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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Three years into being a home owner, here’s what I’ve learned.

Spend less than you can afford

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an exciting moment. But don’t feel you have to spend the maximum a bank will lend you. Smart investors don’t put all their cash into a single asset, and nobody enjoys being too house poor to enjoy a vacation or the occasional meal out. It can be tricky not to overspend, especially if you’re looking to buy in a competitive market, or have fallen in love with a property at the top end of your budget. Try to remember that being a homeowner…


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Image via Shudder

Warning: Contains spoilers.

I heard about Host via Twitter, where it was highly recommended by a couple of British comedians whose taste I trust. I’m always initially a little suspicious of films that seem to hang on a gimmick. In this case, all the action takes place via Zoom, making it the most ‘2020’ of horror movies. But having been impressed by Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching, starring John Cho and similarly confined to a computer screen, I was willing to give it a go. Plus the runtime is under an hour — who hasn’t got 57 minutes to gamble?

The first…


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Kit Harington in S2E2 — Image Credit Netflix

When a reminder from my Netflix app popped up telling me that Season 2 of Criminal UK was available, my week took a significant turn for the better. If you didn’t catch this riveting drama first time around, you get the lucky experience of bingeing both seasons back to back — just be warned that this only adds up to seven total episodes. But small and focused is what this show does best, proving the old adage that creativity flourishes when it’s constrained.

There are no crime scenes here, no dramatic chases down city streets or grim findings in the…


A succulent with smartphone showing Instagram profile
A succulent with smartphone showing Instagram profile
Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Look, I can scarcely believe I’m weighing in on an Instagram drama around Alec Baldwin’s wife, but it’s been a weird year and I just don’t have the energy to put my feelings about Brexit into coherent words. It seems part of this social media pile-on is fuelled by similar urges — to bury ourselves in a trivial drama when the world is overwhelmingly dark and scary. But there are some complex dynamics at work here, and I think it’s worth a few minutes to unpick them before joining in the Twitter storm.

First, let’s talk accents. Many of Baldwin’s…


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NOT THE BEES. Via Youtube.

What makes a ham? For me, it is not merely the kind of bad acting that is always turned up to an unconvincing 11 since the poor player is incapable of anything else. To truly ham it up, to my mind, it has to be intentional; an actor possessing a certain level of skill and nuance, but who for whatever reason has decided to cast restraint to the wind and lean in to the absurdity of the part, throwing everything over the top for the sheer fun of it. Dictionary definitions might disagree, and that is okay; the line between…


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Olwen Kelly as ‘Jane Doe’

Warning: Contains spoilers.

In those long ago ‘pre-Covid’ times, one of the great joys of a September trip to the cinema was watching trailers for all the year’s new horror releases. But I’ll admit to having a complicated relationship with movie trailers in this particular genre. The core of a good horror film is the slow building of suspense; when a trailer packs all the big jump scares of the movie into 90 seconds, it threatens to ruin the whole experience. Outside of the big-ticket Conjuring franchise style, studios have learned this; trailers often serve more as teasers, a few…


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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

None of us need another opinion piece on the first debate of the 2020 US election. The verdict is in; it was a shambolic blow to democracy with no real winners, just one bloated orange loser on full display. But if one moment in the 90 minute pain-fest seemed to resonate with progressives, it was Vice President Biden looking down the camera and proclaiming his pride in his son Hunter, who has struggled with addiction. Trump had, of course, tried to use Hunter’s drug use as a smear on the entire family’s character. …


Better pay someone to do it for you.

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Every so often, I see a product that makes me angry. These are usually limited to: beauty products that implicitly body shame women, oversized motor vehicles, and things that generate entirely unnecessary volumes of plastic waste (K-cups, I’m looking at ya.) But when an advertising algorithm decided I might be interested in Blinkist, I got the new-ish experience of being irrationally angry at an app.

If you’re not familiar, Blinkist is an app targeting people with ‘no time to read’. For $16 a month, it offers digested wisdom from popular non-fiction books…


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I was one of the first wave of people in the UK to have access to Facebook, way back in 2005, when I happened to be at one of the universities chosen for their pilot program. Those were innocent days, posting albums of photos from drunken nights out without fear that your mum would ever discover them, much less comment with a poorly chosen GIF. Sadly, someone fed Mark Zuckerberg after midnight, and we all watched the platform morph into today’s data harvesting, democracy destroying behemoth. Not content with current levels of dominance, now it also wants to be a…

Sophie Sharp

Writer, Marketer, Skier, Worrier, Former Londoner, New Canadian.

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