Cork, Ireland

My February Scrapbook: Days Out, Movies, and Books

It's fair to say that I've been a pretty hopeless blogger of late. From feeling like I don't have anything to say to being incredibly busy with work and a new internship, I just haven't sat down to write a post in way too long. I've been feeling quite uninspired and demotivated with my blog and I've been having fun curating a new lifestyle-themed Instagram feed, so most of my attention has been focused on that platform. But I don't want my little old blog to die just yet! To reinvigorate myself, I thought I'd try out a new kind of post for my blog - a monthly scrapbook sharing all of the memories that I've made in February 2020. I hope you like it!


Places

Anyone who follows me on social media will know that in February, I moved to Cork, Ireland. I'm here for a three month internship at an art gallery in the city and I am absolutely loving it! Being in a new country has also encouraged me to get out and about to do a bit of exploring. Here are just a few of the places that I've enjoyed visiting:

St. Fin Barre's Cathedral

One of Cork's most spectacular buildings is St. Fin Barre's Cathedral - it looks like something out of a fairy tale! The site has been a place of religious worship since the seventh century and the current cathedral is 700 years old. The building is practically dripping with stunning sculptures and at the rear, you will find a tiny labyrinth, a small winding path intended to be used for prayer and meditation. Wandering around is such a chilled and contemplative experience.

Elizabeth Fort

A stone's throw away from St. Fin Barre's is Elizabeth Fort, a defensive structure built around 1600 and named after Queen Elizabeth I. It was originally constructed to protect Cork's city walls. Today, you can climb the walls of the fort to enjoy panoramic views of the city, learn about life as a soldier hundreds of years ago and get a taste of life as a criminal by standing in the stocks! The fort is free to enter and it's a really lovely spot for sightseeing.

blue scrapbook featuring photos of St Fin Barre's cathedral and Elizabeth Fort, Cork

Blackrock Castle Observatory

A short bus ride from central Cork will take you out of the city centre to the pretty village of Blackrock and its fantastic castle cum observatory. Blackrock Castle Observatory tells two stories, the history of the castle constructed to defend Cork harbour in 1582 and a tale of science and lunar exploration. The historic castle is now home to its own research telescope as well as a planetarium for visitors to enjoy. Entry was just €5 for students and it was well worth it - it was just a shame that many of the interactive displays weren't working during our visit.

blue scrapbook featuring photos of Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork

Movies

As my social circle here in Cork is relatively small, I have needed to find some evening activities to keep me entertained even if I'm flying solo. Cinema trips have been perfect for this - I think I've been to the cinema more times in the past month than the whole of last year combined! I saw three films in February, all with incredible leading ladies.

Little Women

I'm not ashamed to say that I cried multiple times during this film! The casting was perfect and I absolutely loved the achronological style with the subtle colour palette changes to denote the time. Saoirse Ronan was an absolutely perfect Jo and Florence Pugh played a much more sympathetic version of Amy than I was expecting, but it worked beautifully. Little Women gets five stars from me.

Emma.

The first thing to say about this film is that the costumes and set design were absolutely masterful - it really was a treat for the eyes! My main issue was that I found the protagonist Emma to be rather unlikeable. I found it difficult to be happy for her when she gained her heart's desire at the end of the movie because of her selfish actions throughout the rest of the film.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Margot Robbie was sensational and utterly believable as Harley Quinn. She was funny, eccentric and was clearly having the time of her life during filming! Perhaps it would've been better if the Joker had been the main antagonist instead of Ewan McGregor's Black Mask, however. This film probably isn't one I'd rush to watch again a second time but overall I liked it as a kick-arse female led flick.

blue scrapbook featuring photos of Little Women, Birds of Prey and Emma. movie posters

Reading

Four Star Reads

A beautiful story about love in all of its guises, Eve Green also had enough secrets and character development to keep you intrigued until the end. I liked that the romantic element of the story wasn't the sole focus and that the love between a mother and daughter and the devotion of friendship were just as important.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Frieda, the true story of the woman who inspired D.H. Lawrence to create the famous Lady Chatterley. Frieda was an extraordinary woman who was ahead of her time - your heart sang and broke for her in equal measure and I would definitely recommend it.

Three Star Reads

Although it was a gorgeously descriptive tale filled with magic, I just couldn't immerse myself in The Night Circus. I found it much too slow and at the end, very anticlimactic. I didn't really care about many of the characters and found them quite one-dimensional. Sorry, this just wasn't for me!

I'm probably about 15 years late to the party but I finally read Bridget Jones' Diary! I can see why it has classic status - Bridget is charming, relatable and very likeable. But this book is now SO dated, especially with regard to its toxic discussions of calorie counting and diet culture. I certainly wouldn't give it to an impressionable teenager who may start to worry that 9st is "fat".

Matt Haig's excellent Reasons To Stay Alive left a lasting impression on me, but I wasn't so keen on How To Stop Time. Again, I just didn't care about the characters and I found the historical flashbacks (which included famous folks such as Shakespeare) a little too contrived. I really struggled to finish this book.

blue scrapbook featuring photos of book covers

What have been your February highlights? Do share them in the comments below!

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