Better late than never…here are my January favourites
This film has been getting a lot of Oscar hype recently and deservedly so. I had high hopes since this was written, produced and directed by Martin McDonagh, the man behind In Bruges, another brilliant film. It tells the story of Mildred Hayes whose daughter was brutally murdered and with the killer still on the loose, she decides to rent three billboards to bring attention to this fact.
The story isn’t just about Mildred however, and the billboards and the messages they carry have a profound effect on others in this small town, including the police chief played by Woody Harrelson.
Three Billboards achieves the perfect balance between humour and heartbreak – in one particular scene involving a certain letter I struggled to hold the tears back and fives minutes later I was laughing my head off.
I really hope this gets the credit it deserves when it comes to Oscar season but it is possibly a little too unconventional to receive such accolades, we will see.
This documentary has being around for a while now and I think it has played a large part in the current “trend” of veganism. It outlines the effects that animal agriculture has on the environment and I have to say I was surprised at some of the facts and figures presented in this documentary – it was a real eye opener. Just as much of a surprise was the unwillingness of some of the environmental big-wigs to admit to the seriousness of this situation – what is going on behind the scenes??
I have been exploring the idea of eating a much more plant based diet for some time hence my reason for watching this film. Before I was more open minded to the idea of cutting out (or at least cutting back on) meat, I was almost scared to watch this film in the case that it created a huge conflict in my mind – do I continue eating animal products knowing what I now know or do I take the leap and give them up completely?
I have to say that this film has had an effect on my food choices and although I can’t see me cutting animal products out completely, Since watching this I have cut my consumption in half. I know that on its own this won’t make a huge difference but it may inspire friends/family to do the same and every little helps when it comes to sustainability. I am also really enjoying eating in this way as it has made me more creative with recipes and food choices.
I would recommend everyone watch this film and make up their own mind.
Ctrl, Alt, Delete is the memoir of Emma Gannon, a blogger, author and podcast host. I bought this book purely on the reviews and I really enjoyed it.
My favourite part of the book was actually the first few chapters where Emma describes what it was like to grow up with the Internet in the early noughties. I literally felt like I was reading about my own life and encourage anyone else who was an avid user of Myspace, MSN Messenger and remembers the day where using the internet was cheaper after 6pm to read this!
I would recommend this book to anyone in their late 20s/early 30s as it will stir up feelings of nostalgia and is at times hilarious whilst making you cringe at the same time.
The latter part of the book is more focused on life as a blogger and may not be as interesting to some but still a good read overall.
Emma also has a podcast by the same name that explores different aspects of social media and the online community.
I will be the first to admit that I have a bit of a Youtube obsession – I could spend hours watching fitness, lifestyle and food “vloggers” – there is just something about getting an insight into other peoples lives that I find fascinating
My current favourite is Venetia Falconer, a tv presenter and vlogger. I have been bingeing recently on her vlogs which are a mixture of full days of eating, Q&As on various topics and general lifestyle stuff. I really like her down to earth personality and she is a natural in front of the camera. She articulates her views on topics such as veganism really well and doesn’t come across as preachy. Definitely a bit of a girl crush!
She also has a great podcast called Talking Tastebuds.
I have found myself being a bit more open lately when it comes to all things mindful such as yoga and meditation. I think a lot of it has to do with being pregnant and looking for alternative ways to prepare for labour and of course labour itself. I also tend to get a bit stressed and anxious about things that really don’t merit so much of my thoughts and I am determined to find a way to cut this out!
So as well as incorporating weekly yoga sessions, I have started to use Headspace, an app that has brought meditation to the masses. The app is basically a tool to help you learn to meditate – the process might sound like a piece of cake to some but it is actually very difficult.
A man with a very calming and soothing voice takes you through each meditation session that can be as short as 3 minutes if you like. This is one of the best things about the app – the bite sized exercises that you can fit easily into your day. There is also a range of themes from pregnancy, to sleep to anxiety.
This app is great for someone who likes the idea of meditation but doesn’t know where to start and would like something a little more mainstream and conventional than the airy-fairyness you might associate with meditation.
I still feel that I have a lot of learning to do and it is too early to say if it is directly helping with my overall “headspace” but I definitely feel a certain calmness after each session so it must be doing something right!
Over the last few months, I have become rather picky when it comes to coffee – instant will not cut it anymore. After Starbucks opened next to my work, daily coconut milk lattes and caramel macchiatos were the norm and this was having a seriously negative effect on our finances!
So despite the hefty price tag, I figured a Nespresso machine would save us some cash in the long-term and I think I was right. I use this bad boy every day and buying a coffee at a cafe is now only a weekly treat (usually accompanied by a cake of course!)
I love the versatility of this machine, it can make almost any type of coffee you want and as it has a built in milk frother there is no messing about with one of those little hand-held ones. I also love how you can use whichever milk you want unlike some of the other machines out there that make the whole coffee straight from a capsule. My current fave is an Americano with frothy oat milk on top!
The machine also came with a starter variety pack of Nespresso capsules which were all delicious but alternatives capsules can be found in any supermarket at a lower price and sometimes taste just as good. Surprisingly Aldi has provided the tastiest so far!
A great investment for any coffee lover.