Archive of ‘Monthly Review’ category

Looking Back ~ June 2016

I always think that marking the months off in such a way as so many bloggers do appears to make the year go by so quickly. I can’t really believe that it’s July already; I’m sure it’s the same every year, but it really does feel as though it was Christmas five minutes ago, and we’re already halfway there again!

June was a fun and busy month – I managed to spend time with friends and family, read some great books, see some nice films, and enjoy a few sunny days here and there. The big thing was finally getting to a theme park after a few years of not going; my friends and I used to go once a year, but life has somewhat got in the way, and it’s been five years since we went to Thorpe Park together. There’s a proper blog post coming, because it’s a 34 Before 34 item; it was a wet but lovely day, spent with some of my favourite people!

I had a lovely day at Thorpe Park today.

A photo posted by Jane (@itydarling) on


My month also included, as always, a trip to the BFI Southbank to take in a Mark Kermode in 3D performance. It’s an important part of my month now (though it looks as though we’ll be taking a break for August), and I look forward to it immensely. June’s felt like a slightly different affair; it came hot on the heels of the Brexit disaster result, and I think that was reflected slightly in the tone. It was still a lot of fun of course, and we were treated to an incredible array of special guests; Wendy Ide, Anthony Baxter, Amma Asante, and none other than Jason Isaacs! I had actually caught a glimpse of him in the corridors of the BFI, having arrived early, as I always do. I had no idea to expect four such amazing guests though, and it really was an incredible evening, which went a long way to cheering me up after a pretty awful couple of days.

And then this happened. So this Harry Potter, The West Wing, and Wittertainment superfan can die happy.

A photo posted by Jane (@itydarling) on


On that same day, I also toddled along to the House of Minalima, a pop-up exhibition in Soho that contains the graphic art from the Harry Potter films. It’s a tiny exhibition, but it’s fascinating; being able to really study the props from the film is a real treat. I’d recommend it to anyone that is in the area.


I also got to spend the day with my sister and niece, who had just been to the Warner Bros Studio Tour, meaning that my niece was full of beans about Harry Potter (I’ll happily talk Potter until I’m hoarse!).

In online news, I wrote a blog post for the lovely Haydy, to help her out while she was surviving the mud at Glastonbury. It’s about books (of course), and gives some ideas for reading challenges you might like to try.

Elsewhere, I think I finally had an idea for a novel that I really want to, and potentially can, write. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve actually started doing research, and I’m feeling confident!

In more wide-reaching events, I feel as though this month floored me with national and international events. Between Brexit, Orlando and Jo Cox, I’ve never felt quite as pessimistic about the state of the world as I have felt over the last few weeks. I’m still terrified, but the initial panic and feeling of being completely overwhelmed has abated, as I’ve reflected on all the good stuff that I have going on.

Looking back ~ May 2016

I didn’t blog very much in May! Despite very tentative plans to take part in Blog Every Day in May, I ended up doing a couple of round up posts and that was that. All the usual excuses of course, but I’ve now ordered a new diary which I am planning to use to organise my blog posts and give this blogging thing one more go.

So how was May for you? It was busy for me, mostly with work, as I had a big event smack bang in the middle of it. That meant a trip to Manchester, but as ever, I saw the hotel, the event venue, and the inside of the Trafford Centre, and little else! One of these days I’m going to go to Manchester and actually see the city.

You may remember that April saw the arrival of my great-niece, but I had to wait until May to meet her! She is, of course, beautiful, but I’m lamenting the fact that I’ve only seen her once. I must remedy that!

As I’m writing this post, and thinking about what I’ve got up to throughout the month, it occurs to me that I haven’t done that much! I’ve had fun, spent time with friends, read some books and watched some films, listened to many podcasts, and watched some television, but not much of particular note.

IMG_4493 [32662]

IMG_4494 [32664]

I did, of course, have my regular date with the BFI Southbank, where I saw Mark Kermode at his Live in 3D event. This is a monthly event, and so far I’ve been each and every month since the start of the year. The longer I go without missing a month, the more anxious I get about not being able to go at some point! In May, Mark had two special guests, Sir Alan Parker, and Professor Sir Christophe Frayling, both of whom spoke very eloquently, on Heaven’s Gate and Frankestein respectively.



MK3D is always a huge highlight of my month, not least because I get to meet up with the friends I have made through being a fan of Wittertainment – Chloe, Liz and Goldy. They really are a fabulous bunch of ladies, I’m in awe of all three of them for varying reasons, and I’m really glad that I’m able to call them my friends!

So that was my May. Not very interesting, or eventful, in the end, but it was an enjoyable month, all told. June promises to be… busy.

Looking Back ~ April 2016

What happened in April? It all seems like a long time ago (not least because it was), but it was a good month!

Most importantly, I became a great-aunt! I’ve mentioned this time and time again, but April 2016 will always be special to me for this reason, and I’m pleased to report that Peggie Jane (middle name for me) is beautiful!

In other news, right at the start of the month, I visited Glasgow for the first time. It was a work trip, so no real time to see the city, but we were staying by the river, and the views were nice! We also got to head into town for some food and had some lovely vegetarian/vegan Indian food at a place called Usha’s.

River Clyde Glasgow

Elsewhere, outside of work, I headed into London for Mark Kermode Live in 3D again. I decided to take the whole day off and do a little exploring this time; nothing too off the beaten track, as I stayed largely on the Southbank. I popped into Tate Modern, somewhere I like to go very sparingly, as I am not a huge fan of modern art. But I do love Mondrian, and I was excited when I chanced upon a couple of his paintings in one of the exhibitions.

Mondrian Tate Modern

The Mark Kermode event was as wonderful as ever – it’s a monthly event but each one is distinct; they follow a similar structure but he covers all sorts of films, and it’s honestly just an honour to get to hear him talk so passionately about films. I also toddled along to Norwich at the end of the month, again to see Dr K (I know), this time presenting Silent Running.

I also ticked off a 34 Before 34 item (Go to IKEA – blog post to follow), went on a course in London, and very much appreciated the first warm days of spring. I am now able to go for a walk in the evenings, because the sun is invariably shining and it stays light for longer, so I load up a podcast, and walk away!

Earls Colne

May has already been pretty exciting, so I’m looking forward to next month’s roundup.

Looking back ~ March 2016

It’s probably time to stop apologising for how late these posts are coming in the month. I just have to accept that I am not organised enough to get them done in a timely fashion, though I promise that I will try!

So March was a very busy month, not least because I moved house! From where Hannah and I were renting previously, we moved about ten minutes down the road, still in Essex (though getting closer to Suffolk), and into a little house with a lovely view of the river that runs by the house.

New Home

It really is a beautiful place to live, and although we are still not properly sorted (still have no furniture in the living room, and I have a few more bits to get for my bedroom), I do love it here.

Work has been very busy, because all of March was spent building up to an event in Glasgow at the very beginning of April (the main reason why this post is so delayed!). Things have only calmed down temporarily, because we are now going to spend the next month building up to an event in Manchester in May!

There was, of course, some fun to be had in amongst the moving and the working. I went for afternoon tea with my sisters and my niece, which I will blog about separately, because it ticks off a 34 Before 34 item. I went, once again, to the BFI Southbank to see Mark Kermode: Live in 3D – I’m hoping to go every month this year so you should expect to see me mention this again and again! I was lucky enough on this occasion to hear Mark chat with Ben Wheatley, who was busy that week promoting High Rise, as he took to the stage to defend Zardoz. I was also thrilled to meet up with three lovely ladies that I have got to know on Twitter through our mutual love of Wittertainment! I am already friends with Chloe, having been with her to a few different Kermode/Mayo/Wittertainment events, but I was also able to meet up with Liz and Goldy, and we have plans for more Girl Gang-related shenanigans in the future!

Ben Wheatley BFI

I did some laughter yoga at work, which was an experience, and I had a lovely Good Friday with my friends in the park. Hannah also celebrated her birthday in March, so we spent a day in London seeing a film at the BFI and then had dinner at Zizzi’s, so Hannah could try the new vegan cheese pizza (verdict – tasty!).


I’ve also been wearing my dungarees, a lot! They are my new favourite outfit, paired with almost anything (though not a checked shirt, for fear of veering into lumberjack territory), and I have to resist the urge to wear them every other day!

Clark's Shoes

And I bought some new shoes, which are also my new favourite thing, and I can obviously get away with wearing these every day if I want to! I had wanted them for a while, and then I managed to get them from the Clarks concession in Sainsbury’s when they had a 25% clothing promotion. We’re very happy together.

So that was my March, and now we’re already a third of the way through April!

Looking back ~ February 2016

My blog has become a place where I do a monthly round up of some sort and then go quiet for three weeks! I wish that I could dig myself out of this rut that I find myself in, but I’m struggling. Hopefully my forthcoming move (more on that shortly) will provide the fresh start I need.

How was your February? Mine was fine, if largely uneventful. I went to see Singalonga Grease, my first time seeing that particular film in that particular format, but by no means my first time at a Singalonga (nor my first time watching Grease, of course). I went back to the BFI to see Mark Kermode: Live in 3D, which was the second date of that monthly event. I am already booked up for March’s date, and I’m hoping to make it to all 12.


I’ve been knitting feverishly, trying to get a blanket finished in time for a non-baby shower next weekend. I have had to restart it over and over again, because I’m a bit rubbish, but it’s finally taking shape and I’m hoping it will be done in time. I will share it here once it’s all ready and with the mum-to-be.

As I mentioned, I’m moving house! We were asked to move out with a fairly flexible deadline of the end of February, and though I wondered how it was going to happen, it almost has! We found a little cottage/flat/bungalow type abode very near to work, and everything has worked out pretty perfectly, and we move next week. Packing is obviously the most hideous thing that has ever been invented, but needs must. If I’m a proper blogger at any point in the future, I may share photos of the new place, particularly if we can get it looking nice!


In other happenings, I got a second tattoo (to be blogged about); I got a dot-to-dot book; I went back to Jump Street and regretted it, as my back still hurts three weeks later. Plenty of reading, and books, as ever, as well as watching The Detectorists in its entirety – having watched the second series on iPlayer, I had to go and buy the DVD to watch the first series. I can’t recommend it enough, frankly, so if you haven’t seen it, give it a go. It’s Toby Jones at his absolute best. I’ve also started on The X-Files; I watched the odd episode as a teenager, but I’ve gone back to the start and immersed myself in it. Mulder 4 Scully 4evs.


Oh and Dennis came into work and was adorable. As ever.



1 2 3 4 5