Mid-May Favourites

Today was my first day of exams so from now until mid-June I’m basically snowed under with revision. That said, I’ve still been finding time to discover a couple of new favourites this month and particularly my film favourite, I am completely obsessed with! That said, this list definitely isn’t up to my usual standards and I’m sorry!

Film:
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
Director: James Gunn

Obviously, if anyone knows me, I am going to be obsessed with the newest Marvel release. I know that the majority of people love this film, though some people are sitting on the fence, and I am firmly in the camp of absolute adoration. This film was quite different in tone from the first one and was definitely more emotional and moving but was still full of brilliant songs, amazing characters and the humour that all Marvel films are jam-packed with. This film was so engaging and enjoyable and I encourage everybody to go and see it!

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Book:
Six of Crows (2015)
Author: Leigh Bardugo

I can’t believe that the first time I picked this book up I couldn’t even get through the first five pages because now I am fully obsessed with this book. I love all of the characters because they’re so complex and engaging and are characters that I’ve never read about before. This world is so vivid and dark and gritty that I just want to discover more about it and the plot was perfect – who doesn’t love a good heist novel? I can’t wait to read the sequel!

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Album:
Grease Live Soundtrack (2016)

After becoming absolutely obsessed with the Hairspray Live soundtrack, I figured I should give Grease Live a shot as well. Now, Grease isn’t actually one of my favourite musicals (with is a very unpopular opinion) but I’m pleased to say that I absolutely adored it. Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher are incredible in this and I have been listening to every single song on repeat.

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Mid-April Favourites

This month was a pretty productive month for me and particularly because I managed to consume a lot of different stories and discovered some new ones that I am wholly and completely obsessed with.

Film:
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Director: Bill Condon

Was it ever going to be any other film? This film was basically made for me: it includes all of my favourite actors, it is a musical, it’s set in France and it is based of my joint favourite Disney film of all time. So there was no question that this was my most anticipated film of the year and I absolutely adored every single second of it. It’s now my favourite film of all time (was there any question about it?) and I can’t stop thinking about it. I know that I am rather biased seeing as I have such a strong childhood connection to this story but I think that if you see one film in the cinema this year, make it this one.

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Song:
Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now (2016)
Artist: Original Television Cast of Hairspray! Live

If you guys know me at all, then you know that I am full-on obsessed with musicals and am also full-on obsessed with Hairspray. So, naturally, I am in love with Hairspray! Live. And this month, this song has been constantly stuck in my head and I’ve been playing on repeat. This isn’t even one of my favourite songs in the musical of Hairspray! but for some reason I was just obsessed with it this month.

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Book:
A Court of Mist and Fury (2016)
Author: Sarah J Maas

I fancied reading some Sarah J Maas this month so I decided to re-read the first two books of her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. And while I like the first book a lot more now I can see Sarah J Maas’s true intentions (those who have read both books will not what I mean), I like the characters from the second book a lot more and I loved having the chance to re-read it again.

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TV Show:
Mr. Selfridge (2013)
Creator: Andrew Davies

This is a show that I started a very long time ago but then for reasons that I don’t wholly know stopped watching it. But I decided to remedy that this month, having a random spark to start it again, and I’ve been absolutely loving it. I’ve been flying through episodes and I’ve become completely swept up in the story and I love all of the characters, particularly Agnes, Henri and Miss Mardle.

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Album:
Beauty and the Beast Official Soundtrack (2017)

As I said, I’ve been having something of an obsession this month so it should come at no surprise that this is my most listened to soundtrack of the month. All of the actors can sing amazingly well and the modern adaptations really add another layer to the classic songs that everybody loves so much.

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Mid-March Favourites

I know I keep saying this after every month that passes, but it’s true – I actually can’t believe how fast this year is going. And this month, I discovered one of my favourite new things ever.

Film:
Legally Blonde (2001)
Director: Robert Luketic

I know that I am extremely late to this party but I was barely a toddler when this film came out, so please forgive me. I decided to watch this film, completely spontaneously, one night and I can honestly say that it has low-key changed my life and is now one of my all time favourite films. Elle Woods is now a new role model and I have new standards in men because of Emmett Richmond. I adored every single tiny thing about this film and I think it’s amazing.

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Song:
Dead Girl Walking (2010)
Artist: Barrett Wilbert Weed and Ryan McCartan

I have discovered some brilliant songs because of Spotify and this is one of them. I can, no joke, say that I actually played this song non-stop for an entire day and listened to nothing else. It really is that addictive. And while it may sound a little strange and rusty at first, give it a few listens and then, like me, you’ll be completely and utterly obsessed with the power of these two voices.

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Book:
The Unexpected Everything (2016)
Author: Morgan Matson

I’ve not actually finished this book yet but I can already say that it will be my favourite of the month because I’ve been loving reading it and I’m barely half way through. I wasn’t too sure at the beginning but now I’m fully swept up in the story and the characters and the struggles that everyone is going through in this book. I can’t wait to see what happens – as I’m sure that something dramatic is on the horizon!

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TV Show:
Call The Midwife (2012)
Creator: Heidi Thomas

I’ve not been watching much TV lately which means I’ve only been watching my old favourites and this is very much a favourite and probably my favourite TV show of all time. There’s not many episodes of the current series left which makes me extremely sad but I know that they’re going to be brilliant and moving and heart-breaking, just as the rest of this series has been.

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Mid-February Favourites

Love is in the air and I’ve been feeling very lovey-dovey recently, even though I don’t have any one to actually spend the day with. Having said that, here’s a shout out to all the singletons and these are the things I’ve been loving in the past month.

Song:
Big, Blonde and Beautiful (2016)
Artist: Jennifer Hudson

You might notice a bit of theme this month wherein I became rather obsessed with the Hairspray Live! soundtrack. I know I’m about 2 months late to this party but I knew I’d get to it eventually and while I think all of the songs are brilliant, this one happens to be my absolute favourite while Without Love comes in a close second.

Book:
Far From The Madding Crowd (1874)
Author: Thomas Hardy

I feel like I haven’t shut up about this book recently but it is definitely a new favourite of mine. It completely blew my expectations out of the water and surprised me in so many different ways. I absolutely love the main character Bathsheba – she is definitely one of my new all time favourite book heroines – because she’s so stubborn and strong-willed and I think she’s amazing.

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TV Show:
Call The Midwife (2012)
Creator: Heidi Thomas

I cannot contain my excitement that this show recently returned to the airways because I absolutely adore it and would go as far as to say that it is probably my favourite TV show ever. It wholly encompasses everything that I love and I value – optimism and hope and happiness and it does it in a way that isn’t preachy but is just so enjoyable to watch. The characters are all deeply complex and interesting and funny and the plotlines are always so topical and historically accurate that you end up learning a few things too!

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Album:
Hairspray Live! Soundtrack
Artist: Original Television Cast of Hairspray Live!

I told you there was a theme and I might have only been listening to this album for a week or so but it’s definitely my most listened to thing of the entire month. I adore musicals and I adore Hairspray so it was only natural that I was going to love this to and I do. It’s incredible.

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Mid January Favourites

This is my first favourites of the year and already I am in love with some brilliant things. I wonder what the rest of the year holds?

Film:
Star Trek: Beyond (2016)
Director: Justin Lin

I’m a massive fan of the Star Trek world but for some reason it took me until a couple of weeks ago to see the latest film. But it was most certainly worth it. You know a film is good when it sticks in your head for days afterwards, just like this film did. I love all of the characters and the performances were great and I love seeing how the characters develop through each film.

Song:
Hey Momma/Hit The Road Jack (2014)
Artist: Pentatonix

I’ve been a bit obsessed with Pentatonix lately and this song has been playing on literal repeat. I know that Pentatonix are a massively talented and impressive group and this song just shows of all of their skills.

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Congratulations (2016)
Artist: Dessa

This is a song from the Hamilton Mixtape which at first I wasn’t really on board with. However, the more I listened to it the more I enjoyed it and there are a couple of songs on there which are gems and, in my opinion, this is one of them. It’s such a catchy and sassy song that I’ve been listening to on repeat.

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Book:
The List (2012)
Author: Siobhan Vivian

I picked this book up for pretty much no other reason than it was on offer in a book shop. I’d heard of the author and not heard of the book and I thought I’d give it a go. This book ended up surprising me in so many ways and ended up really loving it. I love books that make comments about society and this book makes them all, especially on the challenges that women face but in an easily accessible and understandable way. I really loved this book and I’m definitely going to check out more Siobhan Vivian now.

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TV Show:
Silent Witness (1996)
Creator: Nigel McCrey

This is another fabulous BBC show that has been going for 20 years and I think is seriously underappreciated. It has amazing characters and thrilling, extremely relevant plotlines that take into account all of the current affairs of the world. It’s also extremely funny but you can also learn a lot about pathology and forensics too. It’s just an all around brilliant show that seriously deserves more love.

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Album:
La La Land Soundtrack (2016)
Artist: Original Cast

This film has been massively hyped everywhere but has only recently come to the UK. And while I have slightly mixed feelings on it – which will be made clearer in my review which will be going up in early February – one thing which I thoroughly enjoyed and am now fully addicted to is the soundtrack. It’s so ethereal and old-fashioned and just lovely to listen to and as a jazz lover too, it just makes my day.

My Favourite Books, Films and TV of 2016

I can’t believe that 2016 is at an end! It seems like 5 minutes ago it was only January and to think that it’s now 2017 is crazy. This is a round up of my favourite things that I loved throughout the year: my 4 favourite books, 4 favourite films and 3 TV shows that I have absolutely adored over the last 12 months.

Books

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

I adore this series and I adored this book. So much stuff happens in this book and it has you sitting on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters are wonderful because they are all so flawed and realistic yet engaging and lovable at the same time. The world is vivid and rich and detailed and every single story line is explored. I love the relationships between the characters, particularly the female friendships, as well as the romances that are slowly brewing. This book was funny and witty and filled with light moments that contrast with the dark and gritty and haunting moments. The last 50 pages of this book are some of the most tense pages of a book that I think I’ve ever read and I think I was just continuously shouting ‘no!’ because Sarah J Maas knows how to torture her readers but I love her for it.

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How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

This year I happened to read a couple of non-fiction books and this book absolutely blew my mind. I adored it. It was such a refreshing and honest look on the feminism that I’d come to know and I found every single page engaging. It weaves stories from Caitlin’s life to prove her points on the world of feminism and it’s because you know that it’s real that it is so interesting. I was not expecting this book to be so moving and emotional and heart-wrenching but it really tugged at my heartstrings as well as making me think. I am so happy that I finally got round to read this book because I absolutely loved it.

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Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

I have loved Holly Bourne for quite a while now but this book brought something completely different to my attention and I absolutely adored it. This book brought OCD to my attention in a way that wasn’t glamourized or made fun of but was honest and true to life. This book also breaches the topic of feminism in a funny, engaging and easily understandable way. The characters in this book are all so funny and witty and intelligent and I really love their friendship and they don’t compete for attention or popularity but are just genuinely good friends to each other. I also really liked the subtle romance in this book because it was sweet and sensitive and realistic. I absolutely adored this book and I also love the other books in this series.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I’m pretty sure this is the book that I have read the quickest in all of my years of reading. I absolutely flew through this book because it was just so engaging and thought-provoking and entertaining. Lou Clark is one of my favourite ever characters because she is so lively and vivacious and stubborn, which is a little bit like myself. This book is so funny and witty and engaging but at the same time it is very moving and poignant and inspiring and talks about a lot of issues that I’d never read about in a book before. This book doesn’t have a happy ending, which does physically pain me because I am all for everyone being happy at the end of a book, but the ending just makes this book more important. The characters are funny and relatable and the plot is fast paced and this book is great.

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Films

Joy

I have not shut up about Joy this year and that is because I think it deserves more love and recognition. Not only is it the amazing true story of an amazingly brilliant woman but it’s also a fantastic film in its own right. This film is inspiring and thought-provoking and moving but it also has its funny moments and I think that Jennifer Lawrence does a brilliant job telling the story of Joy Mangano. The main thing that I liked about this film is that Joy’s family was a completely normal family with it’s problems and it’s struggles – her family fight and argue, she has kids to look after and a job to go to as well as trying to invent something that could change her life forever. It’s such an empowering film about inspiring women helping each other and overcoming adversity and sexism in the 60s and I think it deserves so much more love.

Captain America: Civil War

You could probably predict that the latest Marvel release would be on this list but it actually is one of my absolute favourite films of the year. It manages to pack so much into the film without feeling too full or pushing characters to the wayside in the name of plot. It’s a superhero film so yes, there is a lot of action, but it is also heartfelt and moving and feels more realistic than I think some of the previous Marvel films have been. It has a very simple plot – it takes the characters that we’ve come to know and love across the Marvel films and shows us again how they are human and not their idealized personas and how they feel things and think things and are not just pieces to be moved on a board. And, as per usual, it was absolutely hilarious and filled with witty one-liners and I thought it was brilliant.

Now You See Me 2

This is another film that I think deserves more love because of the entire world that it manages to create and the complexity of everything that goes on. This film is mysterious and intriguing and the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters are all unique and interesting and witty and I love see their interactions on screen together. This film is visually beautiful to watch and the special effects really add another layer to the film and make the magic seem all the more real, even though the audience knows in their heart of hearts that it is not real. All of the performances are excellent and this film really is a mix between a spy thriller and buddy movie. It is brilliant and I really recommend that you check it out.

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It was really difficult to chose between Zootopia and Moana but I think I preferred Zootopia just a teeny bit more. It is a really engaging film because it’s so bright and colourful and interesting. I also think that it’s a universal film because it can appeal to both kids and adults – which kids taking the more basic message of the film and older viewers picking up on the deeper meanings of everything that is going on. The film is really funny and witty and I love the main character of Judy as she’s so stubborn but helpful and kind and sarcastic. This is such a current film, despite it being a cartoon, because everything that this film says about race and identity is perhaps even more prominent in our current society. I really love this film and I think it’s great.

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TV

Ripper Street

This is my favourite ever TV show so it would be silly of my not to include it in this post when I watched the fourth series this year. In my opinion, this show deserves so much more love and attention and acclaim because it is just so brilliant. Firstly, it’s accurate in every sense of the word – it’s historical and surprisingly scientific. The characters are all really engaging and interesting because they are all flawed in several ways but that is what makes them feel so real. This show is also really intriguing because the plots are fascinating and fast-paced and can be quite grisly and dark. But this show is also surprisingly hilarious and this is an element which I think often goes in-noticed. There are snarky comments and laughs in every single episode and I cannot believe there is only one series left because I absolutely love this show.

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How To Get Away With Murder

This is a show that I have watched and enjoyed for a very long time but it is one of the only shows that I’ve watched this year that has been consistently on top. There have been no simply ‘filler’ episodes that serve no purpose and are a bit naff, everything serves a purpose and is engaging and is thrilling to watch. Every single episode is crammed with twists and turns and ups and downs and you are constantly sat on the edge of your seat. All of the characters are interesting and complex and they go through so much character development across the series that it really is unbelievable. There are also some particularly strong female characters as well as some good LGBTQ+ representation and this show certainly isn’t afraid to talk about ‘taboo’ issues and that something else that I love about it. It’s hilarious and mind-blowing and extremely stressful to watch but I still love it.

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Criminal Minds

If I had an award for the best discovery of the year, it would most certainly be this. I have fallen completely head over heels in love with show and I think it is amazing. I love that it focuses on the psychological elements of serial killers rather than just the crimes they commit because it makes the show so much more original and interesting than other cop shows. I also adore the characters on this show. They are all so well-crafted and interesting and engaging with their own distinct quirks and personalities and backstories. Every episode is packed with twists and turns and the balance is exactly right between the goriness and darkness of the crimes and the humour and banter between the characters. It’s interesting and complex and deeply enjoyable and I absolutely adore it.

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And, even have a look at some of my absolute favourite songs of the year!

Mid December Favourites

I was thinking that it had been a while since I’d done a favourites and that’s because for some reason I didn’t so a November favourites! I have absolutely no reason why this happened because I put in on my schedule of things to do but to remedy that, here is my December favourites! And, pre-warning, I have a ton of favourite songs.

Film:
Moana (2016)
Director: John Musker, Ron Clements

I went to watch this film as a late birthday present for myself and I really, really enjoyed it. It is a visually gorgeous film in every sense of the word and the music was brilliant – obviously, because Lin-Manuel Miranda cannot put a foot wrong. I really loved this film because it was different and funny and entertaining and I think that everyone needs to see it.

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Song:
She Bangs (2000)
Artist: Ricky Martin

This is a very random song to be obsessed with over the last month but after watching one of my favourite shows of all time (Strictly Come Dancing) I’ve quickly become obsessed with this song. It’s partly because of this dance and also partly because this song is just so super catchy.

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How Far I’ll Go (2016)
Artist: Auli’i Cravalho

Unsurprisingly, I’m also obsessed with this song which I suppose is the main ‘anthem’ in Moana. It is insanely catchy and will definitely get stuck in your head for days on end. Auli’i Cravalho is an absolutely brilliant singer and voice actress and this song is just fab.

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Christmas Is My Favourite Time Of Year (2011)
Artist: Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat, Rachel de Benedet

This is the only Christmas related thing on this list because while I have been watching The Muppets Christmas Carol pretty much every day, this song has been playing in my head all of the time. I love the message of this song and it’s wonderfully Christmassy and I love it.

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Freak (2016)
Artist: Little Mix

I have been really enjoying Little Mix’s latest album, and have been playing one of the songs on repeat, but this is the main song that has been constantly stuck in my head. Like a lot of Little Mix’s songs it is insanely catchy and sassy and powerful and I really, really love it.

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Daddy Lessons (2016)
Artist: Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks

In the last few years I have really grown into a massive Beyoncé fan but somehow this song managed to slip under my radar until recently. It is 6 and a half minutes of pure feminine strength and commentary on a whole load of crucially important topics that are so relevant today. It’s also just an amazing song and Beyoncé’ voice truly is incredible.

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Book: Empire of Storms (2016)
Author: Sarah J Maas

You guys know that this book series is one of my favourite of all time and I decided to read the latest installment in this series recently and I absolutely loved it. There was one small element that I didn’t agree with but apart from that, I adore the characters because they’re so flawed and engaging and this book was pretty much perfect. If you want to know some more of my thoughts, check out my review.

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Album:
Moana Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2016)
Artist: Various Artists

Again unsurprisingly, the album that I’m currently obsessed with is the soundtrack to Moana. I’m quite shocked to find that it’s not a Christmas album (though I have been listening to my fair share of Buble and Glee). There are so many different sounds and voices on this soundtrack and I can listen to it again and again.

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