Monday, 4 January 2016

Into the Heart of the Sea - 5* Film Review

Based around the classic and well loved novel 'Moby Dick' I went to see this film with an expectant hype. I also do love a good film about the sea and all its power and mystery. I have to say, it did not disappoint. This was one of the most epic, intense and well directed movies I have ever seen.

Directed by Ron Howard, this is an adventurous thriller of a storyline about a ship full of whale hunters in the 1800s, desperately seeking whale oil and allowing greed to get the better of them. Some more than others. There are so many gripping moments, the men must battle to stay alive, some quickly meeting their death, upon a darkly fated ship. 

The first close call with death comes as the new captain (hired through family heritage rather than experience) sends them full force into a treacherous storm that nearly wipes out the ship and most of the crew. The filming shots and angles in this scene are incredible and capture the true rage and terror of the darkest parts of the ocean in a storm. 

The initial bad footing that the newly assigned Captain (played by Benjamin Walker) and his second in command - Owen Chase (played by Chris Hemsworth) find themselves on, creates for a turbulent working relationship and a bad dynamic onboard. Thus many of the Captain's initial decisions are not necessarily made in the best interest of the crew and safety of the ship but rather as a way of establishing his own authority, respect and command - albeit for the safety of his men.

As the plot thickens the men find themselves in South America where they are advised to travel 2000 miles away from shores to a place that is filled with whales and good fortune for them. Unfortunately the place also has a darker side to it, where the 'demon' of the sea lives - Moby Dick. However the men do not shrink back with fear - for they suspect that the whale is possibly a myth. As they enter this territory, their journey takes a turn for the worse and their survival is doubtful. 

Throughout the movie the cinematography is beautiful and there is a really great capturing of the insignificance of man versus the elements of nature. One of the most poignant moments occurs when Chase finds himself looking into the eyes of the whale - Moby Dick - a kind of non verbal, almost spiritual communication happens between them, an extremely tense moment, that can only be explained through seeing the actual movie.

The entire story is told in the future as an account looking back, by the youngest of the sailors - Nickerson. He tells the tale to a young writer (Herman Melville - played by Ben Whishaw) in a heart felt account - very moving at times. At one point he struggles to go on as his wife appears in the room listening to his darkest of secrets, previously unknown to be present. But she remains loyal and loving and urges him to continue his tale.
 - Perhaps one of the underlying themes of the film is the faithfulness of the women, who support their husbands in this trecherous trade and wait for them - for sometimes years, to return home. 

Another interesting theme in the movie is how extremely powerful it is to watch how the human condition can rapidly deteriorate when there is a dulled sense of hope. And yet seeing how others do not lose heart and press on to their survival - knowing that they must reach their loved ones, or even just go on living and see what life brings them, to face the years ahead. Another interesting aspect is the gradual change seen in the men as they become more desperate, tired and fearful for their lives - the psychological implications for survival gradually intensify. Do they turn on each other?

To conclude, I would give this movie FIVE stars ***** I truly think that it is really well produced, directed and cast. Go and see this movie! You will 100% love it and be amazed, challenged, inspired and deeply moved.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Building the foundation for a good year ahead!

Today I spent a really great day exploring the lovely town of Bury St. Edmunds with family. It was really bright and crisp weather - a change from the rain we've been having in Cardiff! And I was surprised to see lots of ancient ruins in the town - in the form of an old Abbey. As a history lesson from my uncle taught me - it was a pilgrimage site for Christians back in the day who were needing shelter along the way on their journey - I write this as I am now sheltering from the rain in central London! ☔️ 

I don't normally spend too long discovering the in depth history of a place - however, one thing that I really sensed in this particular place was an atmosphere of peace, happiness and tranquility. The gardens surrounding the Abbey are beautiful and the sun was beaming down on us. There were lots of families enjoying the gardens and the general atmosphere felt really blessed. As I wondered why this was, I began to realise that the ground I was walking on felt blessed. It was one of past worship, prayer and thanksgiving. It really struck me that the peacefulness and the history of the place were not unrelated links. 

As I ponder over the beginning of a New Year, I think about the plans, ambitions and goals that I have made for this year - and there are many! But one thing I really aim to make top priority is a foundation of prayer, worship and thanksgiving. You can't buy the kind of peace and beauty I sensed in the gardens this afternoon. This isn't meant to be a religious plug, but I sensed more than ever today that you can reap the benefits of a lifestyle of worship, thanksgiving and prayer - and you really do reap what you sow. "Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." - Collosians 2:7 (The Bible) Have an amazing New Year celebration this evening, whatever you are doing, and be blessed! πŸ’―

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Top ten tips for beating the blues - The Struggle is Real

So, perhaps you had the picture-perfect postcard Christmas scene that we all witness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and wish we could be a part of (queue Tiny Tim peering in at window image with sad classical music.) However, the chances are - if you are reading this, you didn't. As a good friend recently said to me, "Tis the Season to be angry as f**k". 

So, as a way of putting something positive out into the world as I pass my time on this crisp but grey afternoon in Cardiff when I could have been in Ghana - another story for another time, I have come up with a top ten list of how to beat the post festive (or non existent festive) blues.

1) πŸ˜‡ begin with an attitude of gratefulness. It has been proven that a positive thought is 100 times more powerful than a negative one. Stop looking at what others have that you don't and start being thankful for the good things about your life.

2) πŸ˜† Give more! Whether it be your time, money, clothes, compliments - give something positive away today - I guarantee you will feel more blessed and richer for doing so.

3) 😰 Do some exercise! It releases endorphins - which apparently make you feel good - like when you eat chocolate, except exercise won't make you fat like chocolate πŸ™Œ yay.

4) πŸ’‘ create something new. Whether it be writing, a design, a new list of ideas for the new year, a new blog! Creating something will get your brain focused and energised, not dull and brooding.

5) 🌍 Volunteer! Help someone out. It could be helping with the homeless, the elderly or anything really! There are so many ways to get involved in local projects - and in particular there are lots of local churches that have so many projects helping the community - ask!

6) πŸ‘ have a clear out. Try and create a peaceful and simplified living space - free from clutter and complications. Being more organised will help you to feel more positive and less stressed.

7) πŸ™ pray/ talk to some one you trust. Oh and if you are a believer, worship God! This really helps, in fact this should be number one but if you re-read number one, they kind of go hand in hand anyway.

8) πŸ™‰ listen to some of your favourite music - preferably not sad music as this will draw your emotions back to feeling low. Music is a powerful tool.

9) πŸ’Speak some positive affirmations over your life! Did you know that the words we speak over our lives have power?! Start speaking life, and make this a daily habit - eg. I am grateful for this day and l have everything I need to make a positive difference in mine and other's lives today.

10) FORGIVENESS - This is key. Whatever someone has done to wrong you, try to release them from any bitter harbouring thoughts you have against them. You may have heard, holding on to resentment towards another human being is like drinking poison and expecting them to feel the pain. Let it go - why do you think that song was such a massive hit? - its key to happiness.

I hope this has helped and inspired someone. I'm just going to keep referring myself back to this list and living a life of positivity and thankfulness. I won't say Happy New Year - because its too clichΓ©. I'll say, may you know your life as blessed in the coming year and in the present moment and live in a constant state of thankfulness. πŸ’‘

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

My humble opinions, with a feminist slant.

Hi guys, please like and share my youtube video above!

It's been a while since I have done a post, but I simply couldn't hold back much longer as certain topics are arising in current affairs that actually are close to my heart and I couldn't stay silent!!!!

Firstly - why are people so quick to judge celebrities who are doing charity work!? And also, why do we judge rich people so much?! It's so unfair, and these celebs are just people like ourselves who are subjected and ridiculed to the max. They get criticised under the microscope constantly and there is so much pressure on them to be perfect. I really think we should realise that celebrities are just real people like ourselves and if they are trying to make a positive change for charity then just leave them alone.

Secondly - why are so many women trying to get famous, or are already famous for taking off their clothes and making porn?! It is so disheartening for young women. What example is this for the younger generation? Where is the encouragement for education and cultured minds? The media influences so much of what we do and think. There is a desperate need for a rising up of young women who are willing to NOT fall into the trap. Women who see their worth and value their dignity. Even if you are struggling to find work, there is always another way. Even if you have to be on minimum wage for a while and show patience, there are other ways to make a career in the media other than becoming an object of lust.

Kindest regards,


Friday, 1 August 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - REVIEW *****

Persuaded to go and see this film by a male, with reluctance I went - with an open mind, thinking that there would be some special effects I could pay appreciative comments to, and that would be about it.

However, I was taken pleasantly by surprise, into a world of deep emotional battles over the nature of man versus the integrity of the animal kingdom. Given, that this is an epic American classic Sci-fi film, the last thing I expected to see were powerful emotive scenes from fictional talking apes that would have me in tears one minute, laughing hysterically the next, and on the edge of my seat for the duration of the screening.

The plot is focused on a battle of territory and a fight for survival between the humans living in San Francisco, and the apes living in the upper region of the Muir Woods just outside the city.  The humans need to fix a hydroelectric damn situated around the location of the Ape’s home, so that they can provide a power source once again to their town. The apes obviously struggle with this, as they want to  protect their families and remain in their long-standing home that they have fought so hard to keep in the past.

Cascaded with a series of life-threatening misunderstandings of one another, and of the communication between parties, the film takes unexpected twists and turns that will have you gasping for breath and wondering what will happen next. I found myself contemplating over and over in my mind, how such ignorance and disaster can result from a fear of the other, of the unknown.

One of the most touching aspects of the film, is the portrayal of the apes, by human actors, using performance capture. In the words of Andy Serkis the film portrays “Apes that are infused with the heart and soul of an actor’s performance”. Serkis brings a spirit and a simplicity to his heroic character Caesar, that doesn’t let technology take away from the acting side of things but instead makes the apes all the more real and fascinating to watch.  

It was interesting to look up some of the actors that played the parts of the apes such as the great leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the angry rebellious Koba, (Toby Kebbell) who ends up turning against his own.  The anger of Koba, particularly struck me in the film, and I felt that the realness of that anger was so strong. The film directors worked hard to find actors that had great depth. Toby Kebbell (Koba) has been praised for many of his emotive performances in his acting roles, including his portrayal of a boy with learning difficulties in the film ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ directed by Shane Meadows 2004.

Sometimes in Sci-fi films I think they tend to neglect the need for good acting, but in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this certainly was not the case. Neither did the directors neglect the special effects side of things as they worked with the creators of Avatar and Lord of the Rings to achieve the ultimate standard that went above and beyond all previous special effects films. They took the highest and most intense action scenes to the real locations on filming, and did real live motion captures. This film truly has something for everyone and I would genuinely give it five stars, as a must watch this summer.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Half Marathon Mission

As of late I have embarked on a mission to train for a Half Marathon – The Great North Run. This is 13.1 miles across Newcastle and the region of Tyne & Wear, also appealing as my Grandma lives five minutes from the finish line! Running long distance marathons is something I have always wanted to get involved in, and I am finally taking that step to pursue my goals.

I find running to be extremely therapeutic and rewarding, not to mention it is also cost free! So if you are on a budget, or looking to save some money in order to buy that designer handbag/car/holiday/house deposit, then taking exercise for free is something that you really should consider!

It is not for the faint hearted though. It is proving to be a massive mind over matter challenge. I have to train a lot at night to fit around my work schedule, when sometimes I’d much rather curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and good food I have to get out there and train! I believe that the body gives up a long time before the mind does when you push yourself beyond what you would normally do for exercise. I was told once, by a friend of mine who is a South African rugby player, that when your body wants to pack in, you can actually do what you have already done, ten times over. So I am definitely learning more about persevering through the comfort zone at the moment – quite possibly an amazing lesson I will carry with me for the rest of life.

I am going to post more articles as my training progresses, sharing experiences, and also diet and nutrition tips that help me along the way. However I am mainly fascinated by the minds ability to push the body beyond what is comfortable, the ability to persevere through pain, and to achieve great things. I believe that the mind is a powerful tool and I will be looking at how the marathon training can help build skills that can transfer into all areas of life and pursuing goals.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Is social networking leaving us too exposed as individuals?

I am writing as a young person that fully embraces the social media world of the 21st century. Self-confessed instagram addict, selfie show-off, tweeter and Facebook fanatic, I do enjoy all of the social networking facilities that are out there, but I do often ask myself - are we now too open as people? Are we jeopardising or in some cases enhancing our careers? And is there now any room left for traditional, old-fashioned, get-to-know-one-another conversation/spending time?

It is definitely the done thing right now to share all of our latest personal photographs, status updates, opinions and life details over social networking sites which not only connect us to our loved ones, but also to people who we wouldn't normally share such information with. I have to admit I always think twice about what to say in a status in case it may offend one of my "1000" friends. Chances are, something will always offend someone so I used to not saying anything at all, on the majority of occasions. However I have changed my attitude over caring what others think so much and I have decided to speak out more often and just be true to myself. This initially feels very liberating, however the openness of the internet and who might read such information is proving to make things more nerve-racking and daunting. "And why are you further broadcasting it in a BLOG?!" I hear you speculate. Well, truth be told I wanted to further explore what people think about the use of such social networking sites as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and to consider to what EXTENT are these sites having an effect on the behaviour in our society.

It was only the other day that a gentleman came up to me and told me that he had googled me. I was at first, alarmed, then flattered (very shortly after - being an actress at times) and then... I became paranoid! I ran through questions in my head, searched for re-assurance from friends - do I have... is there? No! I know I do not have any dodgy material on the internet - but what is there out there, about me? It just alarmed me, how open the internet actually is, and how we all so willingly subject ourselves to it's domain. Social networking is a tool that can contain the power to affect our career, our social circle, our relationships, our life! People often warned me at University, that potential employers will often check your Facebook photos to see what kind of life you lead, before thinking about employing you. This is all too scarily true! Gone are the days when work and social life were kept completely separate. Now they are ever merging, and we are no longer able to hold up such a facade of infallible perfection at interview. True quite a lot of people have made careers using social networking sites, being able to market and promote businesses over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and essentially do a lot of 'networking'. At the end of the day it depends what profession you are going in to, as to how open you feel comfortable with being on these sites.

On a different note, do social networking sites spoil part of the mystery of romance? If you connect with someone as friends, then you automatically have access to that persons endless photos, opinions, statuses etc. - not that you would STALK them, of course! Even down to things like texting - (which is a whole other ball game I will write a separate article about!) we digitally have the ability to always be in contact with someone if we choose to be. Where is the mystery in that? Where is the wondering when you two may bump into each other again - or better yet, if you have arranged to see someone again, just generally not talking via text until the next time you meet so that you actually have some real chat to catch up on. And you perhaps would look forward to seeing that person a lot more because you haven't spoken in say, a week! Part of the early stages of romance are made that much sweeter by the mystery, in my humble opinion. And social networking just leaves a person so entirely exposed - or does it?

This leads me on to my last point: the self, the persona that we present to others via social networking. Is it even actually the real us? I mean, are we presenting our true selves, or an idealised version that we want the world/society we live in, to approve of/agree with? Of course, everybody wants to be liked, but are we putting out too much of an idealised picture of our lives? Perhaps - to protect ourselves, self-preservation, self-pride, self-privacy! Which in my opinion, are all good motives. We live in an endless dilemma in my opinion, I believe all of us have paused at a status/ bad-ish photo/ quote, and thought, should I share this? What will people think/say? Will it be frowned upon or rejected? How open IS the internet? Will I be over-exposing myself? Just this afternoon I met with a guy who had gotten into enormous trouble over a very political hot potato that he had decided to tweet about. Sat at home, in the privacy of his own room, behind closed doors, he felt so safe, to share a controversial opinion via Twitter. I mean, it's only Twitter, surely? Just like my diary, online, no? NO. Little did he expect the BBC to be showing up at his workplace, with cameras demanding an apology. Little did he expect. Little did we all expect. See, I still believe that most of us are all still a bit internet naive. We have no idea who the majority of people are that read our tweets/statuses/blogs, which makes that all equally exciting as it is terrifying. My conclusion would still be, just to be yourself, and be as findable on the internet as you would be comfortable with. But keep some of the mystery.