Best entertainment of 2020 Pt 2

If you haven’t seen my last post about the Best Entertainment of 2020 you can read it here. This is the second part, focusing on TV shows and movies.

This is a collaboration with Karalee

Karalee’s picks:

Movies

Enola Holmes

Enola Holmes is about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister who searches for her missing mother. I love the cast especially Millie Bobby Brown as Enola and Henry Cavill as Sherlock, and the movie was entertaining. I hope they will make more Enola Holmes movies in the future!

The Grinch

I watched the animated version of The Grinch last month with my daughter, and we both liked it. She thought it was funny, and I enjoyed the animated style. The Grinch is a great family-friendly film.

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

I loved the book and movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, so I was excited to watch the sequel. In the second movie P.S. I Still Love You, Lara Jean and Peter make their relationship official, but another recipient of her old love letters shows up. Like the first book and movie, this movie has a cute plot and a great cast.

13th

13th is a documentary that explains how the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution led to the criminalization and mass incarceration of blacks. Even though the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, there was a clause that permitted involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Many of the newly freed slaves were arrested for very minor crimes and forced to work on the plantations again as punishment. The documentary explains other forms of suppression including the Jim Crow laws and the war on drugs that targeted minority communities. The documentary is helpful in explaining why Black Lives Matter today because there is still criminalization and mass incarceration of blacks.

TV Shows

The Circle

I watched The Circle at the beginning of 2020, and in The Circle, people live alone in apartments and compete for $100,000 by communicating solely through the social media platform – The Circle. The Circle is entertaining, and it was interesting to see if the catfish would be found out and sent home. I recommend watching this series if you like reality shows.

Nailed it!

I LOVE Nailed It! and every time a new season is added, I binge watch it. If you have not watched Nailed It! it is a baking competition where amateur bakers who are not that good at baking compete to win $10,000. There are now 4 seasons of Nailed It! and 2 seasons of Nailed It! Holiday, which I would definitely recommend watching!

Tiger King

Tiger King is a true crime documentary that was released at the start of lockdown and I binged watch the whole series. The series follows Joe Exotic, who is the former owner of a private zoo for big cats, Carole Baskin, who runs Big Cat Rescue, and other eccentric big cat owners. The series is wild and perfect if you like documentaries.

The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy has 2 seasons, and it follows the seven children with superpowers who were adopted by billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves to help save the world. Over time, the members of the Umbrella Academy disbanded, but following the death of their father, the six surviving members reunite. The plot is interesting and a mix of superhero, action, and drama genres. I also love the cast including Elliot Page and Robert Sheehan.

Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved Mysteries is a true crime documentary with 12 episodes that are about disappearances, horrific deaths, and paranormal encounters that are unsolved. My favorite episodes are “A Death in Oslo” and “House of Terror”, but all the episodes are interesting and terrifying.

My Picks:

TV Shows:

The Queen’s Gambit

A show about an award -winning chess player doesn’t sound that interesting but this I couldn’t take my eyes off this show. Orphan Beth Harmon navigates her life after being struck down with tragedy at a young age. As she battles addiction, her love of chess helps us her to come alive again as she meets an assortment of people on her journey to becoming a world-famous chess champion

Black Mirror

There’s nothing like a bit of satire to help you escape. However, it doesn’t help that 2020 was a bit like a full season of Black mirror complete with the horror fantasy elements. This show is perfect if you want to unwind and travel to the future, but be warned each episode will leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth after it ends

Bojack Horseman

An adult comedy about a cartoon horse who suffers with addiction and being both a narcissist but also relatable? This show is incredibly real about mental illness and worth a watch if you want to both laugh and cry at the same time.

Ratched

Think American Horror Story vibes. A dark drama about Nurse Ratched who is played by Sarah Paulson. The hospital she works at is famous for trying out new experiments on the human mind. There’s something about psychiatric hospitals in the mid 1900’s which screams both fascinating and horrific.

Check out Karalee’s blog here

“My name is Karalee, and I from Texas, but I currently live in Denmark. On my blog Tales of Belle, I write about beauty, books, and lifestyle”

Check out my Twitter and Instagram: @karaleecupcake

Best Entertainment of 2020

I’ve been super busy so I apologise for the late post but here’s my second part of the ‘Best of 2020’ series collaborating with the lovely Karalee. See my beauty picks here.

Video Games

The Last of Us 1+2

If you haven’t played this amazing video games series, then you’re missing out. The graphics are amazing and what could be more cathartic then taking out your lockdown frustrations on some zombies and villains? In post- apocalyptic America Joel and Ellie fight off cannibalistic creatures in their quest to smuggle Ellie to safety. This isn’t just an ordinary zombie killing game though, expect to have your heartstrings tugged as secrets come to life. The second instalment is just as gripping as the first and gives us the plot through two main protagonists. You won’t be able to put it down.

Spiderman

If you’re a Marvel fanatic, then you’ll love this game. Spiderman has always been my favourite super- hero! You get to play against all the old villains such as the Kingpin, Rhino, the Shocker etc. The graphics are visual perfection. I recommend playing this game to let off some steam because there’s nothing like KO’ing some bad guys to cheer yourself up

Any Super Mario Game

I don’t care if I’m over ten, these are the Holy Grail of gaming. Yes, you have a man but would he ever fight literal dragons in hundreds of castles to save your ass? If you didn’t play these games you definitely didn’t have a childhood because there’s nothing better than some good old platform gaming.

The Sims 4

Shockingly, I’d only played The Sims via a free version on Facebook before. To say the graphics were terrible was an understatement. I upgraded by downloading the Oracle version and spending hours building my perfect family. It was also super cathartic as I could cause drama between couples and the downloadable mods were a gamechanger. It was easy to make my characters drug addicts and have chaotic messy personalities.

Karalee’s favourites

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I have been playing ACNH since March, and it is still one of my favorite games to play. In ACNH, you move to a deserted island where you can decorate your house and the island, DIY and customize furniture and clothing, visit friend’s islands as well as mystery islands, fish, plant, catch bugs and sea creatures, find fossils, and complete quests. I love all the new updates and events that have been added, and I am looking forward to the next update. Also, my daughter has her own home on my island, and we have been playing together, which has been fun. ACNH is a great casual game to play.

Life is Strange 2:

Life is Strange is one of my favorite game series, and like the previous games Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, this game is episodic in that there are 5 episodes to play through. In LiS2, you play as Sean Diaz who runs away from home with his brother Daniel after a tragic incident, and throughout the episodes, you make decisions that impact the brothers and the ultimate ending of the game. I finished playing all episodes of the game, and I loved it, but I do think the previous two games were a bit better. With that said, LiS2 is worth playing. Before you play LiS2, I do recommend playing The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. This game is a free short game where you play as a 9-year-old boy and his super-hero alter-ego, Captain Spirit, and it ties into LiS2.

Nancy Drew:

During the summer, I replayed and ranked Every Nancy Drew PC Game by Her Interactive, and there are a lot of great games. In the games, you play as amateur detective Nancy Drew, and you solve different cases including investigating a ghostly horse in The Secret of Shadow Ranch and investigating a fashion designer in Danger by Design. The games are fun, and I loved playing them.

Planet Coaster:

In Planet Coaster, you build and manage your own theme park. There are different modes to play including Career mode that provides you with pre-established parks and you complete challenges in that park. My favorite mode is Sandbox because you can create the theme park of your dreams with no limitations on money. I recommend playing Planet Coaster if you enjoy tycoon games.

The Sims 4:

I have been playing The Sims since the original game, but I have never played with mods or custom content until 2020. I have made a list of My Favorite Sims 4 Mods and Custom Content, and they really do make the game more fun. I especially love the Slice of Life mod because it adds realism including more emotions, skincare, and sicknesses to the game. As far as expansion packs, I recently bought Snowy Escape, and I love the Japanese-inspired setting and all the new items. If you play The Sims, I recommend playing with mods and custom content and checking out the latest expansion pack!

Books

I’m a massive bookworm and have the ability to devour book after book easily…but this year I didn’t read as much as I normally do. Being in a pandemic really does affect your concentration eh? However I’ve set myself a reading challenge this year on Goodreads! So here are Karalee’s choices instead:

Karalee’s recommendations

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwauba: This book is a fictional account of a girl who was kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria and is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs. The book was emotional, and I did not know about Boko Haram before reading this book. Also, from the girl’s account, it seems like Boko Haram existed in a different time period, but in 2014 Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Chibok and the terrorist group is still presently active. The book also includes an afterword by Viviana Mazza who is a journalist and documented the real stories of women and girls who were kidnapped by and rescued from Boko Haram. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is not a light read, but it is eye-opening to the atrocities going on in the world. 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: Brown Girl Dreaming is the third book I read by Woodson, and it is about her own childhood in South Carolina and New York. Brown Girl Dreaming is an insightful read because Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s after the Jim Crow laws were overruled, but racial issues remained.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: Long Way Down is a short read about a boy deciding whether or not to murder the man who killed his brother in a gang related shooting. Long Way Down was a good read because it is a reminder to think the next time you consider someone a thug and to show empathy instead because you do not know their circumstances.

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen: I reviewed The Rest of the Story on my blog, and it is about Emma Saylor whose dad remarries and leaves for the honeymoon so she spends the summer with her mother’s family who she has not seen since she was a little girl. Throughout the summer, Emma’s identity feels divided between her father’s and her mother’s families. The Rest of the Story was a nice summer read that focused on family and identity, butI did find the plot slow at times.

You can check out Karalee’s blog here.

“My name is Karalee, and I from Texas, but I currently live in Denmark. On my blog Tales of Belle, I write about beauty, books, and lifestyle”.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @karaleecupcake

Pearl Palace Hotel Review

It was my first experience staying in a heritage hotel and the Pearl Palace in Jaipur, Rajesthan was the perfect choice. But what is a ‘heritage’ hotel, you ask? It can be defined as accomodation which has traditional architecture and has distinctive qualities which mirror the area’s way of life. *Boujie for cheap has entered the chat*

The artwork in this heritage hotel was breathtaking. There were statues and stonework recreating the multicultural aspects of India and it’s faiths. The bedrooms were themed and sported different colours, represented a diverse range of vibrant arts and were the perfect combination of luxury and tradition.

Check out how stunning the hotel is

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Look at that artwork tho, damn. I felt like a princess entering my own palace. The staff were lovely and attentive. But the food. Two words: Aloo Paratha. Add a coffee and I was set up for the day. The sister hotel Pearl Palace is two blocks away and has a rooftop restaurant called The Peacock Rooftop Restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to dine there but some of the dishes featured sounded amazing; Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Tikka etc. (If there was an award for how much Paneer a person could eat in a day, I would have won it by now).

I just loved the whole interior of the hotel and how it was Travelodge prices; it definitely gives British hotels a run for their money. Check it out: http://pearlpalaceheritage.com/. We paid  £191 for three nights (two rooms) which is a bargain.

 

 

 

The Fujishan Mishima Tokyu Hotel Opening Review

The Fujishan Mishima Tokyu Hotel Opening Review Visiting Japan has been a lifelong dream (that still needs to be fulfilled) and I was excited to be invited to the virtual opening party of a new hotel, the Fujisan Mishima Tokyu Hotel in the Shizuoka prefecture. The hotel group was founded in 2001 and has since expanded to 46 urban sites over 12,400 guestrooms. In 2015, five Tokyu brands split into 3: Tokyu Hotel, Excel Hotel Tokyu and Tokyu Rei Hotel to offer three types of hospitality. The opening party started with a myth busting video about Japan. Many people view Japan as too crowded, difficult, not for me etc.. Japan has over 230 registered traditional crafts and contains one of the oldest ceramic traditions. It also has the most hot springs, natural sources, ski resorts and Michelin star restaurants in the world. Japan exceeds expectations and there is something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, nature lover or so much more. The Fujisan Mishima is located just 45 minutes away from Tokyo. Shizuoka is famous for having the most green tea production in Japan, plenty of bikes for tourists and containing many shrines and temples for those that are looking to immerse themselves in culture on their holiday. The Mishima Shrine is a must-see. The gendered open air baths are the hotel’s top attraction boasting magnificent views of Shizuoka and an amazing place to unwind in. Fujishan Mishima men's bath I was given a first look at the hotel via Zoom which is a first for a hotel opening party. The luxurious lobby offers guests a warm welcome (complete with antibacterial hand gel!). The 14th floor had stunning designs and contained a spectacular open- air bath. This was accompanied with fabulous views of Mount Fuji. I also got a look at the restaurant on the 13th floor which was clean and polished. The restaurant offers traditional Japanese food and the speciality dish was BBQ cooked in front of the guest and excellent paired with Sake/whisky/beer. Western style meals are also served here so there is something for everyone
Restaurant

Rooms

The suites are substantial and have plenty of space. They also come equipped with flat screen TV’s and monumental bathrooms. The rooms are designed to exhibit beautiful views of Mount Fuji.
Twin Superior
The Family rooms have pink and green hues, representing the cherry blossoms of Japan along with the greenery of Shizuoka. There are traditional Japanese rooms and also Western rooms complete with Katame flooring.
Complete with an Old Japanese style table setting, the rooms combine luxury with an infusion of traditional Japanese culture. After experiencing the virtual opening party for the Fujisan Mishima, I’m extremely excited about potentially coming to view it in the flesh after I finally do embark on my long awaited mission to explore Japan. Check it out here.

My top picks on how to keep entertained during lockdown

It’s been three months of anxiety, overexcitement, boredom and fatigue. You’re looking for a wholesome way of entertaining yourself during this period of overkill. Here are my top picks for entertainment:

Netflix:

  • Money Heist: If you haven’t seen this amazing 4 part series on Netflix then what are you waiting for?! Guided by The Professor, fugitives take part in a heist to rob The Royal Mint in Madrid. Captivating and bold, this show has prompted me to think of my own criminal alias, taking inspiration from capital cities like the characters from the show. Delhi sorta has a ring to it, no?
  • Peep Show: I recently started this show and it’s been curing my anxiety. It’s a British sitcom about two flatmates who try to navigate society while trying not to fuck up. A must if you want to see some OTT comedy and feel better about your life
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: The perfect escape from ordinary life, you get to see beautiful drag queens compete for the crown. Lip synching, glamour and hilarious acting challenges, you really get sucked in to the competition.
  • Too Hot to Handle: This show definitely falls into the category of “Trash TV You Can’t Miss While Scrolling On Your Phone”. Think of it as Love Island on Steroids. A group of single Lads and Ladies are put on an Island with one simple rule: No sexual contact. If they break the rules, money from the prize fund is detracted. The aim of the reality show is to help the contestants form meaningful relationships and genuine connections.

Games

  • The Sims: I’d downloaded the game last year but never got round to playing it so this was the perfect time. Slightly addicted to making my family a chaotic, backstabbing mess but it’s ok. Spending thousands of pounds on a red gothic bedroom and then barely having a penny left has become the bane of my life but it’s ok, we live vicariously

via GIPHY

 

  • Pokémon Go: I had a long ass hiatus but I’m back. Going out on walks and tryng to catch Pokémon has become an act of self-care and is really wholesome and motivating
  • The Last of Us Part 1+2: If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the next instalment of TLOU series like me then you’ll be overjoyed to discover it is the perfect lockdown fix. Zombies and a captivating storyline make this a cathartic release for the soul and if you’re anything like me, lockdown will make you want to take out your frustrations on some fictiona characters. I would definitely recommend buying the first game if you haven’t played it.
  • Animal Crossing: So I haven’t purchased this game yet but I had to include it because it’s garnered such a mass following in a short space of time. I’ve heard that its such a calming, soothing game which lets you build your own village and take part in activites like fishing and bug catching as well as meeting other ‘villagers’. I’m gonna put buying this game at the top of my self-care list.

via GIPHY

 

Hope you enjoyed my picks for entertaining yourself during lockdown! Let me know if there’s anything you’d add x

Miami Munch: Where to eat

Miami Munch: Where to eat

Thought food in the USA just consisted of massive portions of congealed lard and a double portion of fries? Well you’re half right. Some portions are supersize but I found that there was a whole range of deliciousness in variety of cuisines Miami had to offer. Read on for my reccommendations!

 

  • Limonada Bar and Breakfast
  • I really fancied some eggs and this brunch place served me up with a tasty Eggs Benedict with a breakfast potato and hollondaise sauce of course which really hit the spot.
  • There were loads of other brunch options such as steak and eggs, multiple healthy variations of avocado and toast, a ‘craft your own omelette’ for the creatives, quinoa for the health freaks and sweet options such as waffles and Nutella french toast. Hangover brekkie is sorted and it’s a good ‘un.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Pink

  • This 50s style diner came with massive portions of comfort food on the menu and vibrant red canteen style tables and chairs for that extra chill factor
  • I ordered the Portobello Mushroom wrap which came in a substantially large tortilla wrap filled with salad and onions, served with potatoes
  • Did I mention the portion was supersize? It looks smaller in the photo I promise!
  • I washed it down with a shot of tequila which must have been at least two shots because this doesn’t look like the one I normally get at Spoons…
  • Is everything double here? Am I meant to share? What if I don’t want to?

 

Rosetta Italian Bakery

  • The perfect little bakery filled with lots of luxurious savoury and sweet slices to nurse that hangover after a night on Ocean Drive
  • Nutella doughnuts really satisfied my sweet tooth enough and there’s more custard and jam pastries if you’re still craving some sugary goodness
  • A lot of the late starts we had meant we missed breakfast so I was more than happy to grab a florentine or margharita slice which did the trick
  • There are also fresh juices and a range of breads.

 

1-800-Lucky

  • Set in a location that can be hailed Miami’s answer to Boxpark, there were a range of Asian foods from ramen to Vietnamese sandwiches with a variety of different flavors
  • Stir fried noodles mixed with sizzling veg and tasty tofu was the dish I opted for – are you drooling yet?
  • Hip Hop played from booming speakers outside and there was a cocktail bar which served a range of cocktails for $9. Did somebody say happy hour?

 

Chef Créole

  • Carribean food in Little Haiti? Let’s go!
  • I managed to find a vegetarian dish which consisted of flavourful rice and kidney beans, sweet plantain and salad which really satisfied my taste buds
  • Naturally, there was a variety for meat eaters to choose from like oxtail, barbequed ribs, stewed conch and fried fish

 

Burbowl

  • Takes the contender for one of the best burgers I have ever tasted
  • First you pick the choice of meat or veggie filling you want, then you can choose between a pretzel bun, lettuce wrap and potato bun, choose the type of cheese you want and salad and lastly an array of sauces to choose from
  • Served with waffle fries, this meal is the ultimate source of comfort food and it put me in a severe food coma

 

Bodega

  • Classic Mexican joint with a twist – the interior is small and resembles a Subway size seating plan but there’s a door at the back which opens up into a substantially sized casual Weatherspoons style bar
  • Waitresses are on hand to take drink orders and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the range of food options
  • I opted for soft veggie taco shells which were so good I have to order some more and paired it with a cocktail so I could start my pre-drinking early

Mega Pizza

  • Ok so this place may serve congealed pizza and bucketloads of cheese and fries but it was the perfect spot to get food from a night out when you’re drunk and craving junk food
  • Pizza, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, wings and side orders…this is the perfect place to pig out.

 

 

 

 

Netflix and “let’s procrastinate”

It’s that time after New Years where you’re in a state of zen and duvet bliss (after your new gym induction and motivational run of course) and what better idea than to switch on the ol’ Netflix and have a gander at the new shows which are all gripping the world at the moment. That and the memes which have been dominating Twitter.

(Mild Spoilers ahead)

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

I was eager and waiting when Netflix delivered the latest instalment of Black Mirror. It takes the form of an interactive story complete with choices that lead you to multiple endings. The path the story takes is down to you as you play as the main character, Stefan. Stefan hopes to create his own video game, aptly titled ‘Bandersnatch’. But it seems the game is playing him rather than the other way round…

You should also bear in mind that you have to unlock certain endings to replay different scenes to get alternative endings. The first choice is significant and boils down to what kind of cereal you like. *Sugar Puffs over Frosties till I die*

Some endings are humorous. Some are traumatic. And some are just downright weird. But it all boils down to the same thing. You get to ruin a young man’s life for your own entertainment. Poor Stefan.

 

stefan crazy gif.gif

 

You

Think of it as Gossip Girl Gone Wild. The narrative follows Penn Badgeley’s character Joe who starts off as an ordinary guy in a bookstore. Pretentious? Check. Slightly awkward? Check. We hear the story through his inner monologue which is constantly running, telling the classic boy meets girl love story as he meets love interest Guinevere Beck. Tame enough right? Except his observations are a bit too intrusive and thoughts turn into actions and well…he tips over to crazy psycho stalker. I won’t say any more but…eeeks.

 

joe you gif.gif

 

Look at that smile!

 

 

Emma Blackery Book Signing

Sassy British Youtuber and Musician Emma Blackery released her first book on the 7th September titled ‘Feel Good 101’ – I want to rave about how amazing it is and how equally great her book tour is as I had the pleasure of attending.

Emma has been one of my favourite YouTubers to date; her stringent, sarcastic coinage of phrases such as ‘I have girl balls’ and her ability to be brash about her flaws and her fuck ups. So when she announced she was doing a book tour a few months back, I jumped at the chance to see her and excitedly booked tickets for the London Piccadilly date.

I got to the Waterstones store and queued up, waiting for the doors to open for the room in which the Q&A would take place. Taking in all the excited young teenagers with brightly coloured hair and pastel t-shirts, I knew that there were a lot more people than just me who were pretty hyped to see Emma tonight.

We were hustled in and I took my seat and the shiny new book that was handed to me as I walked in.

When Emma entered the room there were excited ‘whoops’ and ‘ooohs’ as she took her seat at the front. Luckily, I had an aisle seat and could witness all the action from a pretty good view. The Q&A began and questions about her book, her experiences writing it and her influences arose. What had the process been like? Would she do a sequel?

I loved the fact that she was so candid and conversational throughout. I know that many Q&A’s are based upon that premise but Emma wasn’t just focused on professionalism but being also being honest and open and that was one of the primary focuses of her book.

After the Q&A, Emma began her book signings. A small group of excited teens began singing her songs in the midst of it and the Waterstones staff looked at each other with bemused expressions. As I became next in line, I handed my book to her and had a sort of stage fright moment not knowing what to say in these two minutes that would cement our (second)(more about that later) meeting.

“Hi, how are you?” she asks

“Fine! How are you?” I babbled.

“Mentally exhausted” she answered calmly, taking my book.

“Were you part of the singing?” she asked?

“No, I-my vocal chords weren’t up to that” I answered, nervously...(what the hell was I going on about lol)

“I’ve had people do that in gigs for me but never in Waterstones” she commented, delighted.

I forgot to give my phone to the ‘camera guy’ (stand in Waterstones staff) and there was an awkward moment where they had to ask me for it in the middle of this conversation.

“I just want to say, I have anxiety and your videos have really helped me” I put in as I took my book back.

“I’m really glad to hear that, there’s a section in my book about anxiety” she answers.

“Have a great day” she calls after me as I walk away.

“You too” I answer back, robotically as she turns to her next fan, flashing a smile.

The whole experience was small but sweet. Meeting Emma was a lovely, whole hearted experience.

Emma’s Channel