Can you believe that we are half way through the year? I swear that since Covid, the weeks and months just fly by and everything is a blur. I think it's because while most people think that life is back to "normal" and the governments would like us to believe that too, the reality is that the numbers are rising again, and having had Covid five times, I don't feel particularly safe and am still on tenterhooks, to an extent, even though I've tried to do some normal things. Because I now have Long Covid, on top of my other illnesses, I still feel in that Covid blur and need to find a way to let it go, because the reality is that the months and years are flying by! After that long rambling intro, I'm here to talk about what I loved in June!
Airports aside, we really enjoyed our holiday - we just soaked up the sun (well protected, of course), relaxed, slept in, read, ate delicious food and enjoyed quality time together, without discussing work, Covid, house moves, or anything else along those lines - just what the doctor ordered. If somebody could invent time travel, so we could avoid airports, that would be magic!
I know that a lot of Europe experienced a heatwave, but here in Ireland, we had to settle for just the odd day of sunshine, and nothing like the temperatures that even parts of the U.K. experienced. I'll take a sunny day whenever I can, so I was grateful for the few that we did get. Every year, we're teased with the notion of a heatwave (a proper one!), but it rarely happens, but then again, Ireland wouldn't be so green and lush if we didn't have some rain!
TV: Love Island is back, and I know that it's heavily edited reality tv, it's an escape from reality and an easy watch. I don't think there'll be another Series 3, or my personal favourite, Series 5, due to Maura Higgins and her classic one-liners, I still watch this. I think it was a mistake to let the public choose the couples, as it didn't feel authentic, or as though there was any real chemistry for the first 2 weeks and the couples played it safe. I don't have any favourite couples at the moment, but I hope that by the end of the series, there is actually a couple that I really want to win.
Other than that, we haven't watched a lot of TV, to be honest, as we generally tend to watch less in the summer. I'd love to hear any recommendations you have though?
Film: One of the weekends when I was really ill, we watched Man Up and Run Fatboy Run on Netflix. Both star Simon Pegg, are easy rom com watches, without too much cheese, and they're both under 2 hours - perfect when your meds make you nap a lot! Sometimes, an easy watch, where you don't have to engage your brain too much, is exactly what is needed!
Top Gun: Maverick: I'll be honest, I have never seen the original Top Gun! I was too young to see it when it was released & then didn't think it would interest me enough to rent, and being totally honest, I didn't think I'd be too interested in seeing Maverick either, but then so many people were raving about it - those who were ambivalent about it beforehand too, so we decided to see what the hype was about! What little I knew about the original, I gleaned from the video to the title track "Take my Breath Away" and realistically, that was enough. Tom Cruise reprises his role as Maverick, but this time he is recruited as an instructor to create a team of six fighter pilots, who have three weeks to prepare for a dangerous mission to take out a nuclear power plant, which has the potential to cause mass destruction. In order to do this, the pilots (top 12 in the country) will have to fly lower and faster than ever before. It's no easy task, and when the time frame for training is shortened, Maverick is hugely worried about loss of lives. One of the people he is training is the son of his friend from the first film, whose death he feels responsible for. So, that's the basic storyline, however it is the action scenes that you're really there for - they're the kind of ones where you'd almost grip the edge of your seat (if you didn't have a husband's arm to grip instead - oops!), and you feel like you can't breathe for some of them. I love that Tom Cruise does his own stunts and although, for some, he's a controversial character, I don't believe he gets enough credit. I am obviously not gong to give away any ending, however if you like action-packed films, or want to re-live your '80s youth, then this is definitely worth a watch!
Half A World Away by Mike Gayle: I read this in less than 2 days on holiday - it's both heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. It focuses on two main characters, with the chapters going between the perspective of the other. They had the same mother, but were taken into care, with one being adopted and the other going through care homes Their lives couldn't have been more contrasted - their childhoods, but also their adult lives. Kerry, the older sister, has always written letters and sent them to the adoption agency, in case her younger brother ever wanted to find her. I really don't want to say too much about how and why their paths cross, however life is better for both of them now that contact has been made. I became completely engrossed in their stories - the writer made their characters come to life so well on paper, that I felt like I was watching the story unfold, rather than reading it. It makes you think about how different life can be for people, based on luck, chance, opportunities, attitude, and so much more. I enjoyed it so much that I'm going to buy some more books from the author.
Hear Me Out by Sarah Harding: Again, I read this in less than 2 days on holiday. Obviously, I knew that Sarah had passed, and she knew that she was terminally ill while writing the book, but it's not necessarily focused just on that. She had almost become a caricature in Girls Aloud - the wild, party girl, and she wanted to set the record straight, and for people to actually know her, her background and about her life, before she died. I can understand that, because who would want their family and friends to read headlines like "Party girl Sarah dead before 40" when they passed, and at a time that is already so heartbreaking. I learned a lot about her through the book - about her childhood, that she had ADHD, how much she adored music, her insecurities, and the truths behind the headlines. Ultimately, her early death is extremely sad, and a reminder to us all to check our bodies for any abnormalities, and not to ignore anything, and be persistent if you are being fobbed off (even in the middle of a pandemic). I'm glad that the press gave Sarah & her family they privacy they deserved during her treatment, and ultimately, her death. The story of her cancer was initially leaked by somebody who put it on social media that they had seen her at a cancer hospital, so she took control and released a statement. Why would anybody put something so intensely personal and private about a person on the internet? I'm glad that respect was shown after that.
I'd love to hear what your June favourites are?
Thanks for reading!
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