Tuesday, 30 December 2014

5 Resolutions for 2015

Loose weight, quit the fags, drink less...we've heard it all before. Clearly these classic resolutions are doomed to fail. Instead, let's be a bit more creative and make a resolution that is realistic and enjoyable.

1) Be more charitable. 2014 was a great year for text donations with loads of people joining in and raising money through no makeup selfies and ice-bucket challenges. Let's keep it going! Resolve to do something charitable once a month. It doesn't have to be huge, maybe put a fiver in the charity box on payday or donate unwanted Christmas presents to your local charity shop or make a packed lunch for a homeless person. We're all blessed and have more than we need, it's time to give back.
2) Create more memories. How many times have you blown off a friend this year, honestly? Time's flying by and you have to make the most of it. Resolve to do something and do it. Sit down and brainstorm ideas, make a list, and tick them off as you go. Don't make a dream list (resolving to take a holiday in America when you're £1,000 into your overdraft isn't going to happen) and don't fixate on how impressive or expensive it is. Feeding the ducks costs a loaf of stale bread but can be loads of fun, visiting an old favourite hangout might only be the price of a bus ticket, and having a DVD marathon with your bestie is free.
3) Take more photos. We all have a phone these days, bang it out and snap away. Keep a folder on your computer of the best ones and print them out at the end of the year. You could even print two and make a cute, personalised gift for someone (although make sure they were around when those pictures were taken otherwise you've given a photo album of look how great my life is).
4) Recycle. I know it sounds boring, and it is, but once you start you'll realise how much we throw away. It's actually scary. And, okay, one person washing out their jam jars isn't going to make much difference to the state of the world but if we all had that mentality life would be very depressing.
5) Improve yourself. Okay, this is kind of a classic failure. After all, why would you suddenly have the motivation to go to the gym 5 times a week on January 1st when the thought of a treadmill made you a tiny bit sick on December 1st? Maybe the reason we all fail so spectacularly at resolutions is because we're thinking of them as flaw fixing. Stop concentrating on what's wrong with you and set a goal that will improve you. Maybe it's learning a new instrument, or getting your driver's licence, maybe it's learning to cook more dishes (hint to any students still living on baked beans come student loan day). Focus on the good and enjoy learning something new.

That's all folks! I'll see you in 2015. A big thank you to all the readers who regularly drop by my corner of the internet, especially to all you non-UK and Ireland ones! It's one thing forcing your friends to click on your blog but seeing that people I don't know are dropping by is super cool.

Just to be clear, this faux inspirational picture is here
purely for irony's sake. 

Oh, one last thing, I resolve to never use the phrase 'super cool' again. I think I'm cringing to death here.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Fun Things to do in an Airport

Airports are funny places because, as an adult, situations where you're forced to stay in one place are fairly rare.
Once you pass the 'I am not concealing anything' test you're ushered into the 21st century equivalent of purgatory; the 'departures lounge'.
Don't get too excited by the title. The departures lounge is nothing but a stained communal seating area, a few coffee shops (that sell dishwater and stale sandwiches), and the duty free.
You could always head to WHSmith for a magazine, or whatever chain sandwich shop is available (might I point out that those sandwich shops only make money because you have no choice. It would die on the highstreet. It's literally trapping customers). Or you could have a little fun...but not too much, you have a plane to catch.

1) I (accidently) recently discovered you can bring food through the scanning machine. So what are you waiting for? Load up that picnic basket.
2) Flying with Ryanair? Obviously you'll be wearing the contents of your suitcase because a single sock apparently weighs 15kg. Swap clothes with your partner. Or, if you're a single pringle, wear your bra on the outside of your top. There is literally no law against this (although the fashion police may want a word).
3) Buy a cup of dishwater and take two big handfuls of sugar packets. Proceed to empty them all into your cup and form a wrapper mountain in front of you. Take a big sip (or pretend to), screw your face up slightly and then go get more sugar.
4) Have a loud phone conversation about your favourite soap without mentioning the soap's name. If nothing else the check-in staff will think you have a wild life.
5) Buy a pregnancy test from Boots and make a really inappropriate comment to the checkout staff. It's even funnier if you're a man.
6) Give yourself a makeover in the duty free. Lads can take this as a golden snapchat opportunity. Also, there's plenty of nail varnish testers. What are they there for if not a full manicure?
7) Casually scroll through your tablet then make a loud gasp followed by a, "Nooooo!". Make your eyes scream for that added drama.
8) Bring out the blanket and travel pillow for a quick nap on the chairs.
9) If you play an instrument bring it along and give the whole lounge a free show. Better with friends. Best with a tamborine. Excellent if none of you can play anything more than the tin whistle.
10) Run like the wind to your departure gate to be the first one there.



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Review: St Vincent

Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd. These are all people who make me want to see a film. Put them all in the same film and you've got yourself a customer.
St. Vincent is about a grumpy old man called Vincent (Murray) and his new neighbours Oliver and Maggie (McCarthy). Maggie is a single mother who works erratic hours at a hospital and because of this Oliver ends up being minded by Vincent. It's an unusual pairing - Vincent smokes, drinks, swears, and generally says the things you're not meant to say to children. Oliver takes all this without shock. The more time the two spend together the more we can see the good side of Vincent and the events which have led him to become the man he is. 
I won't give too much away, but expect some heart-warming scenes and plenty of laughs, because if there's one thing this film has it's laughs. It's easy to say the dirty joke - and Vincent often does - but what makes this film so funny is the innocence of Oliver and the reactions he gives to Vincent's lewd speech. The writers really captured the innocence of a child when they wrote Oliver's lines and it's these which will have you spilling your popcorn. 
It's great to see Bill Murray acting again. I can't remember the last really successful film I saw him in. It's strange though, because when he comes on screen everyone simultaneously asks whether that's him because he looks so much older in St. Vincent. Part of the reason for this is, hello, Murray is sixty-four. He looks old because he is old. And he's hardly playing a suave young bucko. The other part is whenever I hear 'Bill Murray' I picture Bill Murray circa 1984 i.e. Ghostbusters Bill Murray. So if you see St. Vincent you have been officially pre-warned that Murray has aged in the last thirty years. 
I was a little disappointed at McCarthy's character. Maggie is a very typical, stressed out single mother who doesn't get to make many jokes during the film (except for one howler about twisted fallopian tubes). Considering the comedic abilities of McCarthy I think a big opportunity was missed here. 
And finally, where does Chris O'Dowd fit in? He's the Irish Catholic teacher, of course. Has he been pigeonholed? Yes. Does it work? Yes. The jokes are mildly clich├ęd, and a lot of fun is made at the expense of religion (too easy), but every time O'Dowd opens his mouth the audience end up in stitches. And, fair play to him, he really captured the spirit of the Irish primary school teacher. 

All in all it was an excellent film which is definitely worth seeing over the holidays. It's rated 12a but the jokes and the general nature of the film would make it unsuitable for under fifteens. I'm awarding it 4*.

Can we all take a moment to appreciate
£3 Crazy Tuesday cinema tickets

Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas To-Do List for Students

  1. Draw your secret santa. It's better to get one nice present than four crappy ones. 
  2. Organise a farewell meal - dine out where possible to lessen stress and avoid washing up. 
  3. Watch a Christmas film in your pjs with your housemates. Santa hats are optional mandatory. 
  4. Hang mistletoe in your doorway and make inappropriate jokes to your postman. 
  5. Make pitchers of seasonal cocktails and proceed to get sloshed in the name of Christmas. After all, we're students and it's Christmas. You shouldn't be sober all month.
  6. Make or buy mince pies. Eat them all in one sitting. Have no ra-grets.
  7. Put up tacky decorations. Student houses have no tinsel limits. 
  8. Go for a Christmas coffee (everyday). Gingerbread syrup comes but once a year.
  9. Skip a lecture because of seasonal overindulgence. 
  10. Visit your local Christmas market multiple times and buy unusual things. Garlic jam?! I MUST HAVE THIS. It will go so well with the moose shaped mug tree. 
  11. Wear a naff jumper. 
  12. Put all exam related thoughts out of your head. Whenever panic begins to wash over you eat a candy cane. You'll gain a stone, and maybe a filling, but the only lessons you should learn over the holidays are contained in corny family films. 
  13. Blast Christmas songs waaaay too early. 
  14. Cry about having no money. Christmas is expensive.  
  15. Have an overly emotional farewell with your uni friends even though you'll see them again in a month. 
  16. Talk about how you can't believe that 2014 is almost over and make dramatic statements about not seeing people until next year
  17. Clean out your fridge before you go home for the holidays. Milk doesn't age well. 
  18. Make plans to see all your friends from home. Bring Christmas crackers and force them to wear paper hats in your local pub. 
  19. Daydream about seeing your pets again and imagine their surprise at the gifts you got them (spoiler alert for cat owners: cats won't react to Christmas presents and will make you feel like an idiot for buying them). 
  20. Tell everyone it's forecast snow; maybe we can will a white Christmas. 
  21. Chill out, Christmas is stressful. Don't let it get to you. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Review: Annie Mac at Limelight

The 4th of December was Sketchy's 9th birthday and Limelight sure celebrated with a bang. Annie Mac, the famous Radio One presenter, was down DJing the night.
The atmosphere was electric with good vibes as soon as you entered the club. Lines were fast moving and bouncers were efficient, which is a blessing for all us girls in short dresses.
Once inside the main room, the DJ was on top form playing dance music that was simplistic enough to keep the banter going between your friends but upbeat enough to get us dancing. The dancefloor was moving in waves with intense raving patches and sideline boppers so no matter what mood you were in there was a place for you. I have to give major credit to this DJ, he was completely in tune with what the crowd wanted and delivered time and time again without playing a single dud.
Annie Mac came on after midnight - her set must have only been 90 minutes - and she was...well, personally I don't think she was as good as the warm-up DJ. There was minimal crowd interaction and she'd obviously just pressed play on a setlist. Besides from one quick shout out there was nothing to tip you off to the change in DJ, except perhaps that the music became less in sync with the mood. Also, the lighting around where she was stood was quite dark so she just looked like a smokey outline. Maybe this was meant to be cool and mysterious, but it just served to put her in the background.
However, Mac did keep the great mood going, we were all hyped, but there was nothing to particularly amazing about her set nor did she bring any fresh excitement. If there hadn't been such a great warm-up I think she would have struggled to get the buzz going as well as it had been.
Limelight could have used its resources better too. Some songs had a steady beat which would have been easy to time with a light show. Instead lights appeared sporadically. They barely used the smoke machines, but this is a blessing because they can make everything a bit overwhelming and chokey.
Real credit has to be given to the staff though. The bar line was never overly long and bouncers were quick to break up any trouble. If anyone was in a real state they must have been escorted outside quickly because, even at the end of the night, everyone was still standing and most of us seemed pretty coherent.
Overall it was an excellent night, a real highlight of 2014. I'd also like to give a major shoutout to whomever found and handed in my purse. You've saved me a lot of stress and drama, good on you!