July Favourites

This moth feels like it has been pretty busy. I began the month in Paris on holiday which was great, and since that was kind of the last big plan for my summer holidays, I have spent a lot of time since doing things I needed to get done, visiting family, visiting my house at uni for next year etc. Looking down my list of favourites I think there are some really great favourites here, some classics, some new discoveries and a couple of brand new releases for this month.

Apps

Apps are honestly something I don’t really think about much, I’m not particularly interested in technology. But when you find an app that you really like, its great and can make things so much better. The apps I have here are all things I would tell people about, especially Clue for people with menstrual cycles and Goodreads for keen readers. I’ve been using all of these apps for a while now, so I can happily recommend checking them out.

Clue

I think I first heard about this app in a YouTube video and decided to check it out. It’s essentially a tracking app for your menstrual cycle but is also so much more useful than that. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere to keep track of when my next period was due without having to count 28 days and put it in a calendar. This app creates predictions for your cycle length and period length as you use it more and will predict three cycles in advance for you to see. The app also allows you to track elements of your choosing. This varies from exercise to appointments to bodily functions to physical feelings to emotions and much more. What this means is that the app can tell you if there is something in particular that you experience at certain points of your cycle. You can also use this for yourself to keep track of your personal health and symptoms. The app is constantly improving, and Clue are using the app and data that its users input to do research into how women’s health relates to their menstrual cycle. I think this app is just brilliant and I’m excited for it to keep improving.

Preview

I heard about this app, or something similar, from a YouTuber and thought the idea of planning and / or scheduling Instagram posts in advance could be useful for my account for my blog. I decided to look for an app and I really like this one. It connects to your Instagram account and displays your profile so you can see the kind of image you are building up. You can add new images without actually posting them and can then write your caption and schedule the post. I haven’t been using this app long but so far I really like it. I would recommend it for people using their Instagram account as a business of some sort.

Goodreads

As a bookworm, this app just called to me. An app where you can keep track of books you want to read, have read and are currently reading is just the best thing. The app also works kind of like a social media where you can add your friends, follow your favourite authors, and see what other people are reading. You can join book groups too and get updates on what they’re reading, create your own reading challenge for the year, and monitor you progress through a book. Each book has a page for star ratings and reviews, so you can read about the book before deciding if it appeals to you. I just find this app so great and if you read a lot of books then I’m sure you will too.

Podcasts

At Home With…

This month, I have been enjoying season two of ‘At Home With…’ which is a podcast hosted by Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton. The two interview women that they think are doing great things and they interview them at their home which makes the chat feel chilled and natural and really nice to listen to. During the chat, the women move rooms in the house to follow conversation and also describe and talk about the décor of the house and any renovation stories. I recommend this podcast for anyone who likes to listen to a chilled interview, discover inspirational women, or is interested in home styling.

Books

The Girl You Left Behind – Jojo Moyes

IMG_0953I got this book last Christmas having asked for it after I heard Jojo Moyes reading from the book and talking about it on a podcast. Jojo talked about to book so well and really sold the premise and how much research she had done into the subject of restitution cases from the first world war. The book is set in two parts. The first part is set in occupied France in 1917 where the story follows Sophie, a woman whose husband has left her to fight at the front. She runs a hotel in a town under the German occupation and from the moment we meet her at the beginning of the book, a series of events throws her life onto a new track. Sophie’s husband is an artist, and a portrait he did of her catches the eye of a German Kommandant. The second part of the book takes place in London in 2006. Here we meet Liv, the owner of Sophie’s portrait. Liv’s husband passed away and the portrait was his wedding gift to her, however, descendants of Sophie’s husband are looking for all his work and the portrait becomes the subject of a restitution case. Both women’s stories centre around love, loss and a fight for something they want to keep. It was Sophie’s story in particular that gripped me, I think it’s an amazing story based on Moyes’s detailed research, but the book as a whole was an excellent read. This is a book that I really recommend.

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

DSCN3715I remember seeing the film of The Secret Garden years ago, but I don’t remember much of it, and clearly, I was not gripped enough to read the book sooner. However, this novel is on my university reading list for my children’s literature course and I actually looked forward to picking it up. I love the cover illustration of the Oxford World’s edition that I bought, and I was engrossed in the book. The story was great and I can see why this is a classic. If you have never read this book, then I really recommend returning to a beloved children’s classic. I’m looking forward to studying this one at uni when the semester begins.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass – Lewis Carroll

DSCN3887Alice in Wonderland is one of those classic stories that I have always loved. I’ve visited the shop in Oxford, seen various film adaptations (I loved the Disney animation as a child and watched it repeatedly) and cite quotes from the original story. However, actually reading the two stories is something I have always meant to do but never quite found time for…until now. Hurray for my children’s literature module and the fact I finally had a time to read these novels. They are somewhat strange stories, but also brilliant and I still love them. I’m really interested to see what my module brings up about these stories because I think they’re excellent.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

DSCN3900This is another classic tale that I didn’t manage to read for far too long. I first read the story on my gap year and you can read my review here. As a child I remember watching the BBC adaptation of the story, and then I remember watching and absolutely loving the most recent film adaptation. I think this is my all-time favourite story and having a chance to reread it was great. There is something so magical about Lewis’s story and it’s so classic it feels like a fairytale. I cannot talk enough about how great the world and the story Lewis created are, but I know I’ll love it for years to come.

Eve of Man – Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

DSCN3603I bought a signed edition of this book and that was very exciting for me as I love Giovanna and Tom. Eve of Man is the first in a trilogy that the husband and wife duo are writing together, and I having read the first book, I cannot wait to read the next two and find out what happens next. The premise of the novel is that no girls have been born for 50 years, until Eve comes along. She is hailed as the saviour of humanity and we meet Eve at age 16 when 3 potential males are lined up for her ready to begin her destiny. However, destiny has other ideas when Eve meets Bram and the life that has been created for her by the EPO (Extinction Prevention Organisation) begins to crack and shatter. I recommend this one for fans of sci-fi and dystopian novels.

Films

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

10 years ago, I remember going to the cinema and seeing one of the best feel-good films. Since then, I have watched Mamma Mia a lot. Like…a lot. Last November, I also saw the stage show for the first time and if you love the film but have never seen the stage show, I cannot recommend it enough. I never expected a second film to come along, but as soon as I heard about it, I could not wait to see it. The film did not disappoint, it was the same great characters, amazing ABBA music and I left with a smile on my face and wanting to go straight back in to the cinema to see the film again. The plot of the film works as kind of a mixture between a prequel and a sequel. The prequel part is the plot we heard about in the first film with a young Donna meeting three guys and falling pregnant. The sequel part of the story follows Sophie has she continues her mother’s hotel and finds herself feeling closely connected to her. If there is one film you go to see this summer, I advise you to see this one.

Pretty Woman

Okay, so this is a film that people always talk about and I always say I will watch at some point, but just never have. There are many classic films that I have not watched in all honesty, but so far this year, I’ve been doing a good job at watching more films. The other night I was flicking through the TV channels and Pretty Woman happened to be on, so I thought I would finally watch it. And I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a really good film and I really like Julia Roberts, so I can see why so many people reference this one.

Music

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again Soundtrack

After seeing the film, I knew straight away that I needed to get the album. I think that the signing on this soundtrack is excellent, Lily James in particular is amazing. There are still some of the most-loved ABBA songs in the film, some that were not used in the first film and some that are lesser-known. I’ve been listening to the music over and over and there are some songs on the album that I just love, such as ‘Andante, Andante’ and ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’. Considering how much I have been enjoying this music, I had to add it to my favourites for this month.

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