Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

Read more here

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

April 28, 2017

Real Talk: Stop Saying Sorry

Something that I think an awful lot of us can be guilty of is saying 'sorry' when we really don't need to. I'm *that guy* who someone will say "stop apologising!" to and I will always, unintentionally answer with "I'm sorry!" to only be met either an angry defeated sigh or a clip around the back of the head. It's something I've always done and as I've gotten older, I've gotten better at not doing it in certain situations and worse in others. I don't know if it's tied to my anxiety, my low confidence, or just the fact that I don't like confrontation, but either way it's always been apparent and an unfortunate trait of mine. But now sitting here at 26, I've realised there's many things I apologise for which don't need to have a "I'm sorry" anywhere in sight. I'm talking about the things that make me *me* that others don't like, would prefer to change, or just outright like to disappear. So to those folks and those things I feel the need to apologise for, I'm giving you a big ol' middle finger and here's why:

"I'm no longer sorry for not drinking alcohol."
I'm not going to start all guns blazing, but something that I always apologise for (and I'm still doing at the moment I've sat down to write this) is not wanting to drink alcohol. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to sit here and say I'm T-total as I'm partial to the odd alcoholic ginger beer when it's sunny outside however I just don't like alcohol. I used to go out quite regularly when I was younger and in my early twenties and whilst I'll get nostalgic about the memories of those hilarious nights out, I just didn't enjoy the drinking part. Generally, I'm a good drunk and just act exactly the same but sillier, but sometimes it has played havoc with my mental health and in turn made me ill for days. I just don't even enjoy the taste of almost all alcoholic beverages but people can't seem to deal with that. "Don't be such a bore" should be printed on a tee for me to wear where I decline an invite out for a night on the toon - I just don't want it. I still will occasionally go out for an afternoon of cocktails with my best pal, but drinking til you're blind drunk? It's a no from me and guess what? That doesn't make me boring in the slightest.

"I'm no longer sorry for being an introvert."
Which leads me onto possibly one of my biggest peeves about myself due to the reaction of others - I am not sorry for liking to stay in in my PJs reading with a cuppa instead of going out to a loud bar, a crowded shopping centre etc etc etc. I've talked about why it's okay to prefer this kind of lifestyle before, but it's honestly something I've had to convince myself is okay to do. It's encouraging to see that more and more young people especially seem to be comfortable with identifying as a bit of a homebody and it doesn't seem to have as much stigma attached to it any more however, it is still a big hurdle for many.
"You're so boring!"
"Don't be so anti-social"
"You need to get out more"

All these phrases are thrown around and so many times in the past I have ended up giving in and doing what others want me to do but do you know what? I'm not boring - I get to do what I enjoy whether that's reading, painting, blogging, going out for walks, visiting a museum etc. - it's all on my terms. And you know what? I'm 110% anti-social and I don't give a damn. I really enjoy my own company. I like the company of small groups of people I really love and like. I don't want to go out and meet 20+ of your mates and pretend I'm having a good time. I don't need to get out more because actually? I feel pretty fulfilled and content yet happy to switch things up and continue to grow which to me is the balance everyone strives towards so yeah - no more apologies here!

"I am no longer sorry for having a small friendship group."
I guess this one is linked to what I spoke about above, but I'm really not sorry for enjoying my own company and only that of a handful of individuals. I've even had close friends in the past feel almost pity for me because I relish in this social style, but I no longer feel bad about it. There's lots of people who love surrounding themselves with lots of people and there's also people who like to be with me myself and I and of course, plent of folks in between. I like trusting only a handful of people and I'll be honest - I'm a bit of a sucky friend as I don't constantly check in to see how my friends are, what they're up to etc. so having only a few friends I actively want to keep track of because I care about them makes me happy.

Images courtesy of Grime & Glamour Photography

"I am no longer sorry for my interests."
Although this is something I've never necessarily apologised for, I have sometimes played down my interest in certain things in order to fit in with the people I'm speaking to or to avoid confrontation/mocking. This is something I do less now and I think a lot of it is to do with getting older and becoming more comfortable with who I am and my personality, but it's also because I'm really not sorry for what gives me joy.

"I am no longer sorry for changing."
How many times have you apologised for not liking something anymore? For not being interested in a person anymore? For changing your opinion on a particular political argument? We all change and grow as people and very few of us like the exact same things we did when we were 16 as we do when we're 26. It's just a natural process as incidents in our lives change us and that could be big events, people we meet, or just something small and personal that is extremely unique to each individual. As I mentioned earlier, I no longer want to go out dancing til 4am after 1O+ drinks and would rather be in bed by 1Opm with a good skincare routine. It's something we all go through and we all change at different rates so we need to accept that other people - especially those closest to us - might point out these changes and we need to address them. But address them in a positive way. If the change is benefiting you; if it's making you a better *more you* you then "sorry" shouldn't be anywhere in sight.

"I am no longer sorry for asking silly questions and voicing my opinions."
The last thing I want to mention is the fact that I no longer apologise for asking things and educating myself. I'm a firm believer that people should be able to speak their minds and it is the duty of all of us to accept and tolerate that and if that opinion is something we don't personally agree with? Challenge it. Ask the individual why they think or feel that way. Ask what brought them to that particular conclusion. Something I see an awful lot of on Twitter especially is people saying down right silly shit like "If you believe *insert thing I don't personally agree with* unfollow me right now!" and you know what? Those of you who do that are foolish. You are! If someone believes the complete opposite to you or says something that offends you, explain to them why it is offensive. Explain why in your eyes it isn't a solid argument. Do that in case that person didn't have all the information and therefore their opinion may be formed on lies or skewed truths. The opinion could be held on the foundation of naivety. You can actually help others and also yourself by being open and honest about what knowledge you are lacking. Whilst some sillies might be dismissing people based on the surface of their opposing views on the likes of Twitter, there are also young people asking about advice on matters such as the current election in the UK in equal measure. And that, that is worth so many pats on the back for those unapologetically curious folk.

Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo

No comments

April 21, 2017

Book Club No.7

Hello lovely folks - are you super pleased and surprised with today's post? I know. Another Book Club post already! I've been ploughing my way through so many books recently and I'm so incredibly pleased with myself. For the longest time I wasn't reading regularly because I didn't have time but I've made a conscious effort to change that this year and I've already smashed my target for amount of books read for 2O17 so I won't be putting a halt on it anytime soon. So here's a little round up of some things I've been reading lately and what I've thought of them:

Daughter by Jane Shemilt
Wowee wowee, where do I start with this book? I picked this up on a pure whim - I read the blurb and thought it sounded like something I would like:

She used to tell me everything.
They have a picture. It'll help.
But it doesn't show the way her hair shines so brightly it looks like sheets of gold.
She has a tiny mole, just beneath her left eyebrow.
She smells very faintly of lemons.
She bites her nails.
She never cries.
She loves autumn, I wanted to tell them. She collects leaves, like a child does. She is just a child.

Naomi is still missing. Jenny is a mother on the brink of obsession. The Malcolm family is in pieces.
Is finding the truth about Naomi the only way to put them back together?
Or is the truth the thing that will finally tear them apart?"

Sounds pretty interesting but your standard crime/thriller novel right? Wrong. I loved this book so so much and let me tell you why. Daughter is a Sunday Times bestseller and a fave of Richard & Judy's Book Club and it's because it is brilliantly written. The story follows the Malcolm family - a bog-standard English family who have two busy career-driven parents, 3 teenage children, and a wee dog. One night, one of the children (Naomi) goes missing and the story follows what happens as a result. The story is not linear and tends to jump back and forth between the events leading up to Naomi going missing all the way up to the effects of it on her family afterwards. It's such an easy read as Shemilt is a fantastic writer so it never feels like a chore, but her writing also somehow manages to do that beautiful thing with your mind where "just one more chapter" happens again and again when you try to put the book down. The raw emotion of how the mum feels in the story about her daughter going missing is so palpable throughout the story that you can't help but get sucked in. You feel her frustration, her upset, her guilt in feeling joy when she feels she should be upset... It all resonates so strongly with the reader. I also loved that the book kept me guessing all the way up until the last few pages as to what had happened and what would occur next.

As soon as I finished Daughter I took to Twitter and felt compelled to tell Shemilt how much I bloody loved it. She was a sweet lady and tweeted me back and I've swore ever since to pick up her other work during this year. If you enjoy crimes or thrillers or if you've loved books like Room in the past, definitely give this one a go. You can pick it up in various formats here.

Fairest in All the Land by Bill Willingham
Next up let's discuss some graphic novels I've been reading and we'll start with Fairest in All the Land. The Fairest series is a companion series to one of my absolute favourite comic series ever, Fables. It is essentially a mature version of every classic fairytale/Brother's Grimm style story you have grown up with since a young age and Fairest is a spin off focusing on the female characters from the Fables franchise. Although Fairest is a companion series, this Fairest in All the Land is a stand alone edition to the whole Fables universe as it doesn't particularly follow any of the happenings in the Fairest stories. It does however follow some of the characters and namely focuses on Cinderella who is trying to investigate some murders and strange happenings that are going on in the Fables universe. I really enjoyed reading this as the story was told from the Magic Mirror's point of view which was a lovely spin on the usual style. It meant that you got a real feel for the storytelling aspect as the comic book story kept dipping back into characters sitting patiently in a room with Magic Mirror, listening to him telling this tale. It was just something a little bit different. The comic also celebrates a range of artists throughout each part of the story and it's great to see so many different art styles in one book and so intriguing to see how each artist portrays each character differently.

Although I really liked this little addition to the Fables world, I wouldn't recommend it to readers unless you are familiar with the original Fables series. This is because Fairest in All the Land relies heavily on the reader being aware of the backstories and relationships of the characters and the Fables world/environment in general. So if you think you'd be interested in Fables, check out my favourite graphic novels post for more info on the whole series, and if you're already an avid reader? Check out this standalone story if you just want some more Fables stories in your life (and you'll be pleased to know Willingham's excellent writing and humour doesn't falter at any point!). Pick up a copy of Fairest in All the Land right here

Low Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender
Another graphic novel that I've read recently is Low. Low was something my mama bought for me for Christmas and I was super stoked to get stuck into it as it's from one of my fave comic publishing houses, Image Comics. It is a relatively new comic series that follows a family in the future in a post-apocalyptic kind of world. The story focuses on a time after the sun has started to burn up the earth and causes intense radiation so humans have descended into the oceans and are now living deep in the sea to hide from certain death on the surface. The humans who now inhabit the sea have adapted really well and send probes to look for other galaxies and planets which could be inhabitable for them to move to in future and go hunting in the sea on ships like some sort of underwater pirates. However as you can imagine, this underwater lifestyle can't be maintained as the oxygen supplies are running low and there's no way of collecting any more so Low starts to follow one family in particular when this issue begins to be more pressing.

The thing I really like about this comic is the art style. It reminds me of watercolour paintings and is very flowy and I guess, carefree, and seems almost in soft focus. A gorgeous colour soft colour palette is used throughout too so it's just a pleasure to flick through. The story itself is great and is a little different to the typical post-apocalyptic space story but I have to be honest, I found it kind of difficult to get my head around at first. It's a comic that jumps straight into the story and doesn't go out of its way to explain anything so I found myself flicking back a few pages a few times to get to grips with what was what. However once I was over that initial hurdle, the story was smooth sailing. Even just in this first volume, it's dramatic, gritty, and mature in a gripping but not over the top way. I'll definitely make sure to read the next volume as I honestly don't know how the story is going to unfold as it's quite unique and for that reason alone (if the artwork hasn't convinced you enough already), you should pick this up too.

Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo

No comments

April 14, 2017

A Few Great Things To Do in Winchester

I've been itching to get back to writing more travel posts as it's been a hot minute since my last one, but with the less than desirable weather for the most part of 2O17 thus far, it's made it difficult to be enthusiastic about photography out and about. That has instantly impacted my ability to think creatively too but now that the sunshine seems to be making a comeback, I thought I'd give you a run down of some great things you can do in and around the Winchester area just in case you're ever knocking around my neighbourhood and need a few pointers of stuff to do.

Architecture - Winchester Cathedral
Okay so naturally I need to start with possibly the main attraction in Winchester - the gorgeous Cathedral. As Winchester was the capital of Britain once upon a time, you can imagine just how grand and wonderful the cathedral is if you've never visited it before. I was lucky enough to graduate in the beautiful building, but it is open to the public every day and you can photograph both inside and out 'til your heart's content. At particular times each day, you can go up to the top of the tower and the views across Winchester are breathtaking. You can also get a guide whilst up there to give you a bit of background info and a history lesson if that's your sort of thing. To visit the cathedral there is a charge, but it is worth the look around. Outside of the cathedral is also gorgeous and the lawns make a great place to sit during summer with a picnic or visiting during winter will give you the chance to visit the brilliant Christmas market and ice rink. Nearby you also have the Great Hall (with the supposed Round Table of King Arthur), the King Alfred Statue, and the old St John's Hospital (right next to the statue!) if more history and architecture tickles your pickle. And of course, just roaming around Winchester's historic streets will be a delight for all you fellow architecture lovers - check out this post if I haven't convinced you enough already!

Nature - St Catherine's Hill
I really shouldn't need to mention this because lord knows I've blogged about it enough, but Winchester has some absolutely gorgeous spots when it comes to walks, hikes, and bike rides. A great thing about the city is that it is so small that if you walk for about 10-15 minutes in any direction from the city centre, you'll suddenly find you've left the hustle and bustle of the city behind and stumbled easily into scenic quiet countryside. An amazing spot to visit is without a doubt St. Catherine's Hill which is an old hill fort site that gives the most incredible views of the city and the surrounding area. There is a mizmaze at the top of the hill too and it is a must-visit spot for anyone who really loves nature. There's plenty of signs so you can follow set out routes, and there's notice boards detailing local flora and fauna. And an added bonus? There's usually cows or sheep roaming around the hill too so if you get a bit giddy about these cute farm animals like me (not even ashamed), then you'll definitely love this spot. If disability or having young children is something that is putting you off visiting the area - don't fret. There's a beautiful walk along the base of the Hill which is completely smooth tarmacked and wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

Another great walk with exceptional views is St. Giles Hill at the bottom of the city centre. Only about 15 minutes from the busy centre, St. Giles Hill provides a brilliant view up the winding main high street and also of the cathedral and the castle. Heading just outside of Winchester, you can find many great walks heading towards Harestock and Sparsholt too as well as gorgeous walks along the River Itchen towards Shawford. If you like clocking a few miles, especially in the summer like me, Winchester can give you so many picturesque options.

History & Culture - Many'a Museum!
Although I've already mentioned some historic hot spots in the "Architecture" section above, Winchester is so rich in historic culture that it's any history or archaeology nerds dream paradise. Not only do you have buildings like the Great Hall and the Cathedral minutes away from the city centre, there's also some fantastic free museums open to the public too. Winchester has a lot of medieval history and records but it also has some great evidence from the Roman, Victorian and World War eras. The Military Museum is a short walk from the city centre and is not only a great museum, but also a lovely place to wander around. Although a lot of the lovely tall columned buildings are actually peoples' homes, they provide a great backdrop for any photography aficionados and there's a beautiful water fountain right in the centre. If war history isn't quite your thing, head over to the City Museum right by the cathedral for a little more variety. This museum is fantastic - especially for families - as they tend to have activity days and also have volunteers dressed up as things such as Roman soldiers to educate kids in a fun and interactive way. The local library is also a sweet spot to visit as attached to it is the Discovery Centre. The Discovery Centre has an array of stuff going on at all times - Comic Con, talks and readings by authors, free movie nights, and taxidermy course to name but a few! If you're planning a visit to Winchester, it's worth keeping an eye on what they have going on each month.

One last place I need to mention here is the planetarium. I know. I'm not going to waffle on about this place too much as I haven't actually visited it yet (I know, I'm disgusted with myself too), but if you're willing to drive out of the city centre for 10 or so minutes, the Science Centre with it's planetarium showings would undoubtedly be an experience to remember.

Entertainment - Marwell Zoo & Hillier Gardens
As great as Winchester city centre is, there's also a lot to see and do just outside of the city. When it comes to "entertainment" I guess I prefer the more *adventure day out* sort of thing that a trip to the theatre or going to a bar. Sure, Winchester has a great theatre which covers everything from panto to adult comedy shows and it has many old English pubs to boot, but I need to give a quick shout-out to two of my fave more "family friendly" spots. Marwell Zoo Is a 10-15 minute drive from Winchester (or a regular shuttle bus ride away during peak times) and is honestly one of the best zoos I've ever visited. I know not everyone agrees with zoos existing, but Marwell has so much open space and animals aren't crowded that I feel I can't help but like it. It has a great range of different animals there from giraffes, to meerkats, to various species of monkey and is obviously extremely family friendly offering different routes depending on whether or not you can walk a long way or not. The zoo has a little train to get you from A to B too in case you're accompanied by little legs and the park offers a variety of photography courses and out of hours experiences too. You can even get married there!

Another more *nature-esque* place I love is Hillier Gardens. The gardens are closer to Romsey than Winchester but again, jump in the car for 15 minutes and you're there in no time. If you want a gorgeous spot for a picnic or want to go somewhere for an art class - this is the place to be. The gardens are stunning and peaceful to walk around - no matter how busy they get - and there's lots to see despite it essentially being just a very large garden! The place is stooped in history and any avid plant lover will enjoy a look around. They often have activities on for children and adults too so there should be something to keep everyone happy. They also have a little café, art gallery and shop, a gift shop, and a garden centre if you want to take a piece of the place home with you.

Food & Drink - Mighty Good Grub
When it comes to food and drink, Winchester has got pretty much everything covered you could possibly need. It's got your favourite chains such as Zizzi, Ask Italia, Wagamamas etc. but it also has some utter gems when we're talking independent establishments. Whether it's breakfast, a quick light bite at lunch or a full 3 course dinner you're after, you can find it all in various independent spots throughout the little city. My favourite spot for a greasy fry up English breakfast or some pancakes is definitely Ruby Reds. This little American-style diner is not only extremely reasonably priced, it's quick, relaxed service. They also do amazing burgers, burritos and hot dogs for lunch and dinner and often have "if you can eat all this we'll give you a voucher" competitions running. They also have great afternoon deals and deals for students so you get a lot for your buck. If you want a fresh smoothie or delicious milkshake, you need to head to Ginger Two for Tea for a typically English breakfast/afternoon tea style set up and want the best roast dinner of your life? Head up towards Sparsholt to The Plough.

The Plough is one of my most favourite spots and Matthew & I are regulars there as it's at the end of our street (and by that I mean it's a good 45 minute walk along beautiful country lanes) but it's always worth the walk. The food there is delicious and sitting outdoors in the garden is so peaceful even when the place is super busy. Rain or shine, that pub has never let me down and although the prices are a little steeper and you have to book your table in advance because boy oh boy does this gastro pub fill up quick, it's all worth it. And I know I know, I hear ya fellow pizza worshippers... Fancy a 2O inch pizza with crazy cool toppings like pork crackling, Turkish lamb & mint yoghurt, or butternut squash and chilli? Head over to Pi, a woodfired, made to order little pizza joint that never disappoints. This gem is tucked away behind the train station and I'll be honest - Winchester is worth the trip just to come and sample it's delights.

Of course there's loads of amazing places and sites I haven't even mentioned here that are worth a look in Winchester (especially when it comes to food oink oink) but I just wanted to give you a glimpse into why I love this place so much and why I'm happy and proud to call it my second home. A lot of the places I've mentioned I've reviewed or written about on NB before and the others? Trust me, posts on them all are coming this way in the near future. But for now, I hope you've all decided that Winchester is worth a visit and y'all are planning your trips to my home city right now.

Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo

No comments

April 07, 2017

March in Review

Happy Friday folks! It's now officially spring (not that the weather always wants to agree with this statement mind you) and we're already snowballing our way into the fourth month of the year - it's honestly flying by so fast. March was a busy ol' month for me for so many reasons and even over here on NB, I have had a lot of activity and some changes in posts etc that I'm really pleased with and intend to carry on into the rest of this year.

The Personal
Well I guess the first thing I need to address - y'know, that big fat elephant in the corner - is the fact that March was my birth month and I turned the ripe old age of 26. Twenty six. I know. It sounds so old but to be honest, I don't see age as a negative and can't quite get my head around those who really fear it. To commemorate the day, I published a post all about what I would say to myself 1O years ago if I had the opportunity. I always think it's important to look back on life and laugh - there's no point in regretting things that you can no longer change or worse still, get caught up in that regret when in fact you can still change the outcome of something. So this post wasn't particularly deep and meaningful, but it covered some advice that I wish I could give to my younger naive self. For my birthday, I spent the majority of the day at work (which is going *great* by the way - I'm really enjoying it and feel like I've finally found a role that's *me*) before going out for dinner with Matthew in the evening. We popped to Brasserie Blanc for a 3 course meal purely because I love their pistachio souffle and I wish I had a better reason behind why I chose Brasserie Blanc for my birthday meal but, I would be lying.

Other than my birthday happening, March was just a "get your head down and get on with it" kind of month. I've been taking in my new role in my new job and also working out finances for weddings and mortgages (I know, I am as disgusted with this transition into adulthood as you lot are). The weather has been crazy over this last month and I'm pleased to see it looks like it's finally getting sunnier and the days are getting longer so I'm looking forward to planning many more outings in April to make up for the cack weather March brought us.

I'm probably lying about this, but I can only recall watching one movie during March and that was Gods of Egypt. This film has a lot of famous faces in it including Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) amongst others so the cast looked pretty promising - note I said the cast looked promising, stay with me, it goes down hill from here! As the title suggests, Gods of Egypt is about just that. It follows a few of the Egyptian gods through a pretty weak storyline line. It also involves a roguish human character who is like Aladdin in many ways and he somehow gets involved with the gods. Now, I don't really want to say more than that because I would be telling you all of the main plot however what I will say is that if you usually like movies like 3OO or Clash of Titans etc. you might like this. Proceed with caution though if you are someone who loves ancient Egyptian religion and you know a lot about Egyptian archaeology or history because as a qualified archaeologist, I really struggled to look beyond the many inaccuracies this movie had which meant I couldn't really enjoy the film. If you like fantasy action films though, you will probably enjoy this enough to make it worth the watch. Not the best thing I've seen though!

For TV in March, Matt & I watched anime a lot and our two main loves have been Death Note and Sinbad. I'm pretty sure I don't really need to talk about Death Note because everyone knows what it is, but the anime is fantastic if you like what I would call traditional, kind of dark anime. Death Note is basically about various gods of death who have notebooks that names can be added to and those individuals named will die. One of the gods drops his book into the human world and well, shit happens. It's a great anime, there's a reason people have raved about it for years, and please watch this rather than the whitewashed Netflix live action movie version. The other anime we've enjoyed is Sinbad; a Netflix original series. It is about the folkloric character Sinbad but very fantasy based and magical rather than him being a pirate. He is a young teen who is travelling around the world, recruiting various people to his cause as he tackles dungeon-style quests. These quests he goes on results in him gaining a power as a reward for defeating whatever monster or thing he has to overcome in the task. It's very similar to many Japanese team RPG games in the whole dungeon -> boss fight -> bounty/treasure storyline, just it's in TV show format so I'm all about that when I'm genuinely too lazy to play a game (it happens trust me).

Okay I'm not even going to lie, Twenty One Pilots have well and truly taken over my life over this past month. Their Vessel and Blurryface albums have been on pretty much on repeat for me this month and I'm not entirely sure why. I just seem to have fallen in love with certain songs all over again and I've fallen harder for them than when I originally heard them. A couple of ultra faves at the moment are House of Gold, Car Radio, Ride, and Lane Boy. As for new music, there's been an eclectic selection for me during March. The first one I need to talk about is a new discovery for me which is Nadia Reid. As a girl who loves Chelsea Wolfe, I think I might have found the Chelsea Wolfe equivalent but calm, more acoustic, and less dark and grimy. Her voice is absolutely beautiful and makes the hairs on my arms stand up on ends but her newest album, Preservation, is an all-round great album - there's not one song on it that I don't like! My favourite track so far is definitely Richard, though.

Now for a super old favourite - Depeche Mode released Spirit and it's alright. I feel so dirty saying it's just okay because Depeche Mode are an absolute classic band and one my favourites but the album really is just alright. Nothing will ever top their "old stuff" for me but Spirit still is clearly Depeche Mode and sounds like them, it just doesn't grab my attention quite as good as their stuff from the 80s manages to still do. Another kind of disappointment for me this month was the release of VOIDS by Minus the Bear. Minus the Bear are another band that usually get an A+ rating for me but this album just hasn't hit it for me. I find a lot of the songs repetitive in a noticeable way (that's never good) and it just isn't what I expected from them. It's almost too pop-y so I'm not a huge fan. I am going to give it a bit more of a listen in case it's a grower, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope unfortunately! Some good stuff though? Future Islands have finally released something new. Just two tracks, Ran and Cave, I've got high expectations for whatever album they drop next. Both songs are great and typically their style but I definitely prefer Ran as it's more catchy and makes me want to dance.

A favourite band of mine, Mastodon, released Emperor of Sand this month too and I am well happy with it. It's very Mastodon and sounds much more like "old Mastodon" instead of "radio friendly" Once More Around the Sun album Mastodon. It's very zig-zaggy with it's riffs and reminds me of some strange mix of Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots (both of which are two other bands I love so this isn't necessarily a complaint), but it is easy listening so if you want something super heavy, this isn't going to be it. But nevertheless, I don't think they've sold out in anyway and I'm looking forward to playing it a little more.

Another thing I should mention here is that at the start of March, I was bloody distraught to find out that after 26 years of making some of my most favourite music, HIM announced they are soon to be parting ways and are doing a farewell tour in December. I was like hot shit the day the tickets went on sale and was in ticket queues on several websites on several devices whilst at work at 9am to make sure I got some. £230 later (I know, I'm still reeling) I have two tickets and will be seeing my beloved Ville Valo in December in Camden. I'm pretty sure the site I used ripped me off and overcharged the living daylights out of me but I mean, they've been one of my favourite bands since I was 10, I couldn't turn down this one last chance to see them live now could I?

Video Games
Guess what? Mass Effect Andromeda dropped in March. I've literally never been off it - whenever I have a spare hour or two (and when I can successfully peel Matthew off it) I have been beavering away at it and I've got to be honest, I'm really enjoying it. I was so worried about it coming out and it not being what I expected or wanted but that fear instantly dissolved as soon as I started playing it. Unlike when Bioware released Dragon Age Inquisition, I don't feel like Andromeda has been a massive jump in play style or story etc. compared to the original Mass Effect trilogy. Now of course it's not following the same group of characters from the original trilogy so that has changed, however the game style itself is pretty similar to the old ones and I personally like that. I've seen a lot of people complaining that the graphics aren't good enough and that its buggy which to be fair, the graphics haven't really improved since the trilogy and there is a lot of bugs but those are being ironed out with patches. I always believe that if the graphics are acceptable that is good enough if the game's storyline hooks you in enough that it doesn't matter what the graphics are like - you love it anyway (e.g. Final Fantasy VII). The combat system is much more fast paced and chaotic now which initially I thought was fantastic but I have a couple of reservations about it now. I won't go into too much detail as I plan to do a full in-depth review of my opinions on this game, but I honestly think if you are a Mass Effect fan, you are bound to like this game as it has stayed very true to the old ME games just it's on a much larger/more open world scale.

Follow me on Bloglovin'
Twitter & Instagram xo

No comments
© Northern Blood • Theme by Maira G.