Lately... May

One of my favourite things about May is the beautiful blossom on the trees, it always cheers me up :) 

May has mainly involved writing my end of year essay, although the procrastination ratio was high. It's all done and handed in and now I'm off for the whole Summer Yay! I've also completed my first year of my degree so I'm really chuffed with myself :)

I'm finally starting to get to the bottom of my Lush stash! I've been enjoying reading and Lush baths to de-stress in between work work work.

This month was Free Comic Book Day and I had a great time geeking it up (post here). This is a page from a cool Black Widow kids reading book my sister got for my niece on the day.

Because I had to get my essay done and I'm easily distracted I banned myself from starting any new shows so I rewatched some Arrested Development. I've watched each episode a million times but it never stops being hilarious. The Gene Parmesan episode is one of my favourites I love Lucille's "GEEEEENE" reaction so much! 

Also...

❤ I'm currently obsessed with comedy duo Keegan & Peele and these sketches are hilarious (here and here)

❤ If you are a Breaking Bad fan you will definitely enjoy Bryan Cranston's Super Sweet 60...

❤ This piece about Captain America and masculinity is a pretty interesting read. 

Afternoon tea at Marks & Spencer...


As a recent convert to afternoon tea I couldn't resist trying the one offered at the Marks & Spencer cafe. Afternoon tea for two costs just £12 and comes with a choice of a tea or coffee. Food wise they are very generous with a big selection of sandwiches- we got a mixture of beef and horseradish, salmon, ham and cheese, and egg and cress (vegetarian options were available). on the next tier was a huge scone each- you could have plain or one with currants and a cute mini jar of jam each (you could pick the flavour) and a huge pot of clotted cream each. These were delicious although me and my Mum could only manage half each as they really were huge! Finally on the top tier was a pretty selection including two mini choux buns filled with cream (very yum), two macarons- we split these in half and shared them, the white one was vanilla flavour and was very tasty (also it was covered in glitter!) the pink one wasn't so good... it had a really tart orange jam in it which was kind of strange. Finally there were two mini cupcakes- chocolate and caramel and a raspberry and cream. I only tried an tiny piece of these as I was stuffed and I'm not a huge cake fan. I must admit I wasn't that keen on these. 

Overall the highlight for me were the sandwiches and scones.  The sandwiches were fresh and well packed with filling and really delicious and the scones were very very good. I think this Afternoon tea was brilliant value for money as they really are very generous with what you get and overall my Mum and I give it the thumbs up!


Pop in a Box May....


Pop in a Box is great subscription service if you are a Funko collector- you get sent a mystery pop (or more depending on your subscription choice) and it will only be ones that you put into your wishlist meaning you don't get disappointed!

Just one of these is my subscription pop- the Cyberman. The pop itself is very cute (a cute cyberman....?) but I must admit I was a little underwhelmed as I'd see this for around £7 on Amazon so I ended up paying double for it, but then I did have it on my PIAB wishlist so I can't really moan!  

In a piece of good timing I also received the Ninth Doctor pop I'd bought from Amazon. I'm really glad they've finally released this one, and it means I now have all the Doctor Who pops I wanted out of the collection :)

Too see all my other Pop in a Box posts click here

If you are interested in subbing to PIAB use my link to get 20% off! 

New books...


I fell off the wagon of my book buying ban *oops* here are my new book purchases...

Granta 127: Japan
Granta is a magazine of new writing and is essentially a short story and essay collection. This edition showcases contributions all with the theme of Japan with the majority of the writers being Japanese. I found out about this from one of my favourite book-tubers Elena Reads Books and bought it cheap on ebay- I couldn't resist as I have a big interest in Japanese culture and am looking forward to delving into this.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
I've been wanting to get a copy of this for a long time after hearing about it on book-tube (which is a constant enabler to my book buying habit) but for some reason couldn't find it anywhere until I saw it in Tesco and grabbed it. I read this one straight away and will post a review in my next round up but this is about a woman who seems to have a perfect life until a documentary of an incident that happened when she was a teenager changes things.

The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
This was an impulse buy due to the nice cover but I've since heard a lot of good things about this gothic horror. About two brothers, one mute and one his protector they with their family visit a shrine every year hoping for a cure where the boys are left alone.Years later one of them is now an adult, and a child's body is found. Sorry the blurb is really vague so that probably didn't make much sense, but it sounds like it could be a really creepy and intriguing read! 


Geeky Haul...

Here's the geeky stuff I've bought over the last few months...
I'm so pleased that I've nearly completed my Catwoman collection now, I've also started collecting Birds of Prey books as I know it's a series I'm going to love! 
I try and resist looking at all the daily tee sites as they are lethal for impulse shopping but I couldn't resist this Bad Wolf Doctor Who tee from Qwertee as I'm kind of obsessed with anything to do with Bad Wolf/ Rose.
I got a few more DK books to add to my collection thanks to a sale at WH Smiths, the Batman Character Encyclopedia is a really good one and was published this year so is completely up to date. I also got a bit carried away with Civil War related stuff and got the sticker album- I remember doing the premier league ones as a kid so it takes me back, I forgot how frustrating it is getting endless doubles though!

And finally two more Pops to add to my collection. The Batman one is from the B Vs S film (this is probably one of my favourite pop versions of Batman, mainly because he's holding a Batarang) and the Civil War Black Widow which in my opinion is way better than the Ultron version.

Indie brand: Punky Pins part. 2

I recently posted about some pins I bought from indie jewellery and accessory brand Punky Pins (here) and here I am back with more! 

I am a big X Files fan and my favourite episode of The Simpsons also happens to be 'The Springfield Files' so as soon as I saw the Mulder pin depicting his hilarious FBI badge from that episode it was an instant buy. Just looking at it makes me smile! I also added the the 'Unicorns and me by Lisa Simpson' badge (Lisa is one of my faves!) and the purple freak acrylic pin.

As always they were dispatched fast, packed well and are great quality :)


Patisserie Valerie...

 This post is mainly an excuse to post pictures of delicious food! Last Saturday whist in Birmingham city centre for Free Comic Book Day (post here) we decided to buy a bunch of stuff from Patisserie Valerie in the Selfridges food hall to bring back for everyone to try as it all looked so good!
 The lady that served us packed everything really fancy in boxes tied with ribbons. This was also my first experience of macarons, and I also got two to try from L'Amandier as they had fancier flavours.
 Patiserie Valerie do slices which are what I would describe as gateaux, we got the double chocolate which was light chocolate sponge with a thick chocolate mousse and a choux bun. We also got the Black Forest slice which is again chocolate sponge and black cherries with cream and lastly the strawberry slice which was white sponge with fresh cream and strawberries- this one was perfectly light and my favourite :)
We also got an apricot and strawberry tarte which I didn't try because by this point I couldn't even look at more cake!

Finally the L'Amandier macarons. I got a salted caramel and a maple and pecan. Both were delicious but the salted caramel was my favourite. Overall if you got to Selfridges I'd definitely recommend both if you want a treat :)

Recently watched...

 


The Ides of March (2011)
A political drama focusing on Governor Morris and the people in his team and opposition as he is on the campaign trail. Morris' press secretary Meyers played by Ryan Gosling believes in integrity but learns an important lesson when spiralling events change everything. This was a well acted and enjoyable drama! 3/5

Special Correspondents (2016)
I used to really enjoy Ricky Gervais stuff but the last few years I've been disappointed with his output. This is a Netflix exclusive film and aside from a couple of laughs it was an over the top and clich├ęd film about two radio correspondents who fake their own kidnap. None of the characters were particularly likeable, I like Vera Farmega, and felt for her as she tried to make the most of the one dimensional cold hearted bitch her character was written as but everything fell flat and all the characters were 2D stereotypes, including Gervais questionable attempts to play a geeky looser. 2/5  

Ask Me Anything (2014)
This was a random Netflix find about a teenage girl who starts an anonymous blog to talk frankly about her life. It started as a frothy and shallow YA film as it gradually got darker as you saw the direction Katie's life was descending in. I found I didn't realise how good the film was until the sledgehammer ending which put a whole new perspective to everything that happened and really gave you food for thought about social media and how teenage girls are treated. I really recommend giving this a watch. 4/5 

Kelly & Cal (2014)
An unhappy new mother moves to a new neighbourhood and makes an unlikely friend in teenage wheelchair user Cal. I mainly watched this because it has Juliette Lewis in and although she was great the film kind of annoyed me. I feel like it was trying to be feel good but I found Cal to be really self entitled and unlikeable and he seemed to spend a lot of time treating Kelly unfairly and have temper tantrums if he didn't get his way, where as Kelly spent too much time apologising to people and being made to feel bad when she hadn't really done anything wrong. To be completely honest I was really shocked to find it was written and directed by women... 2/5 

Free Comic Book Day 2016 + FOOD!

 Every year on the first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day- an event were comic book publishers release specially made comics for free from comic book stores. As usual we tend to make a geek version of Treat Yo Self day (see my post for last year here) and as usual I intend to take lots of photo's but forget! So here are the pics from my day... (mainly food and what I bought!)
 We got into Birmingham city centre nice and early to hit up Nostalgia and Comics to avoid the huge queue and then stopped for breakfast. Rather than have actual breakfast stuff I had a coffee and caramel frappe and a sticky toffee muffin which were very tasty!
 Oh and did I mention I met Batman?

 Here are all the free comics I got- I'm very happy as I managed to get all the ones I wanted :)

 I didn't actually spend a huge amount (which is unlike me!) but I picked up a few books from Forbidden Planet as well as the new Image + magazine and a couple of comic anthologies
 I also got a big selection of back issues, which I am pretty chuffed with as the lot only cost me £4 :)
 Finally I picked up the Scarlett Witch Dorbz, she is adorable and she also happened to be one of my favourite parts of Captain America: Civil War!

 We stopped for lunch at a food hall that has all sorts of vendors and I of course went for pizza!
Finally I also had my first taste of macarons! I got these from a patisserie in the Selfridges food hall and the green ones are pistachio and the brown ones are coffee. They were amazing!

Overall it was a great day and I have tons of new stuff to read :)

Recently watched...





 

Cloud Atlas (2012)
I spent the first 40 minutes of this film having absolutely no idea what the hell was going on, then all of a sudden it clicked. Set in various eras telling interconnecting stories it features the same actors (with the help of very skilled make up artists) playing various roles. The concept is that it follows their souls through time and how different actions can have such huge effects. You could possibly find this pretentious but I found it really poignant and some of the lines were beautiful. Probably my favourite era was the story set in a future Korea about a human clone who learns what she really is and forms a rebellion. 4/5

Revolutionary Road (2008)
In the same vein as American Beauty (and also directed by Sam Mendes) this is a look at the reality behind suburbia as married couple Frank who is unhappy in his job and April who is unfulfilled as a 1950s housewife search for something more. Kate Winslet is amazing in this and manages to perfectly portray April's depression with such realism it's heartbreaking. The film itself shows the darker side to marriage and isn't in the slightest bit a cheery watch, and sometimes it feels a little disjointed but overall it's worth watching for Winslet's performance alone. 3/5

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
After the huge wave of negative reviews I went to watch this with apprehension and came out a little confused as to why it has been so slated. Yes there are a lot of plot holes (Age of Ultron anyone?), there was a few scenes that could have been cut out, and Luthor is played a little too close to The Joker but overall I really enjoyed it. Batfleck was actually pretty decent, I enjoyed the overall dark tone of the film, with Wonder Woman being the highlight. The music was brilliant (Wonder Woman's theme blew me away) and I am now very much looking forward to The Justice League and WW solo film. Forget what the critics say, go see it! 3.5/5

Baby Mama (2008)
I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler but this film just didn't do it for me. About a woman (Fey) looking to find a surrogate after learning she is unable to have a baby she ends up with a woman her total opposite. I felt like it could have been really fun but just ended up following the cliched rom-com route, and I'm just not a fan of that genre. 2/5

April & March reading round up...


Because I've been snowed under with uni work I didn't get much read in March, so decided to just combine it with my April reading...

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I approached this book a little apprehensively- I gave up on Dunham's show Girls midway through series 2 as all the characters in it frustrated the hell out of me. Spoilt, entitled, and self absorbed I couldn't take anymore! I wanted to read her book as it had been praised by both Caitlin Moran and Miranda July (two of my favourite writers). Written as a series of essays split into different topics (love, work, body etc...) these were mainly anecdotal. They started off entertaining enough but I did eventually tire of Dunham's need for attention at all times (her story about her sister coming out and Lena blabbing to their parents first really annoyed me!) . I didn't find much of her life personally relateable but the book was decently written, unfortunately it just didn't really grab me. 2/5

Disclaimer by Renee Knight
This was a decent enough thriller about a woman who receives a novel only to start reading and realise the main character is her. I guessed the end but I thought the story was good and it managed to make both main characters likeable and unlikeable at different points. The main theme was family and relationships which was covered in an honest way, and I felt was probably the books strongest point. 3/5

Bossypants by Tina Fey
After enjoying Yes Please! by Amy Poehler I felt like it made sense to read this. I ending up listening to the audiobook of this which was a great decision because I felt like it made the book a lot more enjoyable. Fey's narration was natural and very funny- there were a lot of laugh out loud moments in this. Overall I really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend if you enjoy funny, honest women. 4/5

Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel
I don't often read YA but I was drawn in by the cover. This follows Maisie's journey after she is the victim of a bad accident that destroy part of her face. She gets a partial face transplant and realises that she is no longer the girl she used to be as she struggles to find her own identity and get back to her old life. Overall I enjoyed this book, it was well written and insightful. I did find it a little slow at times and occasionally found it shallow and a bit tiring when Maisie would whine about not being pretty anymore but on the whole it was a decent read. 3/5 

Comics....
(Limbo by Dan Watters)

The Wicked + the Devine Vol.3 by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
I loved the first two volumes of this series, which makes it extra sad to say this was a total disappointment. They decided to get a selection of different artists to do five of the six issues which made it confusing working out who the characters were in the different styles. One of my favourite things about this series is Jamie McKelvie's stunning artwork and some of the artists chosen were not to my taste. The story also didn't seem to really go anywhere and the big cliffhanger at the end of the last book didn't get addressed. I'll still pick up the next book but that will be the decider in whether I keep going with it. 2/5

Batman Confidential The Bat and the Cat by Fabian Nicieza & Kevin Maguire
(read in single issues) This is a five part story from 2008 about Batgirl and Catwoman's first encounter. Catwoman steals Commissioner Gordon's notebook and Batgirl chases after her. After Catwoman reveals her reason they begrudgingly work together. This was a fun, fairly light hearted story with a decent amount of action and plenty of familiar characters popping up- especially when Batgirl fights her way through Arkham Asylum. As a big fan of both characters (particularly Catwoman) I really enjoyed this mini story. 4/5

Clean Room Vol.1 by Gail Simone
(read in single issues) This was a really dark and creepy horror comic about a journalist who is investigating the suicide of her boyfriend and the self help book he read prior. This leads her to guru Astrid and her strange clean room- a place that reveals your deepest fears. It's not very often I scare easily but I found this genuinely creepy and disturbing. The artwork went perfectly with the story and if you like your horror dark then this is one for you. I don't think I'll be continuing with this as it got under my skin a little too much... 3/5

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
Written in 1986 this was Frank Miller's retelling of Bruce Wayne's first year as Batman. We get it from two perspectives- cop Jim Gordon new to Gotham and Wayne trying to fight petty thugs and make a difference. I did enjoy this, it was dark and gritty and gave an interesting spin on a classic story but it was typical Miller i.e noir, inner monologues and prostitutes. What is Miller's obsession? In this Selina Kyle was re-imagined as a prostitute that inspired by Batman becomes Catwoman- her story is very vague and mostly sidelined which dropped my score for this book. For the artwork alone though this would have got top marks. 3/5

Limbo by Dan Watters
(read in single issues) This was a six issue mini series about a detective who has no memory or identity after nearly dying but getting saved by a voodoo queen who loves mixtapes. The pair get drawn into a crazy rabbit hole that combines noir, demons, surreal and clever story telling, 80's style and beautiful neon dripped artwork. I absolutely loved this even if I don't totally understand what happened! 4/5

Single issues...


  

 


My favourite single issues I read recently were Jonesy (I'm really enjoying this mini series and issue 1 is my favourite so far), Faith #1, The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1 and my favourite of the Limbo covers #6. 

Indie Brand: Jenni Illustrations

I've been a long time admirer of Jenni Illustrations after finding her on Instagram and love her kawaii designs. I've been wanting to buy a sticker pack from her store for a long time and as soon as she released the Fruit Box Friends pack I had to have them! 

I love anything to do with kawaii food and this pack features 6 different stickers of cute drink, my favourite probably being the pastel milk. They come presented in a cute little pack which as of now is far too cute to open! I'm not sure what I'm going to use them for yet but they are just so adorable. I also got sent a large sticker with my order too of Donald and Daisy Duck. Next on my list is the Cat Lover pack and the Kawaii Food set.

Jenni's store also features Pokemon, Animal Crossing, and Disney Chibi sets as well.