If, like me you’re not a morning person (apologies, that sound you just heard was my husband snorting into his drink), the transition into something resembling an actual, like-able human being is likely to be long, painful (for all involved), and dependent on large amounts of caffeine.

I’ve learned over the years however, that there are a few simple ways to make the process of getting up in the morning more bearable, and dare I say it, even enjoyable?  No, I know that sounds ridiculous, but just bear with me here.

pillow

Be organised

Decision-making when you have the motor skills of a zombie is no easy task, so I like to get everything ready the night before.  Lay out your clothes for the following day, wash up your dishes from dinner, pack your bag etc.   Knowing all I have to worry about is literally doing the bare minimum required to keep myself alive, and that I’ll maybe even have time to enjoy myself while doing it, makes all the difference.

sleepy

Start your day with a glass of water

This one doesn’t need much explaining really.  We all know water is amazing for us, and that we should be drinking more of it, but starting your day with a nice big glass really is the best way to kick your system into gear and get things moving.

Make a morning playlist

Without a doubt, my mornings are so much better with music.  Make yourself a playlist of feel-good, up-tempo tunes to jazz up your breakfast, and make shower-time more fun (hairbrush sing-along optional).

My current favourites are:

Hello by Cat Empire
You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon/Hot Club de Paris
Jump by Van Halen
Gone in the Morning by Newton Faulkner
Good Feelin’ by Flo Rida

shower time

Set your alarm at a reasonable time

Let’s be honest here, that 5:30am alarm you’ve set in the hopes that you’ll leap out of bed and check off half of your to-do list before everyone else has had their first cup of coffee is NOT going to wake you up.  It will wake up your partner, who will obviously chuckle and fondly roll their eyes as you continue to drool onto your pillow (um…), but it will have no effect on you until much nearer the time you actually need to be awake.  So do everyone a favour, be honest with yourself, and set your alarm for a reasonable hour.

alarm clock

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Food is about the only thing I love more than being snuggled up in bed, so naturally the thought of a delicious breakfast is often enough to coax me out of my nice warm cocoon (and yes, it did literally just take me three attempts to spell cocoon.  Damn that’s a ridiculous word).

A nice healthy and super easy option is berries with low-fat Greek yoghurt.  Sweetened with a little honey and a sprinkle of metabolism-boosting cinnamon, it’s a delicious way to start the day.  Eggs and soldiers are great if you have a bit more time, and for truly horrendous mornings maybe treat yourself to some pastries and coffee.  Because mornings are hard, and girl, you deserve it.

I’ve recently jumped on the smoothie band-wagon, though I try to use mainly vegetables to limit the sugar content.  Nowhere near as delicious as fruit, and often disgustingly snot-like in colour and consistency, they have the upside of making you feel so virtuous you don’t feel guilty about that mid-morning chocolate bar.  Almost.

Coffee

Or you could just sod all the above, and drink a nice big vat of coffee. Job done.

Coffee

 

 

You may have gathered by now that I’m a huge TV lover, given that it’s what I mostly tweet about.  So I thought I’d do a round-up of everything that’s been floating my boat in the world of television.

Mr Robot

This absolutely had to be the first one on my list, as it’s quite simply phenomenal.  I won’t say too much, but basically the series follows Elliot, a cyber-security engineer by day, and vigilante hacker by night.  Sam Esmail has created a gripping drama filled with complex characters whose motives, for the most part, remain a mystery to the viewer.

Filled with clever nods to iconic movies and enough twists and turns to leave you breathless, this is truly unmissable television.  It’s also worth noting that this show has been widely praised for its accurate portrayal of hacking/programming, but at the same time it’s not so technical that it will alienate any not-so-technologically-inclined viewers.

I could literally talk about this show for hours.  Fantastic writing (in particular Elliot’s inner monologues), striking cinematography, and Mac Quayle’s dark and atmospheric score create a captivating, thrilling world that will suck you in and refuse to let go.

The whole experience is rounded off by an incredible cast who add depth and dimension to the host of intriguing characters Esmail has created.  Special mentions go to Rami Malek (Elliot), who brings so much to his character – vulnerability, intensity, and humour – and Swedish actor, Martin Wallström, who plays ‘villain’ Tyrell Wellick.  To call him a villain would be too black and white, and that’s what also makes this show so intriguing; even by the end of the series we still know so little about each character and their motivations that it’s hard to actually label anyone good or bad.

Wallström is a strange mix of charming and unsettling, threatening and child-like.  Watching his character unravel is fascinating, and it’s oddly difficult not to feel sympathy for him as, unhinged and desperate, he tries to claw his way back to the top.

Season one is on DVD now.  Season two starts 13th July.  If you watch just one show on my list, make it this one.

Elliot

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

It’s impossible not to love this feel-good offering from Tina Fey.  The show follows Kimmy, who is adjusting to life in New York City after being rescued from 15 years spent in an underground bunker as part of a doomsday cult.  Doesn’t exactly sound cheery, but cheery it is, and ridiculously so.  Ellie Kemper is wonderful as the relentlessly optimistic Kimmy, and Jane Krakowski is as fantastically self-absorbed and altogether ridiculous as she was in 30 Rock.

If you haven’t watched this show already, where have you been?  Watch both seasons now on Netflix.
 kimmy

The Bridge

I’m a little bit obsessed with Nordic Noir, and for me The Bridge is crime drama at its absolute finest.  Well-crafted and perfectly-paced, each ten episode season follows one case, and guarantees a dizzying, emotional climax.

Season one begins with a body found on the Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, and the bridge remains a pivotal part of the show throughout, symbolising the relationship not only between the two countries, but our two lead detectives, Martin and Saga.

It really is their chemistry that makes the show great.  He is the classic maverick cop, likeable yet flawed, while she is blunt, uptight and a stickler for the rules.  While their clashing personalities and resulting disagreements could easily seem contrived, instead it feels natural as we watch them grow together, and better each other.

I’m very much hoping for a fourth season, but in the meantime there’s certainly no shortage of Scandinavian crime shows that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.  Next up will probably be The Killing, or Blue Eyes, which I’ve recently had highly recommended.

A big fan of Kenneth Brannagh’s Wallander (rumoured to be returning for a new season soon, hurrah!), I’m keen to check out the original.

And one to look forward to…

…Gilmore girls!

I couldn’t exactly write this post without mentioning the upcoming Gilmore Girls reunion.  If you’re a die-hard Gilly (a term coined by the awesome Gilmore Guys – seriously, check out their podcast if you haven’t already) like me, you’ll already know what’s being planned.  Four 90 minute episodes set during and named after each season.

No news on a release date yet, though rumour has it we will get our first installment late 2016/early 2017.  I’m literally bursting with excitement, and not at all ashamed to admit I wept with joy when the official announcement was made.  Finally we will get the ending (and those infamous final four words) that Amy Sherman-Palladino had planned for us, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will be everything we hoped for and more.

gilmore girls

 

Liebster

I was very excited to be nominated for this by the lovely Hannah Leanne (find her blog here!)
I’m still a blogging newbie, and this sort of thing was a first for me, so thank you very much for including me!

The whole idea is to discover new blogs and spread the word about your favourite bloggers. Plus, you’ll get to learn a bit more about me in the process (you lucky things!)

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Thank the blogger for your nomination and include a link to their page.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that have been provided by the blogger that nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 of your own bloggers to take part.
  4. Ask them 11 of your own questions.

Here we go!

1. What is your most prized possession?

It’s so hard to choose, so I’ve listed a few:

  • A beautiful framed photo of my grandparents when they were young. They look like the stars of an old black and white movie, and I’ve loved that picture since I was a little girl. Now it sits proudly in my living room.
  • A heart necklace my grandmother made.
  • My engagement and wedding rings.
  • My laptop as it houses all of my photos.

I sort of cheated a bit there didn’t I?

2. Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always loved writing, and have blogged in various forms since I was a teenager, originally on Livejournal, followed by a brief but shameful foray into the emo world of Myspace blogs. Seriously, I’m truly embarrassed by the things I used to not only write, but publish for all the world to see. I have all the original blogs saved on an old hard drive, maybe one day I’ll dig back through the archives and do a little nostalgia post! Now though, blogging for me is less about dumping every ‘profound’ thought onto a page and hitting publish, and more about building my brand (pardon the slightly douchey turn of phrase!), and having my own little place on the internet. I want it to be fun, but I also want to talk about the things that are important to me, and hopefully meet interesting people along the way.

3. How long have you been blogging for?

I started Geek Magnifique in May 2015, but see above for a more detailed history of my blogging exploits!

4. What is your favourite film?

How can I even answer this? I’m obsessed with films, and I find it impossible to narrow it down to just one favourite. So you’re getting another list (sorry).

The Parent Trap (remake). Hands down my favourite movie as a kid, it still has a special place in my heart.

The Dark Knight. The day I told my husband this was in my top-five films of all time was probably the day he decided he was going to marry me. Not even joking. Christopher Nolan can basically do no wrong in my book, but this is, IMO, his best film. Visually it’s incredible, the sound design and Hans Zimmer’s score are perfect (something which can be said of all Nolan’s films), and while the acting all-round is amazing, Heath Ledger was nothing short of spectacular as the Joker. I could write an entire essay on this movie, but I won’t. I can practically hear your sigh of relief. 10/10 and all the gold stars for this one.

The Social Network. Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. David Fincher. Aaron Sorkin’s razor-sharp screenplay. Jesse Eisenberg (so good in this movie he gets a second mention). Whether or not the film is entirely factually accurate, it adds real human drama and depth to arguably one of the most incredible success stories of our generation. Captivating, entertaining, and set to a fantastic soundtrack by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. I obviously had to include a Star Trek film, and this one has always been my favourite.

– I had to include a girly film in this list, and it’s a real toss-up between Notting Hill, 13 Going On 30, and Morning Glory (an unfortunately named and sadly underrated Rachel McAdams film – definitely worth a watch!)

Once again I cheated terribly at this question, I apologise.

5. How old are you?

28, aka a reluctant member of the ‘late-twenties’ club. Genuinely had a little cry in Costa on my birthday. So that’s where I’m at with this adulting malarkey.

6. What is your most treasured memory?

My wedding day.

7. Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

Writing a book and visiting Scandinavia.

8. What was your last purchase?

Disclaimer by Renée Knight. I haven’t started reading it yet, but it has an intriguing premise.

9. Do you have any pets?

Sadly no, but I desperately want a kitten.

10. What is your favourite type of blog to read?

Lifestyle.

11. What is your favourite season?

SUMMER!

So now I have to pick my own questions…

  1. Which country would you most like to visit and why?
  2. What has been the biggest challenge for your blog so far?
  3. What are your blogging goals for 2016?
  4. If you could keep any animal as a pet, which would you choose?
  5. What is your favourite TV show?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. Would you rather be covered in hair all over, or feathers?
  8. What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
  9. What’s your worst writing habit? (eg. overusing exclamation marks -guilty!)
  10. If you could speak another language fluently which would it be and why?
  11. If you could be exceptional at one other thing, what would be it?

I nominate:

Dollface Blogs
Being Heather
Ella Renee
Little Thoughts
The Creative Geek
Almost Chic
Emily’s Recipes and Reviews
Issy Belle Fox
Christopher George
Cate in the Kitchen
Jess and Josh Cook

I’m aware that the title of this post may cause controversy, so first off the bat I’d like to say that overall I really enjoyed this film. It was funny, outrageous, and had a great empowering, female message. Well, kind of.

Which brings me to my first gripe:

Not all women want children. And that’s OK.

So we have Meg. A successful doctor, who delivers babies for a living, but has no desire to have any of her own. YES! Finally, I thought to myself: a strong independent woman who has made the decision not to have children, and isn’t demonised for it. What a great opportunity for the writers to sensitively present this as a perfectly acceptable life choice. How refreshing to see a…oh hold on. She’s been left alone with a cute baby. She’s a woman, so obviously in about 3 seconds her womb will have taken hold of her faculties, and she’ll catch baby fever. That’s how these things work. Biology and all that.

‘You’re not going to win me over,’ she tells the baby. Baby and I both look at her sceptically.

Hollywood likes to perpetuate the outdated myth that women without children are somehow incomplete or shall live to be filled with regret. A sentiment Meg echoes when she tells her sister to make sure she doesn’t miss out on the ‘important things’ in life. Because having a great career, friends, financial stability and health are so unimportant, obviously. Without going on a feminist rant, I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out the double standard: career men are perfectly acceptable whereas career women are portrayed as shallow/selfish/unfulfilled etc.

eye roll

The only film I’ve seen that addressed this issue nicely was Sex and the City 2. When Carrie and Big announce they aren’t having children because it’s not for them, the general reaction is ‘fair enough.’ There’s only one couple that look at Carrie like she’s taken a shit on the floor, but they aren’t really given the time of day.

So anyway, 20 minutes on and Meg has found her dream sperm donor. 30 seconds later, she’s pregnant.
She ends up happy and settled with perfect Ken (Plop from The Office!), who promises to be a stay-at-home dad. Which is all very lovely, but I was just disappointed that the film wasted an opportunity to tell a different story of womanhood than the one we always see.

Main character with the charisma of a wet flannel

Now granted, the only other thing I’ve seen Dakota Johnson in is 50 Shades, and given that that was an insipid waste of 125 minutes, I thought it only fair to give her a second chance.

Enter Alice, every cliché of a 21 year old trying to ‘find herself.’ She boozes her way through her first week at her new job (and miraculously doesn’t get fired), bumbles her way through EVERY single interaction with the opposite sex, and needs a man’s help to reset her router. I mean…you just…I can’t even.

What

Later, her ex helps her get rid of the Spanish subtitles on her TV. ‘You’re so handy,’ she whispers breathlessly, setting women back 50 years.

I just didn’t like her. Instead of being relatable, her floundering her way through every scene was cringe-worthy, and made her character feel very two-dimensional. Someone please do Dakota a solid and write her an interesting character! Or at least one that can locate the power button on a router.

When she finally does get her life together, instead of feeling like you’ve seen her character grow and develop, you just want to roll your eyes at her. I just about resisted the slow hand clap during her moment of revelation because you know, public places and all that.

To her credit though, she does invent a machine that does your zip up for you. Sign me up for one of those bad boys.

“I’m not a surgeon”

OK, this one isn’t really an actual gripe (in fact, it was quite a funny part of the movie), but when one of the characters cites the above as his reason for NEVER washing his hands, every fibre of my being shuddered. Just. So. Horrifying.

gag

And now for the good parts

Like I said, I actually really did enjoy this movie. I just didn’t love it like I thought I would.
There are some truly laugh-out-loud moments, mostly courtesy of Rebel Wilson, who apparently hogged all the personality, charisma, and good-writing for herself. Selfish cow.

It’s definitely worth a watch with your girlfriends. And later, after a couple of glasses of wine you’ll all be declaring your love for each other while casually trying to cover up the fact you’re welling up. Because above all this film’s message is all about not letting life pass you by, and cherishing what really matters: your girlfriends that will be there for you no matter what.

leslie

In preparation for the midseason premiere next week, I thought I’d post this so we can all gird our loins for what’s about to come!

  1. Before it starts: Pour yourself a drink (alcohol optional, but advised); get comfy. Have chocolate ready (in case you need to eat your feelings)
  2. During the intro: Think to yourself, ‘Surely this won’t be as crazy as last week’
  3. Five minutes in: Laugh at your own naivety
  4. Yell the following at your TV: ‘No, don’t do it!’/‘How?’/‘Why?!’/Incoherent shouting/swearing (repeat as necessary)
    rant
  5. Take deep breaths
    breathe
  6. Wonder if you could pull off Annalise’s flawless smoky eye look. Decide with great sadness that your efforts would probably leave you looking less ‘fierce’, more ‘punched in the face’
  7. Hug your partner/friend/cushion/the cat
  8. This:
    scared
  9. Cry. Eat ALL the food
    eating
  10. Roll your eyes at Asher, but secretly find him strangely endearing. Amusement turns to panic as you begin to wonder if you’re the Doucheface of your friendship group
  11. Approx. halfway through: Replenish your drink. If you weren’t already drinking alcohol, start now
    drinking
  12. Think sexually confused thoughts about Frank
    fat amy
  13. Last ten minutes: Phew, you’re almost there. You can do this. Give yourself a pat on the back, then hug your cushion harder
  14. Last five minutes: Breathe into a paper bag, fear for your blood-pressure/general health. What have you done to deserve this?
    flop
  15. No but seriously though? You’re good people- why is this happening?!?!
  16. End credits: Let out the breath you’ve been holding for the last minute
  17. Afterwards: Sit alone in a dark room, question everything. Promise your poor, fragile heart you’ll never watch this show again
    second to last
  18. Next week: Repeat the above