With one “Year In” post down (travel), I will now review all the films and T.V. shows I’ve loved this year relative to each other. I now realize I didn’t watch (or really love) many films or shows this year, but that’s probably because I spent more time watching YouTube (review for that also to come). With that, I decided to combine my posts into one rather than posting two separate ones like I did last year.

Here is last year’s Year in Films post.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (★★★★): I firmly believe that these films are modern classics. Although they didn’t receive the best critic reviews, you can’t help fall in love with the awesome action sequences and humor anecdotes.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (★★★★): Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes… what an icon. Fight the power.

Dallas Buyer’s Club (★★★★): What an amazing story. A good commentary on the AIDs crisis and shortcoming of the U.S. healthcare system that still occur today.

Avengers: Infinity War (★★★★★): Need I say more? The new trailer came out today as I’m writing this (7/12) and I can’t bloody wait!

A Quiet Place (★★★★★): I was hesitant to watch this film because I don’t like horror movies (particularly cheap jump-scares), but this is more of a thriller than a horror. Although I assert that John Krasinski is a really goofy-looking bloke and hard to take seriously, he did an amazing job both directing and acting in this movie. An interesting premise and flawless execution.

Million Dollar Baby (★★★★): I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn’t have the twist spoiled for me by the parody episode of It’s Always Sunny in Phildelphia, but I loved this film, especially the inconclusive ending.

A Star is Born (★★★★): I absolutely worship Lady Gaga and have since the beginning. She is an absolute legend, having hit albums in pop, jazz, country… and now a soundtrack. Is there anything she can’t do? The plot of the movie was just okay, but the music is absolutely incredible. I’m living for this age of more frequent musical movies.

Although I watched maybe three times the amount of films listed on here, these are the ones I enjoyed most. I’m pretty insatiable when it comes to my movie taste, but you can see a list of my favorite films here.

Here is last year’s Year in Television Shows post.

I really enjoyed the new seasons of Shameless and RuPaul’s Drag Race, both of which I’ve been watching for a few years now. In fact, I just saw Alyssa Edwards live a few days ago!

Anything and everything Louis Thereoux (★★★★★): I didn’t get around to watching many documentaries this year (although I did really enjoy one on a cancer-scandal-turned-murder of Gypsy Rose Blancharde), Louis Thereoux never lets me down. His new altered states was very thorough and vulnerable, dealing with issues of life, love and death. The assisted suicide episode had me in ugly tears.

Jack Whitehall: Live (★★★★): Now, I’m not usually one for stand-up comedy specials, but I really enjoyed this one! I watched the show Fresh Meat last year and discovered my love for Jack Whitehall and his humor.

Travels with my Father (★★★★★): Piggy-backing on that, Jack also has a show where he, you guessed it, travels with his 70-something year old traditional father. Hilarity ensues.

The Good Place (★★★★★): I cannot sing my praises for this show enough. I’ve really been enjoying keeping up with the new season and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Wentworth (★★★★): An Australian (fictional) women’s prison show. It’s so good but very intense… I’m not exaggerating when I say someone dies nearly every episode. I’ve taken a little break from it but hope to finish it soon!

What was your favorite film or show this year? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Photo by Charles Deluvio.

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Dive computer: my number one priority is a dive computer! As you’re probably tired of hearing already, my brother and I are going on holiday to southeast Asia in June, so a lot of my gifts will be used for this trip and future ones. After renting a dive computer on my LiveAboard trip for $80, I realize I could buy one for a little more than that to have for myself. I asked for whatever computer is available at the local dive shop for around $150. I don’t know much about dive computers so I don’t want to drop loads of money on something I might not like or use that often.

Knock-off GoPro: I would also love a way to capture memories underwater. However, actual GoPros are a bit expensive for me right now as I don’t think I would use it really often. With that, I would like a knock-off GoPro that may not be the best quality, but still gets the job done. I took my South Africa footage on a camera similar to this one supplied by the university and it turned out okay.

Spotify for a year: Spotify premium is worth every penny, I can’t live without it.

SE Asia reef guide: Although the LiveAboard might have one, you can’t be too careful. As a massive fan of marine biology, I’d like to know exactly what I’ve seen.

Travel towel: I lost both of mine (one in Venice in 2016 and one on the way back from Luxembourg this last summer) and need a new one.

Minus the Bear shirt: Because I haven’t got a new band shirt in ages.

Home waxing kit: I’ve been cutting and shaving my hair at home and it’s saved me a pretty penny… I would like to expand on that by doing my eyebrows at home too. Lord knows they grow in so quickly I can’t afford a salon wax every month.

Electric kettle: A real adult gift. I want my tea and I want it NOW.

What did you all ask Santa for?

Photo by Victoria Heath.

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Season’s greetings!

As I mentioned, I’m not doing Blogmas this year. Although I do plan on posting a lot this month, it certainly won’t be everyday. Mainly due to the fact that I posted a lot of Christmas-related posts last year and don’t want to be repeating myself.

Here are my Blogmas posts from last year:

Here are my favorite Christmas-related posts by others from last year as well:

Environmentally conscious

Gift guides

Miscellaneous

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM.

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Yesterday was my last day working as a healthcare assistant for the last ten months or so.

It was okay. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it.

I really hated the hours: most of my visits were only one hour at each client’s house and before I got my car, it would take up to an hour one way by bus to get to the client’s house.

I wasn’t a massive fan of the administrative side of things: there was a near constant flow of time-sensitive e-mails and I felt really pressured to pick up shifts, yet hardly ever ask to have shifts covered for me. I would say that of all the shifts that I was asked to cover, I took about 70% of them, but when I called out sick once or twice in my ten months working there, my boss was really reluctant at first to let me stay at home to rest and literally told me, “You need to be better this weekend.” Also, my bosses asked me if I could work next week even though they’ve had my last day for months now. Such a piss take.

The pay was kind of shit: everyone thinks they deserve more, but I definitely needed more than minimum wage for all the hard work I was doing. These are people’s lives I’m involved in.

What did I do, you ask? A lot of the clients stick to a routine that doesn’t vary much, but may if they’re not feeling great that day or need something extra. Here are a list of things I’d do between all my clients:

  • Administer medication
  • Light shopping
  • Pet care (feeding, short walks)
  • Light cooking (e.g. oven meals) and feeding
  • Make and serve drinks
  • Using the loo (whether it’s emptying catheter bags or physically assisting them onto the toilet)
  • Washing, showering, dressing and other things to get ready for the day
  • Manual handling in almost every case, from using my own body to equipment such as a hoist
  • Domestic tasks such as dishes, ironing, hoovering, laundry, etc.

When I tell people I’m a carer, I often get asked, “So, for like, old people?” and I simply answer with, “Disability knows no age.” My clients range from 20-somethings to 90-somethings, all with different needs and abilities.

Over the course of the year, I worked with eight clients.

There was a bit of turnover, so there are a few clients I no longer work with: one client was put into end-of-life care after mentally and physically deteriorating relatively rapidly over the course of a few weeks, I have not heard about them since. One client had a bit of a turn and was in the hospital and care home for a while and arranged other care when they got home. Finally and most tragically, a client died and I was the first on the scene for the “beginning of the end” as it were.” Some background: the client was pretty independent and of sound mind, only required our visits to help with a wash and some domestic tasks, we did not think they were a massive risk, so what happened was really unexpected. Anyway, I arrived one morning to the client sitting on the floor, fully clothed. After some investigating, I found blood all over the door frame in the kitchen and the WiFi box wire spread across the floor. From what I could deduce, they must have tripped over the wire, hit their head on the door, and crawled back to the bedroom, unable to get to bed. I called my boss and emergency services and a week later, the client passed. It was all very sudden and sad.

Here is a bit about the clients I was still with until recently:

  • One client who was quite independent, making for an easy and lovely visit. Not to mention they had the most amazing modern flat with views of the sea.
  • Two clients were paraplegic. I would only see gentleman every now and again to cover for the full-time carer’s break. I would see the lady, again, to give the full-time carer respite as well as in the morning for a shower or wash. I really enjoyed my visits and chats with her once I got to know her.
  • One client had M.S., which is what my mom has. They probably had the most hands-on visit with the most manual handling done alone as they didn’t have a full time carer, which could be tiring. I think we our relationship changed when they took me to a Foo Fighters concert in London. We went through hell to get there (public transit as a wheelchair user is a nightmare), but had the best time at the gig, I’m glad they were able to go. At the end of the day, I’ve probably put in the most hours with this client, so we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. Also, seeing their condition has helped me give insight to the future of my mom’s care, what’s next and how I can help. Plus, he had the cutest dog (a Dalmatian). Unfortunately, they have been in the hospital for the last few weeks, but I hope to see them again before I leave.
  • One client had memory and physical issues. She could not mobilize on her own and memory was variable, but she was always really lovely and made for an easy visit. However, things took a turn when her husband also started to struggle. In the space of a few days, he had a stroke (which I was there for and called emergency services) and a nasty fall which led to an increase in visits, namely overnight visits. Usually the visits are easy, but sometimes the gentleman will try to leave the house in the wee hours of the morning and gets cross when you try to prevent him from doing so.

As you can tell, this job was a lot of work. Once I got home, I’d be too emotionally or physically exhausted to take care of my house and my home… because I was too busy taking care of other people and their home. I don’t regret doing this job, but I certainly wouldn’t do it again.

Photo by rawpixel.

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Happy December! I won’t be doing Blogmas, mainly because I value quality posts over the quantity of posts and although it’s a great way to get creative and a lot of bloggers do make consistently great posts, I don’t have the time for that this year.

I will, however, be doing some reflective and review posts throughout December to wrap up my year. First up: travel!

Where I’ve been since January 1, 2018: 

United Kingdom: London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Lewes

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South Africa: Sodwana Bay, Umkomaas, St. Lucia, Cape Town

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Luxembourg: Luxembourg City

Spain: Madrid

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Norway: Bergen

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This year was really special in that I had both my brothers, my dad and my friend Lisa visit me and I met up with more family (my grandma and two aunties) in Bergen. I love showing Brighton off and travelling with others.

Travel stats since January 1, 2018:

  • Plane: 16,159 miles (26,005 kilometers)
  • Car or coach: 885 miles (1,424 kilometers)
  • Train: 820 miles (1,480 kilometers)

Travel stats since May 2015:

  • Plane: 58,340 miles (93,889 kilometers)
  • Car or coach: 8,660 miles (13,934 kilometers)
  • Train: 3,010 miles (4,844 kilometers)

Travel plans for 2019:

I made a little post kind of announcing this but my brother and I are doing a trip to southeast Asia in June 2019! I’ve wanted to do this trip for as long as I can remember and since I probably won’t be doing as much travelling next year, I wanted to make my one big trip count. Specifics are up in the air at the moment and we’re just building our trip bit by bit, but so far, we have Full Moon Party, a few days in Phuket and a LiveAboard trip for sure.

I also hope that Diego will visit me in the U.S., so I’ll make sure it’s a holiday to remember!

I will also try to squeeze in another adventure, probably to Baja California, Mexico because although I live an hour and a half from the border, I’ve never actually been to Mexico.

Finally, I have a page like this for all my travels here, so check it out.

Stay tuned for Year In Film, T.V. Shows, Books and maybe one or two others that come to mind.

Where have you been this year? Where are you going next year?

Photo by Ella Jardim.

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