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December in Review

Happy Friday you lot and Happy 2017! I'm not really one for celebrating the New Year because I don't really see the point but it's always a nice milestone point to look back and reflect on the previous year and set goals for yourself. December was a lovely month for me because I got to have a break from work and see family - which is such a rarity these days so it almost felt extra special.

The Personal
So I finished a hectic couple of weeks at work in early December then it was non-stop niceness with friends and family. Matt & I always have a faux Christmas Day as we don't spend it together so we did that on the 17th December and it was wonderful. I got some great presents (a Lumpy Space Princess and a Fairest graphic novel to name a a couple!) and we had a lovely meal at River Cottage Canteen in Winchester; one of our favourite spots for meals out. The next day, I went home to Newcastle/Durham for almost twelve whole days. The few times I manage to go home are usually for only a handful of days so this was a totally different luxury I'm not used to. I got to see all of my family on Christmas Day at my grandma's house which is always a lovely humbling thing and got to spend some time with my mam and brother which is also a little luxury I no longer take for granted since moving to Winchester.

I also managed to see some friends during the break and had a very drunken and pizza-fuelled afternoon with my best friend who I love dearly but don't get to see often enough due to being 300+ miles apart and me working/her being in her final year of uni. It was so nice just to vent and laugh with her and not care for few hours - whenever I see her it's like I only saw her yesterday and nothing ever changes and I'm forever thankful for that. I also got a chance to see a good old friend who I hadn't seen for years and we managed to get some pretty great outfit photos which I will be sharing on the blog soon!

Quite a few films were watched during December and pretty much all of them were great. Matt & I rewatched Star Wars Episode 4, 5, and 6 because we were excited for the release of Rogue One and we watched a few Christmas-related things most notably, Arthur Christmas. I had never watched Arthur Christmas before but after seeing the first half an hour of it at school when one of the kids requested that we watch it on the last day, I knew I had to watch the rest of it. It has a fantastic cast doing the characters voices and it's the first modern Christmas movie I've watched that I thought was a really good family film. It follows Arthur Christmas, son of Santa Claus and brother to the future Santa. He's a clumsy but kind and gentle soul and he basically has to help out one Christmas Day because of some drama that unfolds. It's a really funny, heartwarming film and I highly recommend it for Christmas 2017 if you haven't watched it already!

Another great animation we watched was Book of Life. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Matt & I were intrigued as we're a big fan of Pan's Labyrinth and I had liked the look of the trailer earlier in the year. You might have guessed from the title, but Book of Life is about the Day of the Dead celebrations and has a love story running throughout it. It's quite a sweet storyline and is the perfect family film too. The nicest thing about this film is that it deals with the topic of death in such a positive and loving way that any kids watching it would feel comfortable about it. The animation style of it is really lovely too as the characters are all wooden and it's just a visually pretty movie to watch.

The last film we watched in 2016 was High-Rise. This movie was released earlier in the year and we were surprised to see it on Amazon Prime already but then we saw it only had 2 and a half stars out of 5 and got a little concerned... Matt had read the book it was based on so he had really wanted to see it so we stuck it on. It is literally about a high rise block of flats that an architect has created in the 1970s. It follows various inhabitants of the high rise trying to work their way up the tower block - the higher floor you're on, the better. Now, I know this is the basic story of the film because Matt told me whereas if I had just watched the movie without this knowledge I literally would not have had a fucking clue what was going on. It was a very arty film and reminded me a great deal of A Clockwork Orange but it just didn't make sense. It kept me watching and interested because it was incredibly unpredictable, but as someone who hasn't read the book and only knows the basics, it didn't make a lot of sense. I imagine fans of the book might enjoy it more but honestly, it was so confusing and just seemed to suddenly develop in the plot at random points that I really struggled to fully enjoy it.

TV was a mixed bag this month and it all kicked off with Ru Paul's Drag Race. I've never watched the show properly because Matt never wanted to watch it but after an evening in alone, he got kind of transfixed by it so we watched a whole season. It's just mindless, trashy TV but I love it. It's so over the top you can't help but find it entertaining.

One of the biggest surprises for me was White Rabbit Project. This show follows the team from Mythbusters (minus Jamie and Adam) "going down the rabbit hole" of different topics. Things such as the top speed a human can go and the craziest world war inventions are covered in a competitive, one presenter against another type of set up. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this show because even though I really love Mythbusters, White Rabbit Project was missing the two people who make Mythbusters so enjoyable to watch and oh my god is the show cheesy. It's pretends to be very techie but it's clearly on a budget but luckily the content and topics the show covers makes up for it.

Matt & I also watched the fifth season of Hell on Wheels; one of most favourite TV shows. If you have never watched Hell on Wheels before, I urge you to give it a shot because it will not disappoint. The show is based on the building of the central American railroad back in the 1800s and is loosely based on history with a dash of fiction thrown in now and again. It follows a variety of main characters - some of which are real historical figures and some are completely fictitious - but it's such a fantastic show that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's gritty, it's sorrowful, and it's shot to a cinematic standard so visually it is stunning to watch.

Okay so I need to get straight into this section of today's post and say my absolute top album release this month is Childish Gambino's Awaken, My Love! because I have had it on repeat pretty much everyday since it's release at the start of the month. There's a few Childish Gambino songs I like but I've never been a proper fan of his but this new album has certainly changed that. The best way I can describe its sound is Jimi Hendrix mixed with Lenny Kravitz and a dash of modern mo-town. I love every song on the album which doesn't happen to me very often - even when it comes to some of my favourite bands!

One of my all-time faves, Kate Bush, released "Before the Dawn" and if you're a fan of hers or you like the likes of Florence and the Machine, this album will definitely please you. It's typical Kate Bush - strangely catchy but always unique. I'm really enjoying it but need to listen to it a little more to determine just how much I like it. Twenty One Pilots also released a little EP of some of their tracks but featuring MUTEMATH so the songs almost sound completely different and I actually really like it. I quite like Twenty One Pilots anyway, but this TOPxMM EP is a nice change to their sound yet still is distinctly them - give it a listen.

Video Games
This month I started to play Life is Strange for the first time. This isn't a new game obviously but it's something I've wanted to play for ages but never got around to it. I don't know what I was expecting but the way this game works caught me off guard. You play a high schooler who has a pretty normal life until some strange things start happening and a friendship forms. You can basically rewind time and therefore alter life and it's such a clever but calm game to play. It has a really interesting storyline but I've found that I need to be in the right mood to play it because although it is interesting, that calm feel it has to it can make it difficult to play if you're wanting a little more adventure and excitement.

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