24 Days of Christmas: Day 16-Arthur Christmas

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I am so so sorry we’ve had a gap in these posts, in typical Christmas tradition the last few days have been such absolute madness that I’ve barely had a minute to myself let alone to open my laptop! But rest assured I am back on track and you guys will get every single day before Christmas itself.

As we get closer and closer to the big day it’s only right to make sure my film choices reflect this and so we reach arguably one of the more modern classics on this list, Arthur Christmas.

Unbelievably this was another one that up until this year I’d never seen and I’ve been kicking myself for it, as I’ve been missing out big time. This is the perfect choice for putting on at Christmas time where you’re sitting around with your family as there’s something in it for adults and children alike. It’s the definition of a heartwarming tale as Arthur undertakes an important mission to deliver a little girl’s Christmas present, and ultimately  how his family bands together to ensure Christmas is safe for another year.

Anyone watching it in the UK will recognise at least one of the voices in the film with such great actors such as Hugh Lawrie, James McAvoy and Bill Nighy to name a few lending their voices to the characters, it just adds an extra level of familiarity to the film. It also has to be commended for giving an answer to many children’s question as to how Santa deliver his toys to every boy and girl in one night especially with an ever expanding population. For the answer though I’m afraid you’ll just have to watch it…

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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.

 

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 Films: Day 7- The Snowman/Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer

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We are now officially 18 sleeps away from Christmas so it’s time that this list starts kicking it up a gear in terms of the Christmassy factor of these films and what better way to start than with two children’s classics.

I did slightly cheat today by including two films but it’s because I think that with these two depending on your family, the preference tends to lean either way. Whereas some of my friends swear by Rudolph as their childhood favourite and the one that they watch every year, but for my family it was without a doubt The Snowman.

On the surface both films are very different as one is a wordless animated short with a complex hidden narrative, whilst the other is an all singing and dancing holiday TV special of the world’s most famous reindeer. But they both share similar qualities that are the reason they have transcended the films of their time into Christmas classics.

Both like most Christmas films have great songs, whilst The Snowman has the iconic ‘Walking In The Air’ which always makes me tear up a little bit, Rudolph has a original soundtrack which when being sung by adorable elves and reindeers will give you a serious case of the Christmas warm and fuzzies.

They’ve also both got incredible heart at the centre of their stories; in The Snowman we witness one boy create a companion who takes him on a wondrous adventure through the skies and how he learns that eventually everything must come to an end. On the other hand with Ruldolph we learn the story of the most famous of reindeer of all, and how he transforms from an unwanted outcast to a beloved hero who saves Christmas. Both have moments that will have even the hardened of viewers remarking that they have something in their eyes.

There’s always a special place in a persons heart for the things that we have experienced as children,  but having re-watched these at the grand old age of 23 I can testify that they still stand the test of time and are still beautiful to watch. Plus if there was ever a time to embrace your inner child, it’s Christmas.

 

 

 

Dear Santa, For Christmas I would really like…

142324So my favourite time of year is almost upon us and after compiling my picks for both the boys and girls in your life, I thought I would share the top items I’m hoping for Santa to put in my stockings this year.

I am a massive fan of mugs, to the extent that I could probably have every single person I know round for tea and have the perfect mug for each of them, but that doesn’t mean I need to stop now, does it? This is to cute and as a suck for a fairy tale love story I can’t help but fall for this adorable H&M mug and who knows it might bring me my own Prince Charming in 2015!

Having maintained this blog for 6 months now (where has the time gone?), I have realised just how much I have been enjoying it and now really want to get my hands on some proper hardware to take it to the next level. I have everything crossed that I’m super lucky and find this awesome Sony under my tree, especially just in time to take some great photos in New York!

Now every year in my family we have a tradition that on Christmas Eve we get a new pair of pyjamas and these Christmas pudding ones are the best I’ve seen to make sure I wake up on Christmas morning in the most festive mood ever! Not to mention I will definitely be dropping hints that they’re now on sale!

Ever since I saw these on a Zoella video a few months ago I have been completely in love. I think they are the classiest, prettiest, girliest most beautiful headphones I’ve ever seen, and if it wasn’t for the (ahem) slightly steep price tag I would’ve been the proud owner of these for a very long time. But hopefully I’ve been a good enough girl to receive these this year, especially as they would make that 8 hour to New York so much nicer and stylish!

As you can probably tell travel and comfort presents are a bit of a recurring theme in my list this year and this gorgeous Mango jumper fills both of them. I am an absolute jumper obsessive during the winter months and although I put myself on a jumper ban this year, this totally doesn’t count as a) it’s cream and I don’t have a cream one and b) definitely doesn’t count if you don’t buy it, yes?  Pretty awful excuses but if you can’t be ridiculous at Christmas when can you, plus it’s also on sale (cough).

As a reknowned foodie but also beauty junkie this book seems like the perfect mix not to mention it will hopefully make 2015 a healthy one. Everyone I know who has this absolutely raves about it plus there’s always something nice about chilling out with something to read on Christmas day after you’ve eaten your weight in food.

After I have literally just admitted to my beauty junkie ways it’s probably no surprise this has surfaced on my list. One of the must have makeup kits of the year and adored by beauty bloggers everywhere this has had a firm place on my list since I first heard about it. As a massive fan of the Naked palettes, this to me is the perfect combination of everything you need on a night out in one cute little package and considering how much you get in it I think is incredibly good value as well!

Stereotypical girl present right here but who doesn’t love a candle and even better an adorable initial candle! From Kate Spade’s Saturday brand (which is somewhere I’m definitely heading when I’m in New York) it’s super cute and the perfect addition to add to my new house when I move next year!

Another one in the way of planning ahead to moving is this adorable tea towel, which at £2.99 is by far the cheapest item on my list, and although is incredibly boring, is hands down the cutest one I’ve ever seen. I hope you all get everything you want and more for Christmas and if you’ll excuse me, I’ll now resign myself  to my tea towel spinsterhood 2015. 🙂

Christmas Baking

WP_20141121_22_02_10_ProWP_20141121_22_09_29_Pro WP_20141121_22_02_37_ProWP_20141121_22_08_43_Pro  As a devotee of The Great British Bake Off and an aspirational baker myself, Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year to whip out that mixing bowl and get baking. There’s nothing I find more homely than a house that is full of the smell of baking and seeing as our student house celebrates Christmas a little earlier than usual, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my favourite Christmas recipes with you to practise just in time for Santa.

My first is a chocolate chip cookie recipe which is a firm favourite for me as it’s what Santa received from our house every year when I was younger. My personal favourite are those gooey, chewy versions so I borrowed this recipe from Tanya Burr’s website,adapting it slightly for a little less chocolate as I didn’t want too much added sweetness. Not to mention it’s incredibly adaptable so you can include any of your favourite chocolates that you like!

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My second recipe had to of course be gingerbread, as what is Christmas without gingerbread?! Although I am a great favourite of the gingerbread house, I tend to cheat nowadays in favour of the ikea flatpack version but I am still a traditionalist when it comes to the original cookies themselves. Thanks to this cookie recipe from the good old BBC themselves and some cookie cutters from the oh so glamorous Poundland, I ended up with these beauties.WP_20141121_22_08_54_Pro

If you give either of these a go or have any of your own traditional Christmas bakes let me know as I’m always on the lookout for some new offerings to leave for Father Christmas under the tree!