The best movies, music, TV shows and books to check out this month

Easter is a cracking time of year (no pun intended). Spring has sprung! There’s chocolate eggs galore, it’s not quite so chilly outside and there’s two glorious bank holidays which means more time spent with loved ones and less time, in the words of RiRi, at ‘work, work, work, work, work, work’.

With Christmas shenanigans long, long gone and summer still hiding shyly behind spring’s coat tails, Easter festivities couldn’t come sooner. Easter Sunday lands on April 16 this year and with those extra days of ‘you’ time in mind, I’ve rounded up a few ideas to get you out and about or indoors and chillaxing. Whatever floats your boat.

Did you know that the custom of giving eggs at Easter has been traced back to Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, for whom the egg was a symbol of life? So there you have it, chocolate is life. Proof at long last.

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Going in Style (12A) 



Director Zach Braff (Scrubs) doesn’t disappoint in this American heist comedy film and remake of the 1979 film of the same name. Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin star as three lifelong pals Willie, Joe and Al, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty.



The Boss Baby (PG) 

Need inspiration for entertaining the kids this Easter break? From the creators of Shrek, Boss Baby is the perfect movie for mutual adult/child enjoyment. The animation sees a suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby (Alec Baldwin) pair up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co. You can’t go wrong with Alec Baldwin’s humour and wit. Put that in a baby? It’s pure genius and laugh-out-loud funny.




Michelle Branch.  Hopeless Romantic is the upcoming third studio album by American singer-songwriter Michelle Branch – who was all the rage back in the early noughties. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a chick-flick from that era without her on the soundtrack. Released on April 7 through Verve Records, this is Branch’s first full-length album to be released since Hotel Paper (2003). The album is expected to have a laid back, rock & roll sound.

The Chainsmokers. Memories…Do Not Open is the debut studio album by American DJ duo The Chainsmokers – released on April 7 through Disruptor and Columbia Records. The duo (Drew Taggart and Alex Pall) is heading out on a world tour soon. You can catch them at Belsonic on 26 June or Creamfields on 25 August. Last year the band held on to the No.1 spot for four weeks with their track “Closer” ft. Halsey. Their recent singles “Paris” and “Something Just Like This” ft. Coldplay have taken radio and playlists by storm.







Marlena: A Novel by Julie Buntin

Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbour, the manic, beautiful Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena’s orbit. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past. Released on 4 April, this is an electric debut novel about love, addiction, and loss; the story of two girls and the year that will cost one her life, and define the other’s for decades. Definitely one for the reading list!

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Julie Bunti

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This book is a few years old now (published 2013), but it remains, for me, one of the most moving and thought provoking texts I’ve ever read. At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything in the wake of her mother’s death and failing marriage. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humour, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened and ultimately healed her.




Prison Break

The popular show returned for a fifth season on 4 April. Fist pumps all round! The first four seasons are available on Netflix, so there’s every opportunity for a full-on TV series binge this Easter if you’re a newbie. The general premise? Due to a political conspiracy, an innocent man is sent to death row and his only hope is his brother, who makes it his mission to deliberately get himself sent to the same prison in order to break the both of them out, from the inside.



Good Witch

If you haven’t tried this show yet, I thoroughly encourage you to do so.  It’s an honest, feel-good, simple drama with a touch of magic on the side – think ‘Bewitched’ meets ‘Hart of Dixie’. A mysterious, beautiful woman named Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) and her daughter (Bailee Madison) live in an old, historic house which is reputed to be haunted by its original owner, “The Grey Lady”. When Dr. Sam Radford moves in next door to Grey House with his son, they are charmed by the magical mother-daughter duo.


Celebrate Easter in Prague

If you’re looking for a last minute Easter getaway, Prague is a no brainer. Immerse yourself in fairy-tale architecture, take in fascinating history and gorge on Czech dumplings. Visitors should sample local Czech specialties trdelník, a sugar-coated pastry and klobása, a barbecued sausage. I’d recommend three full days and a comfy pair of shoes – you’ll want to explore it all.

Channel Islands Heritage Festival (8 April – 10 May)

The 2017 Heritage Festival will focus on the Islands’ heroes, myths and legends – exploring tales of early seafarers to heroic accounts from the German Occupation during World War II. Check out the ‘Heroes’ exhibition at the Information Centre before heading out on a walking tour of St Peter Port, hop over to Sark to peruse exhibitions or – if you’re feeling daring – try your hand at coasteering. Foodies should check out the Cornerstone Pub where they are offering a special heritage themed menu. Any military buffs out there can head to Fort Hommet gun emplacement for special tours. More info on the Visit Guernsey website.

Quotes of the month

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. (Sonnet XCVIII)”
― William ShakespeareShakespeare’s Sonnets

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” ― Jon KrakauerInto the Wild

Facts of the month

According to Live Science the ocean is 12,080.7 feet (3,682.2 meters) deep on average. That’s about eight Empire State Buildings, stacked one on top of the other. The deepest part of the ocean, however, is about 36,200 feet down (11,030 m). That’s more like 25 Empire State Buildings.

The world’s most popular egg-shaped chocolate is Cadbury’s Creme Egg. Workers at Cadbury in Birmingham produce 1.5 million of these every day.

This time 100 years ago

April 6 1917 – The US declared war on Germany and enters World War I.

This time 50 years ago

‘Somethin’ Stupid’ by Nancy and Frank Sinatra was in the top 5 hits in the UK

A version of this article was published in GSYLIFE magazine’s April edition. [PDF]



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