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October in Review

Can you believe it, it's now the penultimate month of 2016 and it honestly feels like it has flown by so fast. I can easily remember coming into the year, as clear as day, as if it was just days ago. Yet, October was a long ol' slog for me. It was a long month that was a bit of a rollercoaster on my emotions. Not for any particular reason, but it's definitely been a month of ups and downs for me - just on an emotional level! However it was a lovely month all the same and I'm so pleased the leaves are changing and that the temperatures are plummeting down to -1 degrees on my way to work now... (And I'm not even being sarcastic!)

The Personal
So October was possibly a long old slog because it was a manic full month at work. I had a glorious half term/1 week holiday but stupidly it was wasted and wasn't spent doing some nice things with my free time. I realised the error of my ways with not taking full opportunity of it and Matt and I decided to have an impromptu date night at The Stable. The Stable is a small chain restaurant that serves pie, pizza, and delicious ciders so what more could anyone possibly want? We decided to head there quite early on a Thursday evening to avoid the hustle and bustle hours and we had a lovely time. Being in a long term relationship, especially when you live together and both work quite busy jobs can sometimes mean you forget to just enjoy the little things and whilst we love spending time together, being able to spend that time in a more fancy environment than cuddling in bed is always a good thing.

This month I haven't watched a lot of new movies because I haven't really had the time to sit down and get lost in them. It has been much easier to have a film I'm familiar with playing in the background that I can zone in and out of as I get on with work, but a couple of newbies to me that I did watch are definitely worth a mention. As it was Halloween and as Matt & I are big scaredy cats, we tried to find some horror movies to watch that we'd both enjoy and that wouldn't result in Matt needing to accompany me to the bathroom because yeah, that's what happens if we watch something too scary. So in a wander around HMV, Matt picked up his beloved shitty Underworld box set (I hate those movies) and The Witch.

The Witch looked like it would be really scary and the guy at the till said it was a great watch so we were excited to see what it was like. I would say it's a very artsy film. It's got that indie film vibe where it's shot in a certain way, the colours are drained and muted, and there's minimal speech. It is a film described as a "historical period supernatural horror" and focuses on a 1630s Puritan family trying to live off the land of America but their family becomes torn apart by superstition and witchcraft. It was a really interesting and different film to anything I've watched in a long time - the whole film had a genuine bleak feel that made it feel almost believable whilst also being quite folk lore-ish and fantasy. The acting in it was fantastic and the story still has me a little bit baffled as it doesn't develop every aspect of the plot but I kind of liked that. I wouldn't say it was a horror at all though - at least not in the jump-scare style we've come to expect from horror films now. If you like the sort of films that are premiered at the Sundance Film Festival or just want to watch something a little different, this might be a one for you.

Another very different but interesting "horror" movie we watched was I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House which is a Netflix original. It follows the story of a young live-in care worker called Lily who goes to stay with and care for an elderly author who wishes to stay at home and not be hospitalised. The film starts off quite scary - it has that stereotypical horror vibe and I genuinely had a moment where I thought I was going to be really scared of the film but it was again, so different to anything I have seen in a long time. I can't really say much about the film without giving too much of the plot away, but the author in the film is adamant on calling Lily Polly and well, the story goes from there really. It definitely had suspense and kept you guessing, but it wasn't always in that jump-scare way. My one gripe with it is that it feels like you only watch a snippet of a much longer film because the story that unfolds is never fully explained and unlike The Witch, I found this film to be a little frustrating because of that. However, as it's available on Netflix, there's no harm in seeing if you enjoy it too!

I've watched more TV this month than films and that's just because they're easier to throw on and zone in and out of. First thing I'll mention is American Horror Story. If you saw last month's review post, you will have read that I had blitzed through AMH from the very start having previously avoided watching it and really enjoyed the first and second series. Watching the third series however I kind of fell out of love with it and then I started watching the fourth series in October and well... I almost stopped watching it all together. I just did not get the "Freakshow" series and started to think I had unfortunately enjoyed the first series the most and therefore the rest of the series just didn't compare but I persevered and I'm so pleased I did! I would say so far Freakshow is my second favourite of the 4 series I've watched and I got emotionally invested in the characters which I hadn't since series 1. If you like the weird and wonderful and those 1950s America vibes, the 4th series would definitely be the one for you.

Another show Matt & I have tore through this past month is Fresh Meat. We quite like Jack Whitehall's stand up comedy and after watching Bad Teacher we figured we'd enjoy Fresh Meat and we weren't disappointed. It is basically a comedy show based on the university house of 6 friends who come from all backgrounds and walks of life and having been to uni myself I can honestly say it is such a painfully accurate representation of university at times I laughed out loud a lot which doesn't really happen for me when it comes to your bog-standard comedy sitcoms like this.

An honorary mention that I have to stick in here is the amazing and wonderful, Trap Door. If you are too young to know what Trap Door is, it was a late 80s early 90s playdoh stop-motion kids show that is voiced by one guy and is all about Berk, a little blue fella who lives in a castle with a trap door that contains loads of monsters that often escape. Matt picked up the DVD in HMV and as we both loved the show as kids, we watched all of the series in one night. It was so funny to watch it back and realise a) how short the 3:30 minute episodes are, b) that we could still sing along to the theme tune and we were impressed with how many episodes we could clearly remember from our childhoods and c) that we can watch it now as adults and see that it didn't really age that well and it was kind of a bit shit but nevertheless, we loved every minute of it.

Surprise surprise, music has been my big thing again this month but that's because some mighty fine sounds have came out in the month of October. First of all I have to mention my favourite release of all - Joyce Manor's latest album, Cody. I find Joyce Manor an incredibly nostalgic band but this new album is possibly my favourite of all of theirs already. The songs are short and sweet, kind of upbeat but kind of emo and whiny, but as always, their lyrics make me fall in love. My particular favourites from this album are: Angel in the Snow and Stairs. Another favourite band new release is Dance Gavin Dance's Mothership. At first I wasn't sure I liked this album, especially compared to their last release but it grew on me a great deal over October. It's almost a little bit poppy compared to their older stuff but it's incredibly catchy and I'm still absolutely loving Tilian's voice with the band's recognisable sound. I'll always have a soft spot for Jonny Craig, but Tilian is just that little bit nicer to listen to in this particular band!

A new gem of a find for me in October was without a doubt Lisa Mitchell. She is essentially the chilled out tunes of Alanis Morrisette, Lana Del Rey, and Tori Amos all bundled together into one perfect human. Her new release, Warriors, is a gorgeous album and has been a choice of mine for chill out time putting on my makeup on a morning or when I'm having a long relaxing shower after a hard day. If you're a fan of Lana then give this girl a whirl - you will love her.

Some other releases that I've liked this month from some favourite bands are Phantogram's album, Three (an electro rock/electronica band who are similar to Chvrches, Purity Ring etc.), Green Day's Revolution Radio, American Football's American Football (LP2), and King Dude's eerie horror-ish sound in their latest release, Sex. They're all great album drops that might not necessarily be instant favourites, but they've been lovely to listen to nonetheless. I also gave Frank Iero and the Patience - Parachutes a listen but I'm not entirely sure I like his sound so I think that's a one for me to keep testing.

Video Games
Because of the busy work schedule, games had to take a backseat on the priority list again this past month. During my half term break though I did realise that the last 2 chapters of King's Quest had been released so I managed to play through Chapter 4 one afternoon when I had some time. I did enjoy it although I find the puzzle element of the game a bit frustrating at times. I love puzzle games like the Professor Layton series and King's Quest is very similar but the lack of instructions can make me *so* annoyed. I also found myself a bit disappointed with the Chapter again. Just like Chapter 3, Chapter 4 felt extremely short to play and it felt like it was just some filler rather than developing any sense of the game's story. I do enjoy this game though and I've just got my fingers and toes crossed that the final chapter is a good one.

Skyrim was released on PS4 this October so of course Matt was sat downloading it as soon as it struck midnight. I love watching people play Skyrim because it's such an expansive and detailed RPG but I just can't play it myself for some reason. I find the controls really clunky no matter what platform or settings I have played the game on which is always a shame because it's definitely a game that suits my gaming interests. I think that we now have it on PS4, I might have to give it a go again and see if I find it any more comfortable and enjoyable to play.

What have you guys been getting up to lately?

- A.
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