Reading, Watching, Listening, Doing #2

I really enjoyed writing this “Reading, Watching, Listening, Doing” post last time because it meant I could write a bit more briefly about my personal life on the blog and summarise everything without having to go too much into depth on it and creating whole posts for each separate element. So guess what? I’m back again with another! Here’s what I’ve been reading, watching, listening and doing recently.

Dan Brown Origin review

Reading

Origin – by Dan Brown. I’ve always really enjoyed Dan Brown’s books despite the controversy around them. Popular books are popular for a reason, you know! I may do a full review on this one sometime if I get a chance, but for now, I really enjoyed it. It was a super speedy read for me that I devoured in less than 24 hours, folding pages to remember certain parts to help me solve the mystery.

Genuine Fraud – by E. Lockhart. I think I’ll also do a full review of this soon. E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars was one of my favourite reads in 2016 so I was really happy I got approved to read this by Netgalley. Another completely absorbing book that was filled with twists and turns that I really enjoyed.

The Good Daughter – by Karin Slaughter. I enjoyed reading this but didn’t completely love it. The story follows sisters Charlie and Sam in a dual perspective plot who were caught up in a devastating attack in their childhood leaving them motherless and Sam horribly injured. As adults, Charlie, working as a lawyer under her father, witnesses a school shooting, and Sam returns to the place she thought she’d left behind.
Karin Slaughter is a much hyped author who I hadn’t actually read before so I was looking forward to this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. The story was very good, and I enjoyed the unfolding relationships between the sisters with each other and their father – it’s a strained relationship that seems very alien to me. The only thing it was lacking for me was the pace. Of course there has to be tension in a book like this, but it just left me dragging in the story occasionally – just a matter of preference for me!

Stranger Things 2

Watching

Stranger Things 2 – We watched the whole season 2 of Stranger Things in a week which is probably a record for me and Ben as he refuses to binge watch anything. He actually allowed us to watch 2 episodes in a row a couple of times too! I really enjoyed this season, even if it is a little crazy sci-fi. It had me shouting at the screen and holding my breath for entire scenes because I got so absorbed into it. If you haven’t watched either season, I’d recommend checking them out.

The Shining – This is an old favourite – everyone knows it’s a classic. Even though I’m a huge scaredy-cat, I do like horror films occasionally, and this is a good one as it’s fairly old fashioned so not too scary or gorey.

The Notebook – And another old favourite, this one had me sobbing as usual, I don’t know why I do it to myself! This is such a beautiful film –  the story, the locations and the costumes. I’m hugely inspired by Allie’s 1940s dresses right now.

Tim Tracker – And slightly different, a favourite YouTuber! We’re addicted to watching things about Florida and the theme parks, particularly Disney, right now. Tim has got a really friendly approach and we’re kind of hoping we bump into him next year!

Moonrise Kingdom – I’ve recently come across a lot of inspiration type posts referring to Wes Anderson’s films, then I saw this Airbnb, decided I NEED to live there, and thought I should probably watch some of these films that seem to have the exact same aesthetic I do. Moonrise Kingdom was wonderful – it’s charming and whimsical as well as odd and simple. The colours, the setting, the characters – I can see how it might be a love it or hate it kind of thing, but I was on the totally in love side. Now I need to decide which Wes Anderson to watch next!

I’m also still watching Riverdale and The Yorkshire Vet from my last Reading, Watching, Listening, Doing but haven’t managed to get back onto American Horror Story yet – I need to catch up with that!

Listening

And That’s Why We Drink  – I’m still listening to this podcast which merges the supernatural alongside true crime and murders on every single commute I make, so I haven’t really listened to much else!

Alexa’s Sleep Sounds – the only other thing I could think I’ve been listening too! I have issues with sleeping, so getting the exact right environment for this is crucial for me. We’ve recently got an Alexa in the bedroom and discovered the Sleep Sounds tool. This is an app that will play relaxing sounds as you’re going to sleep, with everything from distant thunder (Ben’s favourite) to zen (my favourite). We actually upgraded ours because we wanted more than just the free sounds and thought it was worth it if it would help me sleep, which weirdly, it does. Unfortunately, we disagree on the types of sounds we each like, so while Ben prefers natural sounds, I like these better if I’m meditating during the day and get distracted by them at night! I tend to need something a bit more “manufactured” like very slow moving music. But there are also options like box fan, purring cat, forest night, native American flute and more.

Doing

I used to follow a million blogs. Okay, not literally a million but looooads. Over time, this has built up to more and more – I’ve been blogging and reading blogs for more than 7 years now! Occasionally I clear out inactive ones, ones that have disappeared, or ones that I just don’t click with anymore, but I’ve recently decided to make a more curated list on Feedly. This has been awesome because it means I’ve got an easy list of favourites to click through every couple of days rather than being overwhelmed by the hundreds in my Bloglovin’ and thousands in my Twitter. I have about 12 solid faves in this list and I’m enjoying being able to keep up with their blogs!

Welcome to our hot tub sign

The insanely cool signage my sister made for our parents’ hot tub! Sorry for the blurry pic 😀

Last weekend, we visited my parents and hung out in their hot tub after a Chinese takeaway. My dad decided to get one of the proper wood fired hot tubs recently and set it up next to the river at the bottom of their garden, so we’re trying to make the most of it, even though it was freezing outside!

I had to take a bit of a break earlier this week because I got the most terrible headache. I’ve never been someone that suffers from migraines – I think I had one one time before because the next day felt like a “hangover”, and this was entirely something else. It started in my neck and shoulders with an unexplained ache – I thought it was from sewing too much the day before hunched over my machine. That evening, I had the beginnings of a headache, but I so rarely suffer from these that I ignored it. Then boom. I was in the grips of the whole top half of my body being in a lot of pain for over 24 hours. Painkillers didn’t even touch it, I couldn’t focus on a screen or even words on the page of a book for a while. It was absolutely exhausting. I’ve always thought migraines were just bad headaches, but people, this was something else.

This weekend, I’m still recovering from the effects of being ill – the migraine turned into a cold, my third in 2 months, so I’m not very pleased about that. I’ve currently got a bad cough and absolutely no voice, which is very hard for me as I talk and sing a lot!

Babysitting my cousins - activity books

Last night, I babysat my cousins who are 6 and 4. Ben was out all day on his first Stag event – his best man, Frankie, organised a surprise trip to Edinburgh for them to watch the rugby. So it was just me and my cousins for the evening. I decided we were going to have a movie night, but I didn’t want them in front of the screen all night so I got them a couple of activity books to do first. We played with the cats, they decorated their own pizzas then we ate them with potato waffles for tea, then we made our own flavoured popcorn. Eva (4) and I played with Mickey Mouse and Elsa while Mollie (6) filled in her Brownie Ted book – she’s just started with my Brownie pack 2 weeks ago and we have “Brownie Ted” who goes home with one girl each week and they write what they’ve done together. Then finally we sat down and watched a classic Disney film – we decided to watch one they’d never seen before, so we chose Sleeping Beauty with our popcorn. They were really well behaved and we had a lot of fun!

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