24 Days of Christmas: Day 1 -The Nightmare Before Christmas

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For Day 1 there was no other other option for me as this is one of my all time favourite films and I think it’s the perfection transitional film to take you from Halloween to Christmas.

Although it’s often debated whether this film belongs in the Halloween or Christmas movie category, for me it ticks too many of the great Christmas film qualities for it to not find its place on this list. It’s got the perfect combination of a nuanced musical score, a love story and a good old Christmas moral epiphany, not to mention a cameo from the main man himself, Santa Claus. This is a great choice if you like your Christmas with a little twist as in typical Tim Burton fashion it’s a little bit weirder than your typical Christmas film but it’s a cult classic for a reason, and the Christmastown scenes in particular are beautiful to watch.

As we watch Jack discover Christmastown and its bright lights, snowflakes and roasting chestnuts we get to experience the joy of Christmas through his eyes, and as a result it allows us to rediscover everything we love about Christmas and more.

 

 

24 Days of Christmas Films

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Over the years it seems that escaping from the cold and getting cosy in front of a Christmas film has become an integral part of the holiday season, and I think it’s often the easiest way to get yourself into the festive spirit. It’s certainly one of the things I look most forward to in the run up to Christmas, so I thought what better way to mark the run up to December 25th on this blog than to compile a list of what I think are some of the top Christmas movies to get you in the mood .

From tomorrow I’ll be sharing my favourites starting with the ones that give you a sprinkling of Christmas for those who are wanting to dip their toe before diving fully into the festive season, slowly building in festivity until we reach the full force Christmas favourites we all know and love. Hopefully it’ll help build the excitement for you guys and as there’ll be a few more adult choices as well, I’ve tried my best to incorporate alternatives in those cases so whatever your taste you’ll never have to miss a day!

So starting from tomorrow I hope you guys will be following along and as always I’d love to know if you guys have any particular favourites that you love to watch or hope to see on the list!

Victorian Gothic

DSC0538223DSC05387I know it’s become a bit of a blogger cliché but I really do love this time of year, from the colours, to the scenery, to Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Not to mention that with its lashings of lace and delicate style, the current Victorian Gothic trend is one of the prettiest, not to mention most fitting and versatile trends to have arrived in recent months. So I thought I’d take the chance to showcase the beautiful scenery and my interpretation of how I’ve turned this trend into a daily wearable look.
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Shirt: Marks and Spencer (similar here or here).Varsity Jacket:Vintage, Jeans :Topshop (here), Backpack: New Look (similar here and here)

With some help from my beautiful friend Hollie (who can take a pretty mean photo I’m sure you’ll agree), this has been one of the most enjoyable posts I’ve ever done. I really hope you enjoy it too and it has given you some inspiration, and please let me know if you’d like to see some more fashion posts on here.

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Perfect Movies For Cozy Autumnal Nights

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There’s something about Autumn that conjures thoughts of thick jumpers, crunchy leaves, hot drinks and curling up in front of the TV. With the change in the weather there’s no better feeling than staying inside and escaping into a great film with a cosy blanket. So I thought it was the perfect time to share with you some of my favourite films that really get me in the Autumnal mood.

500 Days of Summer

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Although the film takes place throughout the four seasons, without spoiling the ending, if you’ve seen it you’ll know exactly what makes it perfect for the transition to from Summer to Autumn. Not to mention the soundtrack is perfect at encapsulating the hope and reflection that Autumn brings.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

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It could be argued that every Harry Potter film is perfect for Autumn but I think it’s the detailed, extravagant Great Hall scenes in the first film that really emphasise all the beautiful seasonal colours. Plus who doesn’t feel festive when they hear the Harry Potter theme tune?

Dead Poets Society

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This is one to spur you on as you start the new school year and leave you wishing every teacher could be as inspiring as Robin Williams. As an English graduate I love this film on a deeply nerdy level and the autumnal setting will leave you wanting nothing more than to make the most of those beautiful Autumn days.

When Harry Met Sally

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This is one of the great Rom-Com classics that epitomises the romantic element of Autumn in Harry and Sally’s beautiful walk through Central Park. Although the pinnacle of the film takes place on New Years Eve it’s those autumnal scenes that you remember and who doesn’t love a bit of romance on these cold Autumn nights.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

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In true Wes Anderson style this is one of the most beautiful films on the list to watch with its entire spectrum of oranges, reds and yellows creating the perfect Autumnal world to escape into. One of the best adaptations of Roald Dahl’s books it’s a heartwarming tale mixed with adventure and a great one to watch with family and friends.

Rushmore

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Another Wes Anderson entry but what can I say, when the man picks an aesthetic he runs with it. Jason Schwartzman plays precocious student Max Fischer and although it’s not a film for everyone’s tastes, it beautifully covers the whole Autumnal season through to Christmas. Plus it has Bill Murray in it, and who doesn’t love a Bill Murray movie!

St Elmo’s Fire

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Another one that is very close to my heart as it is about a group of recent college graduates, and is one of the most often forgotten 80’s movie for no good reason. The final scene where they walk off into the night perfectly reminds you that there’s nothing better than wrapping yourself up against the cold, and that no matter what you always have your friends to count on.

Autumnal Spiced Apple and Plum Pie

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There’s something about the change in the weather that immediately has me reaching for a cookery book. After  a bit of tinkering I came up with this, my spiced apple and plum pie which is to me epitomizes everything that’s good about Autumn.

This is the best season for plums and mixed with the apples and spices they combine to make a pie that’s perfect for a winter treat, and one that always proves a hit with my family and friends! Not  to mention that there’s something just so comforting about a slice of pie with custard of ice cream that makes it the food equivalent of a hug, and the perfect medicine to chase those winter blues away.

What You’re Going To Need

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For the Short Crust Pastry

255g plain flour

Pinch of salt

140g hard butter

6 tsp cold water

For the Filling

5 Cooking Apples

2 Sweet Apples (I used Braeburns but any sweet apple would be just as good)

6 Plums (You can add slightly more or less depending on taste)

2 1/2 Tbsp of Cornflour

175g of Sugar (I prefer golden caster as it gives it a caramely taste)

155g of Brown Sugar (I used Demerara which is also perfect for giving a caramel flavour)

2tsp of Cinnamon

1 tsp Nutmeg (About 2 good pinches)

Milk to glaze

Then it’s time to get down to business!

For the pastry I cheated and sifted my flour and salt into my food processor and added the butter until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor just use your fingers instead, they work just as well! Slowly add the water until the mixture is combined then tip the pastry out onto a floured surface and lightly knead. Then clingfilm it and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool and relax the dough.

Then it’s time to prepare the filling. After peeling the apples core them and the plums, then loosely chop them and throw them into a deep saucepan. Add the sugar, cornflour and spices until the fruit has softened and the juices have combined to form a caramely liquid. Once the liquid had thickened and the fruit has softened take the fruit off the heat.

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and remove a third for the topping. I prefer my pies to be open topped so I only removed about a quarter but feel free to decorate however you want! Roll out the pastry and line your tin (tip using the rolling pin to help you lift the pastry makes it much easier), then line it on top with greaseproof paper and baking beads, and pop it in the over for about 10 minutes. As you can see I didn’t have any baking beads so I improvised with linseed but rice works just as well.

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Once it’s slightly coloured, remove the beads and paper from the pastry and glaze it with your milk. Cook it for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is fully dried out.

Meanwhile you can roll out the lid or decoration for your pie, and once it’s out of the oven you can fill and top it! I like to use a slotted spoon as it’s great to remove the excess liquid that can make your pie soggy, then I add my lid or decoration and bake it for 40-45 minutes. But make sure if you’re using a lid you mark a hole in the top to let the steam escape.

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But then voila, an autumnal spiced pie, perfect for those cold winter evenings, all that’s left is to serve it up!Af.

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I hope you enjoyed this post as I’m really trying to get back to posting recipes as I really enjoy it and Winter recipes are some of my favourites to make. I would love to know if any of you give it a go and what you think, or even your favourite recipes as I’m always on the look out for new ones!

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.
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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.