Black Mirror’s San Junipero

Today’s post isn’t really a review, more just an appreciation post for, what I consider to be, one of the best hours of TV I’ve ever watched.

Black Mirror is a unique show in many ways. Every episode is self contained which allows viewers to dip in and out where they are interested and takes away the sense of “commitment” to starting a new TV series. It’s accessible and deals with a subject matter that is relevant to pretty much everybody living in the modern world – technology and techno-phobia.

Many of the show’s episodes have sparked conversation and controversy, some of the most famous ones being “White Bear”, “Nosedive” and “Shut Up and Dance”. Viewers are accustomed to the dark, pessimistic undercurrent of the show. Most episodes end in some form of disaster as a result of some futuristic technology that seems uncomfortably realistic and possible given society’s rapid technological advancements.

San Junipero, however, offered something different. It was a risk for the show because it deviated from a tried and tested formula. Charlie Brooker, show creator, decided to inject some optimism into the otherwise bleak landscape of his show. Of course, viewers don’t know this at the outset of the episode.

In a, fictional, vibrant 80’s beach town called San Junipero we are introduced to Kelly and Yorkie. Kelly is an extroverted party girl and Yorkie a shy, inhibited and slightly gawky girl. These are the two protagonists drag us through a colourful, romantic and surprising episode.

I don’t want to describe everything that happens in the episode, if you haven’t seen it it’s on Netflix and if you’re going to watch only one episode of Black Mirror I would recommend this one. As I slowly started to piece together what was going on in this, seemingly fun, lighthearted town I was, once again, in awe of Brooker’s imagination and ability to construct an immersive and convincing fictional reality. Of course, the technological aspect played a key part in conclusion of the story. [SPOILER] This time it allowed a person’s consciousness to be “uploaded to the clouds” after they die. They can then live out eternity (or as long as they wish) in San Junipero, in their younger and fully functioning bodies.

This concept taps into one of our most basic human fears, the fear of death and being mortal. It also allows an escape from the effects of aging which plague us as we grow older. The idea of being able to visit another place where you are young and immortal as long as you choose to be is fantastic and the way it’s depicted on screen is artistically beautiful. Despite the tone of this episode being overwhelmingly positive in it’s final conclusion, the thoughts it leaves in the viewer’s mind afterwards are, perhaps, less positive. Of course, this technology isn’t (yet) possible and after the TV is turned off and we return to solitude, we are all still faced with the inevitability of our own mortality.

Not to leave on a negative note, this episode was cherished in the lgbt+ community. A story so universal being told through the eyes of a queer couple is exactly what the world needs more of. On top of that, the characters were individual, interesting and didn’t pander to dull, inaccurate stereotypes. What we were watching was two people falling in love. It could have been a straight couple but it was all the more special for not being.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this.

Until next time,

J x


Charities and How to Take Part

I have always been interested in the work that charities do to help people and animals facing adversity, and finding ways to contribute towards this effort. For me, the most realistic option at this stage in my life (I’m a student and not that well off) is taking part in fundraisers and donating where I can. It isn’t feasible for me to actually visit places like refugee camps at the moment. Regardless of anything else, I simply don’t have the time. I study full time and work during the holidays.

This doesn’t, however, dampen my desire to help. I feel sick when I hear about some of the atrocities people are facing around the world and guilty that, by sheer luck, I have been born into a relatively safe country, with an abundance of opportunities and a loving family.

Sometimes it is tempting to bury my head in the sand and just get on with my life, pretending none of it is really happening. A far better approach though is doing what little I can to help, anything is better than nothing. So, for this reason, I try to make small donations and take part in fundraisers when I can. Eventbrite (click here to visit their nonprofit fundraising page), in particular, is a brilliant website for finding out about fundraising events in your local area. For example, in Glasgow in the near future, there is an ‘Open to All 5k Midnight Walk‘ for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, ‘The Glasgow Christmas Carol Concert‘ in aid of Cancer Research UK and an ‘Action on Hearing Loss Ladies Lunch‘ among many others. Having all of this information in one place makes it far easier to get involved than having to scour the internet for different websites trying to piece together information.

Below are a few charities that, personally, I am quite passionate about.

The refugee crisis is something that I think about a lot. So many thousands of people are desperately trying to find safety and refuge from the dangerous and uninhabitable conditions of their home countries. I recently purchased a ‘Choose Love’ T-shirt from Asos. The one I bought cost £19 which goes straight towards helping people, and you also receive a super comfy T-shirt as a memento. The T-Shirts also help to spread the message. I think this is a really clever campaign and I think we all have £19 we can spare. Even if it means not going down to the pub for one night.

Choose Love Tshirts

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland is a charity particularly close to my family. We always make a point of donating our old clothes and belongings to them because they supported my Grandad when he was very ill with a lung disease called Emphysema. Chest Heart and Stroke have a number of charity shops around Scotland that are full of great bargains with the added bonus of your money going to a good cause.

Cancer Research is a charity close to a lot of people’s hearts. I don’t think enough money can really be put towards trying to develop medicines and treatments to fight this disease. This is the charity I have probably done the most for over the years. I’ve run many Race for Life races over the years. I have a little bundle of medals in my memory box (not for actually being fast or anything just for completing them) and when I was around 14-15 years old I volunteered in my local Cancer Research shop. Getting involved in fundraising for Cancer Research is easy and incredibly fulfilling.

The World Food Programme does incredible work to try and combat starvation and poverty around the world. Unfortunately, millions go without food every day. You can donate directly to this charity, after watching a video on their website the other day I donated some money. They also run a website called (click here) where you can answer trivia questions and for each correct answers a small amount of rice is donated via the WFP. If you sign up you can keep track of how many grams of rice you have donated. So instead of scrolling Buzzfeed articles, start answering trivia on FreeRice! You can even choose what categories to answer questions on!

Destroying habitats and causing the extinction of species’ is one of the most hideous marks humanity has left on the planet. So many species’ are on the verge of extinction, shockingly there are less than 4,000 tigers left in the wild. That is pretty much nothing considering there are over 7 BILLION of us. Whether it’s a donation or adopting an animal and donating monthly, this charity does vital work and is worth having a serious look at.

I would love to get more involved in fundraising in the future. Earlier this year I wanted to hold my own fundraiser but I struggle with pain in my hips and legs so doing a extreme physical challenge is kind of off the cards for me. I climbed Ben Nevis last year and since then my joint pain has worsened. Finding out these other ways to do good has been enlightening and I hope it will be as well for anyone reading 🙂

Until next time,

J x

Homemade Meringues Recipe

First thing’s first, I know they’re… rustic. I didn’t have a piping bag.

Here’s the bad boys in the oven. I’ve never made meringues before but they were actually super simple to make!


  • 3-4 eggs.
  • 175g of caster sugar (to decrease sugar, substitute some with Stevia).


  • Set the oven to 140C.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites of 3-4 eggs depending on the size of them.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they reach soft peaks (this is where you hold the bowl upside down over your head and they don’t fall out all over you, good luck).
  • Add the sugar bit by bit, whisking it in as you go, until you’ve added all the sugar.
  • Lay baking parchment onto a tray.
  • Ideally add mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto tray neatly, if not just spoon the mixture on.
  • Put in oven for roughly an hour, try not to open the oven door but peek through the window to make sure they aren’t burning.
  • Remove and let cool. The meringues are quite soft and delicate when you first remove them from the oven so don’t touch them.
  • Taste great served with berries and cream (or 0% Greek yoghurt for low fat alternative).


We cut one open to see if it was cooked through… and then ate it. Hence the missing meringue from this picture. Not used to having to remember to take pictures of things as I do them!

Sweet, golden crispiness. I don’t really bake much so I was quite pleased with them even if they’re not the prettiest meringues. Also, as desserts to, meringues are pretty low calorie (a meringue nest is around 50-60 calories (obviously dependant on size) so I was quite keen to try my hand at making them because I’m dieting at the moment but still have sweet cravings.


Until next time,

J x

Film Review: Dunkirk

A couple of weeks ago, after my 21st birthday, my cousin Ellie and I decided to get our asses out of our beds for once and go to the cinema. We’d both been dying to see Dunkirk because we’re both quite interested in history and I love going to see films. I had high expectations for this film which, to be honest, often leads to disappointment.

I am in awe of this film. From the moment Fionn Whitehead came onto the screen walking around the city of Dunkirk, looking in abandoned shop windows and drinking water from a hose pipe, I was on edge. There was a sense of foreboding. Next thing I know gun shots are going off, very very loud gunshots. I think one of my favourite things about the film was the level of noise. It was almost like they’d amped the volume up to increase the realism and shock factor.


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When the planes flew overhead, about to drop bombs, and there was literally nothing the soldiers could do and nowhere to hide so they all just fell to the floor and hoped for the best. It really made me think about what is must’ve been like to be there. It must have been terrifying. I can’t imagine anything scarier than that moment when you hear the plane coming and realise your life could be over within a minute if you’re in an unlucky spot. The British and French were cornered into a tiny space by the German army and that area was being routinely bombed.


Christopher Nolan’s direction was really the thing that made the film for me. His clever use of chronology in order to tell three stories within one 2 hour film was incredible (and slightly reminiscent of one of his other films Inception). He also managed to convey some of the difficulty the pilots faced, trying to tackle the enemy from the air, by filming from their perspective. It was clever, loud and apparently mostly filmed on location (and that means that poor Harry Styles probably really was suffering in the picture below). I don’t think anybody else could’ve done a better job.


Speaking of Harry Styles, casting him was a massive risk for Nolan to take. It could’ve completely taken the focus away from the massive historical point of the film. Also, if done badly, it could’ve made a bit of a mockery of the whole film. I was VERY pleasantly surprised though. Styles seemed to take the role really seriously and actually pulled it off very well. He wasn’t a scene stealer, but I think for the first feature film role of his career post One Direction that’s the way it should’ve been. The only moment I found a little bit comical (for the wrong reasons) was when he was accusing Gibson of being a German spy and said something along the lines of “he’ll have an accent thicker than sauerkraut sauce”. To be fair to the guy though, that’s just not a very good line.

At points the plight of the characters felt entirely hopeless, as I’m sure things must have felt for the soldiers at the time. Despite minimal dialogue (another choice that worked brilliantly and built tension) I became very attached to most of the characters. When they boarded another boat hoping to finally get home only to be bombed again it was incredibly distressing. Sometimes, however, the film was heart warming. Mainly in Mark Rylance’s scenes where his character Dawson showed the real courage of civilians who headed straight into a war zone to try and save their men. At the end of the film, when Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead are on the train and begin to read Churchill’s famous “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech while locals run alongside the train passing them cider through the window to welcome them home, It was just so uplifting and I found it quite emotional.

When I came out of this film I was pretty much speechless and it’s been on my mind since. I’ve seen it once again and would probably go see it again given the chance (and if it didn’t cost like £9 at my local cinema). Although I think it’s a little early to say, I feel like this may be one of my all time favourite films.

I would give this film 5/5 stars. I hope you all get a chance to see it.


Until next time,

J x


The Problem with Inspirational People

I’ll rephrase that, it’s not the inspirational people’s problem, it’s mine. There are so many positive things to be gained from watching and listening to the people who inspire you but, sometimes, I find it has the opposite effect.

One of the most inspirational people in the world, to me personally, is Emma Watson. I’m a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan (obviously) so have known of Emma since I was literally a small child. Watching her play Hermione in the Harry Potter films and grow up on screen, while I was also growing up, was amazing to me. I left the cinema after seeing The Deathly Hallows Part 2 sobbing my eyes out that it was the end. I was wrong though, Emma Watson has continued to inspire me in almost every way since that day. I learned that she studied literature at Brown University, starred in an adaptation of one of my favourite books ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, a proud advocate for feminism and sustainable fashion and she started her own book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’ that champions female writers.

Emma Watson placing free books in random places in Paris (like an angel) as part of her book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’. Picture from Emma Watson’s Instagram (@emmawatson)

She’s pretty much a perfect human to me and I think if I ever met her I’d be a blubbering mess and wouldn’t be able to say anything. I’m excited every time she posts on Twitter or Instagram and actively keep up with her latest projects. Most of the time, I’m just in sheer awe of her. If I achieve 0.001% of what she has achieved in my life I’ll be over the moon. I look up to her and admire her work.

Sometimes though, If I’m having a bad day or have just had a set back of some form, I see an Instagram post by somebody I’m usually inspired by, about their latest exciting endeavor, and it just makes me feel inadequate. I fully know that this is my own problem and nothing to do with them but, none the less, it is the case.

Zoe Sugg launching new beauty range ”Jelly & Gelato’. Picture from Zoe Sugg’s Instagram (@zoella)

I follow a lot of bloggers and youtubers and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of their lifestyles. Most of the time I just think it’s really cool that they’re working on creative projects that they’re passionate about. Whether it’s books, product ranges, short films and sketches, campaigns or music. I’m envious of those who are in a position to create something they love and have it be a success.

Hannah Witton winning an award at Summer in the City. Picture from Hannah Witton’s Instagram (@hannahwitton)

An example of this is Hazel Hayes’ short films. I have always loved writing and am currently studying English Literature at university in the hope that one day I’ll be able to pursue writing as a career. On top of that I’m a massive fan of film and TV and have written screenplays for my own enjoyment for years. It’s awesome that Hazel is achieving her goals and creating short films and I find it encouraging and inspirational to see, but again sadly when I feel bad I start to compare myself to people like her. Which I KNOW is one of the most unhealthy thing I could do, but I think about my own life and the things I’ve achieved and compare it to these, very successful, people.

Hazel Hayes on set of ‘Prank Me’. Picture from Hazel Hayes’ Instagram (@thehazelhayes)

It serves no purpose other than to demoralise myself, but I’m sure a lot of people understand that it just feels out of your own control sometimes. It’s unhealthy but natural to compare yourself to others. Sometimes I even look at the career trajectory of some of these people and then decide that I’ll never achieve success because I haven’t done the things they had done at my age. I know, it makes no sense and everybody has their own individual paths.

Anyway, this is just a little something that was on my mind yesterday that I thought I’d share. 90% of the time, seeing what these people are up to puts me in a great mood… especially Emma Watson.

Until next time,

J x

July Music Favourites!

Again this is slightly on the late side so sorry about that but this is a round up of what I’ve been listening to recently 🙂 I have to admit that over the past month I’ve been listening to slightly less music. I’m not really sure why that is but it might be to do with work and other commitments like trying to watch Game of Thrones right from the beginning 🙂


Ariana Grande – Sometimes

To be honest I’ve been listening to all the songs on Dangerous Woman. Ever since the Ariana’s massive charity concert in Manchester following the terror attack at her concert I’ve had a newfound respect for her as a person, and that seems to have affected me love of her music. She’s the queen of pop at the moment and every time she releases a single it’s a hit. Sometimes wasn’t released as a single but to me its one of the standout tracks on the album. Right from the get go with the “la la la” vocals (by an unknown person) I was interested to see where the track would go. It was something a little bit different, and more mellow, compared to the other big tracks on the album. Instead of being a cynical ballad about a failed love or a high paced hit chronicling flirtation and sexual tension, this song is unashamedly optimistic and is about a love that lasts. Sometimes it’s nice to listen to something like that 🙂

Tom Odell – Wrong Crowd

On a different note Wrong Crowd by Tom Odell is decidedly melancholic. It reflects on a turbulent childhood, failed relationship and essentially an inner turmoil that results in both a mentally and physically unhealthy lifestyle. The whistling and melody at the start of the song is what really captivated me (much like Sometimes) but Tom Odell’s effortless, understated vocals are what really carries the song and adds depth to his, already emotional, lyrics.

Twin Atlantic – No Sleep

I listened to Twin Atlantic a fair amount in July in the lead up to Belladrum Festival (which my last post is about, click here to read). They’re a Scottish rock band (with very noticeable accents) and are really pretty popular up here. I’m not sure of their success outside of Scotland but every time I’ve seen them here the venues have been packed out. No Sleep is my favourite song from their album GLA because of the roaring chorus. It feels quite epic, particularly when performed live. There is no getting away from the cringey lyric “I take pills and I drink alcohol”, I mean way to be subtle about it. Other than that though, I like this song very much.

Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger

Ever since I watched the documentary Supersonic about Oasis’ career and the… difficult relationship between Noel and Liam Gallagher I’ve been listening to Oasis a lot more. This was heightened when I began following Liam on twitter, I think I followed Noel as well but let’s be real Liam’s twitter is far more entertaining. Liam’s nickname ‘Potato’ for Noel ‘because he looks like a potato’ is pretty much perfectly catered to my sense of humour and I’m trying hard not to laugh writing this. Other than making me laugh these two have created some classic hits over the years. Despite Wonderwall probably being their most referenced hit I’ve been listening to Don’t Look Back in Anger and Rock n Roll Star a lot recently. Liam’s rendition of Rock n Roll Star at Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert was the most exciting part of the evening for me and, as per usual, his percussionist skills were impeccable (tambourine AND maracas).

Niall Horan – Slow Hands – wasn’t a fan of other song

I didn’t really have high hopes for Niall Horan’s solo career, probably because he always faded into the background of One Direction somewhat (at least from my perspective). When he released his first single This Town I wasn’t blown away. I found it quite forgettable and didn’t really make much further effort to keep up with his music. Then I heard Slow Hands on the radio once and it got stuck in my head. The guitar riff is catchy and I found myself thinking I had an old rock ballad stuck in my head, only to remember it was actually little Niall. Despite thinking it was “Small Hands” for a few weeks which, in hindsight makes absolutely NO sense and is pretty hilarious, I not have the lyrics right and enjoy this easy listener.

Harry Styles – Sign of the Times

Sign of the Times is just an AMAZING song. I couldn’t have imagined that Harry would release something like this. I firmly believe that he has the strongest career prospects of any of the One Direction leavers. Also after seeing Dunkirk for a second time last night I am massively impressed with not only his vocals and lyrics but has acting skills as well (who knew). I actually think Sign of the Times and Dunkirk have quite a few things in common. Mainly, they’re both understated and rely on the sheer quality of the content they’re based on (in Sign of the Times case, strong chorus lyrics and Harry’s vocals and in Dunkirk the raw, real story being told and the astounding direction). There’s no unnecessary eccentricities to either of these works and, in my opinion, that is the best thing about them.

London Grammar – Strong

I think I’ve spoken about London Grammar before on this blog but that’s because they are unique and brilliant. Hannah Reid’s clear vocals manage to make every song far more thought provoking and memorable than they perhaps would have been. Live, they are touching and a sight to behold. Hannah stands relatively still by her microphone throughout the performance and the boys (Dan and Dominic) do not move around much either. Their concert is a display of pure talent with no need for bells and whistles. I’ve been listening to every song on their album If You Wait but Strong (their most successful single) is the song I always find myself humming in my head and wanting to go back to the most.

I hope you enjoyed having a little peruse of what I’ve been listening to the past month. Please let me know what you’ve been enjoying as well, I’m always looking for recommendations!

Until next time,

J x

Muddy welly boots in Scottish Festival

Life Update – Belladrum Festival and Turning 21

The chances are, unless you’re from the Highlands of Scotland, you have no idea what Belladrum Festival is. Oh also unless you’re my cousin who travelled all the way from Cornwall for it.

The best way I can describe it is a local festival. There’s music, food, comedy, films, camping and…alcohol. When I was younger I knew Belladrum as a place where underage people go to get drunk for a few days in the summer. This year though my mum bought us tickets as the weekend fell over my 21st birthday. She spent a lot of money on tickets for the family, flights from Cornwall for my cousin and tents and shower passes for everyone. It really meant a lot to me that she organised all that for me, even if it did rain the whole weekend.

Camping in a four person tent in Scotland

Camping in Scotland in a four person tent

This was the tent situation. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the most outdoorsy person and I think after this weekend of camping my cousin Ellie and I both decided that camping isn’t really for us. We probably prefer a city break in a hotel (or more realistically a Holiday Inn Express). It was certainly an experience though!

On the first night the sun did actually come out for a while and we went and listened to some music. We saw some local bands and also some random men singing in Welsh in one of the pub/huts.

Belladrum Festival in Scotland

This was the entrance to the main venue from our camping area. I thought it looked quite cute, especially before the whole place turned to sludge.

Festival in Scotland

Some of the acts that played were Franz Ferdinand, Twin Atlantic, Sister Sledge, KT Tunstall and Birdy.

A blurry gif of local celebrities Twin Atlantic performing No Sleep No Sleep Spotify (if you do click this link be prepared for an intense scottish accent that everyone at the concert mimicked despite not actually sounding like that).

By day three the place looked less like a cute, sunny festival with fairy lights everywhere and more like… well this

Muddy welly boots in Scottish Festival

This was me on my way back from the portaloo toilets one morning. Trying to get up a hill that’s essentially a mud slide has its challenges.

After sharing a box of wine with Ellie, followed by not nearly enough food and some straight vodka just before I turned 21 it’s safe to say the following morning wasn’t much fun for me.

I tried and failed to keep a bacon roll down and wanted a proper bed more than I can even express.

To anyone who has never been to a festival in Scotland (I’m assuming most of you) here’s a little taster of what you can expect:

Mel Gibson, Braveheart at Belladrum Festival Scotland

Obviously that’s a bit of a joke but it is a legit picture from the festival.

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently, I’m currently off (having taken flexi time off work) recovering from the experience and I have a new found appreciation for my bed (as if I could love bed anymore).

Until next time,

J x