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. Friday, 3 January 2020 .

Ironically, the only time I could actually go to the beach was on the second to the last day of my booked annual leave, where I also happen to be working. I've been taking work calls for most of the day but I really needed to dip my toes in the sand and feel the waves crashing against my skin. So I did. And I held on to my phone the whole time in case work called again. But I was desperate to be near the ocean. Desperate for the calm and the healing and the unparalleled peacefulness one gets as soon as they step foot in the beach.

I've been trying to take a break off social media and online in general these past few days, taking my time to get as much rest and relaxation in as possible. I've been thinking about the year that's been and the year that's ahead but haven't felt the need to make plans yet. I've decided the month for January is for clearing space and making room for what I want in 2020 in every sense of the word. Decluttering the flat to make room for the finer things, a digital detox and mass deletion of files to give room to all the new ones I will inevitably collect this year, and of course doing some mindset work and getting read of toxic thoughts and beliefs that I will definitely not be taking with me into the new year. I think 2019 was a lot about unlearning and coming undone. Maybe 2020 is for rebuilding, redirection, and recollecting. We're working with stronger foundations now.

. Monday, 30 December 2019 .

Much has been said about the film adaptation of Cats. And most of it has been negative. Although I tend to take that with a grain of salt. It seems as though in 2019, especially on the internet, the loudest voices are always the haters and everyone is a critic these days.

It seems as though the 'cool' thing to do right now is to hate on Cats. It's easy click-bait. It's easier to go viral when it's trending. I've read critic reviews and saw social media comments from people

I can't help but think of that Ceasar A. Cruz quote - "Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable". I know it's bold of me to call Cats as art but I really appreciate the artistry of it. Films are not easy to make, and to make that film would have been a massive production. I'm not about to shit on people's hard work or vision. Even if that vision, is at times, strange.

I admit - there were moments in the film where I looked around me thinking 'WTF is going on' - but I reckon it's part of the moviegoing experience. That's the beauty of cinema, right? Ultimately it's there to entertain and makes us feel. Judging by the looks of it, Cats did make a lot of people, well, feel. And I was entertained for sure. I mean, I cried twice.

So here's a list of the top comment themes I've seen online about Cats, in no particular order:

"There is no plot"

Well, there is. Maybe you've just missed it because you went into it ready to hate on the film because everyone else said there was no plot. For context, the original Cats musical was based off a T.S. Eliot book - a collection of poetry called Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939) - which is all about cats psychology and sociology. So if you've seen it and were wondering what the hell was going on with that ending (which I loved because who wouldn't want to get inside their cats head and know what the hell they're thinking lol), knowing the context of what the book was about is helpful.

As for the plot, basically the film centres around Victoria - played by newcomer Francesca Hayward - who my mum said was the perfect casting choice because she embodied that character in her facial expressions. I agree. Plus, she made me cry as a cat and that's something I never thought I'd ever type but when you get to her 'Beautiful Ghosts' sequence, you'll know what I mean. I really felt that. ANYWAY. The plot. Victoria was abandoned by her owner in the scary streets of London where a group of alleycats take her in and introduce her to the world of Jellicle cats, where they show her the ins and outs of her newfound life as an abandoned cat. The Jellicle cats reveal that every year they have a 'Jellicle ball' where many cats compete for a chance to be 'reborn' into a new life. So that's what the film is about in a nutshell. The musical numbers are cats introducing themselves, including our bad cat Macavity (played by Idris Elba). Then there's Grizabella (played by Jennifer Hudson. Flawless queen) - an 'outsider' cat who once was a glamorous cat who's been shunned from the Jellicle tribe. And when you finally get to the 'Memory' reprise towards the end of the film, it really hits you (well, me) right in the feels. Of course there's conflict and drama, as well as a resolution and conclusion.

I was really interested in Victoria's story and the symbolism behind that. I think maybe that's why I liked the film so much. Take away the cat aspect and musical numbers, and you get a film about an abandoned girl without a home and family, roaming the streets of London alone, trying to re-adjust to her new life. These cats are outcasts, unwanted pets. All they want is a chance for a new life. And I guess that's why I loved it so much. We've all felt unwanted at some point in our lives, or an outcast for something. Maybe it's an unpopular opinion, or maybe it was not being 'cool' enough in High School. Cats also had a central theme of acceptance and kindness. Something that was ironically lost amongst all the hatred for the film.

"It's the horniest film ever"

I mean, if that's what you're into, I ain't gonna judge nor kink shame you. You go be proud of finding Cats sexually arousing, fam.

"I can't look at my cat ever again"

Maybe you shouldn't be a cat owner, then. Your cat probably doesn't give a flying fuck, to be honest. Have you considered perhaps getting a dog?

"The songs were weird"

Do you maybe... just maybe... not like musicals? Granted, the most boring number was Taylor Swift's one, so I do see your point. It was vanilla and blah and even though she released a version of Beautiful Ghosts (and co-wrote it), I still prefer Francesca Hayward's rendition. Also, there's a reason why Cats is considered as the original megamusical and has paved the way for many musical theatre shows we know and love. I genuinely think that wouldn't happen if the songs weren't up to scratch.

"The worst movie ever"

Have you seen all the movies ever made?

I can think of more problematic movies than Cats. At least this one didn't completely give in to the worst side of the fandom and erase a central character's presence in a film.

Cats is out in cinemas nationwide. Thank you, Universal Pictures, for having us along! Definitely a film you need to see for yourselves. BRB, about to stream Francesca Hayward's version of 'Beautiful Ghosts' again.

. Monday, 23 December 2019 .

Currently sitting in bed, a little bit dazed from a late afternoon nap. Well-deserved if I say so myself! The last full working week of 2019 was a good one albeit one of the most hectic weeks of 2019. What was that they say? When it rains, it pours? Well, sis, it poured indeed. It was one of the more hectic weeks at work (we say this every week I swear) but it was the things that happened after 5 pm that's worth talking about.

It started with the 1917 premiere on Monday night at Silky Otter Cinemas - the new boutique cinema in Orakei/Remuera. I love when they go all out in decorating the place, and they decked this out to look like the set. Because the film is set in WW1, we also got our very own military style ration with chocolate, a biscuit, and whiskey to keep. I loved how sleek and modern the cinemas were, and I had a look at the website and their prices are very competitive given that all their seats recline. It was a little bit hot inside but then again maybe it's just me still in denial that summer is coming. The movie was really good! The whole thing was shot in a single frame and it made for a very immersive experience! Halfway through the movie, I told my friend I felt like I was watching a video game. Lots of tense moments. It was heavy and intense. There were some scenes that was truly hard to watch. But god the cinematography was stunning and breathtaking. I don't know if I could handle seeing it again anytime soon, but I do feel this is a must-watch if you're an awards season nerd like me.

Tuesday night was the CATS premiere. Now this was a film I've been excited about for a very long time. I mean. I love cats. I do enjoy a good musical every once in a while. And surely there's a reason why this is the longest-running Broadway show of all time. Well, friends, I think it's the most polarising film of 2019. Most people hated it. Mum and I absolutely loved it. LOVED it. I cried twice! I can't help it. Some people say there's no point to it, no storyline... but I disagree. I think there's a story there - even though it's kooky and strange. But I think it's delightfully strange and magical and fun. I'm seeing it again when it opens on boxing day. I'm probably gonna listen to the soundtrack all throughout the break. I'm probably gonna start a fan account just to have more positive voices around it. I think at the moment, the cool thing to do is to say you hate it. So many people on social media are like 'eww, worst movie ever' when they haven't even see it yet. I thought the worst performance/number was Taylor Swift's one though. It was vanilla as expected. I will do a proper movie review soon, I promise!

Also can we just talk about this photo?! By far one of the most magical premieres I've been to this year! The fairylights installation as you enter... the moon and backdrop, the dance box where I spent 40 long seconds of my life dancing to Lizzo on camera. It was such a rainy day and the traffic was terrible that I thought I wasn't gonna make it. I got there before mum and thought she wouldn't make it either but thank god she got there 5 mins before the film started. Kate and I decided we would dress in theme for 2020 premieres and I am hella excited!

Wednesday was my last premiere of 2019 and it was a big one! I couldn't believe I was going to a Star Wars screening!!!! Literally a dream come true to go to a Disney screening. I took my nana to the Lion King premiere back in July and we were both soooo sick that night that we couldn't enjoy it fully. So I vowed not to make the most of this one! I took my lovely friend Georgia with me and it was so nice to meet people from Instagram who you just totally gel with. I swear we are the same person! Even our outfits complemented each others.

Speaking of outfits and going in themes... I wore this outfit because I felt like it was very Jedi but also matching with a Stormtrooper. It's an outfit that literally went from theme to a night out and I love it. The top is an original Mitchell Vincent Collection piece that I once spotted hanging in Mitchell's closet while I was on his bed (and stealing all of his duvet cover) last year, crashing because I was in Hamilton. He said I could try it on so I literally ran for it cos I was so excited and he said I could keep it so here we are. It's one of the most well-loved pieces in my wardrobe. I wear it over dresses, togs for the summer, pants... I wear it casually open or tied up and it is so versatile. I've been thinking of streamlining my wardrobe in 2020 so maybe I'll ask Mitchell if I could buy these in different colours.

The movie itself was amazing although there is a lot to unpack that I am still processing. My besties Simon and Lio were watching it the day after the premiere so I promised them I wouldn't spoil it even though I've been dying to discuss it with someone. Like I said, it's a lot, and that's coming in a separate review. For now, I will leave you with this glorious photo from the red carpet premiere. I asked the Stormtrooper if he could pretend to be my bae for the night and if we could hold hands while walking. The result is this beauty. I showed my little brother this (he's a big fan, he went to the midnight screening with his friends) and he laughed. I most definitely earned cool sister points.

Thursday was our work Christmas party and Friday night was Simon and Lio and I's annual midnight mall pilgrimage but I was literally so exhausted I ended up going for a post-dinner nap in their couch before we left. I've been sleeping since Saturday and doing some work still. I've bought one present but tomorrow I shall brave the shops and do my Christmas shopping for real.

The week ended with the most surprising email of my life. I thought it was a scam at first. But I checked and it's legit. And it's all under wraps but I can't wait to share it all soon. All I can say is the last working week of 2019 really was everything and more. I kept thinking about the start of the year and the first working week of 2019 and how I thought that was crazy with the Aladdin Broadway musical premiere and the IKEA launch the next morning. I remember sitting at Aladdin, looking at mum, and just grinning from ear to ear because it truly was unlike anything we've seen before and I couldn't believe that my blogging/writing got us in the best seats in the house. The next day I woke up early as hell to go to the IKEA launch and discovered I was the only blogger/inflluencer there. Imagine my surprise when I got there and the likes of 1 NEWS and TV3 were setting up cameras and journalists were getting ready for the press conference. I felt like such a noob but also that I was in the midst of two different kinds of media - traditional and independent. And I wanted to create content while also be part of breaking the story. I ended up opening my Instagram questions to people and asking their questions at the press conference and then reporting back on the 'gram. It was unlike anything I've done before but goddamn was I in my element. It was such a strong way to start the year and all in all, this year has been filled with pinch me moments like that and I am never not gonna be grateful for that.

For now I'm gonna be chilling out as much as I can, relaxing and eating and napping and really taking time out to slow down and reflect. In case I don't see you before then... Christmas wishes and lots of kisses! Thank you for a great 2019. I am truly thankful x