Top 5 Favourite Memories from Seoul

Seoul 5

It’s been almost a year since me, Becca and Jess set off on our adventure to Asia and to be honest I’m still not over it. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I was back on that exact trip, reliving the entire experience. I wanted to share my five favourite memories from Seoul. It was an amazing city but unfortunately I don’t think we spent anywhere near enough time there. We arrived on the Thursday from Japan and were boarding our plane back to the UK on the Monday. We will definitely have to return to South Korea at some point but for now I’m gonna relive my favourite moments!

Banana Tree Café

Banana Tree

I’m not sure where I heard of this place, I think I’d been googling whacky cafes to visit in Korea since we already had so many lined up for Japan and when I heard of this place I wanted to go. They make cakes served in little flower pots and you receive a little shovel spoon to eat them with. When I told my friends they were happy to go too and off we set.

The café was actually tiny upon arrival, there was maybe like three or four tables when we arrived. There wasn’t a table that seated more than two people so my friends sat on one table whilst I sat on a seat by a little ledge. Unfortunately I believe we’d eaten at the SM Town café earlier and had been keen for something savoury but they only served sweet food so by the time we arrived at Banana Tree, again, we were craving something savoury. Unfortunately for me the only savoury food wasn’t anything up my street so I ordered a chocolate and banana cake so at least I’d still get the cute flower pot. I also got a chocolate milkshake.

I can’t remember what drinks the girls ordered but when our drinks arrived first theirs was bloody impressive as it came with a large dollop of candyfloss on top. My chocolate milkshake was lush and then the food came. Becca and Jess had ordered mozzarella toast, a sensible choice as Becca’s a veggie and they both like cheese on toast and fancied something savoury. For reasons known only to the café the mozzarella toast also came with peanut butter and pieces of ham. That’s the thing I found most bizarre about Asia, most food didn’t have a description of what was in it and for those that did they occasionally missed ingredients out. At one café in Japan Becca ordered the one item she thought was vegetarian and it still came with meat in. That would definitely not fly in the UK.

Banana Tree 2

On the bright side my chocolate and banana cake was gorgeous and was really cute. It was a shame that I fancied savoury food but luckily there was a rib place over the road so once we were done in Banana Tree we headed over – me and Jess shared some pulled pork with fries whilst Becca had a serving of fries. So in the end I got the cute cake and something savoury so it was a good experience!

Ice Museum/Trick-Eye Museum

TrickEye

The journey to the Trick-Eye Museum was eventful as Google Maps advised us to get on a specific bus but unfortunately this bus was only supposed to go to the airport and wasn’t meant to let travellers off beforehand. The driver wasn’t thrilled to let us off at our stop but luckily we made it to the Trick-Eye Museum with no further problems. We’d been cutting it a bit fine as it was getting late and wasn’t long off closing time.

When we arrived we received a ticket for the Ice Museum as well as the Trick-Eye Museum as they were in the same building and we were advised to go straight into the Ice Museum as that was closing quicker than the Trick-Eye one. I was looking forward to it as the year before we’d visited an ice bar in Amsterdam and that had been enjoyable!

Seoul 3

They didn’t give us anything to wear – in Amsterdam you were given a large coat to keep yourself warm but in Seoul we weren’t given anything and very quickly we were all shivering too much to particularly enjoy the sculptures. There was an ice slide which we all took a turn on but it didn’t go as fast as one would’ve expected from an ice slide and in the end it was too cold for us to stay in there. None of us had any jackets or anything with us and it was bloody freezing! It took me forever and a day to warm back up.

We headed over to the Trick-Eye Museum which was right up our street as it was mostly just photo opportunities but as it was nearing closing time we were literally tag-teaming getting some decent photos, kicking our bags to the next thing and then starting all over again. For the first few rooms I was genuinely sweating my balls off as we tried to get everything done. We did calm down in the end and the museum was tons of fun, I’d definitely recommend if you’re visiting Seoul. As it was late we had the place pretty much to ourselves and it was so much fun.

SM Town Videos

SM Town

As massive K-Pop fans we couldn’t have visited Seoul without a trip to SM Town so it was one of the first things we did. The museum was fun as it was cool to spot all the references to our favourite K-Pop artists but arguably the best bit about it were the photo opportunities.

On the top floor there was a photo booth where you could take a photo with two K-Pop artists of your choice – I chose mine quickly as I just wanted Sunny from Girls’ Generation who came with Tiffany which was fine by me, and then Jess chose hers relatively quickly and Becca took forever a day. Then when she finally did settle on someone she closed her eyes just as they took the photo so she had to retake it.

Then there was a section of the museum that you had to pay to enter and as you walked through each group had their own ‘room’ and just like the photo booth there were photo opportunities but these were more fun as two members would saunter onto the screen as if they were really preparing to pose with you and then the rest of the members just appeared as photos. In this room they also had small intros – for example my favourite one was in Super Junior which was ‘Mamacita’ themed, two members came on the screen and had a ‘shoot-out’. There was also two toy gun props and a cowboy hat – Becca donned both and made me pee my pants as she pretended to fire straight into the air – it’s hard to explain but there’s a video on my Instagram and I laugh every time I watch it.

It was really fun going from room to room pretending to interact with my favourite idols – if you’re a K-Pop fan in Seoul I definitely recommend a visit to SM Town as I imagine most K-Pop fans are fans of at least one SM group.

Lotte World

Lotte World

I wrote a long post about everything we got up to here but theme park days on long trips are NECESSARY! It’s a chance to just have fun without getting stressed about getting from one tourist spot to the next or running out of time to do everything etc. It was nice to just relax and have a good look around.

Unfortunately as we didn’t know much about Lotte World I don’t think we planned the day as well as we could have. For example the big thrill rides were in the outside section which we didn’t discover until the early evening which by that point all the queues were massive. I didn’t mind too much as I’m not a big thrill ride kind of person but I know Becca and Jess are so we should’ve gone outside first but we had no idea it existed!

My favourite parts were probably the parades as they were just whacky. I still get the ‘you’ve got a pum-pum-pumpkin head’ song stuck in my head occasionally and it was just a lot of fun. So was the night parade with the indoor fireworks. If in Seoul I’d definitely go back to Lotte World ‘cos it was just so much fun!

Karaoke

Karaoke

My favourite night from the trip! We took tons of videos and I love rewatching them, especially the ‘Lie’ (Jimin) video because we sound so drunk even though we were sober. We definitely wanted to do Karaoke whilst in Asia and Seoul seemed to have a lot of places to do it so Jess found one and off we went.

We were given a room for an hour and it was quite small with no windows but as there was only three of us it fitted our needs just fine, there were even maracas and tambourines for us. Unfortunately only two mics but it didn’t matter as we just shared. On our way to the room we could hear people in the other rooms and I don’t think we once heard anyone singing an upbeat song, everyone was singing slow ballads – if they could hear us they probably hated us.

In the first room we kicked it off with ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj but I also remember singing Mic Drop by BTS, Bang Bang Bang by Big Bang, Breaking Free from High School Musical, Boombayah by Black Pink and Waterloo by ABBA. I can’t remember everything but all our songs were upbeat and we sounded like messes – especially when we had to sing in Korean.

Once the hour was up we didn’t want to stop so we went downstairs and paid for another hour. Becca also grabbed us each a bottle of water as screaming lyrics for an hour had absolutely killed our throats. We were given a different room number and when we went up it was bigger with a large window which although felt nicer as it was less claustrophobic meant that people could see into the room whilst we did karaoke. It definitely didn’t stop us though!

In here we sang Lie by BTS’ Jimin, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, Hello B*tches by CL, Ring Ding Dong by SHINee and I’m sure tons of other songs – we also sang Sorry Sorry by Super Junior, I’m pretty sure that was our last one, and as Becca was doing the choreography she looked out the window and noticed two guys from the street were watching her.

That night was so much fun and we got some amazing videos of it – the only downside was that our throats killed by the end of the night but never mind, definitely worth it.

So there we have it, my five favourite memories from Seoul! Let me know yours if you’ve ever been or what you’d like to do if given the opportunity to visit.

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Favourites as a Teenager vs Favourites Now

Me 2

It’s safe to say I’ve changed quite a bit since I was a teenager and I’d say it’s definitely for the best. I’m generally more positive and a lot less cringe than I was back then. But sometimes it’s nice to have a throw back to when you were a teenager so I figured I’d look back at my favourites then against my favourites now.

Favourite Band

Thirteen Year-Old Me: My Chemical Romance

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Twenty-Two Year Old Me: BTS

BTS 3

I was obsessed with My Chemical Romance in Secondary School. You can ask literally anyone I went to school with what my favourite band was back then and they would answer ‘My Chemical Romance’ with no hesitation. It all started when I met a girl named Jasmine in Religious Studies and she told me she was a massive fan of the band. I liked her and wanted to be her friend so I gave them a listen and ended up falling completely in love with them. I wrote more about it in this post here but yeah, I absolutely loved My Chemical Romance more than anything.

As me and Jasmine drifted apart my interests began to change, as they would’ve anyway because I was growing up and slowly I became a big fan of K-Pop. It’s the kind of music I trashed all the time as a teenager even though I secretly enjoyed it. I used to only listen to girl groups but when my friend Becca became a fan of K-Pop she recommended BTS to me and although I liked them and enjoyed their music I wouldn’t have said I ‘loved’ them until seeing them at K-Con Paris. Ironically we only went because I think Jess would’ve combusted if we hadn’t but it was like unscrewing the cork off a bottle because since then I love them and have seen them live three more times paying obscene amounts of money each time. And I don’t doubt I’ll continue to in the future if they return to Europe.

Favourite Movie

Thirteen Year-Old Me: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging

Angus Thongs and perfect Snogging

Twenty-Two Year-Old Me: Room

Room Still 3

I guess my taste in movies is now slightly more depressing? I don’t know. Fun Fact, I hated horror movies when I was thirteen, I don’t think I actually started enjoying them until I was maybe sixteen? My sister made me watch ‘The Descent’ when I was like eleven and I was okay with that but refused to watch other horror movies.

I’m getting off topic. I imagine my favourite film changed a lot in Secondary School but I can remember borrowing this movie off my friend Jasmine and coming home to watch it most evenings after school. I don’t know what it was about it but I just loved it – I still do to be fair. I remember watching it in school as well and for some reason as soon as it was done our English teacher went online and bought the Angus t-shirt that Robbie wears at the end of the movie.

I’m not sure what I love about the movie ‘Room’ so much. I quite like a weepy film ‘cos I also love ‘My Sisters Keeper’. It’s just such a good film and at least it has a happy ending. I’m not sure what thirteen year old me would’ve thought of it though!

Favourite TV Show

Thirteen Year-Old Me: iCarly

iCarly 2

Twenty-Two Year-Old Me: Derry Girls

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My TV show obsessions didn’t start until I was about sixteen and for some reason they faded away a few years later because now I don’t particularly have much attention span for TV shows. I’ll acknowledge that I’m enjoying a show but the episodes are so long that I tend to lose interest mid-way or don’t have the motivation to sit and watch the next one.

As a teenager I loved Nick and Disney shows, as much as I didn’t want to love them because they were ‘babyish’ but whoops I did love them. I think as a thirteen year old iCarly was probably my favourite show. I’m trying to narrow it down to a particular favourite episode but I can’t think of one! I don’t know many teenagers who didn’t love these shows so it’s weird that we were all so embarrassed to admit it to each other until we were a bit older? Like I’m pretty sure we were the target audience?

I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that as I’ve gotten older my attention span for TV shows has lowered. I do like watching things on Netflix like ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ but I just don’t have the motivation to force myself to watch something that’s an hour long. I’ve recently started enjoying ‘Derry Girls’ though because the episodes aren’t long (in fact I wouldn’t mind if the Derry Girls episodes were longer) and I just think it’s hilarious. I sort of spoilt the episodes for myself by watching the best bits on YouTube over and over again but it doesn’t make the show any less enjoyable – in fact it’s quite nice to have more context to the jokes! I can’t wait for them to release Season Three because I only have one episode left of Season Two and I’m not looking forward to being completely caught up.

My favourite episode is definitely the prom episode, it was just perfect from start to finish. Hilarious and heart-warming all at the same time. Perfection!

Dream Career: Writer

Author

Actual Career: Business Support Officer

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Although my dream to be a writer hasn’t disappeared I’ve had to accept reality and get a proper job for the time being. After quitting university I did a couple of jobs – worked at a Victorian museum, did a week at a large convenience store (I was a Christmas temp) and became a care worker. But then I accepted a job as an apprentice at my local council, spent 18 months doing that and then got accepted as a Business Support Officer the day before my contract ran out.

I never imagined myself working in an office but here I am and I’ve found I actually quite enjoy it! I get a good amount of money and I get on well with my team. The job role can be difficult at times but it’s in a team I’d been interested in as an apprentice and I feel really lucky to have been offered the job. I don’t know what thirteen year old me would think of that, I was convinced I’d never do an apprenticeship or work in an office but I guess life is funny like that.

Celebrity Crush – Singer

Thirteen Year-Old Me: Gerard Way

Gerard Way

Twenty-Two Year Old Me: J-Hope

J-Hope 2

First of all I suppose it’s good that my celebrity crush singer is actually closer to my age. I was obsessed with Gerard Way as a thirteen year old who was in his thirties at the time – something my Mom was keen to point out to me all the time “He’s old enough to be your Dad!” Didn’t stop me having the world’s biggest crush on him though. I still think he’s good-looking but I wouldn’t say I have a crush on him now.

I’m not really sure I have a ‘crush’ on J-Hope but like I do love him, he’s my absolute K-Pop bias so maybe it is a crush, I don’t know? I don’t think I particularly would’ve imagined myself being a K-Pop fan as a teenager. Well, I don’t think I’d have imagined myself being a pop fan at all as a teenager because I was so determined to be a rock and metal enthusiast. But my music taste has definitely expanded so that’s a positive I guess?

Celebrity Crush – Actor

Thirteen Year-Old Me: Zac Efron

Zac Efron 2

Twenty-Two Year-Old Me: Chris Pine

Chris Pine 2

To tell you the truth I’m ball parking about the thirteen year-old actor celebrity crush because for a while I didn’t really get the appeal in fancying actors. Like musicians I understood, I had tons of musician celebrity crushes but never really thought about many actors. I think most girls probably had a little crush on Zac Efron at some point and although I never would’ve admitted it as a teenager I probably did have one.

When I started watching Supernatural at sixteen I completely understood the actor hype and now I have tons of actor crushes. Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster just to name a few… But my favourites probably been Chris Pine since I saw him in ‘Horrible Bosses 2’ so yeah…

Favourite Book

Thirteen Year-Old Me: Anything by Jacqueline Wilson I guess

Jacqueline Wilson

Twenty-Two Year-Old Me: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours

I personally think Jacqueline Wilson is an absolute genius and even at twenty-two I always buy her new releases and enjoy reading them. At thirteen I can’t really remember my favourite specific book but I would’ve still loved anything Jacqueline Wilson related. Fun fact when I was sixteen there was one morning a week in tutor where my friends weren’t there and I was by myself so instead of going on my phone I started taking a book to school with me. One week I brought a Jacqueline Wilson book with me to which my teacher said “Babes those books are for year sevens?” When I told my Mom she hit the roof “HOW DARE SHE DISCOURAGE YOU FROM READING?” but luckily didn’t go in and make a complaint or anything as that would’ve just been embarrassing.

On my 16th birthday Jacqueline Wilson was doing a book signing in London so I begged my Mom to take me and she did because she’s awesome. It was a great birthday weekend, my Mom surprised me with tickets to see Wicked as I’d been begging her for ages and the book talk and signing was incredible to. I think I was the oldest one there but I didn’t even care haha!

I can’t remember when I first read ‘Only Ever Yours’ but for that first read although I definitely enjoyed it I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was my favourite book. Over the years though there’s just something about it that I really love. Like my taste in movies this book is more depressing than I would’ve enjoyed at thirteen but there’s just something about it I really love?

I travelled to London by myself to go to a Louise O’Neill book signing and fun fact that was the first time I ever stayed in a hotel by myself. Lisa Williamson and David Leviathan were also at the event, I hadn’t heard of either of them at the time but read one book of each of theirs before I went and realised I was a fan of both their work too. The talk was a lot of fun and the signing was funny – I’d tweeted the authors earlier in the day to say I was on my way to London for their signings and Louise looked at the post-it with my name on and was like “I remember your tweet because I thought you were Hozier and I was really excited but then I was disappointed when I realised- Not to say that you’re a disappointment of course!”

So there we have it, I can’t think of any other favourites to compare but um I think it’s safe to say that I’m quite different from thirteen year-old me. I think she would’ve been disappointed reading this but I’m a lot happier and secure within myself than I was at thirteen so there’s always that!

What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix

Netflix

Recently I feel like all I use Netflix for is to rewatch shows or movies that I’ve already seen instead of looking for anything new. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just don’t seem to have the attention span lately for anything new. However over the past few weeks I’ve managed to get into a few shows and actually enjoy them. Here’s what I’ve been watching – warning, this post may contain spoilers.

The Miracle

The Miracle.png

When I first started using Netflix I added a ton of shows and movies to my list and then never watched any of them – I had more fun adding them than watching them. However one night I couldn’t sleep so I switched on my phone and started scrolling through Netflix. I eventually got bored of scrolling and not watching anything so I checked my list and found this show. Without overthinking it I pressed play and started to watch.

The basic premise of this K-Drama is that twin sisters Shi Ah and Shi Yeon couldn’t be any more different if they tried. Shi Ah is a famous actress who recently debuted in a girl group, whilst Shi Yeon is an overweight nobody. The two of them don’t get along and are always fighting. One day Shi Yeon helps a mysterious old women and confesses she wishes she could trade places with Shi Ah. The next morning the girls have swapped places, and need to figure out a way to switch back.

It was interesting to see a body swap from this perspective as the girls were literally such polar opposites. Shi Yeon was still in school, had no friends and was bullied by pretty much everybody including the guy she had a massive crush on. Shi Ah was a spoilt celebrity who was rude to everybody but put on an innocent front for the cameras – even the members of her group ‘Miracle Girls’ didn’t like her.

It was quite funny and entertaining, the only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the fat-shaming. I know Korean beauty standards are different but I feel like surely by the end there should have been some resolution. With Shi Ah in Shi Yeon’s body she was a lot more confident and when she was made fun of she did stand up for herself – she said something along the lines of “I may be fat but if I lost weight I would be beautiful. Think of me as an unscratched lottery ticket ready to reach my full potential.” Why couldn’t she be beautiful and at her full potential without losing weight?

The Miracle 2

Also there’s a scene where Shi Yeon in Shi Ah’s body sings a high note during a live performance and Shi Ah has a go at her afterwards saying the whole nation knows she can’t sing to save her life. But Shi Yeon would’ve still been using Shi Ah’s voice surely so how did she magically sing well?

Overall I was glad I watched it, I can’t remember how many episodes there were but they were only like fifteen minutes long each (if that) so I could handle that. The only thing was that some episodes felt like things were going too fast – for example Shi Yeon (as Shi Ah) got together with another singer. All she did was fall off the stage into his arms and suddenly he was like ‘let’s go to the roof so I can confess my love for you’.

My last point is that the necklace was never really resolved. Shi Yeon (as Shi Ah) discovers that the necklace the mysterious lady gave her grants wishes but at a cost – someone gets hurt every time she does it. This was never really talked about again after she’d made this discovery. It’s just sort of glossed over.

Either way, I did end up really enjoying this series but it was definitely far from perfect.

Switched

Switched

Because I’d liked ‘The Miracle’ so much I decided to give Netflix’s original J-Drama a go. The premise is sort of similar. Ayume is a popular, pretty girl who has just been asked out by her crush Korisho so life is going pretty well for her at the moment. On her way to her first date with him she gets a call from her classmate Zenko, an overweight girl from her class who doesn’t have any friends, who tells her to turn around. Ayume watches in horror as Zenko jumps off a building with the intention of killing herself. Ayume wakes up but discovers she is now in Zenko’s body. When she asks Zenko in her body how it happened she realises Zenko did this on purpose and has stolen her body.

This series only had six episodes, each ranging from about 30 – 45 minutes so it was easy to get through. Again though this meant things were moving at a rapid pace. Ayume switches into Zenko’s body in the first episode and by the end of it has already convinced her friend Kaga of the switch. I feel like realistically it would take me forever and a day to fully convince my friends I’d swapped bodies with a random girl from school.

The take on this that I enjoyed was that Zenko switched as she hated her life but soon realised that just having Ayume’s body didn’t make life easy. She still pushed people away and was insecure about her relationship with Korisho – it’s revealed she liked him which is why she decided to perform the body swap with Ayume, deciding that even if it didn’t work she wanted to kill herself anyway. Whereas although Ayume was lonely in Zenko’s body at first, with the help of Kaga and a kind heart she managed to win people over in her class.

Switched 2

Again, not a fan of the fat-shaming in this one. Even when people began to like Ayume (in Zenko’s body) there were still people saying she was ugly. It wasn’t even jabs specifically about the weight, it was full on like “you’re really ugly.” Even by the end there was no “sorry we called you ugly” just “hey we like you now so let’s brush that under the rug!”

Also the love triangle between Ayume, Korisho and Kaga was just boring especially in the last episode. I didn’t particularly care who she chose, surely we had bigger issues at hand?

The one thing I will say is that the acting was phenomenal, it’s hard to remember that they haven’t genuinely switched bodies. Both girls did an amazing job.

Part Time Idol

Part Time Idol

I still have to watch the final episode but there’s about five maybe six episodes of this show, each about forty minutes long I want to say. The basic premise of the show is that a music producer returns to his company with a new project in mind – launching a co-ed pop idol group. I think I downloaded a couple of episodes to watch at the airport whilst waiting for my flight and was quickly hooked.

I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion and I really need to sit down and watch it – although I’m sure I can predict how it will end. The group will probably debut and do extremely well but it may surprise me! We’ll see.

Derry Girls

Derry Girls

I found out about this show by seeing clips on Facebook then before I knew it I kept watching the ‘best bits’ on YouTube. Netflix announced they were going to add it to Netflix and I checked every day until finally they’d released the first season.

It was cool to finally watch the full episodes but unfortunately I sort of spoilt them for myself by watching all the best bits but never mind. I just think this show is absolutely hilarious, there isn’t a thing about it I’d change. I absolutely love it.

I’m not sure how to describe the premise of the show. The show follows Erin and her friends as they grow up in a world of armed police in armoured Land Rovers and British Army check points in 1990s Northern Ireland and attempt to navigate the highs and lows of being teenagers – that’s the description according to Google anyway. The description doesn’t make it sound too hilarious but it bloody is.

Derry Girls 2

Unfortunately at the moment only Season One is on Netflix but for UK residents you can watch the show on All 4 which is where I watched Season Two. I personally think Season Two was better so I have high hopes for when Season Three is released. It’s honestly one of my favourite shows at the moment.

Til Death Do Us Part

Til Death Do Us Part

When I saw this on Netflix I was instantly intrigued. It was described as a Taiwan version of ‘Black Mirror’ – a show I enjoy (I loved the Ashley O episode) but the episodes are too long for me. A whole hour, I don’t particularly have the attention span to get into that. But these episodes were only twenty minutes to an hour long so I decided to give the first episode a watch.

The first episode was called ‘Hit and Run’ and was basically about a man who gets hit by a car and dies but realises he’s caught in a time loop and has to try and break it otherwise he will keep getting hit by the car. It was okay but to be truthful it was a bit… Weird? Spoiler alert but he finds out the woman who keeps hitting him is also caught in the time loop and always dies after speeding away from hitting him. She reveals on the first night she’d been drinking but every other night she hadn’t drank and had still hit him then she said “The only thing I haven’t tried is dying before you” – have you tried just not getting in the car? Like deciding to walk home instead of driving? Is that not a possibility?

Til Death Do Us Part 2

The end is very open for interpretation and wasn’t quite as strong as I’d been hoping for. Nevertheless I was feeling optimistic so clicked onto the next episode which was called ‘Perfectly Spotless’. I’m not even sure how to describe the plot of this one. It’s basically about a woman who lives in an entirely white apartment who is due a room inspection in the next couple of days when she discovers a black spot on the wall that just continues to grow.

This one was more confusing than the last. I don’t like ‘little hints’, I need something more so I have something to go off. I don’t know what I just watched. I think I may continue with the series just to see if the episodes improve but I didn’t LOVE the first two episodes, I won’t lie.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Not a TV show but I finally watched the original Jurassic Park. I know it’s crazy that I made it this far without seeing the original but I’d just never got round to watching it. I knew I’d enjoy it because I love Jurassic World so one weekend when my parents were away I settled into the living room and began watching.

I think it was a bit slow to start with to be honest but once it picked up then it really got going and overall I did really enjoy it. I’ve added the sequels to my Netflix ‘To Watch’ list so I’ll definitely be watching them at some point.

So there we have it, those are some of the shows and films I’ve been watching on Netflix recently. Feel free to leave a comment with any recommendations you have!

Top 5 Favourite Memories from Tokyo

Japan Takeshita

I’ve written a sort of ‘series’ where I describe my three favourite moments for the places me and my friends have visited. Tokyo was packed full of so many amazing memories that I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to three so I’ve upped it to five which will still be a struggle but slightly easier. Here goes nothing!

Mt Fuji Day Trip

Mt Fuji 8

I wrote a long post about this but it was an amazing day. We all knew we wanted to see Mt Fuji but had heard it was difficult to reach by public transport so we booked ourselves a day trip that would take us to Mt Fuji and to the Aokigahara Forest. It was full of so many moments – my favourite being that we’d all been looking forward to a two hour coach journey to relax, maybe have a nap and our bloody tour guide was like “Let’s all sing a song together!” To be fair she was lovely, very enthusiastic and knew a lot about the mountain.

We thought the whole group would also go to the Aokigahara Forest but it turns out it was just us three and the tour guide. It was a bit embarrassing but was also good because our experience was very personalised. I’m proud of myself for getting down into the ice cave even though I was terrified and for not falling flat on my face once we were inside.

It was an amazing trip that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Gundam Robot

Gundam Robot

I don’t think I looked up the Gundam Robot before we went, I think it was put on the list by Becca and Jess because I hadn’t heard of it before we went. The girls just described it to me as a giant robot and I was definitely down to visit because like who doesn’t wanna go and see a giant robot?

It had been on our itinerary to visit the robot after visiting Joypolis and we’d had so much fun inside there that it was quite late when we left. We took photos of the Rainbow Bridge and then walked over to the Gundam Robot. As the thing is massive we spotted it as we were approaching and it looked INCREDIBLE. It was all lit up and moving around and I was so excited to take photos of it. The literal second we got close enough to fully enjoy it he shut down – the lights went out and he stopped moving. That’s absolutely typical but he still looked super impressive anyway so we took lots of photos.

He was the last tourist spot we visited in Tokyo as it was our last night and it was a perfect way to end the day. If I ever return to Tokyo (which I intend to do) I’d love to go back and see him actually moving around properly this time as it was so annoying that he shut down just as we arrived. It was still an awesome sight though!

Fortune Forest at Joypolis

Joypolis

Speaking of Joypolis my absolute favourite attraction was no doubt ‘Fortune Forest’. When we arrived Becca and Jess bought tickets that basically got them into every ride as they’re thrill seekers and knew they’d happily go on anything. I’m more timid, not a big fan of anything fast and stuff like that so I bought a ticket that I had to top up once inside which worked out better all around. I didn’t go on as much as them as a lot of the attractions were in little rooms and I was worried about going through and discovering it was too fast or too scary for me but I did go on a few things. I was easily persuaded into ‘Fortune Forest’ as it wasn’t a ride, it was just described as being a fortune telling experience.

I topped up my card and the three of us went to the entrance where we were given ‘crystals’ from the women manning the stall and we went in. At the first stop you enter some basic information about yourself and what you want to find out. So your name, age, gender etc and then I think we all just picked a ‘general’ fortune. You then walk into a room where you put your crystal into different slots of your choice and then you answer questions. I think you pick three slots, they’re all decorated and it’s a forest theme hence the name. Then you go through to the final room where you put your crystal away and you receive a printed out fortune.

Maybe the best thing about it was that it was accessible for everyone, it was available in a ton of different languages so there weren’t any barriers – all the questions were in English and the fortune was printed in English because that was the one I’d selected as obviously it’s the only language I speak. The fortunes were quite generous, they were on an A4 piece of paper and were split into different sections. The three of us took it in turns to read our fortunes to each other and decided that we’d had so much fun that we had to do it again!

The woman at the entrance didn’t even blink when we reappeared, just gave us our crystals and let us through. We all went for a different theme this time, I can’t remember exactly what everyone picked but mine was to do with relationships, I think Becca’s was similar but slightly different and Jess’ was money related. I think you could also do joint friendship crystals but I can’t really remember, it’s been a while since we went now!

As we went round the room picking our slots I noticed a room that was barred off and pointed it out to my friends. They read the instructions on the wall and they were like “Oh, we need to both put down our crystals and maybe it’ll let us in!” So Becca and Jess both put their crystals either side of the door, held hands and waited for a moment only for a loud voice to boom “STOP! YOU MAY NOT ENTER THE SPECIAL ROOM! TAKE YOUR CRYSTALS AND LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!” It doesn’t sound funny but watching them hold hands and then hearing that loud announcement had me crying with laughter throughout the entire trip whenever I remembered it.

I have a suspicion that we went in a third time because we were really enjoying it but I can’t fully remember. Joypolis in general was a lot of fun but ‘Fortune Forest’ was definitely my favourite aspect of it!

Awkwardness of Maidreamin

Maid Cafe

I wrote a longer post about this in my themed cafes blog post but this was one of the most awkward experiences of my life. We’d known a Maid Café would be a bit of an awkward experience but we wanted to do it anyway ‘cos hey we may never return to Tokyo so might as well experience all of it. Becca was less keen but me and Jess dragged her along. It might’ve been just about okay but unfortunately the Maidreamin we ended up in was absolutely empty except for us.

We got the full experience from wearing animal ears to having to do cute actions before we ate our food. I think my absolute favourite though was when she told us that when we were ready to order to get her attention we had to go “meow meow” whilst pretending to be a cat. None of us were feeling particularly confident about this so when we were ready we made eye contact with her and she went “meow meow?” and we had to do it anyway.

A bizarre experience but still a fun one and I’d definitely go back to a Maidreamin if in Tokyo – but probably the more popular one in Akihabara!

Electric Parade at Disneyland Tokyo

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Arguably my favourite moment of the trip was the electric parade at the end of the day when we visited Tokyo Disneyland. To be fair the whole day at Disneyland was just a lot of fun, any day spent at a Disney park always is but if I had to narrow it down to a specific moment it would definitely be the electric parade. When we’d visited Disneyland Paris a couple of years previously we hadn’t had much time and we hadn’t had chance to see any parades but we planned Disneyland Tokyo a bit better and managed to catch the Halloween parade earlier in the day and then the electric parade in the evening.

I think it was fun to just sit and catch my breath for a minute whilst enjoying the amazing floats that were coming past. The parade went on for quite a while, Becca kept turning around to where we could see the parade approaching and she kept going “THERE’S MORE!” The best was when the Peter Pan float came past and me and Becca waved madly and managed to get a wave back from Peter Pan. Then hi-fived each other ‘cos we’re lame.

If I could return to one moment from that trip it would probably be that one. It was fun and we weren’t far into the trip by that point, we had a lot left to do and I was looking forward to it all.

So there we go, my five favourite memories from Tokyo! I could’ve included a lot more, as I was about to publish this I remembered our crazy experience at ‘The Lock-Up’ which was absolutely hilarious as well. Tokyo was just an amazing city and it was definitely my favourite holiday ever. Let me know your favourite memories of the city or what you’d like to do if you ever visited!

10 Things I Wanna Do/Achieve Before I Turn 30

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As I write this I am currently 22 years old, turning 23 next month and I feel like since becoming an adult I’ve achieved quite a few things that I want to do. However there are plenty more things I want to do and I decided to make a list of my top ten priorities that I want to cross off. So here we go!

1. Go on an Out-of-Continent Trip on My Own

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This one is a bit of a cheat because I already know I’m going to do this. I’m heading to Hong Kong next month to celebrate my birthday, assuming the protest situation doesn’t get any worse and even if it does and I can’t go (fingers crossed I can!) I have a solo trip booked to Orlando, Florida in early 2020 so I can finally visit Disney World.

However it’s also not a cheat because I think I would’ve wanted to do this regardless of already having trips booked. I’ve travelled solo around parts of Europe and I wanted to take it a step further, prove to myself that I can do it. I’m worried it’ll sort of be like pulling a cork out of a bottle and soon I won’t stop but hey, the world is large and I want to explore as much of it as possible!

2. Publish a Book

I’m not sure if this one is too ambitious considering I haven’t attempted ‘the novel’ in a long time but like I want to get it done and to achieve it before I’m 30 would be ideal. Obviously it’s not the end of the world if I haven’t done it by then, there will still be plenty of time but I just really want to publish one!

I still ‘write’, I write my blog posts, I write stories for my friends (mostly at Christmas but I have done birthday ones and just ‘cheer up’ ones), I write short stories occasionally but I want to publish THE NOVEL y’know? I’ve got a few ideas knocking around it’s just actually putting the words onto paper that’s the difficult bit. At some point though I will definitely need to crack down and get on with it though so fingers crossed that I actually put in the effort to achieve this!

3. Visit Africa

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Okay, I know Africa is a big place so I’d need to narrow it down but it’s on my bucket list to visit every continent across the world. However, I think I’m going to give Antarctica a miss because it’s really expensive to visit and I just don’t imagine there’s much to see or do up there but all the other continents I’d like to visit. So far I’ve ticked off Europe (obviously because I live in Europe), North America and Asia.

Me and my friends are definitely going to go to Australia one day, it’s Hirst’s top place that she wants to visit and I just know that we will eventually go. However I think the next continent I personally would like to tick off is Africa. I’d love to some of my favourite animals in the wild and I just imagine it’d be an amazing place to visit. So I’m not sure when or how but I’d like to go one day – preferably before I turn 30!

4. Move Out

Still living with my parents at 22 isn’t the end of the world. I can afford to do all the things I want to do like travel, eat out regularly, go to concerts etc. whilst paying the bare minimum of rent. But I feel like by the time I’m thirty I will definitely be overdue needing my own place. Living with my Mom and Step-Dad is grating on me, I won’t lie, and I want my own space. I’m not worried about living by myself because I live for the moments when my parents go on holiday and I get the house to myself – I can’t wait to have that all the time!

I feel like if I really wanted to I could potentially just about afford to move out now but that would mean only being able to afford to live – paying rent, bills, groceries would take up pretty much all of my wages and I’m not willing to give up the lifestyle I’ve currently become used to. Maybe in my late 20s I’ll feel ready or I’ll earn more – but not yet!

5. Take my Mom on a Holiday Abroad I’ve Paid For

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I mentioned this on my bucket list and it’s something I really want to do. As a kid my Mom made sure me and my siblings had a holiday every single year – okay we didn’t go abroad every year but we did go occasionally and for the times that we didn’t we went to Wales and stayed in a caravan. I loved those holidays as a child and would be happy to do another caravan holiday one day but at the moment I’d much prefer to spend my money and annual leave on going abroad and exploring new places.

For my 21st birthday my Mom splashed out and booked me a trip to New York, at my request. I’d really love to repay the favour on one of my Mom’s big birthdays. My friend Hirst recently took her Mom on holiday for her 50th birthday and my friend Becca is planning her Mom’s 50th birthday present. Unfortunately I was still at school for my Mom’s 50th birthday so couldn’t do anything spectacular but in a few years my Mom will turn 60 and I want to book her an amazing birthday trip.

I’ve tried to figure out where she’d like to go and I think I have a vague idea so now I just need to save and surprise her. Easier said than done as it will probably be very expensive but my Mom definitely deserves a treat after all the shit she’s had to put up with from me and my brothers. As my Mom turns 60 before I turn 30 I’ll definitely be ticking this off the list!

6. Attend a K-Pop Concert in Seoul

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I had a recent blow. I’d been keeping an eye on any concerts that would be happening the week I was in Hong Kong and discovered that Mamamoo, a K-Pop girl group who at one point were my favourites, would be performing a concert the literal night before I arrived. I would be on the plane on my way to the country whilst they were performing. THEY COULDN’T HAVE HAD IT A DAY LATER!?

I kept an eye out when me and the girls went to Seoul for any K-Pop concerts that were happening but there weren’t really any. All of our K-Pop faves will perform a concert in Seoul at some point and I wouldn’t mind travelling, it’s just many K-Pop concerts are announced at the last minute making it difficult to travel that far. But before I’m 30 I want to return to Seoul and see some of my faves in concert. I’ll make sure of it!

7. Continue to do something fun every month

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I can’t remember when but a couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to do something ‘fun’ every single month out of the year. For me this meant something slightly different to my every day stuff and usually included a trip, a theatre visit or just something different to the norm for example in February I did an escape room and I counted that as my fun thing. I’ve been doing it for a while and I want to continue it until I’m 30.

It’s actually much easier to achieve than I thought. I have several trips booked a year anyway, sometimes concerts get announced that I want to go so that counts as my fun thing and then I quickly slot in something relatively cheap for the leftover months. I imagine I’ll continue doing it long after I’m 30 but I definitely still want to do it every year until then!

8. Go to America with my best friends

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Me and my three best friends love travelling together but so far the four of us have only visited Europe together. Me, Becca and Jess travelled to Asia together but unfortunately Hirst couldn’t afford it at the time. I’ve only visited America with my Mom but I’d love to go with my friends one day. I don’t even particularly care which state, it’d just be fun to explore part of America with my friends.

We have a few plans on where we’re going to travel over the next couple of years and America hasn’t featured yet but we have just over seven years to plan a trip so hopefully we will. It would be so much fun!

9. Go back to Japan

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I have never loved somewhere as much as I loved Japan, it’s my favourite place I’ve ever visited and I’m glad we went for two weeks and explored three different cities instead of just going to Tokyo and then leaving. We visited Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and I loved pretty much every day we spent in the country. It felt surreal to finally visit somewhere I’d been longing to go for years and even now it still doesn’t feel like we went!

I’ve been saying I plan on returning to Japan in 2022 but we’ll see, however I definitely want to return before I turn thirty. Even though we spent a full week in Tokyo there were still some things we had to miss as we ran out of time, I’d love to spend more time in Osaka, there was a place we visited in Kyoto at night that I’d like to see in the daytime and I’d also love to see a new part of Japan that we didn’t get to visit last time. Whilst on that side of the world I could easily visit another country like we did last time when we visited South Korea so I definitely intend to return.

10. Improve My Wardrobe

Last year I suddenly decided I didn’t like wearing jeans. I’m not sure why, I think it was in Japan when it was extremely hot and my jeans weren’t helping the situation they were just making me chaff. When I returned I started wearing leggings with dresses and when I eventually wanted to wear a t-shirt to a BTS concert I went out and bought a skirt so that I wouldn’t have to wear jeans.

For a while my style was literally the same dress from PRIMARK but in different colours and that was pretty much all I wore but then I realised I wanted some summer clothes and also clothes I could enjoy outside of work. Pretty much every outfit I owned was suitable for work and that’s BORING – practical because I work there five days a week and only have two days off but regardless I wanted clothes I actually liked not just clothes that were practical.

Also, most of my clothes were still black – I went through my emo phase as a teenager and yet my wardrobe now mostly still reflected that. I don’t want to wear black all the time, I actually want to start wearing some colours now!

Unfortunately the majority of clothes I like are either teeny tiny or extremely expensive. But that won’t stop me shopping around from now on to expand my wardrobe. I recently ordered a really cute dress to wear at Disneyland later this year and the online shop I bought it from has a large selection of cute dresses in larger sizes that are relatively affordable. I definitely intend to buy a few more and expand my wardrobe a bit. I want to have a wide and varied wardrobe by the time I turn 30!

So there we go, that’s 10 things I want to achieve or do by the time I turn 30. Hopefully I’ll manage all of these but if not it’s not the end of the world – after all life doesn’t end at 30 and I’ll have a lot more living to do!

Travel Fails: Berlin Edition

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Those of you who read my Belgium Travel Fails blog post will be aware that me and my friends got off to an unfortunate start with our flight. The moment I got home I lodged a complaint and waited for a response. We were told we’d each receive some compensation money and I imagined that we’d probably receive about £40 each. I mean, the flights had cost about £108 each, our flight home left on time and we’d actually still made it to Belgium on the day we were meant to so I figured we’d get a part refund. Imagine my surprise when we each received about £230 each.

Immediately I was on skyscanner planning the next trip and before I knew it I’d booked myself flights to Berlin and back. I’ve wanted to visit Berlin for a few years now and my friends Becca and Jess had been in 2017, and both of them said they loved it. I booked my hotel and before I knew it Friday 5th July had come around and I was ready to set off.

Although I’m a nervous flyer and it’s not recommended I like being at the airport as early as possible. I need time to account for long queues and then I want time to relax in the departures lounge before catching the flight instead of having to rush around everywhere. I was flying with Flybe who I like flying with because I like their self-service machines and for some reason I just trust them more than I do other airlines. Also generally their flights are more comfortable as they’re 2-2 instead of 3-3.

I sauntered down to the self-service machine, popped my passport in and then… The machine told me it wasn’t possible to check-in? I didn’t have any suspicions at this point, I optimistically went up to the main desk and told the women there the self-service machine hadn’t let me check-in. Maybe I was too early, maybe because I’d booked through a third party site they needed to manually check me in – oh how naïve I was.

Turns out my flight had been downgraded and there was now no longer a seat available for me on the plane. My options were a flight the next day at 6:40AM or a 7PM flight to Hannover today with a coach taking us to Berlin. Neither option was particularly perfect and I asked if the airline would put me up in a hotel for the night if I chose the 6:40AM one but I was informed that since they’d offered me an alternative to get there today they wouldn’t be able to. So I took the Hannover flight.

To be fair to the women that had to break this news to me she immediately gave me a compensation form that she’d filled in, told me how to send it off and made sure I got a food voucher to spend in the airport while I was waiting. Sure £7.50 wasn’t going to get me far but it knocked a bit off my usual pre-flight meal in Giraffe.

The first thing I did was tell my Mom, my best friends and a colleague from work. I hadn’t taken out my frustration on the woman behind the desk because that wouldn’t have achieved anything but I needed to let it out somehow so I had a good rant to everyone I could think of that would actually give a damn.

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Obviously I was pleased I was still reaching Berlin tonight but Hannover is about a three hour drive away from Berlin so at the best we were going to make it there by midnight. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that for me, my least favourite part about solo travel and the part that makes me nervous, is getting from the airport to my accommodation. I’m not sure why but once I’ve checked in I can relax and enjoy the holiday, the moments leading up to it though are anxiety-ridden.

I messaged Flybe on Twitter to ask where we were going to be dropped off and was informed it would it be at Berlin Tegel airport which to me didn’t make sense – what am I supposed to do at the airport at midnight, how would I get to the city centre? But there wasn’t much to be done so I got on my flight to Hannover and hoped for the best.

The flight went smoothly and landed a lot quicker than I’d thought it would. I was one of the first off the plane, raced through border control, quickly used the bathroom and then went to find the coach. I was terrified at getting left behind and at first I had no idea where to go so I went over to the information desk. Luckily I was intercepted by a lady whose job it was to round up all the Hannover-Berlin people, she told me where to wait and said there was eighteen of us that she needed to find.

I was the first one there and it was quite a wait as people slowly made their way over. One couple even went and grabbed some food which was slightly annoying as we were left waiting but they turned out to be nice so I let them off the hook. After about maybe half-an-hour there was a grand total of nine people even though she’d been expecting eighteen of us. She made us wait another ten minutes before finally taking us over to the coach people. I had a quick look at the prices for transfers when we got there and it was a whopping 325 euros to be transferred to Berlin!

There was then a bit of a kerfuffle as some of the guests thought along the same lines as me – being dropped at the airport so late at night was a bad idea and it would be a lot easier if we were dropped off somewhere central. There was a lot of arguing in German whilst I stood there awkwardly until eventually one passenger who could speak German and English said “Who doesn’t speak German and needs me to translate that conversation?” He was actually super helpful and sort of became the ‘leader’ of our little group as he managed to convince our driver that being dropped off at the central train station in Berlin would be a better idea.

I ended up in a car with him and two guys from China whilst the rest of the group got into a different car. The people I was travelling with were lovely to be fair, we did some quick introductions before we set off but then as it was so late we tried to sleep or just chilled on the long journey. The driver asked if we wanted to stop on the way but we were all keen to just get to Berlin at this point so we said no. To be fair our driver got us there quicker than expected but due to the delays before we left we made it to Berlin at about 1:20AM.

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I hoped and prayed that we wouldn’t be a long walk from my hotel but Google Maps said it was about forty minutes. Not impossible, I’ve walked that far before but I didn’t really want to set off by myself at this time for a forty minute walk in an unfamiliar country. Luckily there was public transport still running and according to Google Maps it would only take about twenty minutes. The German/English guy checked with everyone whether they were going to be okay to find their accommodation and we went our separate ways.

I was surprised public transport was still running but also surprised how busy it was? I think it’s a good idea to have public transport still running so late on a Friday night but I’m pretty sure they don’t do that in London. Luckily I didn’t get lost once and before I knew it I’d made it to my ibis styles hotel.

Someone was still up and on reception and by this point I was so happy I hadn’t gone for an independent budget hotel as sometimes these don’t have twenty-four reception. Check-in went smoothly and quickly, and I took the lift up to my room. I was right down the end of the corridor so I found my room, put my key in the door and… It wouldn’t turn all the way? I tried back and forth for a good five solid minutes before admitting defeat and heading back to reception.

I told him the key wasn’t working and he was like “oh maybe you got the wrong one” but I was pretty sure that wasn’t the problem because the key still fit in the door? Never mind, he went and fetched me a new key and told me he’d watch out on the CCTV footage to make sure I got into my room. So back up I went and yet again, unsurprisingly, it didn’t work. I headed back towards the lift and the receptionist came out, confused as to why I couldn’t get in. He came down the corridor… And immediately opened my door with the key I’d been using. I was baffled but he just said “The door gets a bit stiff sometimes” – I was certain that wasn’t the problem as I’d been putting my full weight on the door at some points. Whatever. I went in, had the quickest shower ever then finally collapsed into bed.

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I was up earlyish to fit in with the times the hotel served breakfast (which to be honest hadn’t been worth paying the extra money for) and got locked out of my room again afterwards. Luckily I’d heard two other guests complaining they were locked out of their room too so I knew it wasn’t just me having these issues. A different receptionist was on this time and she came with me to my room and immediately opened it. She advised you have to pull the door towards you when you open it so I was able to actually get into my room for the rest of the trip. I was a bit annoyed though considering I’d spent the extra for a ‘styles’ hotel – why do I need to perform circus tricks to get into the bloody room?

To be fair as trips go this one went quite smoothly. The main thing was really that I kept worrying about unnecessary things. I kept getting stressed about public transport but I navigated it smoothly. I was worried I didn’t have the right transport ticket but on the three times my ticket was inspected they all thanked me and said it was correct.

The only major fail I can think of whilst actually in Berlin was that on Saturday night, after an extremely late night and a full day of sightseeing I was looking forward to climbing into bed and having an early night. I don’t know what was going on across the road, there was like a little outdoor pub/club and some guy kept talking extremely loudly into a microphone for about three hours then occasionally playing songs. I assume there was some kind of quiz night or something but it was SO LOUD. I just laid in bed fuming my absolute head off until luckily it eventually stopped and I was able to fall asleep.

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Unfortunately disaster struck again when I reached Berlin Tegel airport to return home. I went to check in but unlike at other airports this one didn’t have the self-service machine – I don’t like hanging round the first bit of the airport, I like being in the departures lounge so I went up to the desk but was advised check-in wasn’t open yet. No biggie, I headed to Starbucks and got myself a drink and a cake.

As I sat there I got a text alerting me that my ‘8:15PM’ flight was now a ‘9:40PM’ flight. Not the biggest disaster in the world but it started me worrying on whether I was going to catch the last train home. I never book the day after a trip off work, I just don’t have enough annual leave for that and the last thing I needed was to sleep at the train station for the night. I tried to think optimistically though.

Eventually check-in opened so I got my boarding pass and I soon discovered that Berlin Tegel airport is the weirdest airport ever? At every airport I’ve been to you go through security into a central departures lounge. Not here, you wait by your gate, go through security there and then just sit in that specific gate until your plane arrives. I was praying there’d be a food stand and luckily there was, I grabbed a hot dog, two bottles of water and sat down to relax. Security had been slow and frustrating but I was through to the gate now, I could just relax.

Wrong sir, wrong! After watching the first episode of ‘Derry Girls’ on Netflix I overheard a woman announcing anyone waiting for the flight to Birmingham now had to go a different gate. This other gate was literally on the other side of the airport, I had to get in an elevator, go down, literally leave the airport and enter a different building only to join another long security queue. I had to bin my two unopened bottles of water and nearly ended up in a long ‘documentation check’ queue but luckily followed two girls and went through an automatic system straightaway.

I think if I hadn’t had issues with my flight on the way over I’d have been fine but since there’d been so many flight problems I was literally like stomping around the airport in the worst mood. Fair play to our pilot though who was like “I apologise for the delay BUT I AM GONNA SAIL US BACK TO THE UK, WE WILL GET THERE EARLIER THAN SCHEDULED” and was true to his word. I was very stressed but did manage to make it to my last train in time.

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To be fair, in the grand scheme of things all of these ‘fails’ were outside of my control and compared to other trips I feel went extremely well. So pat on the back to me, I finally had a trip where I didn’t make a complete idiot of myself. Well, I did get locked out of my hotel room but never mind. Could have been worse!

Midsommar: Review by Hollie Bareham

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Just over a month ago I was at the cinema to watch a movie and the trailer for ‘Midsommar’ played during the previews. I was instantly excited – it looked interesting, scary and something a little different which is everything I look for in a horror movie. The fact that it was made by the people who made ‘Hereditary’ didn’t put me off. I didn’t hate ‘Hereditary’ it just wasn’t what I’d been hoping for.

For those who haven’t seen the trailer or heard of the film the basic plot is that Dani and her boyfriend Christian have a very strained relationship. Just as he’s working up the courage to end things a family tragedy occurs leaving him feeling like he should stay with her. When Dani discovers Christian and his friends are planning a trip to Sweden to attend a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival Christian guiltily invites her along with them. However the carefree holiday soon takes a dark turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that become increasingly disturbing.

The moment tickets dropped for this film I messaged my friends Becca and Jess asking if they wanted to go to the 8PM showing on the opening night. They’re both horror fans too so they were up for it and soon we were off. And Jesus wept, I was not prepared.

By that I don’t mean I wasn’t prepared for the scares because really there weren’t many. The film was rated 18 and due to this it was a bit gorier than a 15 rated film would’ve been but in terms of things like jump scares there weren’t really any. Which would’ve been fine because I’m not really a massive fan of films that solely rely on jump scares to make themselves scary but other than the gross and gory scenes it wasn’t particularly scary.

In fact, I found parts of it absolutely hilarious and it wasn’t just me – Becca was weeing herself with laughter and there was one particular scene that had me and most of the audience in absolute tears because it was so bizarre. I won’t go into immense detail but there’s an extremely strange sex scene that I couldn’t for the life of me take seriously. I’m not sure if the director wanted us to laugh or what we were really meant to be feeling in that scene but I was genuinely crying, I couldn’t contain it.

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The things I hadn’t liked about ‘Hereditary’ were that it was quite slow and that I just didn’t fully understand it at the end. I don’t necessarily like everything being wrapped up in a big bow but equally I don’t like feeling completely confused. For example, ‘Us’ was a confusing film but I still feel relatively satisfied with its ending. Unfortunately I think the negatives from ‘Hereditary’ were passed onto ‘Midsommar’.

The film was quite long, it was about two and a half hours and that’s mainly due to it being just so slow. It takes a good while for them to even reach the Swedish commune and takes longer still for anything creepy to begin happening. Then when the disturbing events did begin to occur I just feel like there was too long of a gap between each event to keep up the atmosphere. I wasn’t scared, I was just left waiting.

Then there was the confusion aspect. I just have a lot of questions. Maybe that was the point of the film, I don’t know, but I feel like a few things were thrown in and then not really explored making me wonder what the point was. I feel like the director was just going for shock value which like was definitely delivered, parts of it were quite… Odd, which is putting it mildly. But was there anything beyond that? I’m not sure there was.

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Also this is probably quite nit-picky but I hate the over the top crying that occurs both in this film and in ‘Hereditary’. At the start of the film when the family tragedy occurs Dani cries whilst Christian comforts her and it’s so over-the-top that I don’t really believe it’s genuine. It was how Peter cried during ‘Hereditary’ and it just absolutely drove me up the wall. I know Dani was obviously very distraught but I’ve never heard anyone cry like that in real life and it makes me wonder why they keep putting this in the films as it just feels so out of place.

The rest of my review will contain spoilers so please stop reading if you don’t want to see them!

Some character deaths were just a bit annoying and almost too easy if that makes sense? For example Will Poulter’s character Mark was having dinner with his friends and the rest of the commune when a girl approaches him and says “Come, I will show you” and then… That’s it. He’s dead. We don’t see his death he’s just gone from the rest of the film. Of course we did see his face carved out and placed on top of somebody else but that’s the only indication we have that Mark did die. Similarly Simon and Connie, the British couple who decided to leave as they’re too disturbed to stay, they’re just sort of disposed of. I’m not saying every death had to be on screen but the fact Mark was led off by a Swedish girl and then didn’t go to bed that night or appear at breakfast the next day and his friends were just like ‘ayee I bet he’s having fun’ was just so stupid.

As mentioned, there were tons of things thrown in almost just for the sake of it. For example they have a deformed child (I think it was a child?) who they consider an oracle but there’s not much explanation as to why or what that was even about. This kid just paints pictures and the elders or whatever study them. Why? I don’t understand why.

To be honest I think I’d have enjoyed this movie more if it was shorter. So much of it just felt so unnecessary and like I said, the gaps between anything weird or spooky happening were just too long to keep me interested. I also just got the overall sense that they were like “yeah let’s do a weird folk festival movie” and decided to film it before they actually figured out what they were doing – if that makes any sense?

Midsommar Still 3

Overall I am glad I watched it as it was certainly something different. I’m unlikely to watch it again due to the length and how slow it is but some scenes were interesting and worth the watch. That sex scene alone was hilarious and I’d recommend watching that but scenes like the dance to become the May Queen were interesting as well. So I’d recommend watching it just once but be prepared for a long and slow ride.