June Round up

Well, here we are six months into the year and wow has this been one of those months. Firstly, we had the General Election, or as I like to say, the day Theresa May scored a phenomenal own goal, we had all the ups and downs of the fall out of the election and then the tragedy of Grenfell and all that went with it. I don’t really know what to say, other than I hope that this is the thing that puts an end to profits before people. There were some fun moments in a month of uncertainty and anger though, like getting to see George Ezra debut some of his new material and hanging out with some old friends. I also did a big scary thing this month – I handed in my notice! By the time you guys read this it will be the start of July and I will no longer be working as a journalist, instead I’ll have moved into marketing at a new company, I’m very scared, but as I’m constantly told, if things don’t scare you, they aren’t worth doing.  Guess we’ll find out how that’s all going in the next one of these!

What I read this month:

Hag-seed – Margaret Atwood
With the Handmaid’s Tale being on TV at the moment, I was looking into getting some extra Atwood in my life. I’d been interested in reading this ever since I saw Sanne over on Books and Quills talking about this and a few other Shakespeare retellings which were released a little while ago, so when I spotted it at the library, I chucked it onto my pile. This is the retelling of the Tempest, which isn’t one I’ve read before, I would like to track that down at some point so I can compare the two and of course, I want more of the Hogarth Shakespeare collection in my life!

Free at last, the diaries 1991- 2001 – Tony Benn
I’ve always admired the work of Tony Benn and this was a gift from my grandad many moons ago that has sat on my shelf for way too long, (I’m not allowing myself to let my bookshelf get untidy, so I must read everything on it that I haven’t read and give away the ones I won’t read again before I am allowed to go anywhere near a bookshop.) so  I figured I’d give this a read while the election campaign was going on. It really is a  fascinating read and I wish I’d started it sooner, also that I had more of Benn’s diaries sat on my shelf to work though. This was interesting from a political point of view in the sense that I learned a lot about a period of politics I didn’t know a lot about before and also got to see life in the commons, which I’d not come across before. There was of course the shade thrown at New Labour and hearing about the various things going on in Benn’s life which were also very engaging. I would be interested to read more books on socialism – anyone read Bernie Sanders’ book? Any good? – before moving on to other ideologies!

Release – Patrick Ness
I love Patrick Ness. Like, really love him. I think he might be my favourite author, I think I’ve read pretty much all the Patrick Ness available now and  I have loved all of them and this was no exception. This was recommended to me by Amazon, so of course, I downloaded it. Their one click buy thing is really quite dangerous and doesn’t help with my plan to read everything on my bookshelf and tidy it up. Anyway, this is loosely inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (which I’ve read) and Judy Blume’s Forever (which I’ve not), Mrs Dalloway is a stream of conscious type novel that takes place over the course of one day and while Release takes place over the course of one day, it isn’t stream of conscious and has slightly connected story intertwining with the main story, I don’t know if that’s the Forever aspect, but what I do know is that this book was amazing and I would do a review, but its so incredible I am kind of lost for words!

Speaking out: Lessons in life and politics – Ed Balls
From Tony Benn to Ed Balls, I figured I might as well work my way through the whole of the Labour party. I’ve enjoyed Ed Balls as a public figure (who doesn’t love Ed Balls Day and his rendition of Gangnam Style?) but I didn’t know all that much about him and having read about the political landscape in the nineties and early noughties, I thought I’d learn about more recent times when I saw this at the library (again, not helping myself with the tidying of the bookshelf). While this was an interesting insight into life in politics, especially about how the civil service and the treasury worked, there were a few moments that had me despairing. I don’t know if it was the way the stories were presented, but I think I preferred the more intimate nature of Benn’s book tbh.

I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
I think this should be required reading, like seriously, jesus christ, not only because Malala is an incredibly inspirational and intelligent young woman who has a lot of wonderful things to say about education and women’s rights to it, but because if, like me, you are a Brit, it is very easy to be ignorant to the world around you – it isn’t in the best interests of the people in charge for you to know too much about other cultures and this was so interesting learning about Pakistan and the different people who live there and its culture. It was also fascinating to learn about someone who had first hand experience of their religion being hijacked by extremists and living in close quarters to people who felt that way. I have many thoughts about this, so I wrote a whole thing, check it out.

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp – Eva Rice
Ok, so at the end of the month, I stopped pratting about at the library and on my kindle and started reading the stuff I had laying around on my shelf. Go me. I feel like I’ve had this book on my shelf forever, I picked it up in a discount book store because the cover is pretty and from the blurb, I expected the tale of a vicar’s daughter breaking into the music industry in the sixties and finally feeling equal to her older sister. Well, over half way through this book and she still hadn’t sung in front of anyone, let alone made it out of childhood. I just found the whole thing dragged on with lots of unnecessary stories, when what I was there for was the shock of suddenly being in a whole new world. The people of goodreads seem to love it and while the atmosphere of the novel is great, I just… I don’t get it. It couldn’t decide what the main story arc was or who the main character is and it really didn’t need to be as long as it is, the story could have been told better in fewer pages with less of the meandering about. The only misinterpretation of Tara Jupp I could see was whoever designed the cover and wrote the blurb, because they clearly didn’t read the book first. It isn’t a bad book, it is just very slow. Too slow for what the blurb promises. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d recommend my grandmother.

Handle with Care – Jodi Picoult
I don’t think I’ve read any Jodi Picoult before this, but I’ve always meant to. Which is probably why I picked this up and then left it gathering dust on my shelf for ever. I remember buying this. I was 20 and I’d picked it up in a charity shop before going to work at my shop job because it was a Thursday night shift and I’d forgotten my kindle charger. I am 28 now. I’ve had it that long and not managed to finish it, until now. It was interesting to read about Willow and her life because I’ve never come across anyone with OI before, but I had the same problem with this as I did with Me Before You in that it made me feel a bit… icky about the way that able bodied authors are portraying disabled people.

Films I watched this month:
You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Insurgent
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover
    I read the book what feels like a lifetime ago and I spotted that two versions of the film were on Netflix, so I whiled away a Sunday checking out the BBC adaptation.
  • The Propaganda Game
  • American Beauty
  • Under the Sun
  • Amazing Spider Man 2

TV I watched his month:

  • House of Cards
  • Handmaid’s Tale
  • Doctor Who
  • Pretty Little Liars
    Now I feel like I need to rewatch the entire thing because seriously, wtf happened?
  • iZombie
    THAT FINALE THOUGH!!

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

live broadcasting rn from a field

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

❤️💛💚💙💜

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

the end of an era

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

Had a little going away party at work because I’m well… going away to another job! Getting my P45 and watching other people come in to interview for my position has been SUPER WEIRD.

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

While the election is over now, I have the mention this video from LukeisnotSexy, James Corden spent the day working at Harrods which I’m sure was way more fun than actually working at Harrods, Louise Pentland made a very special announcement and her video telling her friends made me cry a bit! This video from Dan(iel) Howell was a bit too real tbh but I’m listing it anyway. Anthony Padilla has left Smosh and gone solo, his return to YouTube as just himself was very funny. Finally, Jack and Dean’s latest sketch was very on point.

May Round up

May was a bit of a whirlwind if I’m honest. We started off with a bank holiday (always good), playing a charity gig with the uke orchestra, interviewing potential parliamentary candidates and spending a few days in Brighton! I finally broke through the wall of writer’s block and this month seems to have been one where my creativity has been able to actually work – looks like the whole documenting my life every month is starting to work! We also had some pretty horrific things happening in the UK this month, but that keep calm and carry on attitude has kept us all strong and able to continue being kind and caring in the face of adversity.

What I read this month:

I’d die for you and other stories – F Scott Fitzgerald
New Fitzgerald claxon! Seriously, who expected there would be new F Scott Fitzgerald? This is a collection of previously unpublished stories presented together along with some biographical facts, letters to publishers and photos of Scott and Zelda. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but it was interesting seeing Scott attempt a different style of narration and genre to some of his more famous works.

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
What a disappointment this was! I adored the first of Cormoron Strike’s adventures and I enjoyed the twists and turns of the second instalment, but this one… I don’t know, I just found a lot of the misogyny very gratuitous with this one. While I know that there are people who do think the way the antagonist (no spoilers here!) did, I was just a bit like, really? I also found a lot of the tension between Strike and Robin in this one kind of ruined the relationship that had been built up over the past two books. Won’t stop me reading the next one though!

That Close – Suggs
I’ve had this book sitting on my kindle for what feels like a life time, Madness are one of my favourite bands and I have always enjoyed Suggs’ humour and found him a very interesting fellow in his forays into television. While this was great because I got to see bits of London I know and love through his eyes as he was growing up, this was a very disjointed autobiography. It wasn’t like those memoirs that are a collection of essays and it wasn’t a chronological look at his life either, every now and again, something would link back to the original story, but I found myself lost at times as he meandered through life! He does have a very engaging and friendly voice though, so no complaints from me!

Big Little Lies – Lianne Moriarty
The folk at Penguin very kindly sent me a copy of this, as I’d been searching the shelves at my local library and agonising over buying a copy every time I walk into a book shop, it was a little serendipitous that it turned up! I’ve yet to watch the TV show, so I’m not sure how they compare, but this was unlike anything I’d read before in terms of layout and pacing I wasn’t sure how something could be so subtle and yet in your face at the same time! It kept me very entertained on the train to Brighton however and I’ve reviewed it for you here

My Life – David Jason
Oh I do have a little soft spot for David Jason, perhaps its because we used to watch a lot of Open All Hours and Only Fools when I was growing up or perhaps its because he reminds me a bit of my Grandad because they’re both quite tiny and from London. Although, unlike David Jason, my grandad actually is from Peckham. This was such a charming and interesting read, I loved hearing about growing up in Finchly during the war and reading about the late, great Ronnie Barker was a delight.

Mind the Gap – Phil Earle
I saw this at the library and may have side stepped a small child heading in the same direction to pick this up and was it worth it? No. Not really. Honestly, this was on my TBR because I heard someone talk about it on YouTube and as the cover had a London tube map and I’m one of those Londoners that no longer lives in London so anything to make me feel close to my roots. Honestly, I am not the intended audience for this book which was why I was ultimately so disappointed, but for younger readers, this would be a great book about dealing with grief.

The Muse – Jessie Burton
Woah. Honestly, I picked this up because I liked the cover, but bloody hell that was an intoxicating read! I’ve not read any Jessie Burton before, but now I want to read her shopping lists, she writes so eloquently! I’m not into art, which is the main thread of this book, but I am into beautifully written prose about interesting, creative people and this was just… vewy noice.

 

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Saving Mr Banks
  • Casting Jon Benet
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
    I was watching this as the results for the French election came in. Thought it was appropriate.
  • Clueless

TV I watched his month:

  • Teen Wolf
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Riverdale
    THOSE LAST TWO EPISODES THOUGH
  • Once Upon A Time
    I know series 7 is coming, but I might just decide to end with series 6 cos it really was kind of a perfect ending if you ignore the flash forwards.
  • Doctor Who
  • iZombie
  • Brooklyn 99
  • Miss Fisher Mysteries
  • House of cards
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
    Honestly, I could barely breathe let alone anything else while watching the first episode, my God, that was intense, it was everything I remember the book being. 

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Awesome mix vol. 2 was the soundtrack of the day

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

☂️ they're back ☂️

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

that's more like it, Brighton

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:
Firstly, let’s talk about Leena’s video about being ginger, mostly because it made me think so much I ended up rambling to a camera myself! Liam Dryden’s Scottish roadtrip part one and part two was so good, it made me want to go back and explore more of Scotland! I’ll mention the end of the My Horse Prince saga purely because it became the soap opera I never knew I wanted! What sort of roundup would this be without Carpool Harry-oke, is it the best one yet? And well, I can’t not mention bae can I? My crush on Darren Criss was fully reignited by his band’s new music video and I was a bit blown away by Lucy Moon’s last 168 Hours.

April Round up

Wow, April, you were random but fun!
I think I socialised more in April than I have the rest of the year! This month I got to spend time eating take out and watching Riverdale with Charlotte, spent many hours sat eating in Chris and Julia’s kitchen, there was eating involved there too and got to do some Easter themed baking with my favourite munchkins! You might have noticed an eating trend there. No biggie. What is the point of Easter if not for eating, eh? There was even a day warm enough for me to sit in my mum’s garden and just read, I managed two trips to see Guardians of the Galaxy, there was new Paramore and new Fall Out Boy and a whole load of previously unpublished F Scott Fitzgerald stories were published!

What I read this month:

Who’s That Girl – Mhairi McFarlane
Well, I think the disappointment of this book can only be matched with the disappointment I felt when I first tried a Hershey bar. So many people I trust told me this was good, but honestly, I got so tired of it so quickly, I didn’t find any part of it funny, just mostly ridiculous and predictable. I’d like to give Mhairi McFarlane another go, but this wasn’t a good start!

Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
Oooo this was cute! Take all the endearing nerdiness of Fangirl, make it British and set it at a series of conventions instead and you have this story of Lexi – daughter of a convention organiser who has a cute meet cute with an author at one of the events and fun ensues. I haven’t read a fun, British YA romance for so long so this was a nice change.

Girl Up – Laura Bates
I have wanted to read this for so long! I still have a copy of Every Day Sexism I’ve not managed to read yet. Though this didn’t have anything in it that I didn’t already know/ think before (guess that’s because I’m on the internet but *shrugs*) but it was still wonderful to read a book that shared all my thoughts on the subject! If you are interested in gender politics, this would be a great and accessible book to start with and is presented in a fun, engaging way. If you are planning to read it in public, there are lots of doodles of vaginas, just so you know!

Windfall – Jennifer E Smith
I love Jennifer E Smith’s books, seriously, if you are looking for some cute, fluffy YA (which let’s be honest, is a sub genre that gets more hate than it deserves) then you need to get this woman’s books in your life! This was an ARC I received from Netgalley and I was so excited to get a copy of this… While I enjoyed it, I don’t think its the strongest of her books, check out the review here.

Things I should have known – Claire LeZebnik
This was such an interesting book! While the blurb is all, girl decides to set up her sister and ends up falling for the brother of the boy she wanted to set her sister up with, which doesn’t sound like anything new, this was written in an engaging way and  I didn’t realise until I started reading it that the two kids being set up on the date are on the autism spectrum – I’ve never come across a book about kids with autism before! See my review here.

The Idea of You – Amanda Prowse
I feel really bad about not enjoying this more. Admittedly, it isn’t to my usual taste, but I wanted to read outside my comfort zone a bit more, there was nothing wrong with the narration or the story per say, it just didn’t really gel with me. I should preface that having started this book I did realise that I’m not really its target audience. There will be a full review up soon, even though it wasn’t for me, this is the exact thing you’d want tot take on holiday with you!

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
I feel like this book is every where, it appears in every review and haul video/post I consume, so I’d wanted to read it for ages, though I was put off by the fact that I’m not that well versed in poetry, it’s just never really been something I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into. (I say this, but one of my favourite books is a poetry book lol) I can understand why people love it and why it resonates with so many people, but it wasn’t my cup of tea I’m afraid.

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Nerve
  • Fire walk with me – Twin Peaks prequel 
  • Moana
  • The Nice Guys
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (I actually ended up seeing this twice! 000ps!)
  • Ghostbusters
    Yes I finally saw the latest Ghostbusters movie, I don’t know, I think it would have worked a lot better as a sequel or a spin off rather than a remake, the ladies were all fab, but I didn’t like the original cast turning up and not being themselves and bits were a tad silly, but it was fine.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

TV I watched his month:

  • 13 Reasons Why
    I read and loved the book and when I heard it was going to be a Netflix series, I wasn’t sure how they’d make a whole series, but omg that was intense and so well put together. The series comes with trigger warnings before the harder episodes if you’re worried but those scenes are very intense, so do look after yourselves. Also there is a random cameo from Dan Howell, so… there’s that.
  • Riverdale
  • iZombie
    ITS BACK ITS BACK I AM SO EXCITED
  • Doctor Who
    Honestly, I had been falling out of love with this show for the past few series, but the opening episode was so much fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
  • Iron Fist
  • Pretty Little Liars
    I can’t believe we’re on the last nine episodes!!
  • Once Upon a Time

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Bristol is looking pretty spesh today

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

its time for the great munchkin bake off

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

y e s t u r d a y || this is as close to sunbathing as i get.

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

IT ARRIVED!!!

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

As much as I hate April 1st, it does mean that we get a Dan and Phil Crafts video and this year’s was utterly genius! We also got ASDF Movie 10 which is one of my favourite things on the internet, seriously (beep beep I’m a sheep!), while we’re on the subject of Tomska, his Last Week series are the best weekly vlogs out there, so get on that, yeah? Liam Dryden‘s YouTube comeback was amazing, so if you haven’t seen it, do! I have to mention Emma Blackery’s new music video and this video about twenty one pilots and this birthday edition of Baking with Layton.

March round up

March began, as all months should with a bout of randomness. I found myself  going on an impromptu trip to Cardiff (all the best trips to Cardiff are hastily planned tbh) to visit the Doctor Who Experience, which was amazing btw – totally go while you still can. Remember how for the past two year’s I’ve been on the judging panel for the local talent show? Well, this year was no exception and I did a momentous thing in March. You see, there are lots of places I want to visit, but I am perpetually alone, so I came to the conclusion if I want to visit somewhere, I should just go because if I wait around waiting to make friends, I may never get there, so I spent a few days exploring Edinburgh! You can read more about that here. It was with a heavy heart landing to the news from Westminster, but as that (sadly) fake sign says, we will bloody well keep calm and carry on.

What I read this month:

The Subtle Knife – Phillip Pullman
I can’t believe this is my first re read since the first time I read this series! Maybe I should make a more active effort to re read great things every now and again, I’m feeling very nostalgic heading back into Lyra’s world, but also, it seems so much richer to me now I’m older and understand more of the subtleties, getting very excited about the new Dark Materials books, whatever they may be!

The Amber Spyglass – Phillip Pullman
This was always my least favourite of the three and it was just as much a struggle this time around, the thing is, there is so many different strands to this series that I want to read about, Lord Asriel’s plan, Will and Lyra’s story… but there are so many passages dedicated to Mary and the wheeled animals she meets, which I know is important to the ending but still, just like the first time I spent those pages being anxious to get back to everyone else!

Yes Please – Amy Poehler
I ended up in the library the day after international women’s day and nabbed this off the women’s authors display just as it was being taken down. I do love Parks and Recreation and I do often gripe about the fact that I can only watch SNL on YouTube, so I was excited to see this. I did a proper review here (as is fitting for such a fine book.) and can tick another off my list of non fiction reads!

All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews
I’m still debating doing a review of this book because I have a lot of thoughts. So, this is the story of two sisters, one of whom has a seemingly perfect life, but is suffering with manic depression and the other (who narrates the story) having the complete opposite but not dealing with the mental ill health. On the one hand I liked this book because it proved that your circumstances do not equate to your mental well-being, that you can be rich and have a dream job, but still not enough chemicals in your brain and learning about a new culture was interesting, but I didn’t get on with the formatting of the book and I think it would have been more powerful from Elf’s point of view than Yoli’s as Elf was the one suffering. I might re read it…

High Rise – J.G. Ballard
Ngl, I did pick this up in the library because it was the movie tie-in edition (I’ve still not got round t watching it yet, any of you seen it?) and had Tom Hiddleston in a suit on the front… Honestly, I finished it and was a bit like… wtf did I just read? It is basically Lord of the Flies with grown ups. With Lord of the Flies, it was kind of plausible that the events would happen, being children and not spending so long in civilised society, but with this, I’m not entirely sure that a group of people living in an expensive, but badly serviced high rise, would form their own uncivilised society seeing them attack each other and eat dogs and stuff, but there you go. It was still fun though and whiled away the hour I was sat in Edinburgh’s departure lounge.

Hello you, it’s me – various
I was sent this for review, its a collection of letters from people aged 17-24 who have experienced mental health issues writing to their younger selves about the experience and how to survive it. As always with books I’ve been sent, I have reviewed it properly here, but for now, just know that this was an incredibly uplifting collection of stories that showed a lot of strength and I’m adding it to my to buy list for the actual release date.

The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
I might do a whole review of this because having finished it, I have so many thoughts… Nicola Yoon is a gifted writer, her narration is engaging and endearing and although the insta love is kinda frustrating, it is an interesting take on the trope trying to use science to explain it, for me the main theme of cultural identity was what cinched it for me, the idea of being more than one culture and how those things coexist and also butt heads is super interesting – recommend me more books like that please!

The Infinite Sea – Rick Yancey
I read the Fifth Wave forever ago (I’ve still not seen the movie though – are you sensing a pattern?) and although the romance got on my nerves a bit, I did love the overall idea, so when I saw the library had a copy of Infinite Sea, I was all over it. The switching of the narrators was a little harder for me to keep up with this time around (it has been a looooong time since I picked up the first book), but now I’m ready for the third one!

The History of Twin Peaks – Mark Frost
I’ve been watching the series this month after my friend recommended it to me, now I’m prepared for the revival! It is genuinely one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen (seriously, there is a woman who tells the future using a log who is just known as the Log Lady). I liked it, but I’m not sure why! The book is made up of dossiers, documents and articles about the various strange goings on in Twin Peaks with cameos from the show’s characters, it’s a fun companion to the series, so do check it out if you’re a fan!

The Cows -Dawn O’Porter
When I was sent a link to Dawn O’Porter’s new book I couldn’t just ignore it! I loved Paper Aeroplanes and while I wasn’t as enamoured with the sequel, The Cows did have me at the introduction! Plus, the cover is super pretty, you can see my full thoughts soon!

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • How to train your dragon
  • Logan
  • What if
  • School of rock
  • Doctor Strange
  • Star Trek Beyond

TV I watched his month:

  • Riverdale
    This is my new obsession! We must protect Jughead at all costs.
  • Supernatural
  • Twin Peaks
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Iron Fist

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Hanging at Cardiff Bay doing the Doctor Who Experience today

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

still on the birthday bandwagon

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

done a judge didnt i? insanely jealous of how talented everyone is hoping to soak up some by osmosis

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

when in edinburgh you have to check out the birth place of ya boy hp

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

Ok, first, ya boy Joe made a video every day this month, so check out his channel, Dan and Phil did that thing Nintendo told us not to, but the reactions were funny af, Casey Neistat uploaded this movie WHICH MY GOD WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED, he also uploaded this video about getting help in Somalia and yaaaaas to the vlog making a come back! Amelia Ace made this video about demisexualitywhich was super interesting and watching Emma Blackery take down a certain pos was also pretty great. Also, I can’t not with this Deadpool Beauty and the Beast parody.

February round up

For being the shortest month, I packed a lot into February! I ended up hanging out in London with my buddy Charlotte for a few days which involved visiting all my favourite spots in the city and getting into Matilda for £5! Yaaaas! This month I also saw me saying goodbye to my little Fiat and getting a new… well… Little Fiat and eating all the vegan treats, Tesco now stocks vegan fish fingers, so naturally, fish finger sandwiches had to happen and if that wasn’t exciting enough, the Foo Fighters played in my tiny Somerset town! I didn’t get a ticket because I’m not on their mailing list, but as I’ve played the same venue, I’m going to go ahead and tell people that I’ve opened for the Foo Fighters.

What I read this month:

18867162Just one damn thing after another – Jodi Taylor
I saw this series in a book haul on the internet and then thought of it again when I started watching Timeless (which is great btw, check out my video below for how much I love Timeless!). For the first book in a series, it is very slow to start and takes a while for the story to kick in, but when it does, God! What fun! Being a history nerd and a lover of science, I did enjoy this and I’ll be checking out the rest of the series, there is time travel and dinosaurs and conspiracy and relationship drama, what more could you ask for?!

8247122Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher
I really wish I’d come across this book sooner, Carrie Fisher is such an engaging and hilarious writer, there are very few people who can make you sympathise, relate and howl with laughter all at the same time, but she manages it. Reading this made me not only appreciate her genius all the more, but also made me so sad at the loss of such potential, my new aim is to track down all the rest of her writings!

13262783Everyday – David Levithan
I read these in the wrong order, I read Another Day, which is the same story from Rhiannon’s point of view back last year and although I enjoyed the concept, I found the whole thing a little bit invasive and I’ll be honest, reading A’s account creeped me out on a whole new level, it’s so… rapey… I guess, I can’t think of a better way to explain it. I still think the idea of being a genderless being who experiences different identities every day is an interesting concept, but the contents of the story are still problematic for me.

28686840Holding up the universe – Jennifer Niven
I’d seen so many mixed reviews, though mostly positive for Niven’s other book, All the Bright Places, which I’ve yet to find at the library, but when I happened across this, I thought I’d give it a go, plus the cover looks pretty. The thing is, I’m not really sure how I feel about it, the romance felt a little contrived and the fact that Libby spends the whole book complaining that all she is known for is being the fattest person in the country and yet can’t stop reminding the reader every other second did irritate me no end! Not sure if I’ll be searching so hard for All the Bright Places now I’ve read this…

26200563Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin Manuel Miranda et al
OMG I WISH YOU COULD ACTUALLY SEE THIS IT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK I OWN. It is a fact commonly acknowledged that I love Hamilton (I have tickets for next June) so when I saw this in Waterstones, I had to grab a copy for myself, if you love Hamilton, or just shows in general, it is a wonderful art book full of anecdotes of putting together a stage show, from conception, to curtain up, as well as photographs showing the staging, costume design and additions from several contributors of the show. Photographs do not do it justice and I don’t think my words did either, but if you are interested, I reviewed it here.

70947Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
This month news broke that Philip Pullman was releasing another series of books based around his Dark Materials trilogy, this excites me! So, I figured I better re read them before the new book comes out! I’ve not picked this trilogy up since the first time I read them when I was a kid, so I had a wonderful sense of nostalgia reading this and it made me so sad that the film was awful! The first time I picked these up, I always wanted to be Lyra and have my own daemon, guess I’ll just have to play pokemon go more often so I pretend my vaporeon buddy is a daemon! These books are great by the way, so… like read them!

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Hurricane Bianca
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • Divergent

Considering the cinema in town has reopened, I didn’t get to catch as many new releases as I’d have liked this month! Prepare for that to be rectified.

TV I watched his month:

  • Taboo
  • Shadowhunters
  • Teen Wolf
  • Timeless
  • Sneaky Pete
  • Supernatural
  • Riverdale
    My new obsession! I might start wearing dungarees, Jughead is my new icon.
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine

 

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

the fourth plinth is now very excited about something

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

They say you should spend valentine's with those you love so T Hardz and I are having a lovely evening

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

Kinda love walking down here when there's no one else around

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

The carnege left by Storm Doris

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

I can’t not mention this from danisnotonfire, like for serious, were all music teachers evil because I related so hard when I think back to not only my piano teacher (she even said the same thing to me about Fur Elise and my fingers!) but my drum teacher too! (It genuinely was like Whiplash if you were wondering.) While we’re on the subject of danisnotonfire, this golf video with Phil was hilarious and I’m not entirely sure how this wasn’t flagged… I want to recommend a whole channel because with all the fake news and alternate facts flying around, if you need a good source for news, Philly D is your boy. Also twenty one pilots are documenting their final few nights on tour with a series of mini documentaries, here’s the first one.

January round up

Did you think this was all over? Mwah ha ha. Ok, so the most important thing we should all remember from January is the stress of getting Hamilton tickets. I AM GOING TO HAMILTON YA’LL. Yes, it is next summer, but still… Anyway, the year began with me taking advantage of the bank holiday and spending all day at the cinema catching up on some new releases I missed (A Monster Calls was beautiful and made me cry and Rogue One was just so much fun!), my nephew turned three, there was much talk about thundersnow which then never happened and I got to play a musical instrument in an actual music venue. This month I’ve decided to take on Sammy Paul’s PMS project (more on that next month though) I just really want to document the world, though I’m not sure how much I want to remember considering what has been going on in the world this month. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe and if enough sensible people stand up, we can stop these things happening.

What I read this month:

30095461-1Ultimatum – K M Walton
Bit of an emotional one to start the year! This was kindly sent to me by NetGalley and was reviewed here. The actual book will be out in March and so if you’re into character driven, family dramas, I thoroughly recommend. It isn’t the most fun of subject matters, but I am a sucker for a broken family trying to mend itself!

26138370-1Seven Days of You – Cecelia Vinesse
A cute, easy to read YA novel about an American ex-pat who has seven days left in Tokyo, the place she recognises as home and the struggles she faces as she prepares to say goodbye not just to her home and school, but also the friends she has made there. Cue the arrival of an ex friend returning to Tokyo who she happens to have a very complicated relationship with that makes the whole leaving in seven days thing seem even more dire. Though it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, it was fun, check out the review here.

33393021Relativity – Antonia Hayes
I was lucky enough to be included on the blog tour for this charming novel about three different stands of the same family, intelligent Ethan on the cusp of adolescence, his single mother, Claire, suddenly so aware of how old her son is and how much like the father he’s never met is and then we have Mark the absent father suddenly appearing in their lives again, all intertwined with science and astrology and all that good stuff. Read the review here!

33407778The Dead Inside – Cyndy Etler
This month is full of reading ARCS, which is always nice, send me more books in the post please! This was a difficult one to read, its Cyndy Etler’s memoir about her time in a rehabilitation centre of sorts, which, if nothing else is very good for me in my quest to read more non fiction. It is harrowing and not exactly bed time reading, full review coming soon!

852594A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill – Lemony Snickett
As I started the TV show, I thought I’d pick up where I last left off with this series. It was just as fun and dark and wonderfully narrated as I remember, maybe this year I’ll re-read all of them? Who knows. I’d forgotten how much I loved these when I was a teenager! Even now, I think of Violet whenever I see someone tie their hair up!

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • A Monster Calls
    Emotionally exhausting and really beautifully done – if you’re a fan of the books, don’t fret, they do it justice!
  • Rogue One
  • Beautiful Creatures
    Pretty sure the guy from this is the new Han Solo… Right?
  • La La Land
    Oh God. I cried. I hated it and I loved it and its beautiful.
  • The Duff

The Oscar nominations were announced this month! I’m such a charlatan I’ve only seen a few of the nominated films this year! My predictions for the main ones are as follows: Best film, La La Land (I haven’t seen the others, but I think its a given), Director, Damien Chazelle (I’m sure best film and best director are usually the same thing), Best Actress, I’d like Emma, but probs Meryl, Best Actor, I’d like Andrew, but probs Casey Affleck, Supporting Actor, Dev Patel, Supporting Actress, Viola Davis (she needs her EGOT), Best Song, I loved the two from La La Land, but I do really want the song from Moana to win so Lin-Manuel can have his PEGOT, it’ll probably be one of the La La Land songs though. That soundtrack was immense. What are your predictions? Let’s see who was right next month!

TV I watched his month:

  • The Crown
  • Sherlock
  • Brooklyn 99
    NINE NINE!!!
  • Timeless
  • Supernatural
  • Shadowhunters
  • Taboo
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Teen Wolf

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

❄️ icy af

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

i just played on the same stage dick and dom are going to appear on. so there's that.

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

la la land inspired shoes today

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

So, I decided I wanted to make more stuff, so I am documenting my life this year (I know, self indulgent, narcissistic and boring af, but…) I want to get better and generally make things, so as you’ll see at the bottom, I’m doing Sammy’s PMS project this year. Enjoy.

What I loved on YouTube this month:

Starting at the beginning of the month (a fab place to start) Emma Blackery uploaded this that sums up exactly how I feel about New Year. Jack and Dean came back with another Good, Bad and just plain shit parts of 2016, Erika uploaded her final instalment of CRAMPS for 2016 and my God, I wish I were able to make things that looked that good! This video from Amelia Ace about her bisexual headcanons, purely for her Han Solo explanation alone and I feel that as creepy as this is, I’m going to link to the danisnotonfire live shows, which now get uploaded to danisnotinteresting purely because they actually are very interesting… so I’m just gonna leave a link here. Casey Neistat uploaded a couple of great videos this month, firstly this one from the time he went bowling in the white house and this one, from when he visited JFK after the ban on visitors from certain countries. Finally, let’s leave this round up on a happier note, Hazel and Jack did a cover of a song from La La Land way better than I did, Lucy Sutcliffe made this wonderful short film and Tom Fletcher uploaded this very cute video about his wife.

December round up

Wow. We made it. This month was kind of a strange one for me, it was a month of firsts, it was a month of endings and it was a month of reflection, as well as being Christmas and all. Firstly, I celebrated my one year anniversary of being in my flat. I’ve been an adult for a whole year! Go me! I also preformed my first ever show as a ukulele player as part of the Frome Ukulele Group, my niece appeared in her first school nativity play, we took our first ever train trip together, went to many a festive party and generally, this month has been fun!

What I read this month:

12600138Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
My brother lent me this! This is a big deal if you know my brother, the boy that spent our entire child hood ignoring the written word, but who now actually likes reading! This is his favourite book apparently and I can see why! I’m not much of a gamer, but I did love this! A novel set in the future about an international cloud based game that is littered with eighties references – sign me the frick up.

31114950No Virgin – Anne Cassidy
I spotted this in the library and was drawn in by the attention grabbing cover and the fact that the blurb consists of “My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped”. I’ve read a lot of books about this subject this year (which sounds like a strange thing to say, I didn’t intend to do that, I just think that sexual assault and consent have been on the forefront in recent years, as they should). While this was an important story, I don’t think it was handled very well, its very short and I think it could have done with being bulked out a little. Stacey didn’t have enough room to grow on me, I just didn’t feel like I knew her or even wanted to, she also spends a lot of time blaming herself, which I know can happen, but I wanted her to remember that she wasn’t at fault. Would like to discuss this further though if any of you guys have read it – let me know!

568061The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
So if you saw my video about all the bookish things, you’ll know that I visited the library and found out about the reading passport, this is my first trip and let’s face it, a book I should have read already. This was honestly one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever read, I can’t say as I enjoyed it, it’s a bit hard to enjoy something like this, but its something I can check off of my things I should have read already list.

23361172Paperweight – Meg Haston
This catches my eye every time I visit the library and finally the time came and I checked it out. I did a whole post on this just because I felt like the subject matter deserved more than just a few lines in a round up post and also, you know me, I do like to give you guys trigger warnings and I felt like I needed a bit more of an explanation. So… Check that out here.

29567432Generation Next – Oli White and Terry Ronald
I’ve never watched any of Oli White’s videos, but like I’m in the internet, so I know the name (even if I couldn’t tell what he looked like…). While I’m glad that this book actually does acknowledge the ghost writer I am a bit like… Why give Oli White a publishing contract when he can’t write the thing himself?! Eurgh. Also, though this was an interesting idea for a story, I didn’t get on with the way it was written at all. Good idea, badly executed. Can someone point me towards a YouTuber who has a publishing deal because theyre talented as opposed to because they have a big audience?

31182580Motherland – Jo McMillan
Honestly, I mostly picked this up because it’s about communism and the Daily Fail recommended it and I thought that was kind of funny… Anyway, while this was an interesting take on a mother/daughter relationship set against a strong political ideology I was hoping it would be a bit more… Well, more. I wanted to learn more about the eastern block and communism and British communists and that was kind of a backdrop as opposed to the main focus. Which is fine, but not what I was looking for!

31259053Saying goodbye to London – Julie Burtinshaw
The last ARC of the year! I mentioned it in my last book video and showed you the cover… Honestly, I think the cover was the best bit… Sorry, I will do a more thorough review of this in the next few days or so, once I have my thoughts together! I picked this up mostly because of the cover, look at that cover and because I love London, tis my home town after all, this was about a very different London and while I thought the story was interesting, I don’t think it was executed very well… Anyway, look out for my thoughts!

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Men in Black
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Muppets Most Wanted
    I had a craving after all those evil Kermit memes.
  • School of Rock
  • Frozen
  • Moana
    Took the oldest munchkin out for the day to see this! I really enjoyed it! The soundtrack is my latest to buy!
  • Love Actually
  • Naked Gun
    My brother and I may have concerned our collective facebook friend list by sending each other quotes from this…
  • Die Hard
  • Home Alone
  • The Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Hateful 8
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Raiders of the Lost Arc
  • The Take

There are a lot of movies on the list this month, blame Christmas, there are always way more movies on than usual at this time of year!

TV I watched his month:

  • Class
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tatoo Fixers
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
    I’m a big fan of the book I’m not sure yet what I think of the Netflix series, I think the characters are all a little too young… But I’ll stick with it!
  • The Crown
  • Timeless
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special
    Is it me or is Doctor Who just getting worse?

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

House pride

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

It got very cold at the beginning of the month which meant that I got to show off my house pride on my morning commute.

I found bath's baubal

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

Bath’s Christmas lights looked pretty spesh this year.

Took the munchkin out on the train today. She found the metro very interesting

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

I took my niece out for the day, we got the train into town to see Moana!

Much jolly very christmas

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

There were so many awesome videos on Dan and Phil Games this month, so I’m just going to go ahead and recommend their whole channel! YouTube Rewind arrived in December, so many memes, so many memories and is it just me or did Dan Howell’s Stranger Things inspired wardrobe look a little Marty Mcfly? Because he’s in my favourite film and if so, D Hizzle, you are the one for me. Hit me up yeah? Stepping away from British boys with great fringes for the moment, I also enjoyed James Corden’s festive Carpool Karaoke, Casey Neistat’s batshit crazy drone video and this cute skit from KickthPJ. Also this month, Tyler and Josh were super nice and gave us a Christmas gift by releasing five reimagined songs with MuteMath and they made a video about it too and head here to download the songs for free before 18th January! Hannah Witton did Vlognukkah instead of Vlogmas (why didn’t I think of that last year?!) the videos were all so good and interesting, so check all of those out!