Thursday, 12 April 2018

Film Review: Ghost Stories

I had heard about Ghost Stories MONTHS ago. I love Martin Freeman and I love a good horror film so I put this on my to watch list. And then it went dead. I completely forgot about it until I went to go and see A Quiet Place and opted to see this because the timing worked out better. And oh my GOD. Even though I am still dying to see A Quiet Place, I am so happy I went to see this. 

Okay so even though I like horror films, I feel like I have to be in the mood to watch them. And lets be COMPLETELY honest here: most horror films are utter crap. Now I'm not going to lie, although I had put it on my 'to watch' list, I didn't have particularly high expectations. 

The storyline is fairly simple; a psychologist/professor goes to visit one of his idols (who turns out the be a little odd) and is handed 3 unsolved cases that in his time the other psychologist has not been able to crack. He goes along, visits the 3 men in each of the cases.

There were a couple of tactical and obvious jump scares throughout. But what made me so happy with this film was the storyline. There is a twist at the end, which I guessed quite early in. It's not un-obvious or mouth dropping. But the attention to detail in the storyline genuinely left me feeling shocked. It was amazing. By the end there weren't any missing endings, everything linked so perfectly and everything made sense and UGH. It was just incredibly satisfying. 

I'm not really a fan of jump scares, and if you aren't then pre-warning, there are quite a few. I didn't think it was done in an incredibly tacky way; they were positioned in just the right places so you know they are coming but they still make you jump regardless. As well as being pretty dark in places, it is also darkly witty. 

I think the fact that the film only has 5 main plot characters is really clever. It shows a lot of isolation and makes it feel as though these people really are alone in believing what happened to them was real. However, my only criticism is its a purely white male cast. Where are the women or POC? I know it isn't a massive deal to some, but it made me reflect on again how little variety is shown in films, especially in the horror genre. The only one I can think of recently that doesn't follow this trend is Get Out. But it isn't something that makes me dislike the film. 

Overall I really liked this. I would recommend to anyone who likes a good plot twist and can handle jumpy horror films. 

IMDB link here.

You can find the trailer for the film here.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Book Review: Springtime in a Broken Mirror by Mario Benedetti

I picked this book up in a little book shop in London, tucked away on a back street. I'm not going to lie, I was first drawn in my the colour of the cover. It is bright yellow, my favourite cover. I picked up as soon as the colour caught my eye, read the blurb and knew it was a book I would love. 

Springtime in a Broken Mirror is set around the time of the Uruguayan coup d'├ętat, and was written by Benedetti when he himself was in exile from Uruguay in 1973. 

The story follows the protagonist Santiago; a political prisoner, and the people who are closest to him in his life. The book is written in different short bursts from each character, which are then separated into individual mini chapters. Along with Santiago, it also has excerpts from his wife Graciela, his 9 year old daughter  Beatrice, and his old best friend Rolando. 

It follows Santiagos' letters to his wife, explaining his time in prison, how he is clinging on to every last memory of the outside world through imagining Graciela's life. It flicks between Graciela; still very much adjusting even after many years to her husband being away, then to their 9 year old daughter who is just curious about everything - especially why her father is away and in prison. 

It is a little difficult to follow which narrative is which I found at times, but once you really get to know the characters you can really tell. Benedetti has a truly beautiful way of changing his writing style to perfectly match each character he is writing about. 

I read this whilst currently in a long distance relationship. As Santiago is imprisoned, he and Graciela have been apart from each other for years. I found this narrative particularly moving to read - the two react so differently to what is a very different long distance relationship. 

Benedetti, as he lived through this time, and it is almost a semi-autobiographical book, describes just how life was during 1970s for these people. It is done so so well that you can actually learn so much, and I really did from reading this book. I did lots of extra background reading, as his passion that seeped through the words made me want to learn even more about the time period it was written and set in.

This book is so beautiful, I honestly recommend it to anyone who likes to read romantic yet informative political and historical books then this is the perfect book for you. 

Goodreads link here.

Buy the book here

Film Review: Isle of Dogs

Fact - I am one of the biggest Wes Anderson fans ever. I force anyone and everyone to see at least one of his films when I am with them. His films are more than just films; they are beautifully curated pieces of symmetrical art, poured into the most perfect colour palettes you can imagine a film to be. 

So of course knowing that he was going to be making a new claymation film, I was buzzed off my lil tits. I was SO excited. And shall I tell you what made me more excited? DOG FRIENDLY SCREENINGS. Thats right, you heard me. 

I am a member of the Picturehouse cinemas, and I saw an email come out about dog friendly screenings of Isle of Dogs. I had been waiting for this film for about 5 months and I almost dropped my phone when I saw the email. I went on the the website straight away and of course, they had all sold out. 

But as all great things, it happened again. They decided due to the sheer popularity they would have one more. And you bet your ass I got tickets this time. It meant that I didn't get to see the film as soon as I wanted, but to see it with the presence of my pupper? It was SO worth the extra wait. 

The film is set in Megasaki in Japan, the film follows the story of a young boy - Atari Kobayashi - going on a quest to find his dog, Spots. Spots, along with the entire dog population, has been deported to 'Trash Island' due to a pandemic of dog flu taking over and spreading through all dogs. Atari , aided by a team of 5 dogs; Rex, King, Duke, Boss and Chief, go on the search for Spots. 

There is a parallel storyline progressing at the same time reflecting the increasing crisis in Megasaki. Atari's uncle, the mayor, is running for re-election. The front of his campaign is for the termination of every dog on Trash Island. 

I loved this film. I loved this film SO much. I am a massive Wes Anderson fan but I really loved this film. I thought the storyline was so precious - and really really fitting in this time. It showed a different generation spreading a form of hate and segregation, and the young people coming up to the defence of the minority, standing up for what they believe in. Now of course I'm not saying that the issues are the same, but there is some similarity to current events, no? 

Every aspect of the film was pure art. It has Anderson's iconic symmetrical flat frames, a distinct colour palette that stuck throughout the entirety. The cinematography was stunning, the stock animation was so well detailed, I still cannot believe that the film was shot in 445 days (seriously HOW??)I loved the use of the dual languages and no subtitles. It made me so desperate to learn Japanese because you just know that there are loads of hidden jokes on that side too. 

Overall, just go and see this film. I mean, it won't be as amazing as when I went to see it, because you won't be in a cinema filled with dogs. But it is still such a brilliant film and its so heart-warming, its really for anyone who loves dogs. Must see. 10/10.

PS if you are in London, go to the 180 Strand, they have an exhibition of all of the original sets that were used in the film!! It was INCREDIBLE. 

PPS here are some pictures from me and my pupper and the exhibition.

IMDB link here.

You can find the trailer for the film here.


Saturday, 17 March 2018


Who doesn't love coffee? If you answer no I will forgive you, maybe you are a tea person. If you don't like either, what? I don't understand? 

I am forever getting messages from people saying they are visiting Edinburgh and asking me for coffee shop recommendations. So, welcome to my mini blog series on all of Edinburgh's coffee places. I decided to go based on location, so each post will be a section of Edinburgh and all the independent coffee places in those areas that I have been to and loved. I won't be including every single coffee place as there are honestly hundreds, but these are all my favourites. 


George Street is a really central part of Edinburgh, and all of these places are super easy to find. They are all along one street (aside from Urban Angel which is just off it) and I love them all. George street can be found just behind Princes Street; the main shopping street in Edinburgh with all of the big shops. George Street is similar, but smaller stores that are slightly more pricey.

So without further ado, here is a mini run down of all of the coffee placed I love on George Street. 

Wellington Coffee

So Wellington Coffee is a one of my all time favourites. It is the first independent coffee place that I came to in Edinburgh, I used to work in the perfume shop above it and I just fall in love with it each time I go in. It is a really super tiny place, so this is more of a 'quickly stop off and grab a coffee' kind of place. It also gets very busy very quickly, and the turnover of customers is really quick as well. 

It is down some little steps, so not really accessible for disabled people or people with buggies and things like that. In the summer there is an outside seating area which is lovely if its sunny and warm! I tend to go in here if I want to sit and read for a little bit; there isn't any wifi so it is a nice place to not get too distracted. 

Burr and Co

Burr and Co is another favourite. Still a slightly newer addition to George Street, this one is a really lovely place to sit and do work in, which I have done a few times. They always have a selection of really really lovely food, so it is a good place to also go for like a lunch date kinda thing? 

It is right on the street and is kinda sandwiched in between a restaurant and a hotel, which is all weirdly connected. As it is right on the street and not down some steps in one of Edinburgh's weird underground little shops, this does mean it can get super busy. As it is a great place for lunch, this is the time I find it gets really busy. But I think on only a couple of occasions I have had to go somewhere else because there isn't a seat. 

I really like working here. There is wifi which I *think* you get for an hour. But there are lots of little corners and a couple of window seats where you don't feel like you are in the way. I hate going to places where I want to work and feel like I am sticking out and people are getting slightly agitated that I am still there, wanting me to hurry up and leave. 

OH also if you don't like coffee get a hot chocolate. 10/10 would recommend, I got a bit teary when I had one purely because of how amazing it is. 

Lowdown Coffee

Lowdown is one I actually tend to forget about and it makes me sad because I love it so much! It is *literally* just across the road form Wellington and is also hidden away downstairs. It is another one that is still a little new. Well, I say that, it has been there over 2 years. But to me that is still new. 

Lowdown is a really really chilled out environment. It is very minimal, and it is one that not loads of people know about. There are some places in Edinburgh that are incredibly popular, but I think because this is another downstairs place it is easily missed and walked past. 

I haven't ever been in here when it's been super busy, but as they again do food, I can imagine there are peak times when it does tend to be a little busier than other times. Oh it also has wifi *yay*

Urban Angel

Urban Angel is one of the best brunching places. I tend to only go here when I want food and with someone else. It isn't the kind of place I would go to work or just chill with a coffee on my own. It is definitely a food-date-catch-up-oh-hi-i-haven't-seen-you-in-forever kind of places. 

I took Jack for pancake day and of COURSE we had pancakes. I don't think they carried on doing them but they have such an amazing selection of breakfast/lunch foods available all the time. It is on the pricier side, especially the smoothies they have. But it is all SO tasty and fresh and beautiful that by the time you are done you don't even care about the bill because it is purely SO worth it. 

This one is just off George Street, just down a street called Hanover Street. It is one you have to keep your eye out for if you haven't been before as it is really easy to walk past and not notice you have. 

Honestly if you are hungry in the centre of Edinburgh, Urban Angel is the ultimate place to go. 

Postcards from Belgium


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