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

June in Review

This month has been an odd one for me. I haven't really done anything and because of that, it has dragged on and on for what feels like a good 10 weeks or more. I've been finishing up my PGCE degree and qualifying as a teacher, whilst also wishing I had no responsibilities. I finally booked a holiday with Matthew (we leave in 8 days!!!) and I'm starting to realise now that I have to be a real adult now. No more university. Only a full time career ahead of me and honestly? That is terrifying.

The Personal
So other than school, what have I been up to? Well the weather has been nothing sort of abysmal. Considering it is now July, it has done nothing but rain and be cold - not really what you sign up for when you think of summer. I'm not a huge lover of humidity and heat constantly, but a little bit this summer would be nice - even just for photography purposes! Due to the shocking weather, I haven't got out to photograph stuff and to go for long walks half as much as I want to which has added to this slow feeling this month has caused. But some good stuff has happened too despite the rubbish weather! As I said, I've finished my degree now so I'm a fully qualified teacher which is equal parts amazing and terrifying! But it was also Matt's granddad's 80th birthday so we popped home one weekend for that. It was relatively sunny that weekend and was nice to go back to Cirencester and see the honorary family.

So this month has seen some great and utterly terrible movies grace my eyes and steal my time. I'll start off with the not so great. I love the Transformers films. I think they're great mindless action movies and they hook me in no matter how many times I've watched them. I figured Transformers: Age of Extinction would be the same but I forgot one big significant thing... Shia LeBouf was missing from this one. This is the fourth instalment in the franchise and I've got the be honest, it is done. It is spent. They should make no more. People might find Shia annoying but I think he makes these films. It just didn't have the same kind of high-action I was used to, I found it extremely cheesy compared to the others and even the transformers didn't seem familiar (you know when Disney make the second version of a popular movie but they don't use the same animators, voice actors etc? This movie totally felt like that). So if you're a fan of the other Transformers films, don't waste your time watching this as it will definitely disappoint. Another disappoint that was a huge surprise to me was Dark Shadows. Tim Burton is an absolute fave of mine yet I just didn't *get* this film. Without spoiling the story, Johnny Depp basically plays a vampire who is buried alive in a coffin and is discovered years and years later and wakes up in the 70s, in his home town, and makes his way back home and finds out new generations of his family are living there and moves in with them. The best thing about this movie was it's soundtrack and a cameo appearance by Alice Cooper. The story was a bit pointless, I felt it was trying to be a new cult family classic like The Addams Family or Caspar, but it just fell so below the mark for me.

Okay now let's talk about the goodies. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty wasn't something I was super desperate to see but we stuck it on TV one night and oh my goodness, I loved it. Directed by and staring Ben Stiller, the film follows Walter Mitty: a very normal guy, working a normal day to day/9 to 5 job but in his mind, he's having the best time. Its your typical feel good movie but oh my god if you watch it, there's a specific bit where he quotes another movie and I genuinely had to pause it because I was laughing that hard. I don't know why, but they way they executed the scene was utterly fantastic. Amazing. Another film well-worth viewing is Legend. I'd been meaning to see this for ages and it didn't disappoint. I'm genuinely interested in criminal psychology so naturally, I find the Kray Twins extremely interesting albeit crazy gents. Tom Hardy plays both Ronnie and Reggie in the film and oh my good god he is brilliant. He gets the accents right, the attitudes, personalities, the whole shebang. I really liked the way it was shot, the storyline was done really well and yeah, if you're a fan of a good ol' British violent crime movie, this is a one for you.

Also, Independence Day 2 is out now!!! I am such a big fan of the original Independence Day film - I feel like it never gets boring and it has aged so well (not to mention Will Smith is great in it) so I can't wait to see this. I really want to see it but it's also one of my mama's top 3 films of all-time so fingers crossed it is in cinemas in August when I go back north to see her so we can have a lady date.

First off, let's talk rewatches. Matt & I are currently blitzing our way through Mythbusters for the billionth time because it never gets boring. If you like slightly geeky but easy watching TV (the kinda thing you can leave playing in the background of life whilst you go about doing other things) then I will always recommend this show to you. Another top rewatch this month has been Hell on Wheels. The latest series started this month too but we haven't watched that yet. We started watching from the beginning again and I almost forgot how great it is. It is a show that essentially follows a number of characters through the construction of the railroad across the USA during the 1800s. As you can imagine, it involves lots of cowboys and native Americans but it isn't your typical western. Its a gritty show, similar I guess to the likes of Game of Thrones and Vikings. I've got a soft-spot for cowboy *stuff* but this show is also shot beautifully. If you're a fan of nature photography or cinematography in general, you've gotta watch this. I promise you won't regret it.

Now for some new things! This month I blitzed my way through Science Club with Dara O'brien. This show was excellent. He was his usual funny self but also his usual fantastically intelligent self and discussed with guests super interesting topics from things to do with our anatomy to space. If you like those sorts of shows that the likes of Brian Cox would present but you also appreciate your British comedians, try this show out.

This month has seen me listening to some old favourites but also quite a few new bands. First off, I've been listening to Chelsea Wolfe's Abyss album a great deal this month because I almost forgot how good it is (shocking I know), and I'm still loving Saosin's latest offering. North Lane have also been gracing my ears a little more and of course, I can't go too long without revisiting some of Oceana's work. New loves of mine though come in the form of a variety of bands. Black Peaks are some guys who have just came on the scene. They're very similar to Deftones and that sort of vibe (and have in fact toured with them) but I really love their album Statues - particularly the first track, Glass Built Castles. They sound really good and I'd love to go and see them live based on this album so I hope to see more good stuff from them as the years go on. The War of Drugs are another new fave. These guys are similar in their music to Future Islands who I *love* but the singers voice is just so different. The best match I can think of is Bryan Adams so their whole vibe has that sort of Bryan Adams-esque sound but with a more modern twist. Really into their 2014 album, Lost in the Dream and need to listen a little more to their stuff.

Another newbie for me is The Snails. I have no idea if these guys are supposed to be a piss-take band or what but I love their craziness regardless. The lead singer is the beaut from Future Islands so you know I'm going to love them, but they actually dress as snails on stage, all the members have snail-related names, they're just - bizarre. But I love their sound. They've got that Future Islands feel due to Samuel T. Herring's amazing distinctive voice but I also like their unique arrangement and the kind of hap-hazard mix up each song seems to have. I've also been loving Japanese instrumental, post-rock bands at the moment. Think Russian Circles but more eccentric arrangements with the odd sound or instrument thrown in there that gives it a distinctive Japanese feel. Jabinai are just that - almost that stereotypical Japanese music you tend to automatically think of with some instrumental post-rock thrown in there. Their album, A Hermitage, has been played quite a bit in this house this month and I imagine it'll be played more and more next month. Mono are also now a firm favourite, I just really like their melodies and if a band produce a 11 minute song and I genuinely listen to and love every minute of said song, it must be good in my books.

Video Games
I need to talk about a trailer first of all. Who has seen the latest Mass Effect Andromeda trailer?! Seeing it this month has made me so incredibly excited I can't explain. If you've read my Video Games post, you will know how much I adore Mass Effect - it's probably most favourite series of games just behind Final Fantasy - like it even beats Kingdom Hearts which is Disney and Final Fantasy combined so THAT'S saying something! But if you haven't seen it, watch it immediately like now, go away. Leave my blog, watch it, come back, share the excitement and pure joy. I never preorder games but that guy? That guy is being preordered ASAP. I haven't had much time to play stuff in June however, Matthew surprised me by buying the rest of the King's Quest episodes so I can't wait to demolish those in July when I have more free time.

And lastly, a game I never thought I'd be a fan of - not because of the actual game, but because of the platform. Phone games are lost on me. I used to play the Kim Kardashian game when that came out (don't judge me, all girls like playing girly "make your own character and parade them around like The Sims" sort of games) but ultimately, I don't really see the appeal of mobile gaming. Until I found out Kingdom Hearts Unchained X came to iPhone. I love love love Kingdom Hearts and not having a PS2 in my current abode means I do miss and crave playing it sometimes. This is a great mobile game. It's easy to use, the story and graphics are what you would expect just minimised in a way for it to be suitable on a smaller screen and not as able platform, but I'm finding it great. I will let you know what I think of it properly next month, but so far, so good!

- A.
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