January, February and March 2019 Favourites Part 1 plus Life Update

The first quarter of 2019 has definitely had a mixture of highs and lows. I started the year feeling ill with a cold that I began to come down with on Boxing Day 2018. I also received the news that my grandad and uncle who lived near me were moving away. In late January, I started volunteering for a neurodivergent recruitment agency called Exceptional Individuals where I plan and create animated explainer videos and I am currently in the process of preparing to work from them on a paid basis.

In the middle of February, I had a week of feeling very anxious due to my house support staff not replying to my e-mails (it turned out that their e-mail system wasn’t working) and someone online not responding to any of my feedback or questions about their content, so I decided to give that person some space for a while by not commenting on most of their new content from mid to late February. On a more positive note, my parents came to stay at my flat and we helped my grandad and uncle pack for their move. I also enjoyed attending the Good Grief, Charlie Brown! exhibition at Somerset House that I will discuss in more detail in the second half of this post.

At the beginning of March, I received the sad news that my great aunt (one of my grandad’s sisters and one of my mum’s aunts) passed away  and someone put a comment on one of my YouTube videos that I found hard to deal with (see this post for more information). I also came down with another cold, which made me miss two weeks of voluntary work, made me feel out of sorts while my parents stayed with me again (although I had an enjoyable time with my mum and my sister when they stayed with me) and made me not attend #BlogConLDN (I sold my ticket to someone on Twitter). I also had another week of the same people from February not responding to me. On the plus side, I received some happier family news that I will discuss in more depth in Part 2.

Anyway, here are my favourite body care products, films, Netflix/TV shows and fashion that have helped me get through the first quarter of 2019:

Body care

Lush Sleepy Shower Gel and Body Lotion

I have previously tried other Lush products that I preferred to use at night such as Ickle Baby Bot, the Waving Not Drowning and Ickle Baby Baff bath bombs and the Up the Wooden Hill Emotibomb for the shower (sadly all these products except Ickle Baby Bot are now discontinued). Since most of these products were for the bath and I only have a shower in my flat, I was thrilled to see that Lush now sell a shower gel for me to use before going to bed. Its ingredients include lavender, oat milk and tonka beans, so the combination of the three makes a very relaxing scent. I also love the body lotion that comes in the same scent and both products have lovely shades of purple even though the colour of the body lotion isn’t quite as bright as that of the shower gel.

Films

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns is the sequel to Mary Poppins. The sequel sees the now adult Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) living in his childhood home with his three children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) and his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) in 1930s London. A year after a family tragedy occurs, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to look after Michael’s children and take them on adventures. Despite having enjoyed the original Mary Poppins a bit more, the things I liked the most about the sequel were the aforementioned main characters as well as the supporting characters such as Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Topsy (Meryl Streep), the Balloon Lady (Angela Lansbury) and Mr. Dawes Jr. (Dick Van Dyke, who played Mr. Dawes Sr. and Bert in the original film); the music, particularly a piece of incidental music that sounds like A Spoonful of Sugar and the songs Can You Imagine That? and Trip a Little Light Fantastic; the underwater world that Mary and the children enter through the bathtub; and the animated world that Mary and the children enter through an ornamental bowl.

The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets is a 2016 CGI animated family comedy film. In this film, a Jack Russell Terrier named Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) lives with his owner Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper) in Manhattan, New York. Whilst Katie is at work, Max hangs around with other pets in his apartment block in the style of the toys in the Toy Story films when Andy is not around. When Katie adopts a large mongrel named Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet), Max becomes jealous and tries to abandon Duke, but some vicious cats attack both dogs and remove their collars so that they could be taken to the pound where Duke comes from. Upon discovering that Max has gone missing, a Pomeranian named Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate), sets out to find him. I first watched this film on Netflix with my mum upon her recommendation. The best aspects of the film are the animation, the plot, the dialogue, some humorous scenes, the soundtrack that features songs such as Basement Jaxx’s Do Your Thing and Bill Withers’s Lovely Day and other animal characters such as Buddy the Dachshund (voiced by Hannibal Buress), Chloe the tabby cat (voiced by Lake Bell) and Mel the Pug (voiced by Bobby Moynihan). I would like to see The Secret Life of Pets 2 when it is released in cinemas.

Rio

This is another film I watched upon my mum’s recommendation. It is a 2011 CGI animated film that was made by Blue Sky Studios. In Rio, a domesticated Spix’s macaw named Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg), who is the last known male of his species, is taken to Rio de Janeiro to mate with Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway), the last known female of her species. They eventually fall for each other and they have to escape from the wings of an evil cockatoo named Nigel (voiced by Jemaine Clement). Like with The Secret Life of Pets, I like the animal characters and the music plus there are plenty of vibrant scenes in spite of the darker scenes lacking in colour. I would definitely consider seeing the sequel Rio 2.

Netflix and TV Shows

Hilda

Hilda is an animated fantasy adventure Netflix series based on the children’s graphic novel series by Luke Pearson. Hilda, her mother and their pet deerfox Twig live in the wilderness, but when their home is threatened by tiny creatures, they move to the city of Trolberg. Although Hilda has doubts about Trolberg at first, she soon learns that the city has more to offer than she initially thought. Throughout the series, she befriends a tiny elf named Alfur and other children named Frida and David. They all go on adventures where they face a variety of creatures from a giant that tends to appear in the middle of the night to more threatening tiny people. While the art style is reminiscent of that in the animated series Baby Blues, it has its own unique charm to it, the backgrounds are atmospheric and the storylines are captivating.

Arthur

Arthur is a long-running educational children’s animated series that revolves around the titular anthropomorphic aardvark, his family and friends. Although I can only remember seeing a small handful of episodes as a child, I went through phases of rewatching these episodes plus watching many more as an adult. Episodes I particularly enjoyed watching during this quarter were George and the Missing Puzzle Piece (AKA When Carl Met George) where George the moose makes friends with Carl, a rabbit who has Asperger syndrome, and The Boy With His Head In the Clouds where George learns that he has dyslexia. I especially enjoyed revisiting these episodes this quarter because I used them as part of my research for a project I was going to work on for Exceptional Individuals that helps neurodivergent people (those with dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism and ADHD) find work.

Back In Time for School

Back in Time for School is the most recent part of BBC Two’s Back in Time For… series where some secondary school pupils from Birmingham and Coventry experience what school was like from 1895 to 1999 as well as get a glimpse of what education could be like in the future. What I found particularly fascinating is how the rules and the teaching systems changed throughout the years from pupils being required to write with their right hands in the 1890s to electronic devices being confiscated in the 1990s and gender-segregated classes in the 1900s to mixed gender classes up until 1902 and from the 1970s onwards. The language of Esperanto in 1918, the evolution of school dinners throughout the years and the introduction of university technical colleges in 2010 are also parts of the series that I thought were astonishing as well as the freedom of pupils in the 1970s where they didn’t have to wear school uniform, were allowed to call their teachers by their first names and had the option to skip PE in favour of a sanctuary.

BRIT Awards 2019

I have been watching The BRITS for many years, although there were some years in which I didn’t watch them at all. Since moving to my own flat two years ago, I have found them easier to watch. This year’s ceremony was broadcast on ITV on 20th February. It was hosted by Jack Whitehall and he was just as funny this year as he was last year. I was pleased with most of the winners at this year’s awards (for a full list of winners, see the webpage towards the end of this post) and I particularly enjoyed the performances by George Ezra; Calvin Harris with Sam Smith,  Rag’n’Bone Man and Dua Lipa, and Pink.

The Great Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off

The Great Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off is a programme that I’ve been watching since The Great British Bake Off moved from the BBC to Channel 4. This year’s celebrities included Russell Brand, Jeremy Paxman, Caroline Flack, Michelle Keegan, John Lithgow, Nicola Adams, Rylan Clark-Neal and Johnny Vegas. The challenge  that stood out to me the most was the Showstopper Challenge where four of the celebrities had to make cake self portrait models. There were also some heartbreaking real life cancer stories on the series, especially the one about Michael, who was a father of one, and the one about Davina McCall’s sister. I even donated some money to Stand Up to Cancer.

Red Nose Day 2019 Appeal Show\

Red Nose Day is a fundraising day for Comic Relief that takes place every two years. Comic Relief is a charity that uses comedy to raise money that helps disadvantaged people in Africa, the U.K. and other countries. The 2019 appeal show was broadcast on Friday 15th March. Presenters included Lenny Henry, Emma Willis, Alesha Dixon, Zoe Ball and David Tennant. Ed Sheeran hosted a hard-hitting film about the deaths of homeless people in the U.K. while Henry hosted a film about how Fareshare can help food hungry people in the same country. Comedy sketches included One Red Nose Day and a Wedding, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! and Freddie Flintoff’s Top Gear Wind Up. Musical performances included those by Emeli Sandé with her new song Sparrow, Keane with their classic Somewhere Only We Know and Marti Pellow with Love is All Around. This year’s appeal show was very entertaining and I also donated some money to Comic Relief.

Fashion

EarsEverAfter Day of the Dead (Coco-inspired) Minnie ears, £18.50

I have a vast collection of Minnie Mouse ears from EarsEverAfter and Hannah Marie Magic. My latest pair is a Disney-Pixar Coco-inspired pair from EarsEverAfter. The ears are covered with black fabric with a Coco-themed pattern on them and they are adorned with a gold bow (customers can choose whatever colour bow they like). I also purchased a brooch from Twinkle Sprinkles to pin onto the bow that I will discuss next.

Twinkle Sprinkles Coco-inspired brooch (pinned to my Coco ears)

After having seen this brooch online, I thought they would be an ideal addition to my Coco-inspired ears. The combination of the ears and the brooch look perfect together with the contrasts of the black and the bright, bold colours. I even received a bonus white guitar-shaped pin from Twinkle Sprinkles, which was very generous.

Links

January, February and March 2019 Favourites Part 2: https://stompgal87blog.wordpress.com/2019/05/26/january-february-and-march-2019-favourites-part-2/

Lush products

Sleepy Shower Gel: https://uk.lush.com/products/christmas-products/sleepy

Sleepy Body Lotion: https://uk.lush.com/products/lavender/sleepy

Exceptional Individuals: https://exceptionalindividuals.com/

Back In Time for School: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bx7lxc

BRIT Awards 2019 winners: https://www.brits.co.uk/news/brits-2019-winners

The Great Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off: https://www.standuptocancer.org.uk/fundraise/bake-off

Red Nose Day 2019/Comic Relief: https://www.comicrelief.com/rednoseday

EarsEverAfter: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EarsEverAfter

Twinkle Sprinkles

Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Twinklesprinklestore

Independent website: https://www.twinklesprinkles.co.uk

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored blog post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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