24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 15-Miracle on 34th Street

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The words genuine and heart-warming has been thrown around a lot this month in regards to some of the films on this list, but believe me when I say that this is the iconic film that first inspired those feelings.

Although the 1994 version will always hold a special place in my heart as I was obsessed with Mara Wilson after Matilda, it’s the 1947 version that I think truly embodies Christmas spirit.

Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) is an event planner for Macy’s Department Store and after finding that her hired Father Christmas is drunk, a man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) offers to take his place. He does so well that he ends up working as the store Santa but due to his continual insistence that he is the Father Christmas he ends up committed to a mental institution, and his only option is for the court to be convinced that his is the real deal once and for all. It sounds like a slightly depressing concept initially but the real joy in the film comes from Kris (spoiler alert) convincing everyone, in particular Doris’ sceptical young daughter Susan (Natalie Wood).

Watching both young children and adults fall under Kris Kringle’s spell and rediscover their belief in him is so uplifting and enjoyable to watch, and in the end I think that’s part of the success as I believe everyone would deep down still like to believe in Father Christmas. The performances are outstanding and the natural chemistry between the characters, especially between Susan and Kris Kringle is integral to the reason this film continues to inspire people over 50 years after its release.

“Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.” It’s that optimism that runs throughout the film, and that’s why I had to include it on this list as I think that’s what people quintessentially love about Christmas, the idea that it feels like anything can happen, maybe even a miracle.

 

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24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 14- Arthur Christmas

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Another one of the more modern entries on this list but I couldn’t resist including it as I think it’s one of the smartest, most genuine Christmas films I’ve ever seen.

We’re introduced to Father Christmas (Hugh Bonneville) and his two sons Steve, the focused man on the ground in charge of running Christmas operations, and Arthur (James McAvoy) his good hearted but hopeless son who is in charge of the letter department. After a terrible mistake Arthur takes it upon himself to rectify it, and with his GrandSanta (Billy Nighy) and a wrapping elf named Bryony (Ashely Jensen) he sets off to ensure that no child will ever be without a gift on Christmas.

The thing I like most about this film is how it plays on the traditional Christmas myths such as making ‘Santa’ a title which is passed down, and the ingenious explanation as to how Father Christmas manages the incredible feat of delivering presents to all the children across the world in one night.

The recognisable voices add a sense of inherent likability to the characters, as although you might not be able to name the actor, you know the voice and relate to the character as a result. The family focus of the film and Arthur’s determination to deliver the forgotten present means it’s truly heartwarming to watch, but also manages to create genuine sentiment which is what makes it so enjoyable too. It’s such a witty and intelligent film that it makes it a perfect choice for both adults and children and is a sure fire way to keep everyone happy on Christmas day.

24 Days of Christmas:Day 13- Nativity

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It’s around this time every year that one of the most important parts of the run-up to Christmas takes place, and that is the Nativity.

For those of us in the UK it’s something we hold dear to our hearts, and usually with bittersweet memories of the terrible parts we got. Although kudos to you if you managed to bag the coveted Gabriel/Mary/Joseph roles, 6 year old me was quite put out being a narrator.

It’s a wonder that it took so long for someone to make a film about such a beloved right of passage, and as a result it’s no surprise that this is arguably one of the most successful Christmas films of recent years. We start with three friends at theatre school Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman),  his girlfriend Jennifer Love (Ashley Jensen) and their friend Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) as they’re about to perform a show. We then flick to a few years later and Paul and Jennifer have split up with her pursuing a career in Hollywood as a producer, whilst Gordon works for a prestigious school running their highly regarded Nativity every year. Paul works in a lesser performing school and by an act of misfortune is placed in charge of the Nativity this year,with the headmistress’s childish nephew Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton) to help him. After hearing a chance encounter between Paul and Gordon, where Paul is goaded into bragging that a team of Hollywood producers are coming to see their show, Mr. Poppy spreads the exciting news until  the whole town knows. The only problem is that Paul was telling a big fat lie, and that he now has less that a month to contact and convince Hollywood bigwigs to come to see the show…

The success of the film is largely down to the stellar performances of the children who manage to be both incredibly cute and adorable without being sickly sweet, and give great overall performances. Of course the majority of the film is building up to the final performance and to see whether Hollywood does arrive, and boy is it worth the wait. The songs put ‘Away In A Manger’ to shame, and I defy anyone to not attempt to sing along so catchy are the songs, with ‘Nazarus’ and ‘Sparkle And Shine’ being my personal favourites.

Due to the subject matter and performances it’s truly a heartwarming film and the perfect choice for reigniting the nostalgia of childhood, and what you used to love about Christmas. It’s the perfect time to watch it to get you into the Christmassy mood, as even if you’re too old to have your own Nativity this is one you can enjoy again and again. Plus if you’re going to be brutally honest with yourself, you know your Nativity was never this good.

Doing The Sushi Samba

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When I was little I would always imagine being some high flying business woman who would spend her evenings going to amazing and beautiful places in London. Who knew that I didn’t need to be that much older, or that high flying to go to such places. Led by my best friend Olivia (couldn’t get rid of her last week) whose childhood dreams equalled my own, we headed over to the Heron Tower and up to the 38th floor to live out our dreams for real. After the best elevator ride I’ve ever had we arrived and headed up the stairs to our metaphorical bar heaven.

DSC04770If this is what heaven looks like, count me in!

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Unfortunately we had just come from dinner, a choice I was severely regretting when I saw the magic these chefs were serving up. But on the upside guess I’ll just have to come back for it!DSC04708 DSC04710

We picked a perch with a view and set our sights firmly on the bar, although it took us about 20 minutes just to read the cocktail menu, and there’s nothing I love more than a healthy dose of choice when picking my cocktails!DSC04711 DSC04727

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To be sensible I asked for the non-alcoholic cocktail option which hear me out, was made with roasted red peppers. Sounds strange I know and granted the first sip was slightly startling, but the perfect mixture of savoury and sweet flavours made it one of most interesting and satisfying cocktails I’ve ever had.

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You can tell this one liked it too!DSC04756

Have you ever seen a view like this before? I would happily have set up camp here all evening, but unfortunately we had to make do with just a few hours.
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We would’ve happily carried on drinking and talking the night away but unfortunately it eventually came to home time and we had to make our way downstairs, but not before I’d taken a few photos of course! I mean come on when else do you get to pose with London’s skyline as your backdrop?DSC04766 DSC04767We also couldn’t help but swing by the incredible outdoor bar which was packed and for good reason due to the most amazing tree sculpture I’ve ever seen.
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I wasn’t joking when I said this place was stuff dreams were made off.
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Dragging our heels we finally got to the lift which gave me just enough time to soak in my last glimpse of the city skyline and of course give my best blue steel for one last photo. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a pretty backdrop!
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Until next time London, but thanks for letting two girls live their childhood dreams even if just for one night. Cheesy I know, but seriously if you’re looking for somewhere amazing whether it’s for a celebration or simply a drink or two, give Sushi Samba a try. Even if it’s not your cup of tea it’s worth it just for the ride and the unbelievable views.

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These two goons certainly enjoyed it anyway!

Leopard Print Shoes Two Ways

DSC036612Leopard print shoes are one of the most must-have A/W items this season with everyone from New Look to Net-A-Porter bringing out their own versions. From Beyonce to Fearne Cotton, to Harry Styles there’s nothing like a pair of leopard print shoes to make you instantly cool. But animal print is also one of those things that if not styled correctly can look a little Pat Butcher so I thought I’d share with you a couple of the ways I thought they can be worn for a casual everyday look.
DSC036842DSC036692Jacket: Topshop (similar here), Shirt: Jack Wills, Jeans: Topshop, Shoes: Primark.DSC036882 DSC036912

I love this combination because it combines both my favourite leather jacket and jeans (where would we be without Jamie Jeans), but the shirt gives a slightly smarter element as well as bringing a dash of colour to the outfit. Plus did I mention the shoes were only £4!  DSC036982DSC036992 DSC038202 DSC038372

My second look is a more casual basic look with my favourite breton print dress, my Rayban wayfarers and the classic life saver of black tights. I’d also wear it with my cropped denim jacket (which I may or may not have forgotten) and just a dash of casual red lippy.

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Dress: H&M (similar here and here), Sunglasses: Rayban,

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I had a couple more ideas for how to wear this (so tell me if you want to see those anytime soon) and was surprised at just how wearable these shoes are. Granted I don’t think I’ll be reaching Sienna Miller or Harry Styles level of cool quite yet but it’s definitely encouraging me to try some new things and take some risks when it comes to some of my fashion purchases.