on Ice. Sorry for bursting your katsudon bubbles.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

GETTING BACK INTO BLOGGING + NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS


I guess I better start off by saying: HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and rung in the New Year with fun, festivity, and loads of glitter, fireworks, and turkey!

I should probably follow up with a huge SORRY for being AWOL and leaving the blog alone for such a long time, I’m never in the best mindset around this time, with the mayhem of Christmas stirring up a lot of anxiety. I’ve also been reluctant to engage with the blog for number of personal reasons, ones that have made me feel uncomfortable posting on any of my social networks. I put the blog on an unannounced hiatus until I could get myself back into the positive mindset I had previously regarding this blog, as well as the prevailing anxieties surrounding it. It’s taken a while and a lot of soul-searching, but I’m finally back!

I am extraordinarily happy to see the end of what has been one of the most difficult, but also most rewarding and validating years of my life, and welcome 2017 and everything that it will bring. I’m going into 2017 with a mostly positive attitude, and have decided 2017 is the year for self-improvement and wish-fulfillment; 2016 made it undeniably clear that life is achingly short and I need to try to make the most of it.

So, to start off HOLY CRAP! for the new year, here is my list of resolutions for 2017:

GET MY HEALTH IN ORDER
It comes as no surprise to anyone who’s read this blog that my health isn’t always in the best shape, having problems with anxiety, depression, insomnia and asthma. I can usually cope with these things decently day to day, but my final year at university, then post-grad life have taken their toll and I’m finding it harder to manage my mind and body.

I spent a lot of 2016 holed up in my room as an exhausted, emotional wreck, meaning I didn’t enjoy my final months at uni like I should have, missing out on some really fun times with some really cool people. I’ve been neglecting my health for so long without realizing that, by choosing to ignore how I have felt, I was making things worse, creating an extremely toxic cycle I’ve been too scared and ignorant to break.

I’ve finally decided to break this vicious circle and get my life and health on a good track for 2017, I think I owe it to myself to be able to reach my true potential, which I know I can only do if I take a step back to look after and nurture myself. I urge anyone reading this to take care of yourself, self-care is one of the most important actions you can take when you suffer from any form of health issue, whether mental or physical. Take the time to cherish yourself, with or without professional help, and become the strongest you you can be.

ENGAGE WITH MY CREATIVITY
Since leaving sixth form back in 2012 I’ve struggled with tapping into the artistic side of myself; I couldn’t find an adequate avenue to express my creativity at university until my final year when I enrolled in two creative writing courses. It was the best year of my academic life creativity wise, and my passion for poetry and short story writing hasn’t diminished, though I’m still horrendous at writing science fiction, (sorry Matthew!). Since I've graduated my writing has petered off as I’ve struggled with inspiration, finding I can only form ideas at indecent times of the night when my brain and arms cannot coordinate, so I’m left with indecipherable scribbles in the tatty notebook I keep under my pillow.

As someone who has always been intensely creative it has been exceedingly hard not exploring this  part of my identity. I want to be able to reclaim the titles of writer and artist, so this year I’m making a conscious effort to engage with my creativity again and build up my portfolio again. I’m setting up an art/writing studio area to my room and making an active promise to myself to carry on with the projects I’ve pushed aside for far too long. I want to be able to exit 2017 saying proudly that yes, I am a writer and artist and this is my work.

(Essentially this means dragging my boyfriend and family around art/stationary shops and making them wait as I try to take obnoxious photos of leaves. Sorry guys~)

SET UP MY SHOP
For a long time now I’ve wanted to run my own business, and being a creative I've wanted this shop to focus largely on my homemade items and artwork. I’ve wanted to gather my interests and hobbies into a store for a long time, and had planned to do so in 2016 before life, inevitably, got in the way. I’m hoping to set up my shop within the next few months showcasing my jewelry, artwork and home accessories that I have made and/or curated.

If anyone has any experience running their own business, particularly in the creative sector or on Etsy, I'd love to hear from you!

CUT OUT THE NEGATIVITY
Part of my aim for self-improvement in 2017 is accepting that there are negative people in my life that I need to cut off to truly feel better with myself, and my life as a whole. I need to accept that, no matter who they are, if they are detrimental to my happiness, I am within my right to cut them away. This isn’t something I’ve taken lightly, having made some tough decisions last year regarding people I struggled to recognise as being toxic and manipulative for a long time.  On the whole I feel better having made this decision, but I know I still have negative influences in my life that I need to 'sort out' and minimize as best I can.

Just because someone is family, a long-term friend, or a partner, if they make you feel awful and have a negative effect on you, you are under no obligation to keep them in your life; always put yourself and your well-being first. The same applies to fellow employees, even random strangers, no one should be allowed to have an impact in your life if said impact is wholly negative, demeaning, or unhelpful. This year I’m making I've decided to make a conscious effort to remove or ignore the negative people or influences within my life, I want people who can encourage and support me, people who can help me grow as opposed to people who will hold me back. I want healthy relationships and a healthy environment, and I implore you to attempt the same. Positivity is a powerful thing, hold onto it and foster it as much as you can, and keep those who fill you with it close to you, always.


And that is my list of resolutions for 2017; a mission to improve my health, well-being and become the creative I strive to be. So, do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Do you have any input or advice you might have for me going into the year? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Please don't hesitate to comment or get in touch with one of my social networks below!

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- Georgia xo

Monday, 21 November 2016

HOLY HUNGER - FOODIE BUCKET LIST



You cannot be a foodie without having some form of bucket list, it comes part and parcel with the want to eat tasty things all day, everyday. This particular bucket list is split into three sections TRY; food I want to make. TASTE; food I want to eat. TOUR; places I want to eat at. I'll likely add more and more to this as the blog goes on because there's waaaay too many things I want to try and places I want to visit that I think this list will become endless. Oh well~

TRY 
  • Madelines 
  • Biscotti 
  • Gingerbread House 
  • Mushroom Stock 
  • Doughnuts 
  • Tiramisu 
  • Croquembouche 
  • Puff Pastry
  • Marshmellows 
  • Croque Madame 
  • Truffles 
  • Churros 
  • Peanut butter 
  • Butter
  • Pesto
  • Spring Rolls
  • Ice Cream
  • Souffle
  • Mousse
  • Creme Brulee
  • Baklava
  • Eclairs
  • Macaroons
  • Naan Bread
  • Foccacia
  • Bagels
  • Gnocchi
  • Houmous
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Baked Alaska
  • Black Forest cake
  • Mousse
  • Jam
  • Cheese


TASTE 
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte 
  • Sushi 
  • Beef Wellington 
  • Tuna Steak 
  • Kimchi 
  • Korean BBQ 
  • Tapas
  • Asparagus
  • Paella
  • Truffle
  • Dim Sum
  • Lobster
  • Asparagus
  • Fennel
  • Bibimbap
  • Absinthe
  • Aubergine
  • Cheese Fondue
  • Durian Fruit
  • Goats Cheese
  • Manchego
  • Fontina


TOUR
  • Dishoom 
  • Duck & Waffle 
  • Rita's 
  • Bone Daddies 
  • Poppies 
  • Herman Ze German 
  • The Breakfast Club 
  • Dip & Flip 
  • Bao 
  • The Melt Room 
  • Crosstown Doughnuts 
  • Bodean's BBQ
  • Blu Top
  • On the Bab
  • Sticky Beaks
  • Porky's BBQ
  • Voodoo Ray's
  • Lucky Chip
  • Bababoom
  • Bird ★★★★
  • Mother Clucker
  • Jubo
  • Tay Do Cafe

Thursday, 10 November 2016

READY PLAYER ONE BY ERNEST CLINE - REVIEW

I picked up Ready Player One  due to the ridiculous amount of hype it got back when it was published. I know, I'm 4 years late, but it says something about this book that I was still thinking about it so long after its release. The premise of this book got me particularly excited; in 2044 the world has become desolate and dangerous due to global warming, energy shortages and the resulting economic ruin. The only escape is the immensely popular virtual reality game known as OASIS, in which players can forget the brutal realities of the modern world and immerse themselves in an extraordinary and limitless RPG. Ready Player One revolves around the narrator and main character Wade Watts as he attempts to leave less than idyllic home of his aunt and attempt to better the world via his attempts to solve the OASIS 'Easter egg'. Left behind my creator James Halliday upon his death, the 'Egg' gives whoever finds it not only full control over OASIS, but Halliday's huge fortune. But there's a catch, to find the Easter egg the players must solve a complex set of clues to find it's location; five years after its reveal the initial clue is still unsolved, and the egg is nowhere to be found.

"These three words were always the last thing an OASIS user saw before leaving the real world and entering the virtual one: READY PLAYER ONE”

Now, the actual story-line of this is wonderful, with good guys fighting extremely corrupt bad guys (the IOI) trying to monetise OASIS and turn it into a 'pay-to-play' for the elite; wonderfully rich descriptions of the OASIS landscape and the RPG system; hilarious and well-rounded characters including Og, the co-founder of OASIS who in one brilliant scene DJ's a party in an anti-gravity club, yes, really. This is a wonderfully complex, intricate and sumptuously detailed text that is perfect for any fan of RPG games like myself, though you will finish this book feeling deflated because why can't OASIS be real?

Now there is one huge problem with this book for me, and sadly it is a huge part of the entire premise of the book; the 80's references. Halliday was a quintessential 80's child with an obsession with the early video games, technology and TV/films of his childhood. This in itself isn't a problem, I'm in that odd middle area of being both a 90's and a millennial child, so Halliday's romantic nostalgia and obsession with his childhood culture is not really a problem for me, my generation have essentially created a meme from said weird obsession (only 90's kid will get this...), so I can't really judge. My problems arise from the fact that the hunters for the egg are told that the answers for Halliday's clues lie somewhere in his 80's obsession. In itself, not awful, until large swathes of the novel become dedicated to obscure 80's knowledge that left me insanely bored.

“Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.”

Due to the fervent hunt for the egg the characters in Ready Player One immerse themselves in 80's culture big time, (acid wash and blue eye-shadow, sadly, make a comeback), meaning the references are near on constant. I am not one for 80's culture at all, I don't know why, but it has never interested me, so sections of the novel in which Wade or Art3mis show off their impressive knowledge of said era bored me quite a lot. I sadly ended up having to put this book down for a while as I found it too intense, too long-winded and far too much for my poor millennial brain. The 80's was a remarkably cool era, especially in regards to gaming, but sadly, I found myself wishing for less of these sections and more about OASIS and the actual hunt for the egg.

All that being said, this is a fairly good book and an exciting read, the latter quarter or so of this book is fast-paced, intense, and is worth drudging through or skipping the 80's references if you can; I can only give this three stars however as the constant and obscure 80's knowledge made this such a hard read at times for me personally, not that I wouldn't recommend it, but please go into it knowing you will be faced with Wade explaining the patterns of Joust or Pacman, or reciting parts of the script of Wargames. I am super excited to see the movie adaption of this book coming in 2018, and can't wait to see how they bring OASIS to life and it's myriad of characters to life, I just hope that the 80's references aren't as intense, my millennial brain just can't take it.

Rating: ★★

Sunday, 6 November 2016

FEELING CRAP - THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY #2



So it's finally November; it's a new month, a new start, and a new FEELING CRAP post. I mentioned in my previous post how I've been feeling under the weather lately, I'm much better psychically, being truly cured of my awful head cold, but my sleep is still out of whack and leaving me exhausted and stressed, add on the cold weather and dwindling amounts of sunlight and I've been really really miserable. However, I have decided to be a well-functioning adult and focus on the good things in amongst the bad, and there has been a few, mostly relating to my version of self-care (i.e tv and food). It's hard to be positive when things aren't great and you feel like pretty crappy, but keeping track of the good things can help make things feel just that little bit better, so, here's four things that have made me happy this week, when I've not been sleeping that is.


KOREAN DRAMAS
I dunno where my thing for Korean dramas started, but I've fallen for them hard, particularly the medical drama ones. While I was meant to be revising for my final uni exams I was sat binge watching My Love from Another Star, I just finished Doctors Crush and already have quite a few new series lined up (including Descendants of the Sun and Blood. There's something about Korean dramas that is so addictive I can't help but binge watch them, something I don't do often, finding myself bored with a lot of series eventually. My cat also sits and watches them with me so that helps.


COFFEE
I really like coffee, hot or cold it's a glorious nectar of instant energy. I have really bad problems sleeping and find waking up in the morning hard so caffeine in the glorious form that is coffee is a lifesaver. I usually have my coffee really milky, something I've realised is a pretty bad habit so I'm slowly weaning myself off of sugar to sweeteners, then one day I'll have it au naturel, but right now I'm too much of a wuss. I'm currently in the predicament of being really big into chilled coffee right now but it being really unseasonable. 


RAMEN
My name is Georgia I have a shameful relationship with ramen, I can't even blame it on my uni years because I had a thing for it way before then, uni just introduced me to the godsend of noodles that is Demae Ramen, (thank you Tesco's world food section). My prep of ramen, as with my food tastes, has evolved from my early years of adding just the flavour powder and hot water, so it's not as shameful as it used to be. I do add veg to it...sometimes. I dunno why, but ramen is just the most comforting food for me, so now that it's getting cold I'm unashamedly eating far too much ramen under the guise of well it's pretty cold and this is sorta like soup. Don't judge me.


WARM BLANKETS
I think there's a really distinct theme going on here: it's been cold and I've needed to be cosy. Pretty much all my free time is spent underneath a myriad of blankets looking like a less-wrinkly E.T. I like winter, but the pretty inconsistent British Weather drives me mad and I wasn't prepared for the sudden drop in temperature. Thankfully I hoard blankets so I think i'll survive. Please excuse me, I'll be going back to my blanket fort~

And that's a few things that have helped to cheer up grumpy Georgia this past week. What's made you happy lately? What do you do when you feel under the weather to make you feel better? I'd love to know! Please don't hesitate to comment or get in touch with one of my social networks below!