I've Been Watching #5

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Welcome back to another I've Been Watching :) I'm still completely addicted to Once Upon a Time, but in the interests of keeping these posts fresh, interesting and not full of "I'm-in-love-with-Captain-Hook-how-can-a-pirate-be-so-attractive" chat, I'll simply say Season 3 is utterly compelling viewing. It really is. Now, on with the update...

The 100

Pronounced "the hundred", just so you know, this is a show from US Network "The CW", where many of my favourite shows of all time have come from; it has now, however, been picked up by E4 and airs on a Monday evening (and is available on 4OD). In terms of genre, this tends to be what you might call the YA channel, only, much like all areas from music to movies to literature, YA has become a bit of a grey area, where the age at which it is initially aimed often has little bearing on the actual audience demographics. I'm a big fan of teen television, and will always defend it to people who dismiss it as nonsense (and trust me, I've heard that plenty times before). Anyway, The 100 is jumping on the Hunger Games/Divergent/youths in a dystopian future bandwagon, and again is based on a book of the same name. It explores a post-apocalyptic world, where planet earth has been rendered uninhabitable following a nuclear war, and the remains of the human race have lived on space stations for the past century. The pilot episode sees 100 "juvenile delinquent" types, (who have been imprisoned on the stations for a variety of crimes), sent down to earth to find out if earth has recovered enough for them to return to, with time and resources running out to keep the space stations going. The lead character, Clarke, is played by Eliza Taylor (anyone remember Janae from Neighbours?!) and I've been really impressed with her so far, while Henry Ian Cusick who plays my beloved Desmond in Lost also stars. The story is gripping and it's really nicely shot - there have been a couple of stunning scenes in the forest so far. We're only three episodes in and it's already incredibly creepy, with life on the 'uninhabited' planet earth proving to be a bit more complicated than anyone had expected. Definitely one to watch!

Not Another Happy Ending

Henry Ian Cusick makes another appearance in this 2013 rom-com set in Glasgow. Starring Cusick, the lovely Karen Gillan and Stanley Weber (amongst others), I desperately wanted to love this film - so much of it is shot in and around Merchant City in Glasgow. But honestly? I just didn't. I'm not actually sure what I thought of it. I found my concentration lapsing at a few points, because it just didn't grip me, and while I love Karen Gillan, I felt like her character wasn't quite developed enough for me to properly care about. When it comes to anything film and tv related, I'm all about character, and I just didn't really connect on this occasion. The premise was interesting - Gillan plays an author named Jane Lockhart, and the film explores her complicated relationship with her editor and publisher Tom (Weber), who believes she is unable to write when she's happy. It's a strange little film, and I think it probably had a lot of potential, but I wonder if the casting is what let it down? I'm not sure. If you've seen it and you liked it, or didn't like it, let me know!

Leesha Vlogs

I never tend to put YouTubers in these posts, and keep it mainly film and TV related, but over the past few months I've found myself totally addicted to Leesha's vlog channel - if you're into beauty on YouTube you might know her more from her main channel X-Sparkage. Last month she gave birth to her gorgeous baby girl Violet, and I've been following her and her partner Paul on this channel throughout the pregnancy. Her vlogs are just so chilled out and relaxed, and kind of what I want to make my vlogs like, if I continue daily vlogging for any length of time! Just now it's mainly about spending time with the baby, and getting used to parenthood, but for whatever reason I just find watching her videos so therapeutic. She just seems like the kind of person you'd want to be friends with, and I love getting a little glimpse into her day to day life - the wonders of YouTube!

So that's it for another edition of "I've Been Watching"! Hope you enjoyed that, and hope you're all having a great weekend!

Just as a sidenote, connected to something I mentioned earlier, I'm daily vlogging over on my YouTube Channel at the moment! If you fancy watching me endure the joys of dissertation work, job hunting, and see the buzz around Glasgow from the Commonwealth Games, pop over and check it out :)

Thanks for reading!

On Makeup

Monday, 21 July 2014

Much like my On Feminism post, this is something I've actually wanted to write for a while, but have put off because I've never quite managed to get the wording right. A little disclaimer before we get started - this is an extremely subjective post, all coming from my own personal experience!

I was listening to Colbie Caillat's new single "Try" this weekend, and watching the highly praised video. It really is a beautiful song and video, and a lovely idea. But part of it links into something which bothers me, and has done so for a long time. The notion that women could only ever wear make-up to impress other people. Namely, men.

In the age of photoshop and celeb culture, body image issues are all around us. The "perfect" body shape, the "perfect" face. Diets and exercise regimes and juice cleanses, plastic surgery to alter your body to what it "should" look like. Treatments to "fix" your hair. Anti-aging products, fake tans and hair removal treatments, diet pills and lip-plumping glosses.

The world is a hot-bed of insecurity and for women, it is particularly difficult. From such an early age you are fed ideas of beauty, and what constitutes beautiful - what size and what shape. Taught to cover up blemishes and create an image of perfection. Something that men are rarely exposed to because make-up is "girly", so men couldn't possibly want to wear it - a subject I don't feel I have the authority to write on what with not being a man myself, but something I think definitely deserves more of a discussion.

As someone with pretty strong feminist views, it goes without saying that this is something that I hate, and wish we could find a way to change. I'm excited to say that I genuinely feel like the body confidence movement has taken a small but positive step forward this year (check out the Body Confidence Revolution - led by Leyah Shanks - on twitter). However, lately there has been an influx of conversations around "taking your make-up off". From the make-up-free selfie to raise awareness for breast cancer - which was a wonderful idea in that it did in fact help to raise money - to the song I mentioned at the start of this post. The persistent implication, however, is that wearing make-up is something women only do to impress other people, and attract men. The irony in that is that half the time we hear men saying they prefer the natural look. I'm glad we are talking about this because so many people out there feel completely unnecessary pressure to conform to a certain ideal, with make-up playing a huge part in that. But for me, the way we are going about resolving this issue is problematic. Having someone tell me I shouldn't wear make-up, even with the best of intentions, annoys me just as much as someone telling me I should. I think whether I do or not should be up to me, and I'd like to think I won't be judged either way.

It's pretty obvious that I love make-up. I took a make-up artistry course after uni, and have obsessed over beauty blogs and YouTube channels for over five years now. All my life, the idea of make-up has excited me, and luckily I was born in that blissful period before the internet, when kids were allowed to be kids and weren't subjected to a barrage of body image messages from pre-school age. Although I didn't properly start wearing it until my mid-teens, as a tiny child I used to "do my mum's make-up" for her. That usually involved putting bright green eye-make-up on her, and drawing flowers and hearts in eyeshadow on her face. But I loved seeing what I could create, even at that age.

Since then, I grew up a bit, and rather than doodling daisys, I started seeing what I could actually do with make-up. The tricks of the trade - contouring my eyes or cheeks, getting that eyeliner flick just right. Finding the perfect lip colour to go with my blusher. To someone with no interest in the creative side of make-up, that just sounds sad, I know that. But when we live in a world where every time you turn on the news you learn about another horrific atrocity somewhere in the world, whether it's a sexual assault in Glasgow, or the devastation in Gaza, the world is a bit of a dark place these days. So if experimenting with make-up helps me have some fun and feel positive, you bet I'm going to do it.

I can only speak for myself, because make-up is an extremely personal thing. I absolutely hate the thought of young girls - in fact, women of any age - feeling that they aren't beautiful without make-up, or that they have to wear it to be accepted. You should never wear anything, be it clothes or make-up, that you aren't comfortable with. When I get up in the morning and go through my make-up routine, the only person I'm doing it for is myself. The kick I get out of my eyeliner actually perfectly matching on both eyes. The lift it gives me, taking me from the sleepy, not-at-all-a-morning-person, to someone ready to face the day. It's something I love to do. Does it boost my confidence? Absolutely. I have far from perfect skin, and the transformation I feel when going from bare-faced to "made-up" for lack of a better term, is phenomenal. But it's phenomenal for me, and me alone. It's a confidence booster, a mood lifter, a part of my routine which makes me feel good. It makes me feel creative - deciding what colour palette to work from, and changing up my lip colour from nude to bold from one day to the next. When it comes right down to it, make-up is fun, and that's why I love it.

Do I go out of the house make-up free? Honestly? Hardly ever. But I don't think that is a reflection of my self-esteem. If I hated every minute of putting make-up on, if I dreaded taking that foundation out of the drawer and taking the fifteen minutes out of my day to do my make-up, but did it anyway, then I would start to worry. Then, I might feel like I was doing it for someone else's benefit. Our society and "make-up free celeb" paparazzi shots, combined with our insecurities can trick us into thinking the moment we step outside make-up-less, everyone will notice us. But when was the last time you walked down the street, or sat on the train, and pointed out every make-up free woman you saw to your friends? When was the last time you even actually noticed a make-up free woman? If you feel like putting makeup on is a chore, and you simply cannot wait for lazy days in the house when you can go makeup free, if make-up doesn't lift your mood and bring you joy, you'll eventually find the confidence to stop wearing it every day. Because no-one should waste precious moments of their day doing something they don't have to because they're afraid they'll be judged if they don't.

But I don't feel that way. I know I don't have to wear make-up, I just want to. My eyeliner is as much a part of my identity as a tattoo, or a piercing on someone else. Every day, whether I'm going to uni, going on a night out, or spending the day at home, putting my make-up on gives me a buzz, the way going for a run is the highlight of a more athletic person's morning. I shouldn't have to deprive myself of that buzz to prove to anyone that I am a confident woman.

Being confident is about being completely comfortable with yourself, knowing what you love and believe in, and sticking to that no matter what. For me, the most important thing is that people feel good about themselves, whether that's make-up free, with a hint of mascara and lipstick, or a full face of make-up. What matters is that people know they have a choice. As long as we keep this conversation going, acknowledging the power the media has to warp our perceptions of beauty and force feed us images of airbrushed celebrities, we're on the right track. We just need to talk to kids from a young age about feeling body positive, and then the rest (what clothes they wear and whether or not they choose to wear makeup) can be well and truly left up to them.

So, although I love you Colbie, I'm quite happy to keep my make-up on for now. Because it doesn't feel like trying hard. It feels like being myself.

Thanks for reading!

Insta-Life Update!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Happy Sunday all! I hope you're having a lovely weekend. I, for one, am avoiding doing anything dissertation related for the day and I'm lazing around with a cup of tea and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - which I'm reading for the first time, and loving! I've seen the films but had never read the books, so when Emma got me them for my birthday I've made the most of my currently unemployed student free time and been getting lost in Bridget's world!

I thought for today's post I'd just do a little instagram life update - making more use of instragram is something I've found has really been helping me keep track of what I've been up to!

Emma, Gill and Cassie on my birthday night out / Turning 25 Cake - the best part of any birthday! /
Summer hairstylin' / TBT to my first graduation / Binge watching Once Upon a Time.

The end of June saw me turn 25 (see my "getting older resolutions" here!), celebrating with a night out on the town with my pals. We hit Horton's for drinks, and then put on our dancin' shoes and headed to ABC, and it was great. Round about then, the weather had been looking up, so I started experimenting with some summery hair styles - unfortunately, as of yesterday, the sunshine seems to have gone into hiding again! The 28th June (the day after my birthday) also marked three whole years since my graduation from Glasgow Uni, which I cannot get my head around! And, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been binge watching the amazing Once Upon A Time.

Dissertationing / Hamster sitting / Experimenting with hair chalk.

June and July (so far) has mainly consisted of dissertation work. It's quite a process, but it'll all be worth it in the end, I'm sure! We're also hamster sitting my mum's friend's hamster while she's on holiday, and I tell you - I'm never going to agree to pet sit for anyone once I move out, because I clearly get too attached. We are totally in love with this wee lady (her name is Apple), she is the friendliest hamster I've ever met, and we've had a few over the years! I also took the opportunity to try out some pink ombre style hair with the help of some hair chalk from Topshop - an excellent, non-permanent way to experiment with colourful hair!

Saturday night catch-ups / Karaoke for Roisin's birthday / Dinner in Bunker

Last night I caught up with Nikki, Roisin, Gill, Gill's friend Lauren, Gillian and Laura, over a wee cider in town. This resulted in Nikki and I tearing up laughing over a discussion of our favourite childhood television shows - SMTV Live anyone? And Mopatop's Shop - just what was Mopatop, does anyone know?!

Earlier in the week, we headed out for Roisin's birthday, and had a brilliant night of cocktails and karaoke in Lucky Voice in Glasgow. The price was so reasonable for the amount of time you get, so we're planning another night there at some point soon! The above is an action shot of Lynne and Gillian belting out a karaoke classic, while the rest of us joined in behind the camera!

And finally - more food and drinks, oh dear - Emma and I caught up with our friends Louise and Cassie for dinner in Bunker last week. I've been to Bunker lots of times for drinks, but never for dinner, and it was fantastic! The quality of the food was actually really impressive - I had a pulled pork burger with chips and an amazing a chocolate brownie with ice cream and caramel sauce - so good I want to go back just thinking about it. They also have some really good deals (50% off food on a Sunday, and main meals for £5 on a Monday - I think!), so if you're looking for somewhere casual but with good food to try next time you're in Glasgow, I recommend heading to Bunker!

Reading over this before I publish it, it all looks very lovely. That's the thing with blogging, and YouTube - as a place to talk about nice things, it can sometimes look like you're floating along in some sort of glittering bubble, with nothing bad going on to speak of. As a sidenote, and a healthy dose of reality, not everything is cocktails, cakes and daft nights out! I'm currently job hunting, which I'm sure we all agree is the WORST, and I might do a little post on that at some point soon. I think it's important to always remember that what you see isn't everything that is going on in a person's life - it's a collection of moments, carefully selected, and just a glimpse into their world! Having said that, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the fun parts of mine!

So that's it for my little insta-life update! Hope you're all well!

Thanks for reading!

I've Been Watching #4

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Starting as I mean to go on with my 'I'm going to talk about film and tv because I like to talk about film and tv' plan, here's another I've Been Watching! I think it's safe to say that when I'm not writing my dissertation or catching up with my friends to bore them with chat about my dissertation, I'm combatting the monotony of job hunting by watching lots and lots of my favourite things.

Once Upon A Time

I've been binge watching Once Upon a Time this week, and I really am "hooked" (Get it? Being as witty as I am is a curse, I tell you. Obligatory photo above of Captain Hook who I may or may not spend the majority of my viewing time swooning over). I adored season 1 and watched it when it was on Channel 5, but for one reason or another I managed to lose track of it round about episode five of season 2. This has now been rectified as Emma got me the seasons 1 and 2 boxset for my birthday, and I have been devouring it on a daily basis since. It is amazing. For anyone who enjoys fairy tales (take a look at my blog header and you'll see I'm a fan!), this show is an absolute must watch. It's also the creation of two of the brilliant brains behind Lost (Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz), which made me pretty certain I'd be on board from the start. It has a lot of really nice little similarities to Lost, with the dual worlds and the story flashing between one world/timeline and another. It also has a few of the same cast members, with Lana Parilla (minor role in Lost, but major role as the Evil Queen here), Emilie de Ravin, Jorge Garcia and Alan Dale all appearing already. Speaking of the cast, they are amazing. I'm a big Jennifer Morrison fan, and she is amazing as Emma, but every single cast member plays their part to perfection. It also has some fantastic, kick ass female characters which I really love - they've taken the lovely but often passive female characters from the Disney-style takes on fairy tales, and changed them up into really feisty, powerful women. I honestly cannot get enough of this show. Or Colin O'Donoghue/Captain Hook/Killian Jones...

New Girl - Season 3

I've only watched two episodes so far, so haven't got too much to say on it yet, but we all know I love New Girl. Nick and Jess are one of my favourite on-screen pairings, and the chemistry between the cast is electric. HOWEVER. What are they doing to Winston?! Writers, what's going on here?! I can honestly say that in season two, the references to Winston's uselessness when it comes to pranks were some of the funniest moments of the show - there's a scene between him and Schmidt that makes me cry with laughter every time I watch it (the bear in the restaurant plan, New Girl fans?! I'm laughing just thinking about it!). But in the past two episodes he seems to have gone from the sort of sensible one, who would always call Schmidt out on his nonsense, and give Nick a kick when he needs it, to a slapstick idiot, who has lost his grip on reality. I get the feeling the positive reaction they got to those scenes in season two made the writers decide to kick it up a notch, but for me, it just doesn't work, and actually puts me off watching a wee bit *cries*. That being said, I still love the show, and still love Nick and Jess's banter. Must catch up on episodes three and four soon.

24: Live Another Day

I won't say too much on this, since I mentioned it before, but after episode ten I couldn't very well not talk about it. 24: Live Another Day is knocking it completely out of the park - it is fully insane. Honestly, I was on the edge of my seat for the whole episode; it's actually quite exhausting viewing. I don't want to spoil this for anyone, so won't say anything specific, but the level of terror threat in this series is actually mind-blowingly scary. You're watching it, knowing it's a television drama, but it still sends chills down your spine. I think Kiefer Sutherland is playing it beautifully though, as he always does. Poor Jack has had quite a life. I love Jack Bauer, I really do. I simultaneously cannot wait to watch the next episode, and I'm frightened to watch it, because that will mean there's only one left!! I've missed it, and it feels like it's come and gone again too quickly.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Another reason to celebrate having Netflix, I watched this little gem a couple of weeks ago. I've wanted to see it for ages - I haven't actually read the book, but I read and enjoyed "Dash and Lily's Book of Dares" last year, which is a similar YA sort of story from the same authors. If you've got a couple of hours to spare, and you just want to lose yourself in a cute, sort of predictable, but easy going romantic movie, give this a shot. The entire story happens over the course of one night, and we watch the relationship between Nick and Norah (who have just met) take a few twists and turns along the way. It's not going to win multiple awards for life changing movie of the year any time soon, but it brightened up my evening, and I thought Michael Cera and Kat Dennings worked really well together on screen. One downside - I could not STAND Nick's ex-girlfriend, which I know is entirely the point, but still. She drove me well and truly up the wall!

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I bought this on DVD for my mum for her birthday or Christmas last year, but neither she and my dad, nor I, had got around to watching it, and I had forgotten we even had it. One of my friends was talking about it recently though, and he urged me to watch it, saying it was amazing. Sitting down to watch it one evening last month, I tweeted that it was my choice of film for the night, and instantly got messages from friends and followers on twitter saying "get your Kleenex ready'', with one of my friends saying she cried so much watching it her boyfriend's mum thought they were breaking up! Suffice to say, I was concerned about how I would react. Did I cry? You bet I did. I cried bucketloads. But it was absolutely worth it. The film follows a young boy named Oskar (Thomas Horn) in the aftermath of his father's death in the 9/11 attacks. He attempts to deal with his grief, and struggles to let go, causing a rift to form between him and his mum (Sandra Bullock), as we follow him on a journey to hold on to the remaining connection he has to his dad (Tom Hanks). I won't say any more than that since that's about as much as you get from the trailer, but it is a beautiful, sad, hopeful story about family, grief and moving on, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Have you seen any of these shows/films? I'd love to know what you thought! Or let me know what you'd recommend I check out next!

Thanks for reading!

All images sourced on my Pinterest board!

Turning 25 - Some Future Goals

Sunday, 6 July 2014

As some of you may know, last week I turned a quarter of a century old.

After a few days of not quite knowing how to process this, I decided to put together a little list of future goals to kick start this new chapter of my life. Nothing major. No "Get promoted to boss of major company by X year, get married by X year"... these are things we don't really have any control of. But I do want to make some little changes to the things I do have control over, and keep doing things I am doing now that are important to me.

So here, in no particular order, are a few of the things I intend to start or keep doing for myself. Let's hope the new, older and wiser (maybe?) Lynsey will manage to stick to them!

Drink more water:


I know this is a super cliched one (a few on the list are!) but this is something I have always really struggled with. The basic truth of the matter is that I don't really like drinking water. I would far rather have a glass of fruit juice or a cup of tea, or pretty much any other drink than a glass of water. But it is so important to drink it. Your entire system relies on it, both inside and outside. Recently, I've started trying to fill a pint glass with water and a splash of diluting juice to make me more likely to finish it, a couple of times a day - some days it works, others it doesn't. But I think if I start making myself do it every day, eventually it will become such a part of my routine that I'll hardly notice it. Fingers crossed!

Get my five a day:


Again, cliched, I know, but I am appalling at managing to get my five a day. I'm one of these people who gets really determined to do something (e.g. work more fruit and veg into my diet) for about a week, and then I get bored and forget about it. Much like the water, I need to find ways of working fruit and vegetables into my meals in such a way that it just becomes total habit, and something I don't have to consciously make an effort to do, or I'll quickly lose interest. The problem isn't that I dislike fruit and veg - I actually really like most of them (carrot, turnip and aubergine aside) when I remember to eat them. If anyone else has dealt with this in the past and found a way of doing it, let me know - I'll be forever in your debt!

Find an exercise class/sport that I actually enjoy:


I'm sure it will come as zero surprise to anyone who knows me that I am yet to find a sport in my life that I actually get any enjoyment out of. The fact of the matter is that I am just not the athletic type - I'd far rather curl up on the couch with a big mug of tea and a cake and watch Home and Away than do anything that resembles running around a sports field. As a young'un I have been extremely lucky to have a relatively fast metabolism, but now that I'm entering my mid-twenties, I know that in the future this won't always be the case. It isn't just about weight though - being fit is something I haven't put much effort at all into so far in my life, and I need to change that. Again, if anyone has been in this position and found an exercise class or a sport that they now love, please let me know!

Schedule more regular catch ups with friends I don't see often:


Anyone who has gone through school and possibly college or university knows the drill - you go from spending all of your time with your friends, to seeing them far less regularly when post-education life sets in. Some people have jobs while others are still studying, and many of them move to different cities, or even different countries. Suddenly friendship is something you actively have to make time for, and it can sometimes feel like people are inadvertently slipping away simply because clashing schedules mean you rarely spend time together any more. I'm lucky that I see most of my close friends on a weekly or at least monthly basis, but there are others I sometimes go months without seeing, for the aforementioned reasons. That's definitely something I want to reassess - you hear people saying that once folk are married and babies are appearing left right and centre, friendships often go out of the window, and I've always been determined that I'll never let that happen. Friendships, like relationships, require time and effort, so if someone is important to you, no matter how busy you are, make time to see them.

Keep pinning happy thoughts on Pinterest every night:


This is a daft one, but since I've starting ending each day by pinning a few positive quotes on Pinterest, I've definitely noticed I'm going to sleep feeling a bit more positive. It sounds ridiculous, but your mind is such a powerful thing, and feeding it little positive thoughts on a daily basis is a good way of injecting some inspiration into even the most boring of days. This might not work for you, but I've learnt over the years that it definitely does for me. Quotes make me happy, and remind me to appreciate what I've got.

Do some fundraising:


If, by any chance, you follow me on twitter, you'll probably see me retweet a couple of charities on a regular basis. I spend a lot of my time these days thinking and reading about the work these charities do, and while I have donated to them, I haven't ever done a fundraising campaign of my own. Before the year is out, I want to have rectified that, so keep your eyes peeled for more on that soon.

Stop worrying about Film & TV related posts:

Check out this post!

This is my little corner of the internet, and I do it for myself. Somewhere along the way, however, I seem to have got it into my head that people don't want to hear me talk about film and (in particular) television, and it makes me hold back on writing those posts. I think it's because my TV related YouTube videos get so few views, it's made me think no-one will care. But do you know who does care? Me! I LOVE television, it's one of my biggest passions, and I could talk about it till the cows come home. So from now on, I don't care if not a single person reads, watches or comments on a film and tv related post or video - I'm going to make more of them because I want to, and because it's important to me. I started this blog as a place for me to write about the things I love, so that's how I'm going to continue.

So there we have it - a few goals for the newly 25 year old me to work towards. I'll check in again at Christmas time (the beauty of having a birthday exactly six months before Christmas!) and let you know how I'm doing with them!

Thanks for reading!