Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro: Book Review

“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.” 

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The story of how I discovered and decided to buy the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, Never Let Me Go, is actually quite funny – me and my mum were watching Pointless over dinner, we love trying to answer the questions on it and seeing if we’d do well if we were on the show. It’s actually a typical dinnertime thing that happens that I look forward to because obviously I love bonding with my mum. But this one episode the category was books shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and this book came up and my mum asked if I had heard of it because Ishiguro’s books were meant to be highly spoken of and from there I looked up the summary on it and added it to my to read list! I’ll say this though, the blurb only hints so little of how many interesting themes and the amazing story in this novel.

Photo 10-11-2017, 03 28 42.jpgKazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel-Prize winning novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan but him and his family moved to Guildford, Surrey when Ishiguro was the age of 5. Interestingly enough, Ishiguro’s first novel was the thesis he wrote in his Master of Arts in Creative Writing – I love finding these kind of things out about authors/novelists because it gives me inspiration and hope almost to continue with my own writing and trying to improve. This is my first Ishiguro novel to read but after finishing Never Let Me Go, I would love to read some of his other novels. His writing flows beautifully and the tones and emotions he puts into scenes are beautifully executed.

(Reading warning: Spoilers from here on out)

Never Let Me Go follows the reminiscing of Kathy H. She is a thirty-one year old carer and has had this job for almost twelve years. She talks about her time at a place called Hailsham which is pretty much a boarding school that her and many other students, which all have something in common, attend. Throughout the book she talks about childhood memories like watching other students prank a boy named Tommy, the different guardians (pretty much teachers) they have, how they can attend exchanges and sales to pick up secondhand items and art for their collections and the most peculiar experience of them all – how a mysterious woman they all call ‘Madame’ visits every so often to look at different kind of art the students create and take the art away.

Nostalgia and memories are big themes in Never Let Me Go, as the story is made up of a lot of memories Kathy has of Hailsham, her best friend Ruth, a boy named Tommy and when they move into cottages after Hailsham. However during their time at Hailsham, the students discover something about themselves and their future which separates them from any usual child – A) they’re clones and B) they’re destined to give away their vital organs until ‘completion'(death) before they even hit middle age.

“None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you are created to do. You’re not like the actors you watch on your videos, you’re not even like me. You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided.” 

What is so interesting about this twist to me, is that it wasn’t an ending twist, it wasn’t like a massive emotional dagger to stick in the characters, and in fact Kathy isn’t even shocked by it. It comes at the end of part 1 and I did almost find myself going ‘how could they keep this from them?’ and maybe expecting the rest of the story to be Kathy, Tommy and Ruth escaping from their fate. Although, that does almost happen, eventually in the story, the main three hear a rumour that finding Madame and proving two clones are in true love can defer becoming a donor and they do go on a journey to try to discover this – the ending is very bittersweet and does end with the accepted fate for Ruth and Tommy. Kathy is still alive at the end of the story but we are safe to assume she will go on to become a donor like her past friends and students.

After I finished the book, a lot of the afterthoughts and what this story means to me and how interesting the themes didn’t actually hit me until an hour after. Like I said, nostalgia and memories are a big theme in it and I think what’s really educational and inspiring about Ishiguro’s story is that the difference between Ruth and Kathy is Kathy holds onto her memories, the quote at the beginning of my review is actually said by Kathy, she doesn’t ever try to deny her past or even mistakes she’s made or arguments she’s gotten into compared to her best friend Ruth who when they move on from Hailsham has moments of possibly forgetting memories of Hailsham and pretending she’s past of it, she even confesses to Kathy that she asked the caretaker of the cottages they live in after Hailsham to take away her old stuff from school. I resonated massively with Kathy because I hoard so much stuff from growing up, I keep diaries, I keep journals, I have a notebook where I try to write down every positive memory or thing that happens, I have a box in my room that I put stuff that reminds me of happy times (old tickets, photos etc.), I keep my old teddies from childhood, I keep all my old schoolbooks etc. etc., I’m obsessed with keeping memories close to me and keeping as much as I can in my thoughts. Kathy and Ruth’s lives are so much shorter and planned out than mine and because of Kathy keeping all these memories, look at the story it provided – I think it just shows how important memories and nostalgia is and how bittersweet it can be.

The other theme and afterthought that stuck with me is the themes of time and morality – a quote that actually comes from the movie adaption of the book really spoke to me too: ‘We All Complete.’. It basically sticks with me in the way the saying ‘memento mori’ sits with me – our time on earth is timed and not limitless, we need to appreciate the time we have on earth and appreciate the memories we make. Why didn’t Kathy, Ruth and Tommy run from their fates? Because it’s what they were taught since childhood, although subliminally, and they know nothing else – much like us humans. We know nothing else than to live our lives out as long as possible, stay healthy and try to follow our dreams.

I just love that this story haunted me even after reading it, it kept me thinking and bringing up the story to my mum to get my thoughts on it out – this book would be so good for book clubs because there’s so much you can discuss. It makes you think so much about mortality and a different view on growing up although Kathy’s memories are not different and unique because of her being a clone – they are so human and she has stories that a lot of people could resonate with. I really recommend picking up the book, it was shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize for a reason!

You can purchase ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro for £6.99 on Waterstones. UNIDAYs also do a 10% student discount (online only).

Thank you for reading,

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Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi: Book Review

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In June this year, I bought and downloaded ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi onto my tablet, and I finally completed it today and it was such a different book from the ones I normally read and very relevant for the UK’s Black History Month that I wanted to talk about it. It is an amazing piece of literature definitely deserving a review. 

Yaa Gyasi is a Ghanaian-American novelist and Homegoing is her debut novel. At only 26 she has already won awards for this novel and of course, they are well deserved. According to her Wikipedia, Homegoing was inspired by a trip to her home country of Ghana, that she had not visited since being an infant. Homegoing is a phrase used for African-American funerals and is a big part of the culture and history. Back in the days of the slave trade, slaves believed death meant their soul would ‘go home’ and return to their native place in Africa. Of course, as the novel starts in the 18th century and explores the theme of slavery so raw and bluntly, I can see why Gyasi used this as a title. Of course, when I started reading I knew deep down this book was going to be more educational to me than it would ever be empathetic because this is a book of black history and the suffering, discrimination and such African people went through from 18th century onwards. I think it is a good idea for white people to read stories like this as it’s stories that are true and need to be told. Not forgotten. So many people went through so many things to even get to where we are today and in recent stories such as the rise of Black Lives Matters, the obvious problem of racism in many industries and shootings of black youth by police – it’s very important to remember we’ve still got a long way to go in learning from our ancestor’s discrimination and cruelty.


Admittedly I was terrible with keeping up on my reading on the first few chapters of Homegoing but I don’t put that down to the writing or topic at all. I’m very bad for procrastinating reading. But recently I picked up Homegoing again and got sucked back in and even between University classes or on the tram home I have found myself wishing I had more time to ‘just finish this chapter’ or ‘find out who the next character is’. Each character was so different but I loved how you could trace back the relatives and descendants to the original characters of Effia and Esi. Family/ancestors are an important theme in this story. It also explores two regions of Ghana, the Ashanti people and the Fante. From reading this I am so in love and amazed by Gyasi’s knowledge and research of her culture and the past of Ghana. Even at the end of the book I looked at her list of references and was incredibly impressed. The passion to spread the knowledge and history of Ghana is so amazing and Gyasi is an incredible author and writes each character so beautifully and makes each of their stories so unique, that you find yourself glued to the book intrigued.

Gyasi does not spare anything writing the honest past of these characters and how some of them lived through well-known history including the African Slave Trade, the Plantation era, segregation in the US, riots, war on drugs etc., it left me feeling like I had gotten a more honest and powerful insight to how people of colour experienced these times. A quote that stood out to me massively about half way through the book was:

“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?, Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.” 

This stood out because I think it’s a quote and question to ask yourself even now. What’s in the history books in school in the US isn’t always correct. Things are missed out, people are missed out. Think of the Ferguson riots and many other riots after innocent black youth had been killed after. Thankfully on Twitter, people are lot more quick to notice the anomalies, but there was so many call outs for ‘trustworthy’ media ignoring important facts or honest stories from black witnesses. Media would paint the white policeman as a victim and the barely even adolescent black child as not. In this day and age, racism is systematic and history is changed to suit those who are in charge.


As I prepared to write this review, I actually scanned over other people’s reviews and one talked about how most ‘the past of slavery’ centered books tend to just be there to shock and upset. I don’t really agree and I definitely think Homegoing is different from that. It doesn’t give you a bird’s eye view, it puts you right there in the character’s shoes. It takes you through generations to see how, even though the African slave trade is in the past, things still effect people of colour today. There is still lasting effects and that we shouldn’t ever forget about it. It’s not something we can brush under a rug or let a white leader convince us that it’s all ‘over and done with’.

I wanted to make this a spoiler-free review but I’ll mention briefly, the ending characters who close the book for me were based in the 21st century, I’m guessing around 2001. The final female character, Marjorie, takes our final male character Marcus back to Ghana where she grew up, more specifically, the Cape Coast. The story itself starts with fire and fire is actually a prominent theme throughout the story, however as the two characters stand on the beach in the sun there is this one paragraph:

She walked to where he stood, where the fire met the water. He took her hand and they both looked out into the abyss of it. The fear that Marcus had felt inside the castle was still there, but he knew it was like the fire, a wild thing that could still be controlled, contained.”

I thought this was such an amazing little scene that I actually wrote it down. I loved the contrasting symbolism of starting with a fire and ending with water. I can never spot or decipher exactly what this symbolism could have meant to the author but I feel it was to maybe be a metaphor for the character’s futures. The vast, big sea on the coast of Ghana, the character’s ancestors homes – where it all started. To show despite all of the anger, distress, brutality, violence and suffering the characters go through during the book, they are still there. They are still strong and part of the Earth. Their ancestries are important stories to the Earth and despite how horrible the world can be, people will keep fighting. The ocean scene is almost like a healing scene compared to the rest of the book, although it is clear you are meant to understand that racism and discrimination is still rampant, the two characters are given a moment of peace and clarity, of happiness.

I think this is definitely a novel to pick up this year and read as it is so educational and relevant even now. The cover art I have seen for it is also beautifully illustrated and it’s just such a raw, enthralling book that I might consider getting a physical copy for myself to read again in the future.

Thank you for reading, Homegoing is currently available here on Amazon UK

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21.01.17 – Central Vegan Festival

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Hello lovely world,

So today me and my gorgeous friend Natt popped into Manchester to visit the Central Vegan Festival that was taking place! Manchester was extremely busy today and I’m glad to know one of the many things going on today was the Women’s March taking place. Now I’m gutted I couldn’t go, mainly cause I left it to late in the day to make it and my anxiety was acting up a bit so I was wary about going into big crowds but I hope in future I can attend more marches. Of course, Manchester’s march wasn’t as massive as Washington’s but I am so proud to see how many people attended the march in my hometown. It makes me so proud and even feel a little bit more optimistic that I know so many women of all types – black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, white, disabled, gay, bisexual, trans, cisgender, mothers, single women, elderly women, teenagers etc. etc. are standing strong and looking out for each other after the news of Trump coming into presidency in the US. All the images and videos of marches around the world fill me with hope that so many people want to fight against the despairing, patriarchal presidency taking place.

I recommend taking a look at the images and videos on social media just by searching #WhyIMarch or #WomensMarch. It’s truly inspiring.

The vegan festival also took place in Manchester today and it’s my first proper vegan festival that I’ve attended. It was quite small and humble but very crowded and well-attended! It had that festival feeling where you’re shuffling around slowly and taking everything in, but I really enjoyed it despite the slow movement! There was tons of food stalls serving fresh vegan meals and although I couldn’t eat things from every stall I managed to try a gorgeous slice of ‘pepperoni’ pizza from Vegan Pizza Co.’s stall and I also treated myself to a batch of loaded nachos from Mex It Up‘s stall.

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The staff at both stalls were also super lovely! Next up me and Natt had a lovely look around the other stalls, I recognised a stall for Wear Your Voice UK, who do really nice vegan and anti-cruelty prints on t-shirts and jumpers. I already own two that I’ve bought online but it was really exciting seeing them at a stall in person.

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There was also a very cute stall there from a shop named Rogue Gypsy who did crystals and crystal jewellery. Now I’m a sucker for anything with crystals on so I had to buy something and me and Natt ended up deciding to get matching necklaces (cause we cute)! The man at the stall was super lovely and even told us about the crystals on our necklaces, and gave us a little slip with facts about the crystal with our necklaces.

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Finally, of course, comes the snack haul – because I love food and I can’t help hauling vegan snacks. I managed to nab up some vegan sweet treats from Ananda Food‘s and Forgot the Egg‘s stall which was exciting, as well as picking up some other treats as seen below!

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From left to right: two ‘Wheaty chorizo spacebars’ (they remind me of pepperamis but way better), Raw Cacao Ombar Buttons,, Ananda’s Choca Mocha marshmallows, a Marshmallow pop from Ananda’s, a gingerbread man from Forgot the Eggs and V-Bite’s dairy free Fudgee bites.

All in all I am extremely excited to try some of the stuff I picked up today and fully recommend popping to a vegan festival in future, even if you eat meat and you are curious about the food and such!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day,

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a little Moana (2016) Review

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Growing up I was always enamoured by the aesthetic and art of Lilo and Stitch, there was never a Disney film quite like it. Lilo and Nani stood out as characters with their unique beauty and personalities. Admittedly a flaw of Disney female characters is they do tend to conform to western beauty standards of thin, hourglass figure with skin as pale as winter snow (no offence, Snow White!). The lovely Nani in Lilo and Stitch was definitely a good turn in direction for female character design and one of the first things I fell in love with in Moana was the character design because it brought me back to how much I adored Lilo and Stitch.

The list of what I loved in Moana is exceedingly long, and I imagine if I was to see it again I would find more and more little details that I absolutely adore. Moana’s character design for a start was gorgeous and she has definitely hit top spot of favourite female characters. She has so much personality and curiosity. Right from the start when ‘crazy grandma’ – Grandma Tala is telling the young babies of Motunui the story of demigod Maui and the heart of Te Fiti, you instantly spot Moana’s unique charm as she is the adorable baby sat at the front taking everything in with intrigue. The beginning sequence of baby Moana wandering off on her own and looking after the little turtle back to shore made me fall in love with her as a character. Boy, do I want a kid with that kind of adoration for her environment. I was literally squee-ing into my hands watching that whole sequence as not only was it adorable, but it made me excited to see the rest of the story. The art also put it right out there, that you could be damn sure the rest of the film was going to be stunning.

The soundtrack was an absolute dream, to be blunt. Every time a musical piece started up, a smile instantly lit up on my face. ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen might as well be forgotten and dead because ‘How Far I’ll Go’ is absolutely beautiful. I’m going to be listening it to weeks at this rate, so if you ever see me on public transport trying my best not to dramatically dance? I’m probably listening to that. Maui’s solo ‘You’re Welcome’ also brought a grin to my face, which leads me to one of the other good points of this film. I absolutely loved the Rock playing Maui, he played the character so well and really brought Maui to life. As well as Auli’i Cravalho playing Moana. It really surprised me to learn that Auli’i hasn’t been in anything else and didn’t even think of auditioning for her? I’m so glad she did because I couldn’t imagine Moana with any other voice!

The other characters stood out as well, despite Moana and Maui being the mains. I loved Moana’s grandma and thought her little parts in songs were really sweet, they even gave me goosebumps. The mascot characters were hilarious too and didn’t get old, although I would of loved to have seen more of Moana’s pet pig Pua.

Would I recommend Moana for all ages? Of course! Maybe I am biased because of my eternal love for Disney musical films and awesome female characters but I think Moana is my favourite film for 2016. It has such a good message that you should follow your dreams but not forget your roots or where you come from. I would definitely take my nieces to see it because I think they would equally fall in love with Moana and Maui. There are some parts in the underwater world thing, when Moana and Maui seek out Maui’s hook, where the ‘evil creatures’ seem quite spooky because of the ‘bioluminescence’ style colouring but aside from that the film is so amazing for both children humour and adult humour alike.

If you’re looking for a lovely film to see this weekend with your partner, family, friends or even just taking yourself to see a film, I definitely recommend Moana for a heart-warming, inspiring tale with humour and an amazing soundtrack!

Have you seen it already?

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I disappeared again (ft. elizavecca hell pore clean up mask review)

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It’s been too long, I wonder if you guys can even remember my name?! I’m so sorry for disappearing again. Life is still being hectic for me or I’m avoiding every responsibility by lying in bed or playing Overwatch (I may have a slight obsession with it). It’s T-Minus 13 days until I go and get the keys to my university accommodation and around 3 weeks until I actually start I believe. As well as that I got a notification off WordPress yesterday saying it’s my 1 year anniversary of starting this blog?! How time flies.

So I decided to return with a silly little cosmetic product review because A) I bought a cute Korean product off Amazon that I wanted to share and B) the packaging is TOO cute not to share widely on the internet. The product is ‘Elizavecca: Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask’ and is a face mask that eventually firms on your skin and you peel off to deep clean pores and remove impurities. One of the biggest things that annoys me about my face is the fact my pores are the most open/obvious thing ever. Especially on my nose and chin area; a lot of the time makeup never really sets well on some areas of my skin and throughout the day it’ll become oily and the pores will be obvious. I’m yet to find a cruelty free primer that makes my skin look almost pore-free but I guess that’s life ey? Everybody has pores and I think me and probably a lot of others forget there’s a softener tool on social media so people can SEEM like they have flawless pore-free skin…

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I purchased it here!

So this is the box it came in! I’m absolutely in love with the design, the colours are so bright and the illustration on the box is so cute and funny. I love the little devil pig that looks like it’s going ‘huff huff!’ in annoyance of the blackheads! As I said this product is Korean so a lot of the text on the box is not in English aside from this one side, which was quite helpful!

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This side of the box basically explains what the product is meant to do and the warnings just in case of allergic reactions! This product is basically a face mask that dries on your skin and when you peel it off it should remove impurities such as blackheads and whiteheads from your pores. I instantly thought of those nose peel masks you can get to try and individually cleanse the pores on your nose or of the clay masks that help firm your skin and remove dead skin. So let’s go through the application and my outcome!

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My silly face up there is how my skin looks when I’ve taken off my makeup and prepped my skin for this face mask! If you look closely you can see I have quite a few blemishes on my cheeks and chin, as well as that my nose and the patch of skin in between my eyebrows have quite open pores or tiny, tiny blackheads. Has anybody else got those tiny blackheads in their nose, that have seemed to be there since forever but are yet to find a way to get them out without making your nose break out?

The dark grey face mask is contained in a tube so you can use the amount you require and easily seal it back up afterwards which is really useful! So I applied a thin layer to my face making sure all the nooks and crannies such as around my nostrils and under my chin were covered so I can catch them tiny blackheads and I left the mask on for around 20-30 minutes. Definitely make sure you do not accidentally put the mask on your eyebrows because that will hurt when it comes to taking the mask off.facemaskselfie

After a lovely little session on Snapchat pulling stupid faces and trying to sing songs whilst my face was basically feeling like cement (the face mask dries very firmly) I decided to start peeling off the mask – let me warn you, I completely forgot about the practically invisible tiny hairs on the bottoms of my cheek but instantly remembered them when I peeled this mask off! I swear it may have plucked a couple out cause it stung a bit, but after I got past that it was very easy to peel off!

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I did notice my skin felt a lot firmer when I peeled the mask off and the pores on my nose were dramatically smaller. I tried to inspect some of the mask I had peeled off but I’m not sure I could see much aside one or two bits of dry, dead skin. To conclude, I think this mask definitely worked in a small way. Perhaps I may have expected a bit much of a face mask cause I was expecting to see all my blackheads suddenly pulled out but I think that was me dreaming too much. Although I am super happy to see my pores reduced and think I will keep using this mask, maybe even just around my nose area instead of the whole face to help keep my pores minimized and tight!

I hope this was a good read guys and I hope it helps anyone planning to buy this product or looking for something new to try in their skincare!

Thanks for reading,

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Favourite Cruelty-Free Products in May

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I can’t believe it’s already June and it’s like 3 months until I start University and 7 months until Christmas – where does the time go? So in honour of it being the end of May and that June has graced us with her presence; here’s a quick article of my favourite cruelty-free products this month!

1.Anastasia Beverley Hills Dipbrow Pomade

I’m honestly so surprised and thankful that this product has the cruelty-free stamp! I’ve seen this brow gel used by many makeup artists/fanatics on youtube and whilst envying their perfect looking eyebrows, I decided to treat myself and get it. I’m so glad I did as I think it makes my brows look way better and more textured, plus the application is so easy. You do need to separately invest in a brush for using it and I literally just picked up a cheap seventeen angled eye brush from Boots and it applies fabulously. I bought mine on Beauty Bay for £15.00, I’m quite glad about the price as I think you definitely get what you pay for.

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2. DIRTY Springwash Showergel from Lush Cosmetics

As mentioned a million times in past blogposts, Lush is one of my all time favourite stores and when I’m not able to stock up on their Winter Limited Editon shower gel which is Snow Fairy, my favourite showergel to invest in, especially during the summer, is Dirty. Now I only got a good whiff of their Dirty fragrance last year as one of my friends wears the body spray from Lush, but I absolutely love it; it’s so minty and almost cooling, so in showergel form it really works wonders on hot days or after exercise, it also has quite a calming side to it’s scent so I love using it in showers before bed too! I paid about £16 for a big bottle of it so it’ll last me a good few months however you can get smaller bottles in Lush for around £4.95!

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3. Superdrug Instant Cooling Spray

In regards to my previous blogpost, it’s been absolutely boiling some days recently. Either that or when I go to the gym I end up so humid and hot that it feels rather gross. Back in the days at high school and such, I’d always try to counteract my body reacting to heat and sweating by spraying tons of Impulse body spray on my school uniform as if that would do anything. However all I probably did was make the top layer of my uniform smell kind of fragranced for a few minutes and choke everybody else in the room with the smell of artificial vanilla. One day impulsively on the way to my boyfriends, I remember popping into superdrug for something small like pads or dry shampoo; something I probably forgot to pack and it was a very warm day so I decided to grab superdrug’s own cooling spray. As the majority, if not all, of superdrug’s own; the spray is cruelty-free stamped! I like spraying it on my wrists, inner elbows, forehead and neck if it gets too warm for me and it really does cool me down!

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4. Fritz-kola Stevia & Fritz-limo Melon

Unfortunately this ‘fave of the month’ might be a little less obtainable than the others, but I wanted to give it a special mention because at my lovely new job in a certain beloved vegan cafe/shop in Manchester; I am consuming these drinks so much recently if I want a soft drink! V Revolution in Manchester sell a range of fully vegan soft drink brand Fritz! Their drinks also contain all natural ingredients including their caffeine. My favourites are definitely the Fritz-limo melon and when I’m in mood for something that’s a bit more like coca-cola or pepsi, I go for the Fritz-kola stevia! I’m still intrigued to try Fritz-Sugar Free and the plain out Fritz-Kola so I’ll have to fill you all in if those are just as tasty!

So those are my cruelty-free favourites for the month! I hope soon in the future I can swap out more makeup products and such for cruelty-free ones. Have you got any favourite products you discovered in May? Would love to read your comments!

 

Thanks for reading,

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Captain America: Civil War Review

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The other day me and my boyfriend Will had a date night and got to finally watch the long awaited first Marvel hit of the year – Captain America: Civil War. Admittedly, I hadn’t been hugely vamped up for this film as much as other Marvel fans are, however I can admit that those fans were not wrong for being excited as I absolutely loved every minute of Civil War. This post will start including important stories when I post the word ‘Spoiler’, so let’s start with the stuff everyone can hear.

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First of all, I would recommend watching the first two Captain America films before Civil War. Both films give you all of Steve Roger’s backstory so you understand his motives in this film, as well as stories of important characters Bucky Barnes, Peggy Carter and the Agents of Shield. I personally don’t think you’d need to see the first Avengers film, but the second Avengers film – Age of Ultron; would be worth watching as it introduces you to some of the characters in the film and how the character Vision becomes a thing. Another point is, much like this year’s Batman Vs Superman, I personally wouldn’t recommend taking young children to see Civil War. I work at a cinema and have been seeing parents take very young children, and it is allowed because of the 12A rating however there are some scenes that I personally think wouldn’t go past me as a kid. Considering the film is sold as a rivalry between Captain America and Iron Man, there is of course TONS of fight scenes. Although I think the part of the film I think is a bit out there for children to see, is a particular scene where the film’s antagonist tortures another villain by basically hanging him upside down and lowering him into water – the characters are obviously sold as villains and not characters to look up to, but the scene goes on for a few minutes and some parents might find it too dark for young children.

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Ok so, spoilers ahead!

The film dives straight into the action, like most Marvel films, with an awesome scene of the new Avengers, fighting in Sokovia – in the aftermath of Age of Ultron. Unfortunately in this mission, Scarlet Witch – whilst attempting to protect Captain America from a grenade – destroys a building full of innocent people. This whole scene is the leading impetus for the whole film. From this the government declares a United Nations deal to the Avengers which tells them they should sign the deal, make the government aware of their alias and publicly take responsibility for damage that is made. Captain is against this deal, however Tony Stark is very much for it after hearing a woman’s story of how her ambitious, intelligent son was killed in the destruction of the building in Sokovia. Another thing the film lets us see is, the backstory of Tony Stark’s parents. The last time young Tony saw his parents they were going away to travel but apparently never even made it to the airport. It is later then revealed that a Hydra assassin (ooh, I wonder who), stalked down and murdered the Starks in cold blood, to steal a container of super serum from the back of Stark’s car. I very much enjoyed seeing Iron Man’s motives behind why he is very much for the United Nations deal, as I really enjoy Tony Stark as a character. I think he has a lot of personality and I like how in the Iron Man films and Age of Ultron it shows us Tony’s anxiety and PTSD. He’s a complex character and I’m glad the film gave us the reasons behind his choices because I was worried it wouldn’t be obvious and it’d just be seen as ‘Iron Man being a bit of a dick’ towards Captain America.

The film does make you realise both sides have valid points. Steve Roger’s is also in fear of the safety of his long lost friend Bucky Barnes. Bucky was basically captured by Hydra(an evil company that parallel Nazis, they are main villains in both previous Captain America films), and brainwashed heavily by them so they could use him as their assassin. He has killed a LOT of people whilst he was working as the ‘Winter Soldier’, but his childhood friend Steve Rogers was able to get through to the Bucky deep inside and this film furthers Captain America trying to save Bucky. The film shows us flashbacks to Bucky’s torture which is really heartbreaking to watch. In present day of the film Bucky is living in hiding (as they do in a Marvel film, wearing a cap because that makes them look nothing like them – apparently), but is noticeably highly anxious and nervous because of his ‘Winter Soldier’ actions. It’s quite precious to see how Bucky is slowly remembering who Steve Rogers is and how he tells Steve he doesn’t want to kill anymore.

Other characters that pop up in the film include Black Panther, Spiderman and Antman. I actually haven’t got round to watching last year’s Antman but this film definitely sold him to me. Paul Rudd has so much wit and charm, his introductory scene in the film made me laugh and how he acted meeting the Captain. Black Panther and Spiderman are the main new additions to this film and definitely stole the show. Black Panther was a brilliant character and has made me so excited to watch his stand alone film because I think his independent story will be super interesting. He also has a scene at the end with the antagonist of the film, where he stops the villain from shooting himself and getting out of this. It’s very badass and unexpected and I think it fits T’Challa’s character so well. T’Challa is played amazingly by Chadwick Boseman who gives the character a lot of emotion and he is the character on Iron Man’s side you really cheer on because he is trying to avenge his father. Spiderman is also new, because this is Marvel’s new spiderman. He is the perfect Spiderman with his cocky, chatty personality and I loved his interactions with Tony Stark and his interactions on the battlefield. I also long for future scenes between him and Captain America, because despite them being on different sides of the ‘war’, they had quite an amusing moment when fighting and I am impressed by Spiderman’s moves that actually managed to stagger Steve pretty well.

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Some other stand out points of this film to me included:

  • Black Widow is back like I wanted her. Age of Ultron did Black Widow’s character terribly, in my honest opinion compared to her character in Winter Soldier. In Civil War she is full of badass moves and is strong and amazing. Scarlet Witch also brings it to the table too, I love all the scenes with her in it – fighting or not. Elizabeth Olsen is an incredible actress and I low-key have a crush on her.
  • The Vision in everyday clothes trying to cook. Enough Said.
  • Bucky’s ‘activation’ brainwash words are very intriguing. Are they code for something? Or just random words? I wonder if this’ll be cleared up later on in other films.
  • Where is Nick Fury.
  • A lovely send off for Peggy Carter that got me teary-eyed. As soon as Steve receives the text saying ‘she’s passed in her sleep’, it instantly hit me who it was about and I inaudibly mouthed ‘no Peggy my baby’ in the cinema.
  • Let’s talk about that amazing chase scene between Captain America, Bucky, Falcon, Black Panther and the police. My favourite part of that was when Bucky stole that motorcycle. The intense cinematography and sound effects made it so badass.
  • The ending was a bit fast paced for me to be honest. The final stand off between Captain, Iron Man and Bucky had me on the edge of my seat and I was genuinely in fear Captain would kill Iron Man as he basically had his shield half way through the reactor in his chest. The cold hearted way Captain chucked down his shield when Tony called out saying ‘you don’t deserve that. My dad made it for you.’ was thrilling and I honestly wasn’t expecting that to be the last scene between them. However not long after it is shown Tony receiving an apology letter from Steve. It felt a bit half-arsed considering the fight that just happened but I guess they needed to wrap up fast.
  • Bucky is back in the freezer. I wasn’t expecting that either after the whole film and chase down for Bucky. Will he be awoken in Infinity War or before that? If Bucky was to get a stand alone film would that be his chance to wake up and remove more of his brainwashed side before Infinity War?
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Vision looking dapper

All in all I rate Civil War a definite 4.5/5!

Thanks for reading,

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