New Year Resolutions: 2017

I wasn’t sure at first whether I wanted this post to also include my highlights and some moments from my year that were not highlights (as I believe in balance), however, I think that is best in another post (plus, you know I’m inconsistent with posting so this way there will hopefully be more content). For as long as I can remember I’ve always made new year resolutions, whether I’ve stuck to them is another thing entirely. I have a habit of dreaming too big and letting myself because my goals were too impossible so I’ve vowed to make my resolutions this year a bit smaller.

  1. Travel to Japan

I am determined this year that I’m not going to make grand travel plans again and then watch them fall through- I’m actually going to go to the places I planned! Money though as per usual is tight, and to be honest it feels like a lot of the time that I won’t make this goal. However, travelling is one of my main passions in life, and one of the memories that I have which make me truly feel happy, and excited to talk about so I’m determined to make this vision a reality. Therefore, this year, Japan here I come.

Source: Giphy (Tumblr credit on image) 

2. Finish all the films in the Studio Ghibli canon

This year is the year that Studio Ghibli has truly entered my life. I know for a lot of people I am VERY behind the curve, but well I’m just slow. At the moment my favourite Studio Ghibli film is Kiki’s Delivery Service, so much so that you can read the little love letter I wrote to the film here. After that, Spirited Away is my favourite, followed by Howl’s Moving Castle and then My Neighbour Totoro. The reason some fan favourites are not higher up in my list is simply that I have not watched them yet, so that is my plan for this year. Ideally, I’d like to watch them all before I visit Japan, and spend way too much money in the Studio Ghibli museum (it is the one place I’m going to allow myself to over indulge a bit while in Japan).

Source: Spirited Away/ Giphy 

3. Finish my novel

I think I’ve made some vague comments on here to signal that I’m writing a novel, and if I haven’t well, I am, writing a novel that is. I’m trying to write 2,000 words a week, which was going well till Christmas, but luckily I’m not that far behind. At the moment not everything is necessarily in chronological order, but at the start I was just trying to make sure I actually got the 2,000 words a week written that it didn’t matter to me as much. My resolution then is try to focus on tidying up what I have so far, and actually come up with a plan on what direction I want the novel to go in.

Source: Giphy 

4. Try to focus on what brings me joy

This may seem a bit of a general resolution, but I think one of the main issues I’ve had in the last couple of years with my happiness is that I’ve focused on everything spiralling in my life, and to be honest I’m sick of being negative. So I’m going to focus on the things I look forward to and am excited for like MCM London Comic Con in May, my trip to Japan, reading books and watching shows I love (because there is nothing wrong with getting excited about that).

I also think a part of this is focusing on my mental health, and trying to do more things to help it, rather than just ignoring it.

Source: Giphy

5. Organise this blog

I feel like every person with a blog has this on their list right now, and I for one definitely feel like this blog needs it. My goal is to have one post a week, it doesn’t have to be a set theme (as that makes life difficult) or a set day (though I’m toying with it being a Friday). I might sometimes have more than one post a week, but at the moment I want at least one.

I also would like to try categorising my posts more and see if I can get some subheadings on my site to make it easier for people to search. I know my posts discuss a variety of different topics, and some people might only be interested in book reviews for example or fashion so I’d like to make it easier for people to find the section they like.

Content wise I’d also like to discuss some of my favourite vegetarian/ vegan places to eat, or things I like to eat. Especially, when travelling, as this is something I’m definitely aiming to talk about in regards to my trip to Japan (because as a vegetarian traveller its definitely something I’ve thought about and read and watched a lot of videos about).

Source: Giphy

6. Complete my chapter for a secret project

I’m hoping that because January is the month that most of us have a spike of productivity that this is enough to fuel me to finish an essay for a project I was kindly accepted to be a part of. I won’t say anymore in case my essay doesn’t make the cut, but essentially I need to stop stalling and get writing (which, essentially is the story of my life).

Source: Giphy

7. Dye my hair a new colour 

I’m currently planning to dye my hair today (and hopefully it should be done by the time this post is out), but after a few months of not knowing what colour I wanted my hair to be I have come to the conclusion that I think I would like it pink again at some point, and if I ever decide to cut it silver.

Red Hair

Spoiler alert: I dyed my hair. 

These I will be honest aren’t all my resolutions but they are the ones I’m sharing because they are the ones I most want to have a reminder for (note how I said not held accounted to- please don’t do that unless explicitly asked to by people). Let me know if you have any similar New Years revelations below because although we all know that you can make the change whenever you want to, sometimes we need a boost and there’s nothing wrong with using the concept of New Years to do that.

April

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth (main account)

@aprilisthecruellestmonthblog (miscellaneous account- which I’ve not uploaded to in ages because I’m a horrible human being)

Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

Tumblr: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Advertisements

Is it time to reclaim womensplaining?

Today, I had the joy of someone ‘manspreading’ next to me on the bus. For those who aren’t familiar with the term manspreading is a term used to describe when a man sits down next to you, and essentially feels the need to spread their legs as wide as they can, effectively backing you into a corner. I’m not going to get into debates on whether women does this too, but so far in my life I’ve only had men do this to me. Granted, not very often, but each time it’s quite frankly annoying and makes me uncomfortable. What’s wrong with trying as hard as possible not to physically touch the person next to you on the bus, train, tube or whatever your mode of transport is and just be an awkward British person?

In response to this phenomenon the term womenspreading recently took Instagram by storm and is where famous women posted pictures of themselves sat down spread out as much as possible to highlight that they were not afraid to take up space.

However, it’s not manspreading I came to talk to you about today, but another internet fuelled word womensplaining and it’s companion mansplaining.

While writing this I did a quick search for womensplaining and came up with this definition (also I noticed the definitions on Urban Dictionary all are very anti-feminist):

“The tendency of some women to mistakenly believe that they automatically know more about any given topic than does a man and who, consequently, proceed to explain to him- correctly or not- things that he already knows.”

Source: Urban Dictionary 

To explain further, I found an explanation that talk about womensplaining, as being related to women believing themselves to be authorities on anything generally considered ‘women’s work’ and believing that men are incapable of knowing about these things, and consequently looking down on them. This I agree is true, as unconscious bias’ such as these are a major force in society.

For me though womensplaining does not have to be exact opposite to what mansplaining is. And just to be clear mansplaining is, “what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he’s talking to does”*.

Instead, womensplaining came in my head to explain my intense desire to talk back- to explain my point of view and have it listened to.  Throughout my life I’ve heard what many would describe as ‘geeky’ conversations, usually about the Marvel or DC comic universes or other stereotypically male dominated franchises (or typically male beloved- though this is changing- yay!) where every word of the male-dominated conversation feels like they are talking down to everyone else in the room.

I heard such a conversation today on my bus journey home (the bus didn’t go well for me today) where two male, I’m going to presume college students where discussing DC and Marvel, and which was a multiverse or not. The urge to just turn around, and say ‘Well actually…’ was strong. What stopped me was that although I eagerly follow the films for both comic powerhouses I stopped trying to be a part of the comic verse a long time ago- honestly, because of conversations like these that I had heard that scared me off.

However, I really wanted to. I wanted them to be proven wrong. This was especially exacerbated when I later overheard them talking about how if a women was in charge of the world there would be far more wars because women just can’t help but fight with each other.

Honestly, though I realised it’s not even about proving people wrong (though I’ll admit there is a certain level of satisfaction in that); it’s about having your thoughts on a typically male dominated subject accepted and listened to. For example, yesterday I explained the Star Wars universe to a man. And it felt good that I was the one with the knowledge, and that they accepted it.

That for me I think is the real desire. No, I don’t want to just go around calling people out. I want to be unafraid to be an authority in one of these discussions, and to be listened to. And I don’t think I’m alone. For me, that is what I think womesplaining is. The chance for women to explain their opinions without being made to feel an outsider or judged more harshly.

Perhaps, though a new term needs to be made (as womensplaining as defined above needs to be defined in of itself). As that appears to be the only way we can talk about our experiences now (which is not necessarily a bad thing- such movements have done miles of good). Either way, there needs to be some way to voice this desire to speak out, said by someone with a lot more knowledge than me.

Especially, as my experience doesn’t even begin to touch on the way women of colour,  the LGBTQ+ community, people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, and anyone with a disability are silenced (this list is by no means exhaustive either!).

*Source: Merriam-Webster

Ten Nerdy (or geeky) Christmas Jumpers

At first I was really struggling to get into the Christmas spirit. However, watching Elf really does get you excited for the Christmas season- trust me! Either way, it’s past the 1st of December so I can officially talk Christmas with all of you, plus there is snow outside my house and snow makes everything feel just that little bit more like Christmas.

I also bloody love a bit of snow (and Martin gets ridiculously excited by it too) despite like all British people we are completely unprepared (I NEED snow boots). Though I have to admit where I live people seem annoyingly prepared, I’m convinced its because people have a lot of money in this area (hence why I am so poor all the time in comparison) and so are so well prepared because they are used to going on skiing holidays (I however am not).

The only things I have that I could wear are my old white Dr Martens, which make pretty good snow boots. However, I feel weird wearing them because they’re leather (but yet I still can’t throw away because memories- it’s a whole thing- see my previous posts). However, I don’t really think they are work appropriate- so the journey in tomorrow is going to be interesting to say the least.

Snow

The snow outside my window. 

Since everyone I know is definitely feeling the chill, I thought I’d do a list of my favourite nerdy/ geeky (chose the descriptor of your choice) Christmas jumpers that I have found. Also, before I start, I want to issue a small disclaimer. This is just a list of jumpers I want to buy. I haven’t bought from all these retailers so can’t guarantee their service, etc. Buy at your own risk, and make sure to thoroughly check out each website in advance.

I also want to apologise for the mix of Tumblr and Pinterest posts included below (it will become clear soon). Basically, I wanted the posts all to be Tumblr posts so my Tumblr was full of nice Christmas jumpers but what happened instead is that I now have a few posts that don’t make sense because the other websites didn’t load the image of the jumper for the Tumblr post. I also now have an incomplete Pinterest album so as per usual my life is a total fail!

1. Star Wars Princess Leia and Han Solo under the Mistletoe jumper 

Modelled here by the awesome Sarah Louise Brand– her Instagram is definitely high on my inspiration list. It’s red (which I love in a Christmas jumper) and it features one of my favourite romances of all time, and one of my favourite Sci-Fi heroines Princess Leia. It’s for all those reasons that this jumper is the number 1 Christmas jumper I need in my life.

Price: £24.99.

Retailer: IWOOT.

2. Labyrinth Fairisle Knitted Jumper 

This is quite frankly an amazing jumper. One, because I love a good 80s throwback, especially when it comes to jumper. Two, because I spot a new amazing detail everytime I look at it. And three, because who doesn’t want a Labyrinth Christmas jumper.

Price: £35.99

Retailer: Truffle Shuffle.

3. Jurassic World Fair Isle Christmas Jumper 

I will ignore that this is a Jurassic World and not a Jurassic Park jumper because it is so awesome (and no, I haven’t actually seen Jurassic World because I am in denial it exists- along with the new Jumanji film). This though is truly a great looking jumper, and one for anyone who would prefer a black Christmas jumper.

Price: £29.99.

Retailer: Truffle Shuffle.

There’s is also a Men’s fit version of this jumper available for anyone who prefers their jumpers to fit that way! 

4. Miffy Let It Snow Christmas Jumper 

So I know some people might argue that Miffy is more cute than nerdy, but for the sake of an argument let’s just agree that by nerdy I mean anything that refers to a piece of pop culture. Also, this jumper is just so adorable that I had to include it, especially considering what I see when I look out my window (snow if you hadn’t gathered that already)! This jumper is also one of the more ‘neutral’ options on this list so if you want a bit of Christmas cute, and are unlike me and don’t realise that half of what you wear would be considered ‘out there’ then this is probably the jumper for you.

Price: £29.99.

Retailer: Truffle Shuffle.

5. Spider-Man Knitted Christmas Jumper 

Well, I did say I loved a good old red Christmas jumper and this one definitely hits that box. If you’re like me and the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse trailer has got you pumped then wear this and show off your Spidey fan pride. Especially, as it’s on sale!

 

Price: £24.99

Retailer: Geek Core

6. Captain America Knitted Christmas Jumper 

So this one is not only red. But red, white and blue- funny that, for a Captain America themed jumper. If you’re like me and Captain America is one of your favourite Avengers then this jumper is for you. Plus, you could always use it for a Captain America at Christmas time cosplay (we all know he wouldn’t be able to resist to have a themed jumper).

Price: £24.99

Retailer: Geek Core

7. Star Wars Yoda Christmas Jumper 

I’m not going to lie I mainly love this jumper because of the pun- ‘The Season To Be Jolly It Is’. However, it is also a really nice looking Star Wars jumper for those who aren’t into the more romantic offering I suggested earlier. Also, Yoda doesn’t look weird on the design, which is always a plus because I’ve seen some sketchy looking Yoda’s on Star Wars merchandise in my time. This would be amazing to wear to go see Star Wars: The Last Jedi next week as well (I’m so excited!!!).

Price: £32.99

Retailer: Geek Core

8. Stranger Things Holiday Light-Up Sweater (aka a Jumper)

So I refused to put ‘ugly’ into the title for this item like it says on the product description because I respectively disagree. For those of you who don’t know, I love, LOVE Stranger Things and I’d be totally willing to pay the custom charges I’d incur to buy this amazing jumper. The only thing that would make this better for me is if this was a cardigan and not a jumper but then it wouldn’t be in this post if it was, would it!!!

I wish that I also would look half as good as lunestelle does wearing it (which is highly unlikely).

Price: £19.70 (not including shipping/ customs, etc.)

Retailer: Target

9. Wonder Woman: Winter Wonderland Knitted Christmas Jumper

Just like how Wonder Woman saved the Justice League film for me (along with The Flash, and despite the fact that they tried their hardest to ruin her character); let this Wonder Woman jumper save your Christmas style (please forgive that whole sentence). The model in the images on the website totally rocks this, and has convinced me I can look as good in it as well, which hasn’t helped my need for this jumper. Either way, it’s a Wonder Woman jumper so I’d want it whether it was Christmas themed or not (though obviously depending on the style because I’m fussy).

Price: £36.99

Retailer: Merchoid

10. Playstation Official Pink Christmas Jumper 

I need to start this one with a confession. I’m not actually a Playstation user (except for the occasional times Martin lets me have the controller and I just wander around aimlessly and bump into walls). However, I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include one for the game lovers out there. I unfortunately didn’t see any good Anime jumpers, as I wanted to include something from that category too. I also don’t know if there is a fierce Xbox vs. Playstation rivalry and if this will cause internet ‘beef’ but I’ll be honest I saw no Xbox jumpers and I really like this jumper. I did consider including some Nintendo jumpers but none particularly caught my eye (please comment if you’ve seen some good ones).

Either way, I really should get into playing Martin’s playstation more because I really like this jumper (ha, ha), though I really don’t need another obsession to add to my list!

Link is to Geek Core (where it sold out, as I was struggling to pin the item from Amazon). 

Price: £34.99.

Retailer: Amazon

So, there it is- a collection of my favourite Christmas jumpers out there for anyone who like me loves a bit of pop culture with their Christmas jumper. This post seriously did not help my desire though to buy the first jumper on the list, so please someone buy one of these and send me pictures so I can live vicariously through you (ha, ha).

While I may have missed Blogmas (is that a thing? I know Youtubers do Vlogmas) I do want to do some more Christmas themed posts to match my Christmas blog theme change (let me know your thoughts!) so please post suggestions because unsurprisingly I’m in a bit of a creative rut again. I’m thinking maybe some Harry Potter themed posts because Christmas will always be linked to Hogwarts for me.

April

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth (main account)

@aprilisthecruellestmonthblog (miscellaneous account- which I’ve not uploaded to in ages because I’m a horrible human being)

Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

Tumblr: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog