My Love of the Scary Movie and my Top 10!

It’s coming on Halloween, and if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll already know I’ve been sharing some of my old OLD posts on a few of my favourite scary movies. And if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll have seen some of my random mentions of scary films as and when I watch them.

To get in the mood, a few weeks back we watched a movie called Trick ‘r Treat. I had never heard of it, but it was featuring as a scare zone at Orlando’s Universal Halloween Horror Nights, and the character Sam looked kinda cute for a scary sack headed ghoul, so we found it and watched it. For a movie that was released straight to DVD 2 years after it was finished, I was actually really impressed. It was scary enough, enjoyable and had a nice comic-book feel to it. I’d recommend it if you haven’t heard of it.

But I thought I’d share some of my favourites, whether they’ve been mentioned previously or not. And by favourites, I mean the ones that stuck with me, and I would watch more than once. Here’s my top 10 in order!

10: The Shining

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I’ve seen this film so many times, that I wouldn’t even call it a horror film now. It’s just a work of art. Scary, violent, messed up it is, but it’s visually incredible and Jack Nicholson is epic. I tried to read the book, but just like Joey, I put it in the metaphorical freezer years ago and never took it back out. Maybe I’ll go back to it one day. If you haven’t seen this, and you like scary films, this Halloween make it a must-see.

9: The Gallows

The Gallows movie poster

This movie surprised me. As a big fan of found footage films, I was really surprised by how good this was. The scares were effective and there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested.

8: The Fog

The Fog Movie Poster

As a child growing up with a massive Hammer Horror fan (my Dad) I was exposed to some very bad, and then some very good scary films. John Carpenter’s The Fog (not the remake please) was one of them and I’m not ashamed to admit that the end brought me out in a cold sweat on more than one occasion. What I love about John Carpenter’s films was not just the ability to make a fricking fantastic horror film, but also how he composed and used the music almost as a character in itself. I just have to think about his films to hear the score in my mind. Having stood on the very shore that inspired this story, on a dark misty night not too long ago, I can honestly say this film is one that stays with you.

7: Halloween

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Another John Carpenter film, you can have Halloween films without Halloween itself, and it’s sequel (we don’t need to talk about the other sequels really) Adequately frightening and creepy, this is the paradigm of films about Halloween and is a great place to start if you’re wanting a classic scary movie fest this October 31st.

6: It Follows

This movie has such a retro feel, so much so that you’re never really sure when it’s set, but can only assume it’s present day based on some of the technology used. The music, costumes and sets are so ‘of an era’ – and this isn’t even mentioning the storyline. You can read my full review here, if you’d like to know more.

5: Ghost Watch

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Not strictly a film, but it’s made the list anyway. This BBC drama caused such a kerfuffle it was actually banned. Due to its style of filming and use of well-known presenters at the time, people actually thought this was a real event. Based on the Enfield Haunting (which was the inspiration for The Conjuring 2) Ghost Watch has inspired so many films after it (The Blair Witch Project to name one), is used as a case study in film schools and still has a cult following. I can honestly say it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and the effects and technology used in it are so impressive for its time. Watch it, then research it to find out why it caused so much drama.

4: Grave Encounters

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I really bloody loved these films. There’s only two but I secrectly hope there’s a third. Again this is found footage, but it really pulls inspiration from other places (but not in a copycat type way) and offers scares and weirdness in a way I just liked. Read my full review here.

3: The Blair Witch Project

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You may have seen my recent review of this film and it’s sequel (I’m going to just forget that The Blair Witch Project: Book of Shadows ever happened) so you can head there for a full review. But this movie marked a change in scary films. Using found footage, which was never mainstream before, and also the brand new power of the internet, they created a cult following even before release. And the film didn’t disappoint. To this day I still get chills watching the last shot of The Blair Witch Project.

2: Paranormal Activity

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If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of these films. I don’t understand why people trash them. Yes, the last one was VERY bad, but when you’ve invested in the others you kind of have to include it. The first one was epic and covered found-footage ground in a way that had never been done before. Some of the effects in the first 3 were pretty epic – gobsmacking in fact. Even the spin-off movie ‘The Marked Ones’ was REALLY good and towards the end literally made me gasp in the cinema when I realised what was happening. I guess I know the films really well, and I was pretty much the only one who realised what was going on, BUT still. I honestly think they’re worth the investment in time. And they made it to my number 2!

1: Scream

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This film was made for my generation, it was the first 18 film I ever watched and will always hold a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, parody films have pretty much ruined if for any generation afterwards, so there’s that. But I’m a staunch fan and will always be! I wrote a review of the first 3 films ahead of the 4th being released, back in 2011 which you can find here if you’d like to read it.

And that’s my top 10! Of course I have many many more I’d love to include, and I hope I find more in the years to come, which knock others off the list. But until then, if you’re looking for some scary film recommendations I’d go with this list!

Let me know if you have others in your top 10 or if you watch any of these on my recommendation, let me know what you think! Just don’t have nightmares!

 

 

March Favourites

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Happy April everyone! Did you have an awesome March? Mine was great – Spring is doing its best effort to appear. We’ve had a few days of lovely sunshine and I’m hoping that the chilly windy rain we’ve had this past week was all just to clear up and make way for Spring to really happen.

I’m desperate for nice weather so I can get outside running again – mainly so I can start to get a bit of colour on my skin. I think this is the first year that I’ve mourned Summer for a whole Autumn and Winter. Bring back the lovely weather!

So March has been full of TV, movies and of course beauty. Here goes with what I’ve loved this past month.

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I’m a massive fan of Judd Apatow’s stuff, my favourite being This is 40. He’s also involved in Girls, which I’m a huge fan of too. So I suspected I would enjoy this Netflix original show Love. And I wasn’t wrong. This 10 part tv series was everything I’d hoped it would be: funny, deep, clever and driven by some amazingly written (and acted) characters. If you like quirky and real then you might just love this.

We also revisited Cloverfield, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I’ve written about the Before movies before so I’ll let you go back and read what I thought about them, but they’re still all kinds of awesome. Cloverfield is a pretty short movie, so we popped it on the TV one night when we wanted something fairly non taxing to watch.

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This is a found-footage type movie (and we all know how much I love those!) Set in Manhattan (and we all know how much I love Manhatten too). If you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it, but it’s a real gem.

Now onto a few beauty bits:

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In March I reverted back to an old favourite, my Neutrogena grapefruit face wash (around £4).

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I moved onto a different one from the same brand a few months back, which had microbeads in it, but I’ve since discovered that these are actually little plastic balls which don’t biodegrade. They go down the plug hole into the water system and are super bad for the environment. Since I’ve switched back I’ve been wondering why I diverted. My skin feels wonderful, smooth and smells lovely too after using this. The difference is instant, and I know I’ll be sticking to this face wash for a long time!

Next is a Lush product – Mint Julips lip scrub (£5.50). This is basically a pot of minty sugar.

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You dig out a little of the sugar (over the sink or else you’ll have sugar EVERYWHERE!) rub it all over your lips and either wash or lick the remainder off. This particular scrub leaves my lips feeling oiled but not oily, smooth and tingling with minty goodness. It’s gorgeous!

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I’ve mentioned Benefit’s It’s Potent (£25.50) in my last beauty blog, so I won’t go into it on here, but I decided to go the whole hog and buy the full size of this baby. I’ve been really pleased with how it works and the difference it’s made. I actually think some of my fine lines have actually disappeared too. Can it be possible?

Next I’ll talk about my newest foundation purchase. I mentioned in the aforementioned beauty blog that I’d found something I liked better than the Clinique sample I was given, and it was:

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Max Factor’s Facefinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 foundation. I was matched to Natural 50. I like the finish of this foundation though I have found it does oxidise on my face so I think it’ll be a little more functional once I have a little sun colour on my face. This foundation is primer, concealer and foundation in one, and has spf 20. I’ve been applying it using a Real Techniques buffing brush and focussing on buffing it out around my jaw line as I’m concerned I look a little flush once it’s on. But I do like the finish and it’s buildability. It offers a matte finish so you don’t need any powder. Interestingly, it did cling to dry parts on my forehead when first applied, but by the time I’ve done the rest of my face these had hydrated and I couldn’t see them any more. And it doesn’t settle into lines – perfect! I’m impressed, for the cost of this (£12.99) it performed a lot better than the Clinique sample, that I wanted so much to love!

Next is a couple of liquid lipsticks by TheBalm (£13.50)

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Meet Matt(e) Hughes matte liquid lipsticks in Committed and Charming. I bought these for events where I can’t be continuously reapplying lipstick. I am a serial lipsmoosher, so lip colour doesn’t last long on me. As a result I stick to sheer lipsticks or tinted balms but I’ve been impressed with these. Firstly they smell nice and minty, so they tingle a little when first applied. They go on smooth and don’t cling to any bumps. They dry to a comfortable feel and they do last well. There’s minimal transference, but they do come off if you eat oily foods. I’m a pale-faced gal so these being the palest ‘nude’ shades they’re still pretty dark and prominent on my face, and they do give me a pretty dramatic look. Oh and when I’m done they come off easily with a quick slick of Egyptian magic. Win!

Lastly is my favourite of the bunch. I got this for £13 off at Debenhams, and had been lusting over it for some time…. The Urban Decay Vice 4 palette (retails at £43)

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Firstly, let’s just take in the packaging. This is STUNNING. Urban Decay do packaging so so well. This even came with its own zippered travel bag. Now we’ve taken in the palette packaging, let’s look at the goods.

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Sigh. So pretty. I was so impressed this came with another lovely double ended brush. Urban Decay’s palette brushes are so good, I seriously doubt I’ll ever need to buy a separate one. The main thing that drew me to Vice 4 was the colour matches. Just looking at each of these rows, I can see complete eye looks. Three greens, three metallics, three mauve, three neutral, three greys etc etc. So many matches. And these look lovely wet as eyeliner too. I’ve used a couple in that way already. In fact I think I’ve used about a third of the palette already and I don’t often wear eyeshadow day-to-day. I’m so impressed.

So those are my March favourites. I’d love to read what you thought if you’ve tried anything I’ve loved this month. Leave me a comment if you have!

Now onwards through April!

Let’s Talk Paranormal Activity

If you’ve been living under a rock, you won’t know about Paranormal Activity. So let’s pretend for a second you are said rock dweller, and I’ll tell you a little bit about a series of found-footage movies that could change your life.

In October 2007 Paranormal Activity graced our screens and brought those nasty shadows and night-time bumps to life and into our homes. With the use of footage from hand cams and closed circuit systems, we saw a dark entity unfold. Odd clues and occurences (and amazing effects) brought to life the single most scary movie I’d seen at that point.

Now I’m pretty good with scary films. I like to be frightened and this genre of movie is right up my street – but the final 30 seconds were too much for me. I hid. I didn’t see that final 30 seconds until much later on.

IMG_2826I was curious enough, however, to google a text description of what happened in that last-minute.

5 movies followed, including Paranormal Activity: Marked Ones, a spin-off movie (but a must see if you’re following the series… I’ll explain more in a bit).

Paranormal Activity 2 was released in 2010 and continued the story, or began the story since it actually back tracked and told you where things began in the first movie, then continued the first story a little, all at the same time.

Sounds confusing, but isn’t I promise. Again, the effects in this movie were epic. One particular scene had the whole cinema gasp and then giggle with nerves.

Paranormal Activity 3 went back even further, to the 80s, using an old style home movie tape camera. With the use of the base of an oscilating fan the directors created a nerve-wracking panning effect that you just knew would give you the chills at some point, since you were at the mercy of its slow left-right turns.

Speaking of the directors, incidentally, this movie was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman who were the creators of the original Catfish movie/documentary (if you like Catfish the TV show you must check out the original documentary, it’s awesome.)

Never disappointing their viewers, there are two separate moments in this movie that will take your breath away.

Paranormal Activity 4 snaps back to the present day, and starts to explain a little more of the back story and link it to present-past events.

Using current technology such as webcams and infrared dots on an XBox Kinect, this story plods along and in my opinion was the weakest of the series so far. It progressed the story like it needed to, however, so definitely worth a watch.

To bridge the interim between this movie and the impending Paranormal Activity 5 (or The Ghost Dimension), Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones appears removed from the standard format and focusses on a group of youths pretty much just larking about but when weird things start happening in their apartment complex they get a bit too curious and even weirder things start happening to them. The story starts to link in with what you’ve already seen in the previous films and by the end I was bolt upright in my seat having twigged what was about to happen – let me tell you, I got chills. This movie definitely furthered the whole series’ story.

Paranormal Activity: the Ghost Dimension, which I believe to be the final part of this series, is due for release this October. If it is the last one, I for one am hoping they release a set containing all the movies, because I’ll have them on repeat in my dvd player. This is an awesome collection of movies, and if it’s your kind of film but you haven’t watched them yet, or you haven’t watched them all yet, you have enough time to rectify the situation before the 6th installment comes out.

Maybe just don’t watch them alone…..

Movie Time!

Over the last few weeks I’ve managed to see quite a few movies, surprising in part because I’m always so busy, but also not so surprising if you consider I’ve spent a huge amount of time flying in those few weeks.

I managed to watch 4 films during both the long haul flights I’ve been on recently, and caught a couple on the day after I returned. Perfect jet lag behaviour!

The first movie I saw was Mockingjay part 1

I watched this movie awkwardly on a tiny screen with audio that came in and out because the headphone jack was too loose and I had to keep spinning it slightly in order to hear in stereo. Despite this I did enjoy the film. I feel like it stayed pretty close to the book, from what I remember, and it was entertaining enough. It wasn’t epic, but then that’s not what these movies are trying to achieve, I don’t think.

I also saw Men, Women and Children.

This movie has a great star cast, and has an independent film feel. It’s a great film just about people and their lives. It’s honest and clever and addresses social media, technology and how this affects people’s relationships. I really enjoyed it.

Next I saw Nightcrawler.

The trailer for this movie gave me the creeps enough that I didn’t want to see it at the movies, but I’m glad I’ve watched it now. Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in it, and even though the movie is fairly slow-moving, that doesn’t matter. It needs to go at that pace so you can take it all in. This guy just wants to be good at something – anything – to the point of obsession. With some crazy moments towards the end, this movie makes you just the right amount of uncomfortable to be entertaining.

The Skeleton Twins was recommended to me by G Man (as was Men, Women and Children – he knows me well!)

This movie is about a set of twins who have drifted apart, but come back together when one of them tries to commit suicide. This is a touching and wonderfully dysfunctional relationship, depicted in an independent movie style. It’s got subtle humour and comes across very real. It’s a great watch and something I’d like to see again.

I’d had Summer of Sam downloaded on the Sky box for a while.

I remember when this came out originally and people saying the music was really good. Based on real events of a serial killer, this movie really captures the atmosphere of the baking hot summer when women even started to colour their hair blonde in order to be less appealing to this murderer. The culture, music and heat of New York that summer, come across really well and I really enjoyed the movie. Nice and gritty.

In all of the hype that surrounded 50 Shades of Grey, one movie that kept coming up was Secretary.

Starring the other Gyllenhaal, Maggie, this movie was apparently what everyone expected 50 Shades to be – but, you know, good. I remember seeing it reviewed in Empire way back in 2002 and flicking straight past the article. But my interest was piqued, and so I thought I’d give it a go. This movie isn’t for the easily offended. It’s raunchy, rude and explicit. But not gratuitously. Everything is in there for a reason. One of the most interesting things I found about Mr Edward Grey (yes, his name is Mr Grey…. coincidence?) is that at no point do you find him attractive or even really like him. The characters are very well written and that keeps you intrigued. You’re interested in what makes them tick, why they do what they do and the chemistry between Gyllenhaal and Spader is strong. An intriguing and enjoyable movie that takes the mickey out of itself in parts. I’m glad I chose to watch this movie, and not 50 Shades, its inferior cousin 5 times removed.

So that’s a run down of the films I’ve seen recently. Not a single rotten one in the bunch! Have you seen any of these movies? I’d be interested to hear what your thoughts on them are!

50 Shades of Snobbery

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be aware of the latest blockbuster buzz in movies – 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t read any of the books and I don’t plan on making a trip to the cinema. Apart from the fact that I really dislike the cinema experience at the moment (though I am looking forward to trying out the 4DX) I really don’t have the need to make an effort to see it. That being said, after all this hype, I probably will watch it once it appears on the tv (most likely for next Valentine’s Sky Premiere) just out of pure intrigue.

There’s been a huge amount of hype and chat about this movie. People (all 5 of them) picketing the London Premiere to point out that Christian Grey, the male lead, is a domestic abuser. People deciding who they will go and see the movie with, whether it be a loved one, a group of girl friends or on their own. People discussing whether they liked the movies or books or whether they were a step too far. A LOT of chat. Radio, TV, print.

It got me to thinking for what reason I have something against these books or the film. Sure, I feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, but not because I’m a prude. I have no problem with two consenting adults doing whatever they like in the privacy of their own bedroom, in fiction or reality. I wondered how I could have such a strong negative opinion of something I haven’t read or seen, but saying that I know I wouldn’t enjoy watching a pubic beheading without needing to see one in order to decide.

I think it boils down to that fact that I’m a book and movie snob. I have an issue with the fact that it’s really just bad writing, and from what I have heard in reviews of the movie it’s also bad screenwriting. 50 Shades is doing for people’s opinion on sex as The Da Vinci Code did for people’s intelligence. I strongly believe that Dan Brown’s books helped those who were less scholarly to feel more so. And in this rationale, EL James has made women (and probably men) feel naughty, empowered and less boring in the bedroom. It’s made it okay for people to read, and discuss erotica in public and not feel grimy or sordid. For that EL James should be applauded. There are plenty of books that err on the hot side of raunchy, but people would rather keep those strictly to their kindles where no one can tell what they’re reading. But 50 Shades was seen being read poolside all around the world (as was The Da Vinci Code, incidentally).

I’m reminded of the feeling I got when I went to see Avenue Q a few years back. When I came out of the theatre I was disappointed. People around me had belly ached to the puppets singing about porn, whereas I thought the whole thing was unfunny, childish and just not extreme enough. It was like your prudish [insert family member here] saying ‘crap’ in a sentence and then looking at you like they’ve just said the naughtiest word ever. Cringe.

And that’s it, it’s all a little cringe. Ann Summers’ mannequins in submissive positions with fuzzy handcuffs dripping from their wrists. Leave it out.

I’d like to touch on the domestic violence issue, lightly, again having not read or seen 50 Shades. This subject has obviously pushed buttons and there are two very separate schools of thought on this. One side state that 50 Shades promotes domestic violence, abuse and stalking. The other side protest that women (and men) should be a little looser and realise that when two people consent to this kind of thing, as is the case in the story I understand, that it’s up to them what they do. People like this, and if you don’t then don’t do it. My opinion is people can do what they like, but what we need to remember is that 50 Shades of Grey was written as a Twilight fan fiction. I’ve read (and written) plenty of fan fiction in my time. Some is wonderful, some is truly drivel. I understand that this particular book is written extremely badly. I’ve read snippets, out of context granted, and it’s truly awful. So when EL James defends her book and states that this isn’t domestic abuse, but two consenting adults enjoying an alternative sex life, we need to remember that she also believes she’s penned a novel worth reading and well written. What I’m getting at is that she might have written it so badly that it does boil down to domestic abuse. She might have been so off the mark that it turned into bad taste. And also, remember that the original character was Edward Cullen, a stone cold killer vampire who can enter a room unheard and unseen and with the strength of a really strong thing.

And after all this, yes I’m intrigued, but I don’t think enough to go and read the books or see the film. I have a lot of way more sexually charged books on my book shelf and if I want to read something like that I’ll choose something I consider to be written well, thank you very much. (Incidentally, all my Dan Brown books were donated to the public library and I only read 1 and 3/4 of them….. yes I stopped about 15 pages short of the second book to make a sandwich and never went back.)

So, obviously I can’t make up my mind as I haven’t experience the subject matter. But I’m fine with that. I’m fine with the befuddled looks I get from women who can’t understand why I answer ‘No’ to ‘Haven’t you read 50 Shades?’ – I’ve had this look from people for years now. (It’s the same look I get when I tell them I haven’t seen Magic Mike either.) I’m just a book snob and a movie snob and that’s the way I am, just like Christian Grey is, apparently, just a hot weirdo in a suit.

I have read the odd review of the movie, and this one stuck out, so if you’re so inclined then go ahead and look at it. I’ve yet to read a positive review, but to be fair I doubt I’ve really been looking for one. If you’ve read one then go ahead and paste a link in the comments. If you’ve seen the film and or read the book I’d love to hear your opinion.

This whole saga intrigues me, can you tell?

God Bless Us, Everyone

I don’t know how it’s happened, but all of a sudden it’s Christmas Eve Eve! I type this as I watch A Muppet Christmas Carol and sip on a snowball. I finally got around to writing my Christmas cards this evening, and wrapping the last of the presents. My new Christmas jumper is twitching in my wardrobe, eager to be worn (I won it in a competition Fat Face were running on their Facebook page. It’s worth entering these things, apparently!)

Since I last wrote a few things have happened:

  • My good friend Tash ran her first half marathon in a very respectable time and I am super proud of her!
  • We went to London for our work’s Christmas party and saw some old friends.
  • The book club girls came over and we got to spend a chilled afternoon in each other’s company AND have cuddles with little baby Leo.
  • I’ve watched more Christmas movies. We now have The Grinch, Love Actually and Bernard and the Genie under our belts.
  • More Christmas lights have been added to our living room grotto and it’s super Christmassey!
  • I made and have delivered most of my handmade Christmas pressies for this year. I plan on blogging about them after Christmas since not everyone has had theirs yet. But they have seemed to go down well so far!

Christmas Eve tomorrow will be spent at work for most of the day, getting festive with my wonderful team and then G-Man and I will share a very festive KFC dinner and watch our traditional Christmas Eve films, The Holiday and then The Polar Express (with hot chocolate of course!) Last Christmas, Gary and I wrote letters to ourselves a year in the future all about the past year and what we expected for 2014. We don’t know what each other wrote, but tomorrow evening we’ll open them. It’s our first year doing this, and I have no idea what I wrote so I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what it says!

I honestly can’t believe that it’s almost the end of 2014 and I’m really looking forward to writing my round-up. It’s been such an amazing year and I really can’t wait for 2015!

So there’s nothing left to do but to wish all my readers a safe and exciting Christmas and New Year. I hope you are able to spend it with friends and family and that whatever your situation it’s filled with love. Merry Christmas!

I won a Christmas jumper!
I won a Christmas jumper!

 

The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!
The cutest Santa Baby you ever saw! Little Leo!

 

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Getting festive in the supermarket

 

December 16th

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One of my favourite things about Christmas is most definitely watching movies. I have a strict list of movies that I have to watch this time of year, and I’m very particular about which ones can be watched at which points in the lead up to Christmas. Now that it’s just over a week until Christmas, it’s perfectly acceptable to watch them, and so, perfectly acceptable to write about them! So here goes:

Serendipity is vaguely about Christmas and so acceptable to watch in the lead up to the main week. As is When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail – but then I’m happy to watch these all year round 🙂

The Holiday is one of my favourite Christmas films of recent years. Gary likes to watch this as close to Christmas as possible, so I can see this being one of our Christmas Eve movies this year. I love the mix of US and UK in it, and how it makes it seem like everyone in England lives in little detached cottages…… of course we do! But it’s funny and sad and adorable and the kids in it are amazing actresses. Definitely one to watch if you haven’t already.

I saw Love, Actually for the first time last year and it’s made it onto my Christmas movie list this year. I don’t normally like British movies but am a fan of Richard Curtis’ films and had never seen this thinking it seemed too mushy. Well it is in parts but it’s done very well and the actors are great – I’m partial to a Hugh Grant film too. I was pleasantly surprised by this, and so I’ll have to try to find the time to watch it this year – it’s like 2.5hrs long……

Home Alone and Home Alone 2 HAVE to be on the list. The score alone is a Christmas staple in our home (John Williams), but the movies are amazing and always have you glued to the screen no matter how many years you’ve watched them.

The Muppet Christmas Carol used to be my ultimate Christmas Eve movie, but has been replaced (by a movie I’ll tell you about in a minute) but it’s still a huge favourite of mine. I know most of the dialogue and the lyrics to all the songs. Recent versions of this film omit the soppy and badly sung song in the middle from Scrooge’s Mrs. I know some people miss it (or didn’t even know it existed!), but I’m glad a decision was made to scrap it. It won’t be long before I’m putting this movie on for its annual spin.

Bernard and the Genie is another Richard Curtis film, and one that no one has usually ever heard of, but it’s a huge favourite of mine. At about 70 mins long, it’s kind of a tv movie, but not to me and my family. It’s completely of its time, set in the 90’s with a lot of 90’s celeb cameos, but if you can get hold of a copy please please watch it. Alan Cumming and Lenny Henry and Rowan Atkinson are fabulous in it.

Of course there are some movies I don’t mind watching that I haven’t mentioned yet: Scrooged, I saw Elf for the first time this year which wasn’t bad, It’s A Wonderful Life, but none compare to those listed abover. Now for my ultimate Christmas movie. The movie I HAVE to watch on Christmas Eve and only on Christmas Eve. On the big screen with all the room lights off and the Christmas lights on…..

The Polar Express *is* Christmas. The music (Alan Silvestri), the story, the visuals. I would love to have seen it in 3D at some point. It’s a cosy, feel good movie with everything you’d want to get you in the mood for Santa visiting. I just LOVE it.

So those are my favourite Christmas movies, what are yours? Do you have any really hardly known favourites?

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December 2nd

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Despite being a huge Christmas bore, I am aware that when it comes to the festive season there are some things it’s still too early for. Certain songs and movies that are Christmas themed need to wait until nearer the day or else it just feels wrong.

That being said, I do like to put up my decorations as soon as it hits December. The whole house feels warm and cosy and just less bare with the decorations up – however I do like to take them down asap after Christmas and sometimes they’re packed away even before new year.

With that in mind, in order to draw me into the spirit of the season there’s a few things I like to do, and you can try them to!

  • Eating things with spices in. I like to start drinking spiced chai lattes and sprinkling cinnamon on top of my hot chocolate.
  • Roasting chestnuts.
  • Burning spiced candles to create a wonderful Christmas scented home.
  • Putting up fairy lights.
  • Reading Through a Glass Darkly by Jostein Gaarder. Such a sad story but beautifully written and embodies Christmas. I read it every year at this time.
  • Watching movies that are tenuously linked with Christmas like Serendipity or The Holiday.
  • Wearing lots of fairisle!

What do you like to do to get yourself into the festive mood when it feels just a tad too early to jump into Christmas with both feet?

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Shutterbug Q&A

Having seen this post at The Pace of it All, I really liked the idea of doing a Q&A – mostly because I wanted to see what people would ask! So I hopped onto Twitter and also Musings on FB and gave a shout out for people to ask questions. And questions I got! So here they are with the answers!

What’s your favourite book? Movie? TV Show?

Ooh that’s a toughie! I used to always say that my favourite book was The Time Traveler’s Wife. But it may have been pipped by Life of Pi which I read this year. I was so rewarded by it since I’d struggled so hard with it at the start. Of course I love the Harry Potter series and (shame!) Twilight – but as standalone books go Life of Pi trumps them all!

Movie – I have loads of favourites. I really love Empire Records and that will always be my classic favourite. But I have go to movies that I can watch over and over, like When Harry Met Sally. I love the Scream Quadrilogy and the Kill Bill movies. It’s hard!

TV Show – always The West Wing, hands down!

What’s your favourite cheese?

Haha! Vintage Cheddar. Tesco do one in their Finest range which is almost on the money. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it will be a lifelong search for the best strongest cheddar – until then Tesco are doing a pretty decent job!

What would be your ultimate last dinner on Earth? (also asked by someone else -What foods would you choose for your last meal?)

That’s a really tough one. I think it would have to be some kind of melon starter (because I’m a child of the 80’s!) Steak main with really good chunky chips or mash. Pudding would be pecan pie with pouring cream. I’d need some cheese after that so vintage cheddar and maybe some fruit with it. Then an Irish coffee. A nice full-bodied red to go with the steak. Mmmm sounds good!

What is your earliest memory?

I remember being in my push chair which had a cover over it. The cover was all brown except for a small square window which I could look out of. It was raining outside and I remember feeling so cosy and dry inside my push chair!

When was the hardest you’ve ever laughed?

I remember having a lot of times where I’ve laughed so hard my stomach hurt or my cheeks felt like they’d burst. I do remember one particular summer holidays when my sister was home. We sat in, played cards and ate pot noodles for lunch. I remember having such a good time that when my friends came knocking for me to go out with them I declined because I wanted to stay and carry on having fun with my sister. I remember being stupid and laughing hard a lot of that summer!

What songs make you the happiest?

Pop songs can make me awfully happy. Two songs exist that can get me moving singing and dancing no matter what mood I’m in. They are I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston and Hummingbird Heartbeat by Katy Perry. They are just 100% my happy music. I get happy listening to The Sunday’s album Static and Silence but that’s more like a calm and contented happiness. Let Down by Radiohead makes me feel that way too. But when you wanna get up and dance it has to be the first two. Ultimate happy!

What has made your marriage successful?

I’d say being realistic. G Man and I always said that we wanted to be married but we also knew that in 20 years something may have happened that means we can’t be married any more. We both know it wouldn’t be because either of us had cheated or been abusive, but other things happen. I think this is really important. Neither of us want this to be the case but we put it out there. We work at our relationship. We talk about important stuff and we laugh about the unimportant stuff. We know how to defuse an argument but without brushing it under the carpet. Yes we have problems but we knew we would when we said our vows – we’re not naive enough to think we won’t. I think that the success of our marriage so far has definitely been down to ‘keepin it real’!

How did you and your husband meet?

We first met at a house party when I went with a friend to her new boyfriend’s house – she wanted a chaperone meeting his friends for the first time, but me and him didn’t really talk much. I didn’t properly meet Gary until a few months later when we were both at Glastonbury music festival and again were brought together by mutual friends. We spent two days together over the three-day festival and afterwards were pretty much inseparable. We met up again a few days after the festival and then about 5 days later he had a shock meeting my whole extended family when I invited him to my Sister’s wedding reception!

How did you get started in Photography?

I’d always been interested in taking a good photo. My Dad was into photography and so was my Grandad. I started taking rolls of films which were dolls and cats. I also took photos of my cousins which family would say were good and have blown up for their walls. I tried to be creative with my first art photograph entitled ‘Banana on a door mat’ – and it was just that. I followed this up later on with ‘Mango on a door mat’. I liked to take whole rolls of film of clouds too – it was rather expensive and since you had to send the films away and would get them back about two weeks later, it was kind of disappointing to find it was all crummy clouds. I didn’t pick photography up again until after my wedding. I was so disappointed with the quality of the shots taken by our photographer and I knew I could have done better! I found Flickr in late 2006 and the rest is history! I was so inspired by the people on there. I started my first 365 project in 2007 and a second 365 project in 2009. The second one was more successful as I had the experience of the first, and I made it into a table book so I have it to keep forever! My photography has taken a back step in the last two years due to life and commitments but I hope to have my second photo book published soon, after having my first published in 2010 (which you can buy here!)

So that’s it! Thanks to Ari (@thepaceofitall) Sarah (@STApollo84) Beckie (@beckietran) Carrie (@being_ladylike) and Mum (via FB) for the questions!

That was kinda fun 🙂

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Let’s Eat and Shop!

Hello! I haven’t posted in over a week – craziness. I’ve been feeling a little exhausted and less than fun, so on my days off last week I chilled out and spent time with Gary when I could.

On Saturday night after I’d finished work we took a drive to our favourite local American Diner, Buddies. I have been wanting to try something they’d just put on their menu recently. Having been a fan of chips with gravy for some time, I was intrigued to find out it’s somewhat of a delicacy in Canada, except they add cheese. It’s called Poutine and when I saw that Buddies had added it, with optional toppings, I knew I had to try it. I went for poutine with pulled pork, fried onions and gravy.

poutine

I have to say despite the size of the portion being enough for two, the food was stunning. I’ll definitely order this the next time I’m there. So good. Half the fun of going to Buddies is the drive. It’s a minimum of half an hour there and back, and we love to turn the music up loud and have a good old sing along. We’ve mostly been blaring out Taylor Swift. Incidentally this a bonus track from her latest album Red, which, I think,  should have been on the album. It’s epic.

We decided to go to Bluewater shopping centre on Sunday and have a mooch around. I ate lunch from Wasabi, and it was the first time I’d tried anything from there. I had Chicken Katsu Yakisoba, which was so delicious. I’ll definitely eat there again.

wasabi

I also sampled a piece of cake from Lola’s Cupcakes. It was apple and cinnamon flavour and was so yummy. It was moist and springy and fresh. Better than Hummingbird bakery which can be a little dry. I was very impressed.

We had a look in Uniqlo and I bought a lovely tunic from the Celia Birtwell range. I can’t wait for the weather to change for good so that I can wear it. I also bought some Lemony Flutter from Lush because my cuticles are wrecked from this cold weather. It’s also good on elbows and heels! I WILL be spring ready! And I treated myself to a Butterball bath bomb – though I used it last night and I’m sure they use much less oil in it now than they used to. Anyway, those were my treats.

When we got back we were really tired out so we crashed in front of the TV. We watched Cabin in the Woods for the first time. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan but this movie fell flat for me. It was a little odd. I have just bought the Japanese film ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ which I’m looking forward to watching. I don’t know anything about it but it seems to have good reviews!

On the reading front, I have so far this year given up on two books. It’s something I decided last year I wouldn’t do because I wanted to hit my 40 book challenge. But this year I’m finding that I haven’t got the time for books I don’t like! I borrowed my first book on my Kindle last week, Tom’s Midnight Garden, after it was recommended by a girl I work with. I’m about a quarter through and it’s good so far. I am finding I have less time to read at the moment, which is a shame. I’m just so tired all the time!

On the up side, the weather seems to be improving and next weekend they’re saying it could get to 15c – tropical! Here’s hoping!

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