Fiction and Tea

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Recommendations: TV shows

Pinch, punch, first of the month! It properly feels like autumn now - I don't know about where you guys are, but here, it's raining, the jumpers have been brought out, and Christmas songs are in my head constantly.

The weather is awful at the moment so I couldn't take any photos because of the poor lighting. Please enjoy this photo of flowers my dad took during the summer.

I'm a big fan of watching TV shows, as a lot of you may know. I'm also an incredible binge watcher - I watched seasons 1-6 of Game of Thrones in just under two weeks so that I was ready for season 7; I watched all of Parks and Recreation in about a week and a half; I watched the first season of Brooklyn 99 in a day. I don't know what it is about binge-watching stuff, but I can't seem to stop.

As a result of this, I am everyone's go-to for recommendations, whether it's TV shows, films, books, or music. I'll probably do several more of these recommendations posts, either compiling a list of recommendations or writing a post about a singular thing I'm recommending.

I haven't included the plots as for most of them, the plots I could find simplify them too much, so google the show names to find a rough idea and then just watch them please.

I've categorised the shows below so you can skip reading the Comedy section if you know that's not your kind of thing etc. etc. I've also put little * by my all time favourite shows.

Let's start!


The US Office*

This was the first American sitcom I watched and so it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I watched the first episode of the UK Office and abandoned ship because nothing can ever come close to the affection I have for this show. My brothers introduced it to me when I was about 13 and I've never laughed and cried and become so invested in a show so quickly. I think it probably started my obsession with binging shows, as I watched all 9 seasons of it in a very short amount of time. I even have a Dunder Mifflin sweatshirt (which I'm wearing in the photo I used for my post 17 things I learnt at 17) While I may prefer Parks and Rec or B99 to it now, I have an eternal love for the Office. Please please please watch it - the first season is the weakest, and it only gets better.

Parks and Recreation*

Parks and Rec started off as 'The US Office but in a different office' but my goodness, did it come into its own. Around the end of season 2/beginning of season 3, it embraced it's nature as an uplifting, adorable show and becomes one of the funniest and happiest shows to watch. I love it. I love it so much. I cried so hard throughout this show. I can't even explain the joy it brings me.

Brooklyn 99*

Y'all, this show. First of all, I adore Andy Samberg. What a guy. Secondly, this show is so diverse and *gasp* doesn't write any of its minority characters as stereotypes. Its diverse cast allows it to write incredible episodes which focus on real world issues, like season 4's 16th episode 'Moo Moo', which deals with racial prejudice in the police force. It's also hilarious. There is no episode of B99 that I don't enjoy. They are all adorable, hilarious with clever storylines and amazing acting. I love this show so much. Also, season 5 has only just started, so it's easily bingeable.


Jane the Virgin*

It's such a weird premise, but the tongue-in-cheek telenovella style is done so well and Gina Rodriguez is so amazing in this show. It's hilarious and has the cutest romances and has made me sob many, many times. I'm so excited for it to return in a few weeks. It's essentially a very well made soap opera, but I couldn't care less. I love it.

Master of None*

Aziz Ansari was in Parks and Rec, which is why I started this show, but now I love it for so many more reasons than just him. Season 1 is very good, but season 2 is incredible. The visuals are amazing, and every episode is so funny but so clever and heart-warming, with powerful storylines and messages. It's just one of the most uplifting shows.



I love a murder-mystery, but Broadchurch is so much more than just a murder-mystery. It's so intense, and every actor and actress in it is incredible. David Tennant and Olivia Coleman are true national treasures. Season 1 remains the best, but every season is wonderful.


Genuinely one of the creepiest crime shows I've ever watched. The last few seasons aren't as good, but season 1 and 2 are terrifying. If you watch it, you will understand when I say that I will literally never open the door late at night ever. again. Scarred for life. But it's amazing.

How to Get Away with Murder

Viola Davis. Do I need to say more? Season 1 is still the best, but my goodness, this showwwww!!!


Game of Thrones*


Jessica Jones*

I loved Daredevil, but Jessica Jones was just on an entirely different level for me. Krysten Ritter is amazing, as is David Tennant, and I am so excited for season 2. I really need to watch The Defenders so I can see more of JJ being amazing.


Black Mirror*

This show is INSANE. It's not for everyone - it's dark and twisted and uncomfortable at times. But it is incredibly clever and brilliantly written, and I just think everyone should see at least one episode.

Stranger Things*

I cannot express my love for this show. I am so excited for season 2 in a few weeks. It is brilliant. The writing, the storyline, the child actors they've found. Everything about it is exceptional. Also, I love the 80s.

Orphan Black

I already talked about this show in my monthly favourites but I had to include it in this list as well because I'm still mourning its loss.

I'm sorry this post is so rushed and my thoughts on each show aren't as detailed as I'd like. I'm very tired, and I've been super duper busy recently, so I didn't have much time to write everything down. Hopefully you've kind of got the gist of my thoughts.

Let me know if I've mentioned any of your favourite shows, or if there's a series you think I'd enjoy. Until next week!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

a plan for October

Hello, lovely people!

I'm so sorry this is a day late - I've been so busy this week, with loads of shifts at work and a million essays to write for school, so I need this morning to plan all my blog posts before I could write this post. But better late than never, right?

Here's the run down for the month of October:

SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER: TV Show Recommendations
I watch a lot of TV. Like a lot of TV. And one of my absolute favourite things to do is to recommend any and all shows I'm watching to everyone around me. I'm no amateur - I tailor my recommendations to the person I'm talking to (I know my friends very well and I know my rom-com loving best friend wouldn't enjoy a sci-fi thriller) - but I just love telling someone to watch a show and seeing them a week later as they barrel towards me grinning and yelling 'I WATCHED THE FIRST FEW EPISODES OF THAT SHOW AND OH MY GOODNESS'. It makes my heart happy. So I wanted to share a few of my favourite shows with you lovely people - I'll split them into categories like comedy and drama etc. so you can focus on the genre you like.

I'm not a huge fan of horror films, just because I'm quite a jumpy person anyway, but I like them when they're clever and Stephen King's stories are always clever, so naturally I loved IT. I thought I'd do a lovely little review, as I already reviewed it on my school radio show so I've got ready-made notes on it. I'm excited to start doing more reviews. It will be majority, if not completely spoiler-free, and any areas I do spoil will be heavily guarded with 'SPOILERS BELOW' warnings and all that jazz, so don't you worry about that.

SUNDAY 15TH OCTOBER: Halloween Costume Ideas
I know Halloween isn't until October 31st, but the Sunday before Halloween will be my monthly favourites, and it just so happens that I'm going to a Halloween party on Friday 13th (you see? Because it's Friday 13th, which is unlucky, so it's Halloween? Yes? You get it? Good) so I'll be able to show you my costume (which I haven't decided on yet) as well as some other cool ideas.

SUNDAY 22ND OCTOBER: Favourite Halloween/Horror Films
I may extend this to TV shows, or at least episodes of certain TV shows, as I like to rewatch some of my favourite shows' Halloween episodes around the spooky season. It'll just be a list of my favourite horror and Halloween themed films, so look forward to that.

SUNDAY 29TH OCTOBER: October Favourites
Just like last month, I'll be doing a little post about the things I've been loving during the month of October - books, films, TV shows, music, clothes, makeup, and a bunch of other random stuff. A nice way to round off the month.

I hope you're all as excited as I am for this month's posts. I'll be back tomorrow with my TV show recommendations. Have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

September Favourites

Well, it's the final Sunday of September, so that means it's time for the first of my monthly favourites! My last post was very long, so I'll try to make this one a more reasonable length - let's just dive right in.


The Power // Naomi Alderman

plot: All over the world women are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain - even death. Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they've lost control. The day of the girls has arrived - but where will it end?

This book is insane. I'm loving the surge in feminist literature - stuff like The Handmaid's Tale TV show has really brought attention to this genre and it means so many incredible books are being written which call out systemic sexism or exaggerate issues women face to get the point across. For example, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood exaggerates the lack of say women have regarding their own reproductive rights. The Power shows how the world would be if the systemic sexism was flipped, and it's a fascinating read. I loved it.

Stories of You Life and Others // Ted Chiang

plot: What is men built a tower from Earth to Heaven - and broke through to Heaven's other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were routine events on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by Ted Chiang. Stories of your life... and others.

I got these book for my birthday and loved it - it's a collection of amazing sci-fi short stories, one of which is the basis for the recent film Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, which is why this was bought for me as a present (I love Arrival - please watch it if you haven't seen it). It was such an interesting collection of short stories, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a clever bit o' science fiction.


Orphan Black

plot: Sarah, a streetwise hustler on the run from a lifetime of bad decisions, witnesses the suicide of a stranger who looks just like her and adopts her identity.

I started this show towards the end of the summer and finished it a couple of weeks ago and now I'm in a seemingly endless mourning period because it's gone forever and I miss it. Tatiana Maslany is such an incredible actress, and the show's exploration of ethics and moral issues, as well as the strong family bond it creates between the characters over the seasons means this show is interesting and emotional and mind-blowing. I miss watching it for the first time.


plot: A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.

You must have been living under a rock if you haven't heard of IT. Stephen King's classic novel is amazing enough, and I know the 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry is meant to be amazing also, but this film was just so good. I'm not a fan of horror films, but IT is so much more than just a horror film. The cast is insanely talented as well - when did child actors become so good at acting?! Needless to say, I'm excited for the sequel

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organisation in the US. These two elite secret organisations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

I loved the first Kingsman film so much, so I was very excited for the sequel. It wasn't as good as the first film, of course, but it was so enjoyable and I laughed for the whole 2 hours 20 minutes.


Too Good at Goodbyes // Sam Smith

I just love Sam Smith. That's about it, honestly. This song went straight on my 'Chill' playlist. It's really sad but I love it.

Alone // Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware is hugely underrated - I loved her first album so much (Say You Love Me and Champagne Kisses are such tunes) and this new single is just as good.

Praying // Kesha

I love Kesha. I know it's an odd thing to say but I'm so proud of her for getting through all she's had to deal with and releasing some incredible comeback music. If you don't know what she's been through, Google it so you can better appreciate her beautiful music and lyrics.


Burt's Bees Strawberry Lip Balm

I don't know how I've never used this before but my goodness. It smells so good and my lips are actually a lot less chapped than usual.

~Autumnal~ Shirt

I love Autumn (or Fall if you're American) so so so so much. As soon as it's September, I'll whip out the jumpers and the dark colours and start wearing plaid 24/7. I recently bought this lovely shirt and I've been living in it for the past few weeks. It's so comfy.


I've been incredibly reluctant to give into the choker trend, but I did and now I'm obsessed. They just make every outfit look a bit more put together, you know? Also the black velvet one has made many an outfit look a lot ~edgier~ than it actually is.


This beautiful ring was a birthday present from my brother's girlfriend, and it's become something I wear daily, along with the ring I was given for my 16th birthday. I just really like rings now, I don't know why. They make me feel fancy.



I recently bought a new Macbook because my old one was on its last legs - before I had it, it had been my brother's for 6 years, so I was in need of a much faster, updated one that didn't run out of power after 2 minutes. My new one is so much lighter and faster, but mainly I love it because it has a touch-bar at the top which means I can turn up the volume or turn down the brightness or find emojis to type so much quicker than I used to. Also, it's just really cool to have a touch-bar. I feel like that's just something we can all accept.

Wireless Beats

When I bought my Macbook, there was a deal on for students (which I am) which meant my laptop was cheaper and I got some free wireless Beats headphones (what an amazing deal, right?!) Safe to say I am loving them - I use them all the time, and feel so cool when I wear them. Also, it is so much easier to paint while listening to music now, because I don't have wires dipping into my watercolours.

Planning Notebook

As you all know, I've been trying to be more organised with my blogging, so I bought this beautiful notebook for a few pounds and I've been using it to plan each of my blog posts as well as writing various to do lists. It's worked for this month, so hopefully I'll do as good a job for the month of October!

And that's everything! I hope you enjoyed this post - let me know if any of these things have been your favourite this month as well. I'll be back with a post on Friday letting you know all the things I have planned for October.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Soundtrack to my Life

I love music. That's just a well-known fact about me. If you know me at all, you'll know any chance I get, I'll have my headphones on and have some kind of music playing, whether it's a film score or one of my favourite albums or classical music. I love recommending and being recommended songs, and just generally talking about music, so when I discovered this tag, I had to do it. Below is the soundtrack to my life.

(I love music too much to be able to only give one answer for each question, so I've given two - although there are exceptions to that rule because some of the questions were too hard to narrow down)

What song do you listen to when you're happy?

Good Vibrations // The Beach Boys
Something Good Can Work // Two Door Cinema Club

I adore the Beach Boys - is there any other band that just sounds like summer? There are so many happy and upbeat songs of theirs to choose from but I think Good Vibrations is my absolute favourite. As for Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club are an amazing band, and this song is so fast that it's incredibly satisfying to sing along to when you can keep up with the chorus. Both of these songs just make me want to dance and laugh and go on a drive with the windows down and the sun shining on my face.

What song do you listen to when you're sad?

Liability // Lorde
Laughter Lines // Bastille

I listen to a lot of music when I'm sad (I have playlists for pretty much every mood, and my 'Sad Tunez' playlist is probably the one I listen to the most) so this was hard to narrow down, but I managed to pick two (mainly because I found ways to include the other sad songs later on in this tag). Liability is a recent addition, because Lorde's new album Melodrama (please listen to it, it's amazing) has only recently come out. I listen to it a lot because I relate to it a lot, and it's nice to feel understood. Laughter Lines, however, has been on my sad playlist for a long time - it's one of my favourite Bastille songs, just because of how poignant it is and how beautiful the lyrics are.

What song will you play at your wedding?

Only Us // Dear Evan Hansen
Falling Slowly // Once

Y'all, Dear Evan Hansen's soundtrack is so dreamy. I haven't seen it, but it's coming to London in a few years, so I'll just wait like I did for Hamilton and then I'll get tickets because I love the premise so much. Only Us is one of the most adorable and pure love songs I've ever heard, and it perfectly encompasses how I view love. The same goes for Falling Slowly - what a beautiful song, made even lovelier by the storyline of Once (although once you've seen Once and know the ending, it becomes exceptionally bittersweet). Also notice how both of these are from musicals. Huh.

(side-note: if you're going to listen to Falling Slowly, I suggest listening to the 'Live from Spotify London' version - you just can't beat a live version).

What song do you dance around the house to?

September // Earth, Wind & Fire
Footloose // Kenny Loggins

They're making me dance just thinking about them. September brings back memories of being home alone with my eldest brother who was making us both bacon sandwiches, and we put this song on and danced around the kitchen. It's a small moment in the grand scheme of things but it's stuck with me because that was a true moment of happiness for me. And then Footloose. I mean... who doesn't dance to Footloose whenever it comes on?

(What You Know // Two Door Cinema Club - I didn't put this as one of the main songs because I'd already mentioned Two Door Cinema Club, but it's definitely one I've had dance parties to so I thought I'd pop it here).

What song do you listen to in your headphones when you're out and about?

The Chain // Fleetwood Mac
My Generation // The Who

Two of my all time favourite songs anyway, but they both have such good beats to walk around to (you know when you're walking and walk in-time to the music you're listening to? They're great for that). I adore Fleetwood Mac and The Who, mainly because of my dad - I have a very eclectic taste in music because when I was younger, I'd listened to music my dad listened to in his teenage years, like The Who and Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel, as well as pop music that my brothers were listening to, and now I pick up bands from my friends, so it's a big old mess of genres. I have a lot of friends who are big fans of Fleetwood Mac so my love of them as just grown, and if any of you like the film Kingsman and have seen the trailer for the second film, you will have heard a remix of My Generation (which is a great remix).

What song do you listen to when you're angry?

Black Skinhead // Kanye West
Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time // Panic! At The Disco

Ok, so this has taken literally everyone who has ever discovered it about me by surprise but I'm a lowkey rap fan. I can rap all of Nicki Minaj's part in Monster (also by Kanye West), the Childish Gambino is a baaabbeeeee (he's also playing Lando in the Han Solo prequel film, which I am insanely excited for), Logic is amazing, and Kanye West is incredible. Life of Pablo is an amazing album (Ultralight Beam is probably my favourite from that album) but if you're looking for angry songs, Yeezus is where it's at, and Black Skinhead gets me mad pumped. As for Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time, it's not exactly angry, but it has an incredible drum beat that's perfect for an angry music-listening session (especially at full volume).

What song would you have at your funeral?

If I Die Young // The Band Perry
Songbird // Fleetwood Mac

I put the original singers for both songs, but honestly (and don't judge me for this) I prefer the Glee covers of both, because Naya Rivera, who plays Santana, sings them and she has an incredible voice. I love the original versions also, but I'm just saying, the Glee versions are beautiful. I don't really know why I want these specific songs played at my funeral. If I Die Young is pretty obvious, but Songbird I'm unsure about - I can just imagine it being played? Both beautiful songs.

What is the last song you listened to?

The Night We Met // Lord Huron
Praying // Kesha

I gave the last two songs I've listened to so it would be consistent with my answers to the other questions. I'm guessing a lot of you watched or at least know of the TV show 13 Reasons Why, and The Night We Met is the iconic song from it - it's such a lovely song and gets me incredibly emotional every time I listen to it. And just before I listened to that, I was playing Praying by Kesha oh my goodness that song is beautiful. The lyrics are beautiful and the message is so incredible, especially when you know what Kesha's been through during the last few years (google it if you're not sure what went on). Also can we talk about her vocal range?! Because that high note she hits during the climax of the song is insane. I can't even begin to comprehend how she does it.

What song will make you lose your shit at a party?

Everybody (Backstreet's Back) // Backstreet Boys
Mr Brightside // The Killers

I don't think there is a song that so perfectly encapsulates the early 00s for me the way Mr Brightside does. I can and will sing/shout the entire song if it plays at a party, as will everyone else in the room (also who doesn't love a bit o' The Killers). Backstreet Boys were mainly my brother's influence - I was born after this song's release, but it was played often enough in my house for it to become associated with my childhood. Obviously there are many songs that I'll lose my shit over, like TiK ToK by Kesha (a true classic of the late 00s) and of course Cha Cha Slide by Mr. C because oh my goodness who doesn't slide to the left and take it back now y'all when this song comes on? It's basically universal law to dance when it comes on. A classic school disco tune.

What song would you love to see live?

Yellow // Coldplay
Pompeii // Bastille

It used to be A Team by Ed Sheeran but, as I mentioned last time, I'm going to be seeing him next year, so that's off the list now. The two bands I'd love to see live the most are Coldplay and Bastille, and the songs I'd be most ecstatic to hear would be the first songs I heard of theirs, which were Yellow and Pompeii. I just can't imagine actually hearing them live, I think I'd lose my mind.

What song would you do for karaoke?

Grace Kelly // MIKA
The Winner Takes It All // ABBA

I'm not a huge fan of karaoke but if I had to, I'd sing one of those two. I already know all the words to Grace Kelly, and The Winner Takes It All is such a good song to belt out.

What song do you work out to?

Sorry Not Sorry // Demi Lovato
Send Them Off! // Bastille

Sorry Not Sorry is such. a. jam. It gets me really hyped up, so it's perfect for when I go for a run, and the same goes for Send Them Off! because it just has a great beat to run to. I'm not a huge fan of exercise but these songs make it bearable.

What song has the most memories attached?

Home // Gabrielle Aplin
We Both Reached For The Gun // Chicago

Home perfectly encapsulates for me the years 2013-2014, as does that whole album (English Rain if you want to listen to the album). I saw Gabrielle Aplin live in November 2013 (just after I created this blog) with my best friend, my first live concert. 2013-2014 were the last years I was truly happy, honestly - year 10 (2015) is when the anxiety and stressed started, and I very much miss the carefree days I was living when I was listening to Home on repeat. Looking back, Home perfectly describes how those years felt to me. As for We Both Reached For The Gun - I first watched Chicago over the summer with Anna. I was staying with her for a week, while her parents were on holiday in the Lake District. This meant, once we'd watched Chicago (what a film and what a musical) on the first night, we could listen to the soundtrack over and over, while washing up, while making breakfast, at 2am. So the whole soundtrack reminds me of that amazing week with one of my best friends, but specifically We Both Reached For The Gun (because we can sing the whole thing in time, even the really fast bit - that's true talent).

What song makes you cry?

Secret For The Mad // Dodie
Somebody Else // The 1975

I don't cry at many songs, but there is a list of about 4 or 5 that have made me cry (Liability by Lorde, which I put up there ^ under 'sad song' is one of them, and the ones which I haven't listed will have a little * next to them when they appear below) but these two that consistently make me cry. Secret For The Mad makes me ugly cry because, same as Liability by Lorde, it's so nice to feel understood. And to have someone tell me (in a beautiful singing voice) that everything will be ok. Somebody Else isn't something I can relate to, but it's a song I've listened to many many nights before I go to sleep or when I can't sleep or when I'm already crying, so I now associate crying with it. Which means I cry at it. A lot. It's the song I cry at every time, without fail. And it's also an amazing song.

What is your guilty pleasure song?

Sweet Creature // Harry Styles
New Rules // Dua Lipa

Pretty much any pop music is a guilty pleasure (Little Mix, anyone?) but ~club~ music is probably my guiltiest pleasure. Half the time it makes no sense, the other half it's derogatory in some way, but there are some gems in amongst the rubbish - like New Rules, which is such a tune. Harry Styles isn't really a guilty pleasure, and certainly is as much of one as One Direction was, because his solo music is genuinely really good. But I still feel a bit guilty about loving him as much as I do.

What is your favourite song from a musical?

Someone In The Crowd // La La Land
Electricity // Billy Elliot

Who doesn't love La La Land? Like seriously? Does a person exist who doesn't love this beautiful film? It's easily one of my favoutite musicals (even if it isn't a theatrical musical) and the soundtrack is just beautiful, so obviously I was going to put a song from it on this playlist. Billy Elliot is also one of my favourite musicals (thank you, Anna, for introducing it to me - she introduces me to a lot of musicals) so that was going to feature.

(An additional one - Satisfied from Hamilton, specifically the mix tape version by Sia featuring Queen Latifah and Miguel. Such a good song)

What is one song that you hate?

Look What You Made Me Do // Taylor Swift
Despacito // Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber

Listen. Taylor Swift is #iconic. I love her. But I don't think I had ever experienced true disappointment before the verses and bridge in Look What You Made Me Do hyped me up and then I got that chorus. Biggest anticlimax of my life. I was waiting for this giant beat drop where everyone would lose their minds. And I got Too Sexy For My Shirt 2.0. As for Despacito, my goodness has there ever been a more overplayed song. I'm so done with both of these songs.

What is your favourite song of all time?

The Fall // Imagine Dragons*
Autopilot // Kodaline*
Dreams/Little Lies // Fleetwood Mac
Somebody Else // The 1975

The hardest question you could ever ask me (along with favourite book/film/TV show) but I managed to narrow it down to 5. All of these are songs I could listen to over and over and over and over and over. If you listen to no other songs from this post, please listen to these five. They are truly breathtaking, all of them.

Honourable Mentions:

Heartbeats // Jose Gonzalez
6/10 // Dodie*
Someone That Loves You // HONNE
No. 1 Party Anthem // Arctic Monkeys
Seaside/She Moves In Her Own Way // The Kooks
Power Hungry Animals // The Apache Relay
Alone // Trampled By Turtles

I am so sorry for the awfully long post. I could talk about music all day. I'll be back next week with a (hopefully shorter) monthly favourites post. Until then!