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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

April in Review

Previously on this little ol' blog of mine, I haven't really shared monthly favourites or recap style posts because I thought they'd be too same-y and I felt like I'd be copping-out if I used old Instagram photos etc. which I know I know, that's silly. If there's one thing I like to read on blogs and see on YouTube, its review posts of things people having been getting up to or loving. I also recently decided to try and make my blog a little more personal - now I don't mean that in some sort of in-depth TMI "Dear Diary" sort of way, but I would like to get more of my personality and various interests across because believe me, there is a lot more to me than just makeup, skincare and fashion, and that's not me being bigheaded, I just mean I have a lot of different interests that just don't get talked about on Northern Blood and I don't know why! So now that I've provided you with a rambling, boring introduction to this new monthly series I aim to maintain, let's see what I've been up to in April 2016.

The Personal
So, my birthday was on March 29th and I decided to head home for a week a couple of days after that to see friends and family. It was a two week Easter break from school so it would have been rude not to really! I went out for drinks with my best friend who I hadn't seen since Christmas time, watched a lot of movies, and spent some quality time with family members (I even helped my younger brother with his Art GCSE coursework because I'm that nice read: I like art and he is lazy). My friend and I had a great stroll around the nature reserve, Rainton Meadows and Joe's Pond, which I blogged about last week if candid nature photography and horses are your thang, then check that post out! Besides that outing, I went to the beach and swooned over lots of dogs - I mean, what else should you do at a beach really? - and realised the coast in the north east of England is one of the things I miss the most since moving to Winchester. I often miss Newcastle as a city with so much life and culture, and I often miss Durham's beautiful cobbled streets, but the coastline in the north east? Nothing rivals it. Sure it's freezing, heck yes it's usually grey and grim, but nothing compares to it for me. We passed some adorable beach huts whilst at Roker Beach and I'm now adamant one day, somehow, one will be mine.

This month I've been dealing with the fact that I've been very down generally for no reason and its been a tough feeling to shake. I still don't think I've fully defeated it, but I'm getting there! I think its partly to do with still not knowing what I want as a career. Well, I know what I would love to do: draw & paint for a living or teach uni students, but both of those ideals are so far off what I can accomplish right now. I had a couple of job interviews (and bagged myself my first teaching job!) this month and whilst it is still something I am extremely passionate about, I think I've hit that dark area in my training that makes you question what you're doing and why you're investing so much of yourself into a job that sucks all energy, sociability, and enthusiasm out of you. I think I've picked up down-trodden Amyleigh now though, as I'm enjoying being in the classroom once again, but I'm learning that no matter what, no "dream job" is ever smooth sailing.

I also cut a lot of my hair off, stopped wearing hair extensions and got some tattoos. Why you ask? I have no idea. I've put off getting tattoos for literally years because of numerous reasons and then I realised, every single one of those reasons was because somebody else didn't want me to get them. Well I couldn't give a hoot want anyone else wants me to do! And after getting my first one last month, I got number two and three just 3 weeks later... Middle finger to the system! I kid, I'm too polite and painfully apologetic to be punk, but nevertheless I love my tattoos and I'm planning to get more as I type. And the hair thing? Maybe I was treating my bad attitude like a relationship break up. My Aunty always said that when you break up with someone, you get a new hairstyle or a new hair colour and everything won't seem so bad and you know what? I think she's right.

This month was the month I went to my first wedding as an adult guest - up until this point I've only ever been prancing around as a Flower Girl or Bridesmaid but now I've finally hit the age where people are getting married and it's terrifying. Naturally I managed to find the sweetest, fattest pig to talk to though, so I stayed true to myself and my childish ways. I also had some rather tasty foods which masterchef Matt rustled up for us. I also made my absolute favourite summery meal - a simple crispy garlic chicken and salad dish - as soon as the sun came out. I think I may have jinxed the weather doing that though as it has plummeted back down to freezing cold weather now!

I also watched a ton of movies and TV whilst I was home and made a trip to the cinema which I rarely do now as the south is so. bloody. expensive. 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Boy are two I really need to mention. I never intended on seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane at the cinema, but I'm so so pleased I did. I absolutely loved this movie. Without giving anything away that isn't already shown in trailers, the movie is about a female main character who is living with a guy and the main man, John Goodman (yes, the guy from The Flintstones and The Borrowers). I don't want to spoil the story, so all I will say is it is not what I was expecting considering I went into the cinema thinking it would be like a Cloverfield Part II, but it went above and beyond what I thought it would be. John Goodman is absolutely incredible in it and plays his character to such a high level I don't think anyone could have played him except Goodman himself. The film is full of suspense, the characters are all excellent and believable, and the twists to the story are genuinely out of the blue and unpredictable. I think this film needs more recognition and I urge you to watch it if you like any sort of thriller/suspense storylines!

And now for The Boy. This was the movie I really wanted to see because it seemed ridiculous. I love horror but I'm also the biggest scaredy cat and freak myself out watching them, but this one seemed so silly I couldn't pass it up. The main character is the gorgeous well-known Maggie from The Walking Dead and she essentially comes over to England for a nannying job. Except when she turns up at the house, the family actually want her to nanny the creepiest looking doll you'll ever see besides Chucky. She naturally thinks it is a joke, the family 100% do not, and they leave her in charge with a schedule to keep to and a list of things she needs to do. Of course as soon as they're gone, she just drinks lots of wine and does none of the things she's expected to do and all I will say is, oh how silly of her. This horror is a pretty great one purely for the twist in the movie. I won't spoil it so I won't say anything else, but I didn't see the twist coming at. all. There's a few jump scares in there, its the right level of creepy without being totally cheesy, and its just a good horror all-round.

I'd also recommend Pacific Rim and Calvary - Pacific Rim was great and not at all cheesy. If you like your sci-fi action sort of movies and like films like Transformers, this will be right up your street (the soundtrack is pretty great too,) and Calvary is available on Netflix right now and is super. It has a great British cast, really dark humour, and is a whirlwind of emotions when you watch it. I'd highly recommend it if you're into your more indie, dark, real-life style films.

Other TV things I've also enjoyed is literally anything to do with Brian Cox on Netflix. That guy is so incredibly smart, passionate, and charismatic, he makes me love anything and everything to do with Space even more. I've also finally started watching Vikings and although I think it's been a slow burner for me so far, I am enjoying it and look forward to watching more of the series. I've also watched a disgusting amount of Destination Truth and Expedition Unknown. Both shows are quite similar and are both hosted by Josh Gates - a pretty cheesy stereotype of an over-enthused American, but I love him all the same. If you're into your cryptozoology, ghost hunting shows, or just your regular weird and wonderful myths and legends from history, these shows will tick so many boxes for you.

I haven't been playing a lot this month due to a heavy work schedule, but I have been hammering Final Fantasy X HD Remaster whenever I get the chance. Matt bought me a copy for the PS4 for my birthday and I was so ridiculously excited to play through it once again. FFX is one of my all-time favourite games which has an incredible story, spectacular graphics (especially for its age and now that it's HD!), and some of the best character designs ever. The Final Fantasy franchise is a firm favourite for me, but I will always recommend FFVII and FFX to those who may have never played them but are interested in the series. FFIX is my personal fave too but I feel like I'm alone in loving that one...

I've also been playing through Dragon Age Inquisition again as my old save was on the old Xbox 360. I'm enjoying this one so much more the second time around as I've finally come to terms with how much bigger the world is compared to the quite restricted world of Dragon Age 1 and certainly 2, as initially, I resented the fact that they'd made it so much more open map. I'm still incredibly upset that Alisdair doesn't make more of an appearance in this one though as he is my all-time favourite character of anything ever and I just want a game dedicated to him okay, Bioware? Okay.

This month I haven't listened to a lot of new music. I've been repeatedly playing The 1975's I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It since its day of release and a couple of favourites from this album are definitely UGH!, Somebody Else, and Change of Heart (which if you haven't seen the video for this song, go and watch it because it is super sweet and shot beautifully). I've also listened to one of my favourites, Spookyland, on repeat, listened to a whole lot of Fall Out Boy, Alien Ant Farm, Gym Class Heroes, and MCR whenever I've came in from work and just wanted to chill in a happy nostalgic mood, and I've also had Future Islands - Singles on rotation all month too (listen to these guys if you haven't already -

Have you had a good month this April?

- A.
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