“I Ship It” by Yulin Kuang – short film

I Ship It was one of the first short films I came across, and still my favourite of the ones I’ve seen. When I watched the Lizzie Bennet diaries originally (I recommended them on here a couple of months ago), I was especially struck by the performance of Mary Kate Wiles, who played Lydia. After I finished the diaries, I began to look at other things she had done, and that was how I came across I Ship It.

Directed by Yulin Kuang, the story follows a hardcore Harry Potter fan (I approve I approve) going through a break-up. Zoe teams up with her friend Charlie (dealing with his own break-up by dismantling an “ex-box” of memories) to beat her ex in a battle of the bands.

I loved the close friendship the two main characters had and I found them both very endearing. It was great how they chose (well, Zoe chose, Charlie was forced) to respond to tough times by being creative. The film was polished and pretty (there’s music throughout, they go to a park, there is a blue door/phone/hairbow and pleasing patterned wallpaper) and – of course – it was Cute. I mean, Cute is all you really need. Watch it here.

One of the favourite quotes:

“The battle of the bands is in five days. Taylor Swift can write two songs in one hour. We can do this…”

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An Open Letter to Louise O’Neill

Dear Louise,

I’d like to start by telling you how much I enjoy the stuff you write. I was absolutely addicted to Only Ever Yours, it was horrific but I was so happy it existed. I got my mam to recommend it to her book club. (You’re welcome.) Your blog/articles are also rather great.

But, I have a small problem. As you’re surely aware, your new book Asking For It was available in Ireland by September 3rd. I’m afraid I have to ask: how could you launch your much-awaited widely-reviewed young adult book the same week school starts?

That just seems like it’d cause unnecessary pain to everyone.

Let me explain a little. When reading Only Ever Yours, my week went something like this:

Monday: Hm, the first two chapters of this book are intriguing…

Tuesday: I think I’ll read during my increasingly prolonged homework breaks.

Wednesday: Might as well bring it to read on the bus.

Thursday: Might as well give up all attempts to do schoolwork – if I try I’ll just be thinking about the book, anyway. Sooner I finish it the better.

Friday: I have all weekend to do my homework/be a functioning human, right?

But now, unfortunately, I can’t afford to do that. There can be no abandoning of schoolwork because my current week involves a history test this morning, a biology test this afternoon, an English essay due next Tuesday and a whole load of home ec writeups due the Friday after that.

Oh, yeah, and some scary exams to sit in June. Nearly forgot those.

Technically I don’t even have time to be writing this blog post.

The response to this book has been very active in the past couple of weeks, even before its release. It tells the story of a rape in small-town Ireland, loosely based on the Steubenville case in America, and is said to be a vast and detailed look at rape culture (which I’m hoping means it has as many sly and stunning real-life references as Only Ever Yours.) I’m well aware it will be absolutely horrible reading, but I want to be a part of the conversation happening right now. Awareness is growing and this issue is being talked about in a way I’ve never seen before. It would be nice to read the reviews without having to skim over potential spoilers.

Besides which, I want to read it. I want the shock and the fear-of-leaving-my-house and the broken soul that I know will go with it. I want to switch everything else off and read for two days straight.

And I won’t get to do that until midterm.

Now, like I said, I really like the things you write. I truly appreciate/respect your kickass feminism. But I would appreciate if, next time you release a book, you consider the timing.

Congratulations, though, seriously. Some well deserved publicity, and I’m excited to read it.

Best wishes,

Carol 🙂

See Louise O’Neill’s website/blog here.

Galway City

I was in Galway City recently, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. Galway is really beautiful, and what I especially love is the way (in the city centre at least) the ancient parts of the city have been not only maintained but also mingled with the modern communities and buildings. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, so I also enjoyed a great atmosphere, excellent buskers, and the gorgeous seaside walks nearby.

Here are the two favourite places I visited on this particular trip:

all the teabags in cupan tae shop
There was also a little shop – I have never seen so many teabags in my life

Cupán Tae: Eating in this café was an experience in itself. Cupán Tae (which translates as “Cup of Tea” in Irish/as Gaeilge) is decorated with beautiful paintings, lace and linen tablecloths, floral curtains, and flowers displayed in teapots. There is a booklet of several pages dedicated to the different kinds of tea available, and the teas are then served in prettily decorated, matching china (the teapot for my peppermint tea was covered in green flowers.) There was also a selection of cakes displayed just inside the door, ranging from “chocolate biscuit” to “lime and courgette” (surprisingly tasty).

Although the café felt ever so slightly cluttered, that would be my only criticism. I really enjoyed eating there and would definitely recommend it. Cupán Tae can be found around the corner from Shopping Street, beside Cobwebs antique jewellery shop, and identified by its intricately decorated sign. Their website can be found here.

pic-ballerina music box

Wooden Heart: I’m glad I was never in this shop when I was younger, because I would have spent every penny in my little purse. This toy shop has the loveliest collection of traditional toys I have ever seen. From a doll’s house, to a toy oven, to snow globes, to a wooden Noah’s ark, there was some surprise in every corner. The shop itself even had a spiral staircase. (Little Me would definitely have blown all my money on that music box.)

Found on Shopping Street in a restored stone house, originally built in 1580, this shop is worth a visit whether you need a present for your nephew or not. Take a look at the website here.