Me Before You – Book/Film Review

Photo found on Google, not my property.
Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern are the goddesses of the romance novel, chick lit, romantic comedy, tug at your heart strings, cry with laughter books that I can sit and devour in hours. They are, it is as simple as that, so when one of their books gets converted into a film I am there faster than the road runner trying to tease coyote.

Me Before You is no exception to Moyes’ skill. Really it was probably the novel that shot her to fame and made her the world renowned author she is. It tells the story of a Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark, a girl who is struggling to find her path in life and simply needs to work to make ends meat, and Will Traynor, a self-centered rich boy who has suffered a huge accident. – This is the version with no spoilers, for spoilers, carry on reading. – After the accident Will becomes paralysed from his neck down and is bound to a wheel-chair. Desperate for any work, Louisa agrees to become a carer for Will and here their seemingly distant lives cross paths to create a recipe for beautiful romance and some heart-wrenching moments… As you can predict they fall in love but something else happens too… What you may ask? READ THE BOOK! WATCH THE FILM!

Moyes’ writing of the story is not short of romantic genius.Truly challenging the genre’s most famous authors such as Sparks, and giving them a valiant run for their money, Moyes has re-defined romance with one swooping novel. Writing about exactly what everyone else avoids, sacrifice, selfishness, not loving someone enough or loving them so much you have to leave. Me Before You  plays with all human emotions taking you on a journey from sad to happy, rollercoasting from fantastic moment of complete elation to gut-wrenching, crawl on the floor in agony devastation. A true gift to the 21st centure romance novel, her writing is humorous and boisterous at the right moments, and full of subtle nuances when it has to change, following such a natural and effortless flow. A true pleasure to read.

Lets discuss the film. First of all, as a fan – duh! – I loved everything about it. I think it was very smartly put together, cleverly juxtaposing the severity of the issues it debates with the light heartedness of the romance. In fact, that is what the entire story is about, the difference between Will and Lou. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin beautifully embody these two complex and contrasting characters, creating a fantastic dynamic and captivating moving picture.

Clarke put on her Louise shoes in style for this one, full stripy stockings, polka dot loving Lou. She was the adorable, quirky and fairly odd in perfection. Her performance left nothing to desire as it delivered everything a reader loved about the character. When she was first cast I honestly couldn’t see past her Mother of Dragons persona, but now, she has only proven that her versatility is real and she is a performer to look out for. Claflin too completely blew my mind with his performance, proving that he doesn’t just fit into the teen heart throb hero of The Hunger Games and the romantic comedy lead of Love Rosie. He took on Will’s seriousness really well and embraced the differences between between the two characters with such grace making him not despicable, as he sometimes came across as, but human.

Me Before You is one of those forever love stories that you need to make the time to watch or read. Engage with it, live it, love it and cry it! It is beautiful and it is devastating and it makes you think about a lot of things and appreciate the smaller things in life. It is definitely worth watching or reading and it is a movie for all, but maybe not the kids!

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Paris holds the key to my heart

It is true what they say… Paris is the city of love!

Paris holds the key to your hear. And all of Paris plays a part. 
Just stroll two by two down what we call “la rue”
And soon all Paris will be singing to you!
Paris holds the key to l’amour! And not even Freud knows the cure.
There’s love in the air! At the Follies Begere!
The French have it down to an art! Paris hold the key to your heart!

I don’t know about you, but when I think about Paris I think about Disney’s Anastasia and the infamous Paris song. It screams romance and love, and everything us hopeless romantic girls wish for. A guy having an inner sing song about loving you and not knowing how to tell you, and I have totally convinced myself that my man was having an inner sing song for 4 days, even though we are far past the point of not knowing how we feel. We know. It’s been nearly 2 years. But dreaming has never hurt a soul!

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Paris was truly an experience, firstly it sang to me because some parts of it reminded me so much of Lisbon, one of my homes. Its buildings were very similar, everything seems to be on a hill, much like Lisbon, and to revolve around the embankment of the river, as a lot of capital cities are. Aside from the fact that it is bigger and spread across a larger perimeter, the little hidden alleyways where people can barely fit let alone cars, really made me feel at home in the Bairro Alto of Lisbon.

I have to say, however, what struck me most about Paris is that for me it truly was the city of love. I had the pleasure of being in this wonderful city with James, who is a seasoned Paris visitor. He organised the entire trip to make sure he catered to my tastes and his, and things we had in common. He had it down to a T! All the main sites plus a few added extras and time for us to wander and get lost as well.

From climbing the Eiffel Tower, to the incredible view from the Sacre Couer, everything about it felt like a dreamland. I have to say, my favourite view was from the top of the Notre Dame, 378 steps to the very top of the right hand tower, counted by James. I only felt it was a better view than that of the tower, because it included the tower in the view. Not seeing it feature in all your photos seems a bit odd.

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I adored the Luxembourg Gardens. We sat and ate sorbets and watched time go by, before walking past the Pantheon and earlier that day having discovered the Palais Garnier, used by the National Opera. James also took me to the Shakespeare Book Shop, a true testament of my arts and theatre background, as well as my literature fanaticism. I was there for almost an hour, jaw dropped looking at limited editions of books I had only dreamt of reading side by side with new books on all possible subject matters.

One of my favourite areas, was walking behind the Sacre Couer and discovering Montmartre. Watching street painters cover canvases in Parisian colours and quirky art galleries with some fantastic innovative modern art. We then walked down the hill to find the Moulin Rouge. We also had the pleasure of seeing artists along the Seine embankment, and enjoy a river cruise which only demonstrated how beautiful and clean this city is kept.

I have to say though, as a lover of all things art and literature, I am so pleased that my man took me to Pere Lachaise cemetery, where we found Oscar Wilde – my FAVOURITE playwright – Maria Callas, Edith Piaf, Chopin and many others. Although some sections of the cemetery are really creepy, it felt very romantic to get lost between the tombs of some of the most romanticised names in art history.

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To add to the romance of it all, we were in the ideal little hotel in between the Louvre and the Pompidou, the shortest walk from everything and with 3 tube stations surrounding. Hotel du Cygne was stunning! Our room was at the very top, with a few exposed wooden beams, two windows one of them on the diagonal ceiling roof. Every evening they asked us if we wanted breakfast for the next day, and asked us where we had been. They were all so lovely and we felt like we were in our own little haven.

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In Paris I had the opportunity to fall in love with many things again, with art, theatre music and literature which take up a huge portion of my interest anyway. To revel in all the culture that inhabits the city and coats it in an air of wonderment, where every corner hold something new to discover. To fall deeply in love with getting lost and finding new things. But mostly, I had the opportunity to remind myself why I am in love with James in the first place.

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Having fallen in love with parts of me that are sometimes stifled by the mundane activities of life, James truly ignited something else back in me. I never smiled so much and swear that the week after we came back my face muscles were stuck in the same stupid smiley position for days. I fell in love again with a man who can take me to places he knows I will marvel at, and help me discover things I never knew I would like so much. To a man who knows his partner so well he planned a whole trip without any fear. The city of love! Loving Paris allows you to love yourself and mostly to love your true love too.

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I wish I could show you photos of all the amazing things we saw, and all the places I fell in love with but it is simply impossible! Here is a flavour of my Paris love affair, and my ever growing love for the planner and conductor of this whole city break.

Onto the next adventure!

#RelationshipGoals – What the eff?

First of all, welcome to my blog. Believe me I have many! For various different themes and purposes, but I felt it was time I get back to blogging for its original purpose in my life, which was to share my many musings with you all.

Today I am here to write about one of the most irritating and fashionable hashtags of this day and age… #RelationshipGoals.

Now before I rant about the absurd Ideal that said # presents, let me share a few things about myself. I am in a very happy and successful relationship, that I have worked my damned hardest to maintain – shall I note, so as he! I am extremely passionate about my life, adventures and work, but am completely devoted to keeping the passion alive in my relationship, because I want our love’s flame to never die, so it is like a giant pizza oven that is constantly fed wood and has dough to cook all the time! I completely agree with working towards your relationship goals and ideals with your partner, and it is a 50/50 game in my humble opinion – I am COMPLETELY against all these blogs and pieces of advice that basically tell you your man has to do everything. HELLO PEOPLE! FEMINIST MOVEMENT 101 you do not need a man to do ANYTHING for you… it’s just nice if they do! So onto why this particular # aggravates me more than a cat trying to claw my legs…

Women and #RelationshipGoals

All of my friends have been involved with guys in various forms of levels throughout university, when this # did not exist – thank god! – and I was single. I was never jealous of them per say, I had moments when yes I would have loved a male companion to give me a foot rub, but mostly I was fine. In fact, I beamed with happiness for my friends to have found such happiness themselves. Now, having lived with these couples I also know that in a house, not everything is pretty or perfect. I also know that people only post photos of what is inherently beautiful and perfect. SO WHY THE HELL IS IT YOUR RELATIONSHIP GOAL TO HAVE A PHOTO OF YOU AND YOUR MAN? See, this is a flawed compliment! You do not know what is going on behind closed doors, so get the hell off of these people’s photos. And why would ANYONE set their relationship goals on a Made in Chelsea or The Only Way is Essex photo? ARE YOU MAD? Do you know how scripted or how many times these people get dumped and swap partners? Pretty low relationship goals if you ask me.

Second of all… GET YOUR OWN RELATIONSHIP. It grates on me more than anything in life that most single women dictate happiness through the presence and companionship of a man. If that is the way you want to be fine… I have very dear friends of mine that are like that and they know I do not agree with it. Yes, call me a hypocrite all you like, but it is exactly because I am HAPPILY in love that I can tell you we are happy precisely because we know how to live independently, but we want to share it with each other. Neither myself or my partner NEED each other’s presence. We want it. I don’t need him to buy stuff for me, I want him to. He does not need me to cook his meals – he is a great cook! – he just wants me to. There are times when we need each other for emotional support, but really as a human being, I don’t require him. I want him.

So before you invest some serious time into finding a man, try to work on your own stuff. Seriously girls… love yourselves before them. Learn how to be happy in your own company, no one will ever serve you as well as you do yourself. Believe me. If you are in a relationship, this will also help you fix a world of problems. Men enjoy protecting you, but they fell in love with you when you were an independent self sufficient human being, so always keep a bit of that going, it will only balance out your relationship life.

Finally, why is #RelationshipGoals such a negative thing… it also puts pressure on the couple you are admiring. Privacy is something I am adherent to 100%, Yes I have a Facebook and Instagram account, I blog but I am not telling you anything about my private life, I have a twitter account in which I compliment Amazon for their wonderful work and look at the musings of my favourite performers. I do not have a relationship status, nor do I tell the world if I am sad or mad, or sat in a McDonalds in whatever town eating a cheese burger. My photos are all private so only my friends can see them, my boyfriend and I don’t share our fights or even love for each other online… why go virtual when I can do real? I instagram photos, only for about 60 followers who are all friends and family. I don’t want my relationship to be scrutinised by any of you. Neither do the celebs really, they are just exposed to it. What if it goes wrong? Well shit, there go your relationship goals. I mean you will NEVER get to hold hands the same way Alex Mytton and Binky Felstead did… yes I watch MIC! I mean COME ON!

It is great to see people in love it really is, but stop wishing for your life to be theirs. You have a wonderful path ahead of you and wonderful someone who you will be setting your own relationship goals with. If you must know mine, they are simply to make sure I feel secure, healthy and happy with my man as well as making sure he feels those same things with me. The rest, all our moments and adventures, they are ours. We don’t publish because we want them to be ours, but if we do in the odd occasion showcase a photo of us somewhere, we don’t want our relationship to be your GOAL. We want to simply remind people that you will find someone to set your own goals and adventures with, and we’ve been lucky enough to find each other.