Saturday, 24 September 2016

My Netflix Watchlist: May - July 2016

vivatramp what to watch on uk netflix

I made a promise to myself in my 2016 goals post to use my Netflix account to watch more new-to-me things and every few months or so I've been sharing the results of said promise with you in my Netflix Watchlist posts.  I've watched some good stuff since May so I would highly recommend you give at least some of these a go! 

All of my miniature reviews are spoiler-free but I would perhaps maybe avoid watching the trailers I've so lovingly embedded prior to viewing as, in my opinion, they are riddled with spoilers. Why do they do that?! Uhh.

orange is the new black s4
The story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money to her drug-dealing girlfriend.

Back in June, OITNB came back with season 4 and, as is traditional, it was marathonned accordingly. I loved that I got to learn more about some of my favourite characters, Poussey and Lolly in particular, but I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about some of the plot threads. I think it'll need a re-watch for me to confirm my concerns. However, despite that, I'm still looking forward to the next season.

brooklyn nine-nine s1 & s2 
Jake Peralta, an immature but talented NYPD detective in Brooklyn's 99th Precinct, comes into immediate conflict with his new commanding officer, the serious and stern Captain Ray Holt.

Luke and I were looking for a lighthearted comedy to watch every now and then before bed and we ended up opting for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It's really silly but I like that and it makes me laugh. Great bite-sized episodes to chuck on, as we did, before bed or whilst you cook dinner. 

orphan black s4
I LoveD IT 
A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her.

I adore Orphan Black. You guys know that by now! I finished off watching the fourth season a while ago now and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I still can't get enough of Alison and Donnie! I've got so many unanswered questions following the finale and cannot wait for the next season to begin next year. Although, I am pretty devastated that it'll be the last one! If you've yet to watch OB, please do give it a go! 

the hobbit: the desolation of smaug
The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring. 

Not gonna lie, pals. I think I prefer The Hobbit to LOTR. I'm not a massive fan of uber fantastical things but there's no denying that this film is visually stunning and is the perfect film to put on on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you want to go on an adventure but don't want to leave your four walls. It's not a quick watch though, as is to be expected from Jackson's epics. This was Dad's first time watching any of his stuff and, after sitting through the whole film, he piped up '...well they didn't get very far'. I told him to attempt to LOTR extended editions...

stranger things s1 
When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back. 

Who didn't fall in love with Stranger Things last month?! I mentioned it in my Favourites post already but god I just loved this show. This is the perfect show to marathon with someone late at night with snacks aplenty and cushions for your eyes. 

the fundamentals of caring 
I LikeD IT 

A man suffering an incredible amount of loss enrolls in a class about care-giving that changes his perspective on life.

I tend to really enjoy Craig Roberts' performances in almost everything he appears in so unsurprisingly I, again, loved him in this. I often worry about able bodied actors playing disabled characters, because those roles should really go to disabled actors lets be honest, but this portrayal felt respectful and well measured. However, I do say that as someone without muscular dystrophy so do keep that in mind. I'm all for good writing that acknowledges that there is still life and humour and fun when living with a disability and this film embraced that. I really enjoyed this film, on the whole. Great sense of humour about it.  Give it a go. 

Although, there were some Manic Pixie Dream Girl vibes from Selena's character which wasn't great...

An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. 

I'm still on my Domhnall Gleeson kick and, seeing as it was very recently added to Netflix, I jumped at the chance to see him in Brooklyn. I didn't really know what to expect from it cause I don't usually dig romance in films but I was pleasantly surprised. The story swept me up. The styling was fantastic. I would watch this again, for sure. 

A man who debunks mind control techniques as a profession must help a couple whose daughter has recently joined a cult.

Do not watch the trailer. I am fascinated by cults so when I was this lurking on my home screen I decided to give it a go. 
This was one of those very quiet slow paced films packed with dark humour and an ending that makes you go 'oh shiiiiiiiiiit!'. Great performances from Mary-Elizabeth Winstead and Leland Orser. 

the lobster
I LoveD IT 
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in 45 days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.

I absolutely loved this film. It was so original and I know that that's a term that gets bandied around but it just was! I always struggle to pinpoint films that are my 'favourites' for some reason but this definitely made that list. If you're even remotely intrigued by the description above, give it a watch. Gah, it was just wonderful. I won't be forgetting it any time soon. 

What films or TV shows, that are available on UK Netflix, do you recommend? Do any of these take your fancy?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Beautiful Book Covers Tag

beautiful book covers tag uk book blogger vivatramp

If there is one thing I am good at, it's buying beautiful books. Luckily for me, a billion years ago, my ridiculously handsome buddy Jason created the Beautiful Book Covers Tag and I thought it was time to showcase some of my favourite designs. Not gonna lie, I had a tough time narrowing all the books down so I may have to do something like this again at some point. Please do tweet me photographs of all your beautiful book covers because I always have room for more!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

How to Write A Children's Picture Book

eric carle book review vivatramp lifestyle book blog

I am currently in the process of writing my first children's picture book and, since I shared a How to Write Short Stories post a while back, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share some tips on how to write a children's picture book. Today I am not only calling upon my own wisdom as I have roped in my friend and elfin picture book oracle Sarah. to tell us more. Since I'm lousy at introductions, I thought I would let her introduce herself...with a beautiful illustration by me: 

writer blog vivatramp

'Hello! I'm Sarah. I'm a Picture Book Publicist for Penguin Random House Children's Department. I create and execute PR  campaigns, write press copy, arrange and accompany authors at events and tours, host parties, brainstorm ideas around kids trends and pitch ideas / stories to media contacts'.

I didn't refer to her as a picture book oracle for nothing, pals! If you'd like to follow her, you can find her on Twitter: @lovelystrumpet. I do hope this proves to be useful for some of you and, as always, feel free to leave your own advice in the comments below.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

August Book Reviews feat. Sarah Waters

the little stranger book review girl in a band book review the postmortal book review

Last month I read a musician's memoir, a dystopia I hauled just last week and added a new book to my 'favourites' shelf. What did you read during the month of August? Anything you'd recommend based on what I read?