Current Favourites and a Catch Up

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It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote about what’s going on with me at the moment and what things I’ve really been enjoying recently, so that’s exactly what I’m doing now!

Time has flown by so quickly that two weeks ago I finished my A-Levels! On Friday the 7th of July I had my Leaver’s Ball (that’s where I am in the photo on the left) and it was my last chance to say goodbye to so many fantastic people. That major part of my life is (hopefully) now over, and honestly it’s been weird. After my last exam on the 22nd of June I came home and just enjoyed doing nothing except watching TV shows, movies, and playing video games.

Since then I’ve found a number of other things to spend my time on, including writing and some online courses. I didn’t know how I was going to feel when everything was all over but I don’t feel that much different, just a lot less bored. The monotonous life of revision and light TV watching is over, now everyday can be and is different!

Other than that, not much is happening in my life. By the time this post is up I’ll be in Paris with a friend of mine – my first holiday in which the only responsible adult is myself – so you can expect to see some footage of that soon.

Now let’s look at some of my current favourites. I’m talking films and TV, games, and the much loved ‘other’!

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Book Review: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

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“Judge people on what they have control over. Judge them on the way they treat their friends, or whether they persevere when they can’t do something… Be careful not to confuse a beautiful face with a beautiful heart”. 

This book was kindly sent to me by Walker Books, but this has no impact on my review!

When ‘Truth or Dare’ slid through my letterbox and into my hands I have to admit I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t really know anything about the plot and I’ve never actually read any of Non Pratt’s other works (much to the dismay of my friend Jasmine who convinced me to buy Trouble, which I have only read one chapter of!) So seeing as I had some free time and a new book I thought I’d dive in blind – and boy, was it worth it! I read it in just a handful of days because it was so addictive; never was there a moment of boredom and I just thoroughly enjoyed it!

‘Truth or Dare’ is a contemporary YA novel that deals with family, friendship, and love – but really that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

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The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe

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“People describe Shrew as a problem play; I see it as a perfect opportunity to explore pressing issues surrounding gender and relationships – important for us all, especially young people.” – Jacqueline Defferary

Before I really get into the post I just want to say,  if you are able to get to London before the end of this month I IMPLORE YOU TO GO AND SEE THIS PRODUCTION OF THE TAMING OF THE SHREW! Whether you are already a Shakespeare fan or fancy giving it a shot, this adaptation is truly for everybody.

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So time for a bit of context:
The Taming of the Shrew is one of, if not the most, debated about plays written by Shakespeare due to its supposed portrayal of psychological rape and misogyny. It is believed to be one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, written before 1592, and sees a drunkard named Sly being tricked into believing himself to be a lord and with his “wife” (the Lord’s servant wearing a dress) watches a play for his pleasure. That play within the play follows the relationship of Petruchio, a wealthy and forceful man from Verona, and Katherine, the “devilish Shrew”. Then, if you’re not already confused, you have the subplot of Bianca and her suitors; Gremio, Hortensio, and Lucentio, the latter being a student from Pisa, have all fallen for Kate’s seemingly sweet sister Bianca and the latter two decide to disguise themselves as teachers so that they might be able to woo her, whilst encouraging Petruchio to marry Kate so that they might then be able to marry Bianca. And that’s the basic plot for you! 

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Some Thoughts on Sex and Relationship Education

You may or may not know this but almost a month ago now Conservative MPs voted against plans to make SRE (sex and relationship education) compulsory in schools. In other words they voted against making teaching pupils about LGBT+ issues, the importance of consent, online sexual content, as well as the emotional and social aspects of sex and relationships compulsory. I know all schools tackle SRE differently; some cover a wide range of topics in an inclusive manner regarding religion and the LGBT+ spectrum. But at the same time some schools will only teach it from a biological point of view.

I myself experienced the latter. In year 6 all the girls in my year sat together in a small room with our head of year and the biology teacher; we discussed (and when I say discussed I mean they spoke, we listened and were too embarrassed to ask any questions) periods, body changes, and how we might start “seeing boys differently”. That was it until year 9, when we had one lesson in which we were shown a presentation showing symptoms of different STDs, shown how to put on a condom, then given condoms which were promptly taken off us. Honestly, I still don’t know why they bothered giving them out in the first place. In fact, there is a lot I still don’t know regarding SRE full stop!

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New Years Resolutions

Before you say anything, I know this is fairly late in the month to start talking about New Years Resolutions but better late than never right?

I have always been someone who sets resolutions for the New Year, in fact I’ve published blog posts about my resolutions for 2015 and for 2016. I find that if I tell the internet I have to hold myself to them!  And I will be doing the same today and probably for years to come.

I briefly want to look back at my resolutions for 2016 and I think, on the whole, I did quite good:

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Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

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“There doesn’t have to be a rainbow for it to be beautiful”

I’ve had this book sat patiently on my TBR shelf in my room – I bought it ages ago because I fell in love with the blurb. I mean a cynical teenage blogger, a mysterious group of prankers and the assurance that it ‘is not a love story’? I had to have it.  I finally read it though after however many months it’s been. And you know what? I wish I’d read it sooner.

Being thrown into the story right from the beginning there was rarely a dull moment; the plot was interesting and engaging. I loved some of the pranks pulled by Solitaire as they ranged from the childish to the stupidly dangerous. The fact that until the last chapters of the book the entire identity of the group is an utter mystery I thought was done so well. Even I didn’t guess that ending – and I watch Sherlock on repeat!

The levels of relatability (is that a word?) are beyond measure; with many of the characters perfect examples of the stereotypical people we all know as well as multiple references to some brilliant books, films and Tumblr pages.  Some of the themes and ideas that were predominant in the book could not have been explored in a better way. The use of language and the ordinary manner in which these themes were developed has such an impact on the reader.

 The story was definitely driven by characters and I think that worked so well. Initially I was a bit unsure on my feelings towards Tori, our protagonist  – I couldn’t believe that anybody could hate absolutely everything. However as the story went on and the characters were developed I began to understand her a bit better as well as some of the things she was going through. Basically I ended up just loving her, her strong opinions and her honesty that come across. Her contrast with Michael really made the story that little bit more special. He was so peculiar but in the best way, of all the characters he was definitely the one that intrigued me the most.

“But books–they’re different. When you watch a film, you’re sort of an outsider looking in. With a book–you’re right there. You are inside. You are the main character.”

It’s just such an honest and thought provoking story that will leave you questioning social issues of our age.  I definitely recommend it!