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September in Review

Ahhh it's October! October is my favourite month of the year because it fully signifies the "proper" end of summer for me as the leaves begin to change colour and there is a crispness to the cold morning air. Although I'm looking forward to October, it's time to reflect on September and the busy ol' month it was. Unlike most of my other monthly review posts, September felt like a looong hard slog of a month for me for a number of reasons but I have discovered some absolute gems this month - so keep on reading!

The Personal
So the major point on the personal update is I started my new job! It has been stressful, sleepless, and mildly terrifying, but I still have a smile on my face. It has been tricky settling into a new job with new responsibilities but working with teenagers is something that always brightens even the very worst days for me so I'm grateful I've got the opportunity to work with them on an almost daily basis. Working outside of Winchester has also meant I've had the chance to have a nose around a new town and explore a little bit (which I plan to do a lot more of when I eventually find the time!).

Matt also started his university teaching again this month and he's also been accepted for his PhD! It's exciting but stressful times for the both of us at the moment so after celebrating his successes, we found out about a beginners taxidermy course that was taking place in Winchester and thought it was the perfect opportunity to let our hair down for an afternoon and just do something together because we're both so busy lately. If you want to read more about it, you can catch the full in-depth post here but be warned - there are some images of dead mice included but I've kept them gore free! Although it isn't for everyone, it was certainly an experience and as an individual who loves taxidermy and collecting it, I only respect taxidermists even more now I know how much work goes into creating something just as small as a mouse.

I've watched a mix bag of movies this month. Through being too exhausted to do anything most evenings and the weather taking a rainy turn for the worst, Matt & I have ploughed our way through a few things that were both bad and good. As a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, I realised I hadn't seen Whisper of the Heart and after borrowing the DVD from one of Matt's friends, we sat down to watch it because it was supposed to be a goody. I love Studio Ghibli but this one was just 'meh' for me. I did enjoy it, it was a sweet film about teenage romance and how serious it can seem and feel at that age, but it didn't have a lot going on. It starred The Baron from The Cat Returns so I thought the film would have a little more adventure and action, but it was a beautiful film nevertheless. I also *finally* watched the docu-film, Amy, about one of my favourite singers, Amy Winehouse. For some reason, I put off watching it for the longest time and decided to watch it one evening when I was home alone. I sobbed like a baby. It was such a heartbreaking thing to watch as it really made you realise what a sad individual she was and how far she was pushed. It also made me laugh though because my god was she a funny woman, talented woman. Even if you're not particularly a fan of Winehouse, I'd definitely recommend watching Amy as it was so insightful.

A great movie Matt & I watched was Nice Guys. Nice Guys stars my other boyfriend, Ryan Gosling, and Mel Gibson as two private detective types in the 70s and it's just a really bizarrely funny film. They end up getting involved with something bigger than they're used to and have to work together and the story mixed with the off-the-wall humour is something different and refreshing. It reminded me a little bit of your typical American comedies like Super Bad or Role Models, but a more mature version (if there's such a thing!). Possibly the best thing I watched this September though was the comedian Trevor Noah's documentary "You Laugh But it's True". I first fell in love with this guy when he starred on the panel of QI and have enjoyed his stand up comedy and appearances on TV ever since. His documentary follows him around areas of his childhood in South Africa and he talks about what it was like to be biracial comedian there and what it was like to grow up during apartheid. It was so interesting to hear someone's first hand accounts of such a terrible and hard to understand period of time and to learn more about what it is like in South Africa. Trevor Noah is an extremely talented and charismatic comedian so the documentary is really easy-watching despite the dark subject matter at times. I'd really recommend it if you like your docos but you want to watch one that's a little different.

Because of the shitty weather this month, Matt & I have blitzed our way through a few TV shows from start to finish. The first thing we decided to watch was Being Human. If you've never heard of it, it's a UK drama that used to be aired on BBC Three and is about a werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire living together in Bristol. I remember watching the odd episode late at night when I couldn't sleep but I forgot *just* how good it is. The first series is especially gripping and I really enjoyed blitzing through episode after episode. Once the original characters started to leave the show/plot, it lost its edge for me, but have a watch of the first series for certain. The other show I've finally bought into is American Horror Story. I know I know, I'm so late to the party but the look of it didn't really appeal to me previously. After watching the first episode of the first series, I still wasn't convinced but once I got into it properly, I was hooked. Matt & I have just started Season 4 but I'm not enjoying it as much as the first series. Each season is a completely different setting with a different theme/focus and different characters but most of the same actors are used. The acting in it is fantastic just because of that but I'll carry on watching throughout October in the hopes that the stories get as interesting and cleverly planned out as the first season was for me.

September has been another awesome month for music but first up, I'll talk about some new releases from some of my favourite artists/bands. James Vincent McMorrow is an acoustic *genius* who I love listening to when I need to relax or I'm walking anywhere on a cold day (so specific?!). He released a new LP this month, We Move, and I'm really enjoying it! Some songs are a little more upbeat compared to his other work and there's a little bit of an electro vibe throughout the album but I like it just as much as his other more simple acoustic jams. Still Corners also released Dead Blue which is true to their synth, techno/electro sound and again, I can't complain and I'm enjoying listening to it more and more. Two of my favourite heavier bands, Norma Jean and Every Time I Die released new albums too and although I'm still trying to fit in time to listen to Norma Jean's Polar Similar, I've enjoyed it so far and Every Time I Die's Low Teens has been on repeat in my flat since it's release date because Matthew is a little bit in love with them. I've also listened to a whole lot of Man Man this month too despite them not having anything new for my ears but they're always a winner for me!

Bon Iver has also had a new release, 22, A Million, which is so *so* different to what I'm used to when I think of when I hear the name, Bon Iver. It's a very different sound and the only way I can describe it is it's weird... but a good kind of weird. I don't think it really sounds like him but it somehow distinctly him and is apparently more the style/genre he wants to go down so I say it's all good in my books for that reason. Angel Olsen has been a favourite female singer for a while now and she reminds me of Tori Amos which can only ever be a good thing. Her new album called "My Woman" is really lovely - I've played it a few times this month and there's not one song on there that I don't like. It's strangely/strategically suits the coming colder months and autumnal change in the air and maybe that's why I like it so much. Olsen has a gorgeous voice and I like the melodramatic-ness to her lyrics and the slightly down and droning music she produces. Big big fan! Just like Every Time I Die, Touché Amoré has been played a lot in this household too. I had never listened to them before I met Matt but I really enjoy listening to them - particularly this new album of theirs; Stage Four. Although its early days, I would definitely say its my favourite of all their albums I think it is *that* pleasing to my wee ears!

Spotify's "Discover Weekly" has actually been pretty bang on this September and has introduced me to some new artists and bands and thus some current overplayed albums. Harbours are the first I'll mention and they are a pop-punky, Blink 182-esque band so they were an instant winner with me. Their album Nothing Stays the Same is the one I've chosen to play again and again and I will definitely continue to play this right through October. Set Your Goals are some more newbies for me and their album - This Will Be the Death of Us - is something I, again, plan to play even more as the year progresses. As Soon as I heard Set Your Goals, 30 seconds into one of their songs I knew I would like them because they remind me a great deal of Four Year Strong. Whereas Four Year Strong are usually described as "beardcore" because of their hairy faces, Set Your Goals are more smooth/baby faced but have a similar melodic metalcore sound which I always enjoy listening to. I could carry on waffling about more bands and artists, but to save you the ache of reading 1000s of more words about each one, I'll just mention a few more that are worth a listen:

Wil Wagner: Laika
Our Past Days: Keep Safe
I The Mighty: Oil in Water
Okkervil River: Away

Video Games
This month I haven't played a single thing because I just haven't had the time and that has been completely rubbish. However, I have been watching Matt play a couple of things whilst I've been doing some work and I know what I *am* going to be playing as soon as I have more free time. The new Destiny release looks amazing - I have played a small amount of Destiny and whilst I think it is a good game and it is suuuch a nice and smooth shooter to play, it just doesn't have enough of the typical RPG detailed story for me. I like more linear games that don't have as much freedom as to how you complete/play them so I haven't played too much of it but the new release seems like a breath of fresh air from the previous Destiny releases. It seems more upbeat and positive (I know that sounds strange to say) but if you've played/seen any of the previous aspects of Destiny, this time it seems different. Another game I've watched but can't wait to play is Journey. This is *such* a beautiful game visually and is very calming and relaxing. The colour palette of it, the gentle music, the lack of dialogue and the casual attitude you can have playing it because it doesn't really have a goal or point to it makes it such a pleasure to play and watch.

What did you love and get up to this September?

- A.
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