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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Every End Is A New Beginning

I officially finished school yesterday – my final day as a student. (Okay, I still have to go in for my exams, but officially – I’m an adult!!) And in a way, it’s ├╝ber scary, because I have to grow up now. I can’t be a carefree kid anymore. I’ve got to start being independent and doing everything for myself – bills, finances – the works! I just find it hard to see myself as an adult and having a life of my own and I think it’s similar for a lot of kids my age – moving out and going to uni, or starting work, and I totally get it.
I was airing these thoughts to my dad, and he told me there was no point in being scared or apprehensive – every end is a new beginning, he said, and he’s right. Yeah, this is the end of an era – but it’s the beginning of the rest of our lives! Growing up doesn’t have to be a negative thing – it totally shouldn’t be something negative! Ever since we were little, we’ve dreamed of this moment, so now that it’s here – let’s enjoy it!
My advice to anyone in the same situation would be this: don’t be afraid of change, and remember that starting anew can only be a good thing, so make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.

And if you’re going through your exams at the moment, study hard and good luck! Trust me, it’ll be worth the hard work in the end.


Xx Annie

Monday, 21 April 2014

Once Upon A Dream | The Music Download

Hey y'all! As a lot of you probably know, it's the Easter Holidays in sunny (okay, dreary) England. Damn, I wish I was in California, or Miami - actually, anywhere I could top up my vitamin D. The weather is so bugging me at the mo - I miss the sun! (Sorry, digressing!)

Anyways, I've spent most of the hols revising for the up-and-coming exams *sad face* but I just can't seem to get anything stuck in my head!! I know a lot of people have their own tried and tested revision methods, but it seems mine have broken :( Something I have been doing a lot, alongside revision, is listening to a lot of music, and I thought, hey, I've got a free afternoon - why not do a music-themed post? So here we are.

1. The Divergent Soundtrack
I actually love a lot of the songs on this OST - which is weird because I usually only like one or two. The whole tone of the album is very tribal and dangerous, but also electric.
The Ellie Goulding songs are amazing - I think she has four songs on the OST, but my favourite by far is Hanging On. It's got the most addictive beat and is perfect for working out - either mentally, with revision, or pumping iron (not that I would know about that kind of work out).
Run Boy Run is also fantastic - I think it's the one they play when the Dauntless do their running scenes. Again, it's that addictive, almost tribal sound that just grabs you. Others I particularly liked were Stranger, Find You and In Distress. Oh and this random one I found on Youtube - Warrior.

2. The Marmozets - Why Do You Hate Me?
The Marmozets
I've been listening to Radio 1 a lot recently - on account of having no money to buy my own music *sad face* - and I've ended up hearing the most wacky and crazy tunes - that I absolutely love! The Marmozets are a Yorkshire band, with a very Pretty Reckless sound (I'll admit, I did think it was Taylor Momsen singing at first) i.e. very rocky and almost raspy vocals, but the song is awesome, and will have you singing along in no time!
(By the way, these aren't in order of favouritism, just as and when I think of them)

3. Catfish and The Bottlemen - Kathleen
Catfish and The Bottlemen - isn't that just the coolest name for a band??
I heard this one on the radio too, and it's so groovy!! Also, we totally need to start using the word "groovy" more, say me and Paprika (check out her blog here). This song is kinda angsty and very indie and very rocky.

4. Wild Beasts - A Simple Beautiful Truth
These guys have possibly nabbed the spot of my favourite band ever!
This one is relaxed and almost trance-y. It gives me a weird, nostalgic feel, and takes me back to the past - I can't even describe what it's like, or how much I love it. Just listen to it. Now.

Ahh, I feel like the sun is returning...
This is one tune that just sets my head off bopping and my feet tapping to the beat. It's got a very different sound to the usual stuff I listen to, but its aaah! So awesome and Mr Probz has such a soulful sound and voice. I mean, the original is nice, but it doesn't move me like the Robin Schulz remix. 

6. (Last one for this post) San Cisco - Awkward
Australian - eeek!!
San Cisco are my latest discovery from the wonderful world of Youtube. They're an Australian band, and this song is basically about a stalker - completely hilarious and 100% catchy. I recently realized that it was actually featured in one of the old MIC episodes (Made In Chelsea). It's cute and kooky and I absoluterly love it!!

Hope you liked this Music post, and let me know if there's any tunes you love that you think should be featured on the ol' blog!

xx Annie

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Have To Stop Wearing Mascara To The Cinema | Divergent Movie Review!

Hey all! I've been missing from the blogosphere for a couple of months now because I've been applying for jobs and I've been so caught up with applications and interviews, as well as exam revision (eeek!!) so I've had absolutely no time at all to post anything.

Anyway, I decided to reward myself because all that's over now (well, okay, revision isn't, but come on - I've been working really hard!) so I went to see the Divergent movie this week! I did a review of the book some time last year (click here to see the post), so I thought it only fitting to follow up with the movie review!

For those of you who haven’t read the book/seen the movie, I’ll give you the 411. Divergent is set in the future, in a (yep, you guessed it) dystopian world. But don’t yawn yet. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT a carbon copy of The Hunger Games – the only similarity is that they’re both set in the future, and have strong female protagonists. Similarity ends there. I mean, there isn’t even a love triangle in Divergent, which is so refreshing. But I digress.

Anyway, the story follows Tris, who lives in this world, where society is made up of 5 factions (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite), which stand for different traits (Selflessness, Kindness, Honesty, Courage and Intelligence in that order). At 16, everyone undergoes testing to discover which faction they belong to, and then has to choose to leave their own faction and join a new one, or stay with their families. Tris, born into Abnegation, finds that her aptitude test results are inconclusive – she is Divergent and as such, doesn’t fit in any one faction.
She decides to join Dauntless, and has to undergo their grueling initiation process, without arousing suspicion of her status as a Divergent, to claim her place in the faction, and to avoid being thrown out and becoming factionless – a fate worse than death. She has to battle it out with other initiates, and her instructors who continually push them to the limits. Tris is then discovered by her instructor, Four, to be Divergent – and he’s Divergent too. He teaches her how to hide her Divergent side in the final training exercise, because if the Dauntless leaders find out, Tris is as good as dead.
But there’s something bigger at play here – a plot to kill all Divergents (!) and take over control of the government on the part of Erudite (!!) and Tris and Four are caught up in the middle of it.

So, first things first - the way I judge if a movie is good or not, is if I come out of the cinema and do a double take, because I genuinely thought I was in that world. Divergent ticked the box on that one - I was like, "oh - I was at the cinema this whole time" *sad face*.

So here’s a list of the good, bad and the ugly about Divergent :) oh and **SPOILER ALERT**

Jeanine shows up way more in the film than she does in the book.
At first, I wasn't sure if I liked this (I'm the kind that hates it when they change the story too much) but it does give a face to the enemy, so to speak, and makes it obvious who the bad guy is. Also, you really get a sense for how dedicated she is to her "cause" - especially when you see how crazy she is at the end.

Uriah!! Wasn't in the movie - I felt like he played a pretty strong part in the book, so I was a little sad that they cut him out.

The train scenes were just as awesome as they sounded (or read) in the book and the zip-line scene - OMGEEZ blew the book out of the water!!

I literally felt like I was flying - and I love the way they changed it up a little with the whole speeding-the-zip-up bit halfway through!! And the song they played - M83 - I Need You - was so perfect for it! There’s only one word for it – beautiful.
Now, for the fight scenes. They didn't tone them down (win!) and made them really brutal - this just made the whole thing so much more realistic. I was actually wincing everytime Tris or Christina took a hit. However, they didn't put in a scene where Tris beat anyone *sad face* Which just bugged me.
OMG and when Eric puts his hand out to help Christina, I was so expecting him to punch her or something - Jai Courteny was AMAZING as Eric. I was genuinely scared of him throughout the movie.
 
Christina's Bridge Scene - disappointing. I didn't feel as "aaah omg I hope she doesn't die!" as I did with the book. They could have made this so much more dramatic. Although I did LOVE Zoe Kravitz as Christina - and I liked that she looked a little more rough than most of the other characters. It was just a lot more realistic. 
I was suuper worried they would leave out Capture The Flag scene - it was one of my favourite parts of the book and I was literally over the moon that they left it in. I also loved the way the Tris and Christina team up to get the flag, even though it's Christina who wins in the book. You get to see them being friends, instead of competing initiates. And I loved the way Eric says Tris is out, and then she just jumps on the train anyway and joins the group. I can't remember if this was in the book or not, but I loved it anyway - go Tris!
divergent2
Obviously, the all-important Ferris-Wheel scene happens too, but it wasn't all that great; they didn’t make Four start the Wheel when Tris gets stuck, so meh.

Back to Jai Courteny though :) I had totally imagined Eric as scrawny and skinny and creepy, but woah, Eric is hot! So attractive, that I don't care that he's the villain. The above lines were just so I had an excuse to put a picture of him here.
Eeeek! His tattooos...
I also wish they'd left the Al-Tris scene in - you know, the one where he sort of tells her he likes her? That would have made the kidnap-suicide scene so much worse - and so much better. The way the film puts it, it's kinda neither here nor there, and I don't really care about Al as much.
 
The Pit/Area where the boys try to throw Tris into the Chasm - that genuinely looked like a school play set - and I've seen better school sets. 
They just look like painted cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other!! What's up with that??

And I initially hated - hated - Theo James as Four (he just doesn't look like him!) but he kinda grows on you towards the end of the movie. I actually kinda like the fact that he's quite serious throughout the movie though - again, it suits him better. I can’t imagine Theo being all sweet and flirty.
 
Caleb on the other hand was adorably goofy (the way he runs!!) and the casting was perfect for him!! Although I just can't imagine him betraying Tris in Insurgent. Hmm, can't wait to see that one!


Shailene as Tris was just amazing though! I've never seen her in anything else, but OMG she's my new fave actress! She's just so easy to relate to and she plays Tris so well! Oh and when her mum dies and she's all like "Mom!!" I'll admit I did cry - hence, I have to stop wearing mascara to the cinema, because I just end up crying and come out looking like a panda.
Oh and the scene where she turns the gun on herself and tells Four it's okay - that was AMAZING!! Shailene just pulls you into the scene so well!!
And the way she's all spunky, like "Why does everybody keep saying that?" when she threatens to shoot people and they're like, "You're not going to shoot me". BANG! Yeah, you got that one wrong, Peter.

Maggie Q as Tori - she looked so Dauntless!! I loved her as Tori, and can't wait to see her get a bigger part of the action in the second film. She ended up looking like I had imagined, which is a huge plus, but I wanted to see her maybe a little more emotional when she talked about her Divergent brother, Georgie.
Green hair = so Dauntless
Miles Teller a.k.a Peter. I can't put into words how evil he is - in the book at least. I just didn't get that same pit-of-my-soul loathing feeling from him in the movie. That might have to do with the fact that they cut out his two most important scenes - the butter-knife to the eye and towel-yanking scenes that made him so hateful. And they didn't even really make him responsible for the kidnapping thing – you only really see Al as the one who instigates it!! The only good scene with him in was where he fights Tris, but overall, I think they should have kept him as scheming and icky like in the book.

Now - the Simulation scenes!!
These were done so well! In the beginning, I wasn't so sure with the aptitude testing and the dog, but they got better and better – although, I do think they went through Four's fear landscape too quickly and it was a bit like, let’s get this over and done with already.
I loved the way they did the crow scene out past the city they live in, and also the way Four explains that there's the Dauntless way of going through the fear landscape and the Divergent way, and how to pretend to be Dauntless, so to speak.
Also, when he demands that Tris tell him what her aptitude test result was, and insists she is lying – this stayed true to Four’s character, and does make him a little scarier.
The final simulation/test thing was so well done - the way she's in front of all the Dauntless leaders and has to go through her fear landscape - and I loved the way they added that bit in the end where she has to shoot her family, but you can't tell if it's real or not! That was a little gut-wrenching and scary.

The Ending!!
I'm not sure how I feel about the change to this last scene - i.e. having Jeanine there during the fight etc. It was a bit weird - and she doesn't have to fight Jeanine either, in the book. Although that was a pretty cool scene, and you see the crazy side of Jeanine here too. The Tris-Four fight scene was pretty horrific but really realistic, so ten out of ten for that. And considering you don't actually see Tris being ruthless or winning any fights, I liked that she threw that knife and threatened Jeanine. And then injects her with her own serum!! That was pretty awesome, although, in reality, would Tris and Four really have known how to control her??
 
My main problem with the end though is this - they don't end up stealing the hard-drive, and it is obvious that Tris and Four weren't running the sim, which is why they go to Candor, to prove they aren't lying in the book. So what's the sequel going to be about??

Overall, I did love the movie – I would give it a Preppy Girl rating of 9/10 and it only missed out on the big one-oh because of the poor “Pit” set and the lack of danger in Christina’s bridge scene.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s into dystopian-style stories, but I would say read the book first, so you get the full experience.

Over and out :)

p.s. go to the cinema and watch it. Asap.  

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Aim Your Arrows High

I've always been intrigued by artistic designs, especially more gothic styles. There's just something about the edgy designs that appeals to me.
Tattoos are another one - now, I'm pretty much against those garish, obscene ones, but small, arty tattoos I will always envy. I don't think I would ever have the guts to go ahead an ink my skin (or, you know, have someone do it for me), but I've always wanted to have something petite and pretty - perhaps *ahem* an arrow - behind my ear.
I saw a really, uber-attractive guy out shopping, with tattoos like this and I was like *swooon*
Arrows can mean a lot of things, but I mostly take it for strong sense of direction, almost like a moral compass. Forever moving toward a goal.
Being a Sagittarius, the symbology of arrows has always been around me, and I've always been secretly very smug of the fact that my star-sign definitely looks the best - and its so easy to adapt it to yourself. Pretty, petite, feminine ones or masculine, powerful looking ones - whatever takes your fancy.
Obviously, I had to get the centaur in here! #SagittariusCentaur
Listening to...
Fire (Aim Your Arrows High) - Versaemerge | Broken Arrow - The Script

Friday, 31 January 2014

January Playlist

I think an integral part of being a teenager is expanding your taste in music. I recently updated all my music from my laptop onto my MP3 player and I was a little gobsmacked at how much there is and how varied it has become over the course of a year. (I know, I didn't update my music list for a YEAR - crazy, right?)
Anyway, I decided I'd share with you a few of my favourite tracks, some new, some old - and some downright weird ones.
1. September - Earth, Wind and Fire
I know this is a really old one, and when I come out and say how much I love it, people give me a sort of funny look, but it's such a disco tune! It's the kind of song I like to set as my alarm, so I wake up, jump out of bed, and start singing "Do you remember?"
2. Chocolate - The 1975
This one is a little old, but I still put it on repeat a few times a day, and attempt to sing along with the crazily pronounced lyrics - I sort of just make similar sounding noises, and I'm like yeah, check it out, The 1975 totally need me in their band. "Chocolate" is a ridiculously happy song, and just puts a smile on my face.

3. Dark Horse - Katy Perry ft. Juicy J
My friend Aaron played me this during Physics yesterday (shh, don't tell our teacher!) and I recognized Katy's voice, but I couldn't believe it was her song! It's so different to anything I've ever heard her do, and I just love it! More and more often, music genres are blurring borders, and "Dark Horse" has a fantastic hip-hop beat, with a Knife Party- worthy drop before the chorus, and the almost dreamy way she sings the lyrics really just - wow. Go listen to it, and then tell me you don't feel like getting down in the club. I would, if I could dance.
4. Little Me - Little Mix
Anyone who knows me, know I really love the music these girls come out with, not so much their dress sense - but that's for another post. "Little Me" is such an empowering song and I'm at a point in my life where I can so relate to what they sing about. And their voices harmonise so beautifully! (I'll share a little secret with you - when my family is out, I like to put my headphones in and pretend I can sing like them for a few minutes, doing the whole emotion thing, and acting it out. But you can't tell anybody:3)
5. Birds - Emiliana Torrini
"Birds" was one of the first Emiliana Torrini songs I ever listened to, and I just fell in love with the haunting-ness of her voice. The song itself reminds me of a summer morning, sitting on a hill, watching the sunrise. It's whimsical and kinda Pinterest-y too - I imagine very Pinterest-y style photos when I listen to this.

That's all for this installment. Oh wait, I'm also thinking of changing my blog layout (again - I'm sorry :L) I've been really inspired by some other blog; in particular, Kinfolk and obviously Paprika. I love their simple, minimalistic layouts and I think I might change it to something a little more sophisticated and less cutesy. Anyways, let me know what you think :)
xx Annie
I'm always looking to discover new music too, so drop me a line below and share your musical tastes with me too!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Londres!

Hey all!
Got back after visiting the lovely, buzzing city of London on Sunday and I've spent this whole week wishing I could go back! There's so much to do, so many interesting places to see - ahhh!
I had initially planned to visit during December, for my birthday, while all the Crimbo lights were still up, but everyone was super busy (there's no way I would have gone on my own, and besides, I needed someone who knows how to use the Tube). So when we got back from the Christmas holidays, I immediately began organising the trip with one of my best friends, Paprika, and we finally got the chance last weekend.
I kinda looked at the map and the places we wanted to go to, and was like, okay, I've got this down, I can probably wing the whole Tube thing when we get there. Luckily for me, (seeing as this was my first time ever on a train) Paprika had planned out the Tube routes we had to take to get to different areas, so we couldn't really go wrong.
Outside Urban Outfitters in Covent Garden
We arrived in London at about 10 in the morning - a Sunday morning - and stepped out onto Oxford street, only to find that pretty much ALL the shops were closed. What on earth is happening here? I thought, strolling up to the nearest store window and checking their opening times. Only then was it that I remembered - shops don't open till at least 11 on Sundays! Duh. So we spent a fun half hour or so walking up and down the streets, and found a Body Shop store which, by some miracle, was open! I went in and started sniffing their body butters etc, and smeared the satsuma one (my favourite!) all over my hands.
Then we went for a little stroll through Hyde Park, which was fun, and took some photos.
By the time we got back to Oxford street, Topshop (my fave shop, as we all know) was open, so we went straight in and trawled through their clothes rails, taking some hilarious pictures.

Urban Outfitters needs a whole blogpost on its own - suffice to say that we spent a good 2 hours in there, messing around, trying on clothes and being upset at the expensivity of the clothes.
Is this not just the most gorgeous playsuit ever???!
After that, we went into a couple more shops, and then departed for Soho - not for the sex-shops though, as I've heard Soho is notorious for. We jumped onto the Tube, which was packed, and I couldn't really find a rail to hang onto, so I thought, "oh, it's fine, I probably don't need to hold onto one anyway". And when the train set off, I narrowly avoided landing on my face. I'm pretty sure all the seasoned Tube-rs were like "rookie alert"! So that was embarrassing...
Learning escalator etiquette...always stand on the right
By about 2, we found a restaurant, called The Stockpot, which serves actually fantastic-sized portions for the price (I had kinda assumed that eating in London would be super-expensive). I had their spag-bol, while Paprika had salmon and spinach-y pasta.
I would definitely recommend the restaurant and hell yeah, I'll be back there next time I go to London!
We took the Tube again, this time to Picadilly station, and as one of us has a phobia of lifts (I won't divulge who...) we had to take the stairs. I did not realize just how many stairs there were! I literally had to stop like 5 times to catch my breath. I keep having flashbacks of that awful 5-10 minutes.
After that spot of exercise, we hit Covent Garden, and I found out that I had been there before, when we (me and some friends) sneaked out of the Royal Opera House on a school trip for lunch). The place was bustling with street-performers and musicians busking - the atmosphere was AWESOME!
Paprika and I also went into the Kurt Geiger store which is amaaazing!! All the mirrors really give you the feeling that you're in a very exclusive club.
Hanging out with Charlie...

I can honestly say this was one of the best days of my life, and I'm so happy I (finally) got to go to London!