Going Off Topic (#20) A Short Hiatus

I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks. Since I got back from holiday last month I’ve really struggled to stay active, and it’s led to me having a huge catch-up day of writing my own posts and reading everyone else’s posts, then feeling burnt out and staying away for 3-4 days at a time, only to play catch up again. It’s honestly starting to make blogging feel like a chore and I don’t want it to be that way!

I just feel so out of the loop at the moment, there are movies coming out in the cinema and on Netflix etc that I’ve never even heard of, and I’m usually so in the know. I just want to take a couple of weeks to get my head sorted and my personal life in check, and perhaps get a few posts drafted up ready for when I come back.

I’m far from giving up on my blog though, I absolutely adore it. I love logging in to see new comments, and reading other posts to add to my watch list!

There are a few new releases I’m really excited about. Zombieland: Double Tap comes out in the UK this week, I’m growing ever more impatient for Knives Out to be released, and we’re bound to be getting a Rise of Skywalker trailer soon! Speaking of which, we’re getting THREE Adam Driver movies before Christmas. So there’s that!

I’m trying to catch up on TV Shows, too. I gave up on Mr. Robot for a while but I’m working my way through Season 3, and I’m all caught up with Superstore now which I really enjoyed. Plus, we’re getting new episodes of The Good Place on Netflix so there’s a lot to look forward to.

My little girl turns two tomorrow. I’ve actually kept a little human alive for 2 whole years! Go me. She’s growing up into the funniest kid as well, she brings a smile to the face of anyone and everyone who meets her! The lucky little kid has 3 birthday cakes, too. She took one into nursery with her this morning to share with her friends, and they’re all going to sing happy birthday to her. Then we’ve got family over on Saturday evening so I bought a cake for that. On Sunday, she’s got her official party with her friends so there’s another cake for that!

But yeah. I’m sorry to up and leave for a while. But it’s taken me over 5 hours to even write this post, so I need to step back for a little bit. In the words of Arnie, “Put that cookie down, now!”

Err, I mean…I’ll be back.

Going Off Topic (#15) A brief look back at 2018

At first it felt really weird typing the title for this post – almost like I was actually so good at blogging I was writing in advance – but then I realised just how close the end of the year is. I know it’s cliche to say but where has the year gone guys?!

2018 has been one of craziest, rollercoaster years for me. It started on a huge low when I finally came to terms with the fact that actually, I wasn’t coping very well with being a new parent and sought out some help. Then things slowly started to get better.

The UK had its best summer I think since records began (don’t quote me on that) and as someone who usually prefers the winter, I was absolutely loving it. I have so many photos of trips to the park we took, either for picnics or just for walks. It was such a blessing and really helped brighten my mood.

look back 2018 1

I went back to work towards the end of Summer which was rough, but I settled in much better than I thought I would. I miss my little girl like crazy but as bad as it may sound, getting a break from being a parent and just getting stuck into work did me the world of good.

Between all the illnesses kids get when they first start nursery, day to day stress, and sleep regression caused by teething, growing, goodness knows what – I’m currently not getting a lot of sleep. I’m also off my medication now and my mood has been pretty up and down. I’m working through it though and getting stuck back into blogging, I find writing in general quite therapeutic and hey, Christmas is around the corner so who can be glum at this time of year?!

Before writing this post I had a look back at my 2018 New Year Resolutions post I wrote. I knew it was going to be a disappointment but I have my excuses at least! Here’s what I promised myself I would achieve this year:

1 – Get back into blogging, and stay active (at least once a week) for the entire year

I’m going to count this one as a half win. There have been several occasions this year that I’ve disappeared for up to 3 weeks, but when I’ve been active I’ve been posting around 3 times a week – so whilst not ideal, I don’t think I failed this one completely.

2 – Watch 52 new movies

This one I’ve smashed. At the start of the year, I was barely watching any movies at all so this seemed like a daunting task at first, but I gained my passion for movies back in the middle of the year so as of right now, I’ve seen 96 movies this year. I might even double my target by 31st December!

thumbs-down-fail

3 – Read 6 new books

HAH. I failed this miserably. I read so many books whilst I was pregnant and whilst my little girl was still a little newborn potato baby that I thought a book every 2 months would be easy. My potato baby is now 1 year old and needs constant supervision and as a result, I read a grand total of ONE book this year. Lame!

Has anyone else looked back at their resolutions yet? How did you do?

Going Off Topic #14 – 1,000 Movies Later

So this is quite exciting! Since I opened a Letterboxd account around 3 years ago, I’ve not only kept a movie diary to log all the movies I watch (and my ratings) but also put a good few hours into logging every movie I’ve seen previously. Whilst I can’t say for sure I managed to remember them all – I’ve spent enough time on it to be able to say I’m 99% confident that I located them all.

Why is this exciting do you ask? Well, when I watched Bohemian Rhapsody last week and logged it in my movie diary, I realised it was my 1,000th movie! I have officially seen 1,000 movies in my lifetime. I know that number means very little to a lot of movie bloggers out there but it’s a pretty cool milestone!

self-high-five

It also marks the 81st movie I’ve seen this year…I’m hoping the festive period will give me the final push I need to make my target of 100 for the year!

Speaking of the end of the year on its way…I’m gearing up for the festive season! I’m off to see The Grinch tonight (an odd choice maybe for the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas) and on the weekend we’re going to get stuck into Christmas shopping and decorating the house. Last Christmas was really odd having such a small baby so I’m extra excited for this year! Santa has already started getting presents ready…

Do you know what’s weird though? I don’t feel like this year has a big Christmas release at the cinema. We had the Hobbit movies for 3 years running, then Star Wars Episode VII, Rogue One, Star Wars Episode VIII…and then what? Fantastic Beasts is out next week, that’s too early. I’m looking forward to Aquaman but I don’t feel the hype…Disney really should have let Solo have a Christmas release.

Anyway, however you’re spending it, I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Going Off Topic #13 – Parenting: 1 Year In

44265550_10217821723441193_4970120654394228736_nSo it’s official, my little girl has officially lived longer than any houseplant I’ve ever owned. I’d say she’s the only living thing I’ve kept alive this long but my 2 cats are going to be 5 this year, but in their defence, they pretty much look after themselves. It was Daisy’s 1st Birthday yesterday and her big family party is tomorrow afternoon, so whilst I’ve been too busy retrieving balls from the ball pit and baking cakes I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the last year.

Being a parent is tough, guys. Everyone warns you about how tiring it is and how you’ll miss all the sleep you used to get, but there are so many other things I wish I was better prepared for. It’s been an absolute joy, of course, I mean my once little potato-baby is now a proper little person on the verge of walking all by herself, with one of the funniest personalities I’ve ever known.

I’d geared myself up for sleep deprivation. It’s tough, but I’ve never been a big sleeper and I don’t ever nap in the day so most days I can deal with it, but you know what they don’t warn you about?

Worrying – So. Much. Worrying. Especially in the early days. What did parents do before the days of Google? I have lost count of the number of searches I’ve done about poop, nap schedules, milestones, and heaps more. I’m still guilty of trying to compare my little girl to babies of a similar age, wondering whether she’s developing as quickly as she should be.

44243192_10217819132376418_8693914371551657984_n

In fact, let me use this post as a little page of advice I wish I could give myself a year ago. Here you go, Allie from the past, here’s what I wish you knew then that I know now!

Disappointment – There are going to be people in your life that let you down. There are some that you think will be super close to your little one, but they aren’t. Thing is, although your world completely revolves around her, they have lives of their own – and they won’t be knocking on your door every week to see her or message you all the time to ask how she’s doing. There will be others who you were personally really close to, but having a baby wrecks your social life and you won’t see or speak to them as much anymore. It’s tough to come to terms with, but you’ll get there.

Schedules – Oh, the schedules. Who knew babies didn’t come with one and followed them perfectly? You work so hard to get them into a routine of feeding and napping that works with your day, and then they throw it out the window and you have to work a new one out. I wish I’d learned sooner to try and go with the flow a little better.

Standards – Before your baby is born, there are going to be so many things that make you say “I’m not going to do that as a parent”. You might stick to some of them, but you’re soon going to realise that giving your baby a dummy to soothe her, or bringing a tablet loaded with kid’s shows to a restaurant isn’t a bad thing. It makes life easier, it’s harming no-one, there should be no shame!

Advice – Advice from anyone without a baby is going to wind you the hell up. Who in their right mind came up with the advice, ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’. Firstly – who can sleep on demand anyway? Secondly – what if the baby will only sleep if she’s lying on your chest? Scrap that even – WHAT IF THE BABY JUST DOESN’T SLEEP?

44311466_10217819139056585_619998797128269824_n

Post Natal Depression – This has been tough. It’s so hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, but it’s real and it’s so hard to deal with. It ties into every other single problem in this list. It means going for walks in the snow in the darkest days of winter to reset your batteries, it means trying to make excuses to get out of social events because you can only cope with leaving the house if it fits exactly into the schedule you’ve worked so hard to develop. Again – people aren’t going to understand, and even assume you’re being lousy and lame for backing out, but it gets better.

As horrible as all of this is – it’s so, so worth it at the end of the day. Celebrating those milestones, having strangers tell you how adorable your little one is, seeing her smiles, hearing her laugh, and recently, having her launch herself at you whilst saying ‘Mumumumum’ makes all the heartache worth it.

Sure, by 6pm I find myself counting down the minutes until her bedtime, but the second she’s asleep? My phone is open so I can look at photos of her and then I miss her. What a rollercoaster…

(Sorry if you’ve actually sat and read all of that – my usual movie posts will be resuming shortly!)

Going Off Topic #12 – Snap Back to Reality

It’s been a weird week. I went back to work on Monday after being on Maternity Leave for 9 months, and on the same day I dropped my little girl off for her first day of Nursery. She’s going to be there 3 and a half days a week so I can carry on working full time and it’s so hard to come to terms with. On one hand, she’s having an amazing time there and has developed so much in just a week, so I know it’s going to be a great place for her to be. On the other hand, I wish I could spend more time with her, and not have to pay the extortionate amount per month so I actually had some spare cash!

giphy

Anyway, Monday morning was horrific and after dropping Daisy off, I tried to drive to work but had to stop at a car park to have a cry, and then I realised I was going to be late so I cried on the way to work! To be fair, once I got into the swing of it all I was far too busy to carry on worrying, and dropping her off since hasn’t been anywhere near as bad.

What’s really killed me is the fact that I struggled to get all of my life admin sorted when I wasn’t at work 40 hours a week, so now that I am everything seems a bit impossible. I tried to carry on as normal and ended up just tiring myself out beyond manageable. Not wanting to be defeated I went to see Mission: Impossible – Fallout on opening night and fell asleep!

I have never, ever fallen asleep in the cinema before. I’ve spent years mocking those who do, because how can you fall asleep in such a public place with a huge bright screen in front of you blasting out sound and music for 2 hours? But I was that exhausted I just dropped, so I can’t do a decent review for it until I’ve seen it again. What I did see was great though!

giphy1

I had a super early night last night and feel much better. Now I know to just take things a bit slower while I find a new normal, and to take a sugary drink with me the next time I go to the cinema!

Onto something more positive, I don’t have any other movies to talk about because I’ve been blogging about them straight away – huzzah! TV Shows have just fallen by the wayside for now. However I’ve just finished reading The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, and it was great! I had a hunch of what would happen early on which turned out to be right, but so many things were thrown in that made me change my mind and that made it a really satisfying read from start to finish.

Does anyone have a recommendation of what I could read next? I love a good mystery!

I’m a little behind on reading all the blogs I follow so I need to catch up, but here are some of the posts I’ve loved reading in the last week…

Brittani at Rambling Film reviews Sorry to Bother You and now I can’t wait to see it!

Sati at Cinematic Corner breaks down the Aquaman trailer for us all.

Jay at Assholes Watching Movies reviews Father of the Year and saves us all from having to sit through it.

Natasha at Life of this City Girl reviews one of my favourites, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as part of the Blindspot Series.

And last but of course not least, Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews wraps up his 5th Christmas in July Blogathon, so be sure to check out everyone’s posts!

Going Off Topic (#11) 5 Weeks Left…

off-topic-outsider-odeon-limitless

You might have noticed that I’ve been pretty active on this blog for the last 2 weeks, more so than I have been all year! I think I’ve finally got my blogging mojo back. Officially, my maternity leave is over in 2 weeks, but I’ve tagged on leftover annual leave so I actually have 5 full weeks till I’m back at work. I can’t believe it! The first 3 months felt like 3 years but the rest of the time has flown. I’m going to miss my little girl so much!

Blogging

If you’ve read one of my recent movie reviews you’ll see the format of them has changed. I’ve been struggling to write my usual free-flowing posts so moving to an actual structured format has really helped me to focus my thoughts on what to actually write. I think I’ll be sticking to this format for a while now, I’m finding posts much easier and more enjoyable to write.

Movies

I haven’t watched as many movies as I usually would recently but that’ll change now I’ve made the vow to complete my ‘watchlist’ before the end of the year. Plus, last night I took the plunge and signed up for Odeon’s Limitless card. If you haven’t heard of it, for £17.99 per month you get to see as many movies as you like.

Of course, this means I’ll be making a lot of solo cinema trips, which doesn’t seem like a big deal to me anymore but a few years ago I would have looked at you in horror if you suggested I go alone. Does anyone else take solo trips? Also, do you think I should put on my big girl pants and go see Hereditary? I’m so tempted!

Books

I took the mention of books out of my blog banner a while ago because I haven’t read any for months. I’ve decided though to give myself half an hour each night in bed to do some reading and to stick to one-off novels rather than trilogies and other series’ just to keep myself motivated. I’ve started reading The Outsider by Stephen King, and I’m really getting into it so far. It’s a murder mystery story where the case seems like it’s solved before it’s even begun, but I know that won’t be how it goes.

Life

Right now, life is good. My little girl is 8 months old today (I can’t believe it) and she’s such a bundle of joy to be around, most of the time. She’s an early riser (yawn) but she’s so playful and cute that I can’t be mad at her for it. We have a proper weekly routine now including soft play, swimming, sensory, the library and singing time, so we’re always busy! I’ll genuinely miss it all when I go back to work.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell! I’m really looking forward to being more active here again, I just hope I can keep it up and not keep disappearing for a few weeks! Hope you’re all having a good June so far.

Going Off Topic (#10) 28 Days Later

going-off-topic-banner

I realise it’s been longer than 28 days since my last off topic post, but I at least wanted to try and stay movie-related, and a zombie is pretty much how I’ve been feeling lately! Just allow me one more ramble before I get back to actual blogging.

So, I’ve been on my medication for 4 weeks now and after roughly 10 days of feeling more ill and tired than I think I ever have, I’m starting to finally feel more like me again. It’s coming to the weekend and realising I’ve had more good days than bad, and even the bad days are easier to actually deal with. Plus, I’m finding more enjoyment in it all. I mean, having a kid is actually pretty hilarious at time.

daisy

Speaking of the little devil angel, she’s 5 months old now and she’s grown so much! She sits up with support, smiles, laughs, grabs whatever she can get her chubby little hands on and actually plays with things. She hates nap time, and believes sleep is for the weak, but hey, no one’s perfect. Besides, as a parent you can get your own back in small ways. Ways like:

– Buying her an Easter egg, telling her she’s far too young for chocolate and eating the whole thing before Easter even arrives, because you’re the grown up of the house.

– Using her as a shopping basket whilst going around the shops because hey, I need to buy stuff and my arms are occupied in pushing her around.

– Filming her trying to sit up by herself but failing miserably and falling over, and laughing about it because a) she’s safe on the sofa and b) it’s bloody hilarious.

– Getting her dressed for the day, realising in bright red and blue she looks like a garden gnome, and not only leaving her like that for the day but taking a photo and showing everyone.

There’s bound to be more, but that’s all I can think of from the top of my head. Karma gets me back for this in the nighttime by the way.

So, yeah, that’s kind of where I am right now. I’m hoping that from next I can get back into watching a few more movies and catching up on all the blogs I follow. For a few years now movies has been my little hobby and I’m known in my family and friends group as being their little movie expert, and I feel like a bit of a failure when they’ve all seen more of the latest releases than I have!

That’s all for now – hopefully I’ll be back again real soon!