The Festive Tag

So it’s finally December, and those of us who have been waiting impatiently for the days when Christmas jumpers and non-stop festive music are acceptable have finally been satiated. The inevitable excitement this produced in me, teamed with my guilty conscience for the neglect of my blog in favour of school work this past month, have really made me eager to get writing again. So when I got a message from Viola from apieceofviola tagging me in the Festive Tag, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get back into the swing of things as well as an opportunity to ramble about all things festive.

1. Favourite Festive Food

It goes without saying that one of the best things about this season is the ability to eat as much food as you’re physically capable of without fear of judgement. In terms of Christmas dinner itself, the stuffing and pigs in blankets have to be the high points, and aside from that, mince pies and mulled cider have to be the winners for me- nothing else warms you up quite as well.

2. Favourite Reindeer

After spending many a childhood Christmas arguing over it, I am proud to say I possess the wonderful talent of being able to recite the full collection of names by heart (it’s invaluable knowledge, trust me). Nevertheless, I have to admit I’ve never gone so far as to decide on a favourite.. I guess I’d have to do it based on name and go for Comet, which I think is quite apt for an animal that flies through the sky and makes wishes come true.

3. Favourite Day in the 12 Days of Christmas

Easily got to be Ten (I think) Lords-A-Leaping simply due to the hilarious corresponding actions it always seems to produce.

4. Favourite Christmas Song

I feel I’m quite unimaginative in my festive music choices, with my favourites being the obvious choices: The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You‘. I’m one of those people that firmly believe in not playing Christmas songs until December, so now it’s finally here I’ve spent a worrying amount of time already prancing round my room to festive compilations!

5. Favourite Christmas Present

Without a doubt this would have to be my record player which my parents bought me when I was 16- an orange 70s portable Philips one which I absolutely adore. Since I was very young, we’ve always had many record players in the house as well as a jukebox, so I’ve grown up with an ingrained preference for vinyl over downloads, and this is certainly the case now I’ve started to build up my own collection.

6. Favourite Christmas Film

I’m sorry to disappoint in the fact that once again I have to choose the most obvious answers there are, but ‘Elf’ and ‘Love Actually’ are just too classic to have be beaten by any other, and the latter may be a large part of the reason I love ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ so very much.

7. Favourite Cracker Toy

I can remember many childhood Christmases longing to get the spring with the little metal ring on it (please tell me other people know what I’m talking about here). I always loved the fact that despite my youth, I seemed to be the only one who knew the ‘trick’ behind it- years later I look back and consider the very real possibility that they were simply humouring me…oh to be young and ignorant.

8. Favourite Cracker Joke

‘Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars?
Because their days are numbered.’

9. Favourite Christmas Decoration

That would easily be the terrifying “fairy” that I made when I was about 7 and my mum still begrudgingly finds space for every year. At least it has character, right?

10. Favourite Candle Smell

I’m really not a fan of anything overly sweet as a lot of Christmas scents tend to be; I lean more towards the spicy scents and my favourite this year has to be spiced apple, although the Spiced Orange Yankee Candle is also heavenly.

11. Favourite Christmas Advert

The John Lewis advert is always the most hyped up every year and never fails to impress, but this year I have to say the Waitrose advert brought a little tear to my eye. In general, the competition has definitely been upped this year and there are so many great ones if I’m honest.

12. Favourite Christmas Tradition

In our family, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are never complete without a long walk in the beautiful countryside around where I live, always accompanied by a flask of hot coffee and whatever leftovers can be found. It’s one of those traditions that I loved when I was little, despised as a teenager, and will probably pass down when I have a family of my own one day (sorry in advance kids).

13. Favourite Place to Spend Christmas

Anywhere as long as there are a lot of people- I love spending Christmas at my dads because there’s always so much of my family there and the house is so full of life, especially with my five-year-old brother and sister running around wreaking havoc.

14. Favourite Christmas Fact

According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas is one of the two most popular times for couples to break up.. make sure you watch out for 11th December, kids.

15. Favourite Snowman Accessory

Must say this is a bit of a random question but I’d have to say the scarf as I used to have one just like in ‘The Snowman’, which is easily my favourite Christmas childhood book and which will always be a classic.

Thanks to Viola for tagging me, I’m throwing the ball out to you guys now- anyone who hasn’t already done the tag and wants to join in, feel free! As for me, I’m off to find myself a mince pie and my copy of Love Actually… happy December everyone!

A Film A Week: 01

Ask me about books, and I could go on for hours about which ones I love, which ones I hate, those I could read a thousand times over and those I would happily never see again. Same goes for music. Films, however, are a whole other story- I have no real reason for it but the list of movies I have actually seen is strangely minuscule for a teenager that loves all kind of art forms. After one particularly in-depth conversation with my stepdad, who is one of those people that can name the director, release date and whole cast of practically every film ever made, it was decided that I was in desperate need of a film education. Now it’s not like I have never seen a movie before; I’ve watched my fair share of Mean Girls and Harry Potter’s, but it was those cult classics that everyone and their mother seems to have seen that I’ve somehow managed to avoid seeing for the first eighteen years of my life. So, along with said film buff stepdad, a month ago I spent an arguably productive Sunday afternoon going through the IMDb ‘Top 100 Films’ list and creating a list of 52 films to watch (the idea was one a week for a year, in case you hadn’t guessed).

So without further ado, the next Sunday rolled around and we were ready on the sofa with ‘Pulp Fiction’ in the DVD player and a good old roast on our plates. I know a lot of people are going to be in disbelief that I haven’t seen what has to be one of the most famous and best-loved classics of the nineties, and in all honesty I have no idea how I’ve managed to get this far without watching it. I’m pretty sure this was also the first Tarantino that I’ve ever seen and I can definitely see why both he and this film have been so successful. Pulp Fiction is funny in an ironic way, manages to be violent without being classed as an action of any shape or form, confusing at times thanks to its disjointed storyline, but also clever and definitely worth a watch. Is it worth all the hype that surrounds it? My stepdad would certainly say not; I would be inclined to agree, but it’s definitely one of those films that everyone should see at some point- if only so you finally understand the multitude of references that seem to be made to it in everyday life.

One week on and the setting is pretty much the same, apart from this time on the screen is ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’, one of my stepdads favourite films that I have never really heard a lot about. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly pumped to watch it for reasons that I can no longer remember, but it completely blew my expectations out of the water. Directed by the Coen brother and starring the likes of George Clooney, it’s set up to be a pretty great film and it certainly lives up to that. Witty and funny, it’s set in Great Depression-ridden Mississippi and has everything a good film needs, from a great soundtrack to cop chases. Apparently it’s based on the Odyssey and is full of references but I’ll be completely honest and admit that I didn’t realise this until (no surprise) my stepdad informed me… Nevertheless it’s a really great feel good film and I would heartily recommend if you want a chilled evening watching something that’s not too taxing on the brain!

The third and most recent installment of my movie education came in the shape of ‘Memento’, a film that I knew nothing about besides the title and the intriguing DVD cover. As we sat down to watch, my stepdad warned me that I would have to actually focus on what was happening to understand, which is always something that immediately instills fear in me- although he is plenty justified in warning me as I am horrendous at remembering who is who and what is happening in even the simplest of plotlines. ‘Memento’ is the story of a man whose wife is brutally murdered and decides to dedicate the rest of his life to finding her killer. The only minor problem is that thanks to the killer, he himself suffered an injury that left him with short-term memory loss- he can remember everything up until the accident clear as day, but anything since then only lasts a matter of minutes before disappearing from his brain.. bit of an issue when you’re trying to solve a murder case. I think my favourite thing about watching this was that it is shot completely from the protagonist’s perspective; we follow him, see what he sees, know no more than he knows and are deceived just as successfully as he is himself. If you’re looking for a movie whose concept is something new and refreshing that makes you think a bit more than your average rom-com or feel-good film, then this is your guy.

The plan is to put these mini reviews up about once a month as I slowly make my way through the list, although thanks to the almost-impossible task of finding a single night of the week when none of us are busy, sticking to a film a week might be a tad unrealistic. Either way, I hope you found entertainment in some form or other in this because I’ll be back shortly ready to impart even more of my superior knowledge as I delve deeper into the world of films. Three down, fourty-nine to go.

May Favourites

So it’s that time again where I wonder at how fast time is going, complain about the British weather’s apparent disregard to this, and ramble about the things I’ve been loving recently. This month has been centred around the dreaded exams and not a lot else, so anything that has acted as a form of distraction or relaxation has been greatly appreciated.

My primary source of procrastination is, of course, a good book. This last week I have started reading Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and it’s just one of those books that immediately grips you; it may be confusing but the characters manage to make a seemingly boring story line so much more complex and intriguing. I’m awful at describing books but long story short (I’m going to ignore that perfect pun opportunity), I really like it and know it won’t be long until I finish it, and will probably end up writing a full review if I can think of some more literary-related adjectives. I find Virginia Woolf such an interesting woman and reading her work really starts to give you an insight into why she was such a leading figure and Mrs Dalloway is definitely one of those books that everyone should read.

I am one of those people that can’t revise without music playing in the background, and this month I’ve been loving a whole load of summery indie pop/rock kind of songs that can’t help but put a smile on your face. I have my summer playlist on Spotify including songs from the likes of Crystal Fighters, Young The Giant and The Mowgli’s, but probably my newest and biggest obsession is New Politics. Their song ‘Harlem’ is without a doubt one of my songs of the summer that gets me shamelessly dancing around my AS Politics notes and you can listen to it here.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t have a TV favourite this month at all as I’ve been trying my best to actually do the revision thing and I know that as soon as a start a new series there is no way of preventing myself from watching twenty episodes a day. I have so many lined up to watch as soon as my exams are over (next week, praise the lord)- the first being Game of Thrones, so that might well end up making it’s way into my June favourites.

In terms of films, I have to give a mention to one of my favourite films that is probably the biggest teenage white girl cliché ever, but it’s just one of those movies I can watch over and over and it makes me laugh and cry every time. Perks is a beautiful book and the film really does it justice as far as it can, making a perfect post-exam watch. Plus it has two of my favourite actors, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller, so what’s not to love?

On to beauty, and the Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk has been my savior for bad skin reversal; since using this my face has got a whole lot clearer and it’s definitely down to this. I never really hear people talking abut this particular product in the beauty world, but for me it’s just perfect and has the most gorgeous smell.. and not to forget their ever-adorable packaging! Sticking to the skincare theme, my super dry skin has completely turned around this month thanks to the wonderful shop assistant in The Body Shop who spent a long time trying to find the perfect product for my skin, and eventually settled on the Aloe Soothing Day Cream. If a moisturiser could be described as thirst-quenching, this would be the one. As is typical when coming into summer, I’ve been loving using salt spray for that kind of beachy I-just-woke-up-this-fabulous look, and this month I’ve especially been liking the L’Oreal Matt & Messy Shine-free Salt Spray. It’s super cheap, super volumising, and just an all-round summer essential for me.

I’m sure most people already know about Graze boxes- but for those that don’t, they are small boxes that you can order one-off or regularly that are filled with delicious and healthy snacks that are literally heaven to snackers like me. Now, I know that these are pretty expensive for what they are which is why I sadly stopped my regular box, but through the exam period I’ve found myself craving these delicious treats and keep ordering boxes.. oops. My favourites of what I’ve tried so far have to be the black pepper popcorn and the boston baguettes.

Last but not least, my final two favourites are places that I’ve been recently with my dad, step-mum and half-brother and sister who are four and the most adorable yet patience-testing creatures known to man. With the nice weather (ish) we’ve been to both Westonbirt Arboretum and Cotswold Wildlife Park in the past few weeks, both of which are beautiful places to get outside with the family. I find that especially when I have exams, I spend way too much time indoors and it’s incredible what a few hours of fresh air can do for not only your physical well-being, but also your motivation and general mental state. And that’s coming from someone who generally prefers the company of YouTube videos to venturing into the outernet.

 

April Favourites

Another month down and I swear the weather has gotten even worse- so much for thinking summer was on its way. I’m sorry for not posting a review this week but my life has become pretty consumed with revision recently seeing as my exams start this week and saying I am unprepared is an understatement! Anyway, seeing as April has drawn to a close, here are some of the things I was loving throughout the month.

 

The-Great-British-Sewing-Bee-Book1TV show- The Great British Sewing Bee

I know that many of you will think this is an odd choice for a 17 year old girl, but this has to be one of my favourite programmes on TV. I am a huge fan of sewing, I took GCSE Textiles and considered it for A level, but ended up just doing plenty in my spare time. I’ve been obsessed with the American tv show Project Runway for years, and I guess this is our version of it. It’s incredibly British, surprisingly funny, and just pretty fab. I’m rather upset that it’s over and I’m not ashamed to admit it.


IMG_1957Book- Popular by Maya van Wagenen

I heard about this book from my mum actually, who has been invited to the book launch for this and I’m lucky enough to be going with her, so I thought I should probably read the book first. It’s written by 15-year-old Maya who lives in Texas and is a true story about her discovery of a book written in the 1950s about how to be popular, with chapters ranging from makeup. Maya, a social outcast, decides it would be a fun experiment to follow a chapter each month of the year to the letter, and see whether there was any wisdom in this book that was still relevant 60 years later. Whilst this may sound like the plot of many a Disney tween movie, it’s surprisingly funny and well-written considering Maya’s age. Considering I read it not expecting much, I enjoyed it surprising amounts and ended up finishing it in about 3 hours without stopping.


IMG_1852Makeup- Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder

I bought this finally a few weeks ago after wanting it for ages thanks to Tanya Burr’s love for it, and I can totally see why. First off, it looks like chocolate and smells delicious, so that’s always a bonus. More importantly though, they actually do it in a colour pale enough that my ghostly skin doesn’t look like it’s been rubbed in mud and instead just looks nicely sunkissed. Plus the ‘glints of sunshine’ which it claims to be filled with give your skin a really beautiful glow, so for the price I think it’s a pretty fab product.

 


IMG_1764Hair Care- Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Luscious Long Deep Treatment

Well that’s a heck of a name. I bought this a while ago because since I’ve been growing my hair it’s become horribly dry at the ends, so I figured a deep treatment was the way forward. I know Aussie is well-known as a great brand of hair products, but I hadn’t heard much about this product in particular so it was a bit of a blind buy. I must say I love it though; I’ve definitely noticed the difference after applying this to the ends of my hair instead of my usual conditioner. They do loads of different variations depending on your particular hair type and issues, which is great. Plus, it’s super cheap.


crystal-fightersMusic- Crystal Fighters

I’ve loved Crystal Fighters for quite a while, but this month I’ve found myself listening to them non-stop, especially You & I. It’s the perfect mix of genres and reminds me so much of summer. It’s just one of those songs that makes you happy every time you hear it, so what’s not to love about that. Moreover, the cover art is just the most beautiful thing. (ps I’ve started a summer playlist on spotify so if anyone is even  slightly interested you can click here)


220px-The_boat_that_rocked_posterFilm- The Boat That Rocked

I know I’m very late to hop on the bandwagon for this one, but I watched this film for the first time when it was on TV last week and totally fell in love. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was a completely different kind of film so I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s hilarious, heart-warming and incredibly feel good- after the credits rolled I just sat there for ages with a huge grin on my face. Has to be up there with my favourite films of all time, and I don’t say that lightly.


IMG_1783Place- Boston Tea Party, Bristol

When I went to Bristol a couple of weeks ago for Record Store Day, I knew that brunch at Boston Tea Party was a must. Even though I’ve heard they’re awesome, I’d never actually got the chance to visit one and I immediately loved it. The decor is so completely me and the food is fabulous. I introduced my friends Hannah and Shona to pancakes, bacon and maple syrup (what kind of weirdos haven’t tried that before) which as you may know, is my favourite breakfast of all time. Big love for this place, I could see myself spending a lot of time there.


IMG_1820Food- Easter Eggs

What else could I possibly put for my food favourite in Easter? Although the amount of chocolate I got kind of stressed me out, it was a lovely day full with the family and the Easter egg hunt was super cute. Although I wanted to put in a photo of my egg from my mum, which was the most beautiful thing ever, I realised I ate most of it before taking a photo… oops. So have an adorable basked of mini eggs instead, and a belated happy Easter!

So there you have it: some of my favourite things this month which I couldn’t help but share with you. Make sure to check the stuff out because I don’t just obsess over things for nothing. I apologise in advance if my posts become less frequent or worse quality in the coming weeks; starting on Tuesday I am in exam season until the middle of June so will be in full-on stress mode. Of course, I’ll still be posting as much as I can because ultimately this is what I love and exams can sod off if they think I’m giving this up for a month!

 

March Favourites

So somehow it’s nearly the end of March, which is pretty scary considering the fact that I have exams in six weeks, even though it feels like year 12 only just started.  I know that making monthly favourites videos is something more likely to be found on YouTube, but I love watching other people’s and I see no reason why it wouldn’t work just as well on a blog. I figured I would sit down once a month to tell you my favourite book, film, makeup, etc of the moment; so here are the some of the things I have been obsessing over in March.

 

mmfdTV show- My Mad Fat Diary

I know I’m not the only one that was extremely excited about the return of MMFD after a fantastic first series, and I can honestly say it’s every bit as good as hoped, if not even better.  For those who don’t know, it’s a series based on a book that follows the life of Rae Earl, a teenager struggling to survive the nineties under somewhat extenuating (yet somehow relatable) circumstances. It manages to cover a wide range of mental illnesses in an accessible way without being patronising or alienating and whilst still being hilariously brilliant, which is a pretty impressive feat it must be said. Unfortunately the series is over, although the finale was so fantastic and full to the brim of feels (I won’t spoil it because it doesn’t actually air on tv until tommorrow). If you haven’t seen it, definitely go find it on 4od or you are missing out.

sex & violenceBook- Sex & Violence

I found this book when I was searching for good reads, bored by my AS English Lit set texts and needing something to lose myself in. This had great reviews, saying it was a fantastic coming-of-age type novel but with a bit of originality. I downloaded it on the kindle store because I’m lazy and needed something to read urgently, and managed to finish it in a couple of days. I must say that I really did enjoy reading this; I’m not sure that it lives up to all the hype that surrounded it and I was bitterly disappointed at the ending, but it’s definitely worth a read and certainly has something deeper behind it than so many other books of the genre.

IMG_1709Makeup- Rimmel Colour Rush Balms

I don’t want to write too much about these as I’m planning a more in-depth post sometime soon, but I couldn’t help but mention these wonderful balms that I’ve worn pretty much everyday since I bought them. I have the colours ‘Keep Mauving’ and ‘Raspberry Kiss’ which I love both of and it’s great to have a more neutral as well as a bolder colour for variation. At £5.99, these long-lasting and hydrating balms they are definitely worth it.

IMG_1704Body Care- Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub 

I think I actually got this body scrub for Christmas, but I only dug it out of the cupboard recently and I already love it. It’s the perfect texture on the skin leaves it feeling like a baby’s bottom. Plus the combination of brown sugar, sweet lime, almond oil and macademia smells divine.

supermodel-album-cover_1_Music- Supermodel by Foster The People

As some of you may have seen, I wrote a blog post earlier this week about FTP’s new album in which I went into detail and rated it very highly, so I won’t blabber on too much this time. Lets just say it’s different yet still very Foster, in the best way possible. Best tracks are Fire Escape, Pseudologia Fantastica and A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon.

weneedtotalkaboutkevinFilm- We Need To Talk About Kevin

Last week I had a few of my friends stay over, and at 1am we wisely decided to watch this film, not really knowing much other than the basic plot line (Demented kid. Kills loads of people.) Having been in love with Ezra Miller ever since first watching Perks, it was great to see him work so perfectly in a totally different role. The story line is shocking, heart breaking, but also incredibly well written. All in all, this has to be one of the best films I have seen in a long while and I can see why it receives so much attention. Really need to just read the book now.

breakfast clubPlace- The Breakfast Club, Brick Lane

Once again, I’ve already written a post on this so I won’t go into too much detail, but this place teams the best breakfast I’ve ever eaten with the coolest interior known to man. What more is there to say?

Picture1Food- Drumstick Squashies

My friend actually introduced me to these on a trip to the co-op after an exhausting day at work today and I’m hooked. Remember those delicious drumstick lollipops that we all used to love in primary school? Well these are the same, but minus the sticks and a bit less chewy. As close as you get to heaven for 49p.

So there you have it: some of my favourite things this month which I couldn’t help but share with you. Make sure to check the stuff out because I don’t just obsess over things for nothing.