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Monday, 17 December 2018

The Christmas Tag #2

I do love taking part in tag blog posts and Christmas ones are always my favourite! I did take part in one last year which you can find here if you want to read through that too, but I spotted a different version on Polly's blog recently and I loved the questions. If you want to have a go yourself, feel free to copy the questions, I'd love to know your answers too!
Christmas tree lit up with TV next to it, fire crackling on screen
What is your favourite Christmas movie?
There are so many to choose from! Elf is always up there on the list but I don't think you can beat Love Actually. It's not Christmas without it.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?
At home! I absolutely love how George and I spend our Christmas each year and the little traditions we have now.

What would be your dream place to visit for Christmas?
It's got to be New York. I want nothing more than to visit one Winter when it's covered in snow.

Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning but we do open one each on Christmas Eve which is always exciting.

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Something that stands out to me each year is the Christmas plays we used to do at School. I've no idea why as I never wanted a speaking role but I just loved the run up to it each year as it meant weeks of getting out of normal lessons and just singing!

Do you prefer receiving gifts or giving gifts?
Of course it's nice to receive gifts but I honestly love buying presents for other people more. I get so much joy out of it.

Favourite festive food?
Roast potatoes. I am obsessed with them. I could eat a plate of them alone. Though pigs in blankets are always a must too and you can't beat a really good Yorkshire pudding. I just love all Christmas food okay.

Favourite Christmas scent?
I love peppermint. I'm all about the fresh minty candles over the festive period.

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
For a few years now, George and I have been going to the cinema on Christmas Eve which is always so nice. I love going out to watch a good film then getting home to make a snacky tea (Camembert yes please), putting on a festive film and getting cosy. We also each open a present too.

What tops your tree?
We actually have a little pair of angel wings at the top of our tree. It's a bauble but it's too heavy to hang anywhere else so one year I just popped it near the top and it's been like that every year ever since. It's a special decoration and I think it makes a nice change.

Have you ever have had a White Christmas?
I can't remember the last time it snowed over Christmas but I'm pretty sure it has at some point. It tends to be after Christmas if we're going to get any snow.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
One I never tire of is Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Michael Buble. His whole Christmas album gets played on repeat in December.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake. I don't think I could deal with having to hoover up after a real one all the time.

Are you a professional present wrapper or do you fail miserably?
Well I love wrapping presents SO much but I don't necessarily think I'm good at it. It all depends what the gift is!

What makes the holidays special for you?
I think just spending time with people. It's a time where George and I can really just relax and spend time together without work or anything else getting in the way. Our wedding anniversary is just a few days before Christmas too so that just makes this time of year even more important now.

I can't believe Christmas is so close now! I don't want it to be over already. Have you got much planned for the next few weeks?

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7 Tips For A Great Night Out With Friends*

Everyone loves a good night out but more often than not, they never go as planned. Whether you end up having too much to drink, you struggle to get a taxi or people don't show up - nights out are sometimes more trouble than they're worth. If like me, you love to get together with your friends but don't want all the hassle, then you'll need these top tips for a great night out with friends or family.
Group of friends with wine
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

1. Get Together A Good Group Of Friends

When planning a night out inviting the right people is key. It may seem obvious, but the company you keep reflects on how much of a good time you have. Whether you prefer smaller groups or want to get the whole gang together - figuring out what kind of get together it's going to be is the first step to an incredible night. Don't forget to invite everyone well in advance, as chances are you'll all have incredibly busy schedules.

2. Go To Places You Love

Again, this may seem obvious but if you have a couple of favourite bars that you know you love, heading their first is always a good idea. You know you won't be disappointed by drink prices or a terrible DJ, so already you'll be ready for a good time. If towards the end of the night you fancy trying something new then there will be absolutely nothing lost.

3. Don't Do Rounds

Although it seems like an easier way to get the drinks in, getting rounds often puts pressure on people who may not be able to afford the same as everyone else. Having everyone else get their own drinks is a great way to ensure people don't end up spending too much and nobody misses their round or goes over their limit. If you want to know even more benefits of not doing rounds, you can visit this blog post here.

4. Know Your Limits

If there is one way to ruin a good night out with friends it's to have more than you can handle. Knowing your limits and sticking well within them means you can still have a good night without drinking more than you can handle. If you're lucky it may even prevent your hangover in the morning!

5. Ride In Style

Whilst getting a taxi is usually more affordable, riding in style is a great way to celebrate a special occasion for you and your friends. Whether you hire a seamless chauffeur or book yourselves a limo - it will certainly start your night off with a bang.

6. Have Fun

The most important thing to remember for a great night is to have fun! It's not often you get to go out with everyone, make the most out of it and make it a night you'll all remember.

Do you love a night out? What are your top tips for having a great time? Let me know in the comment section below!

*This is a collaborative post

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Friday, 14 December 2018

Then She Was Gone By Lisa Jewell Book Review

I've posted quite a few book reviews recently, the latest being The Wife Between Us and One Day In December, but it's time for another already! I just can't stop reading at the moment! I'm getting through so many books, it's actually becoming problem as I think we're going to run out of space soon 🙊
Then She Was Gone By Lisa Jewell
She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet. But what really takes her breath away is when she meets his nine-year old daughter. Because his daughter is the image of Ellie. Now all of those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. What really happened to Ellie? And who still has secrets to hide?

My review

This had been on my list for a while so I was thrilled to find it when we were in Manchester recently. It was a book I'd heard great things about so once we were back, I ran myself a hot bubble bath and got stuck in. The first thing I really liked about this book is how we were thrown straight in and within a few chapters Ellie goes missing. Because of that it might seem like we don't get much backstory but as the story unfolds, we do actually start to find out more and more about Ellie and what might have happened and this happens by Lisa taking us back in time. There are flashbacks to when Ellie was at school, planning for her GCSE's, taking on a tutor, living her normal life and that's when we get little drips here and there that really start to grow and plant this story in your mind of what might have happened. It's a really good mix of past and present throughout.

Whilst we do get flashbacks throughout the whole book, at no point did I find it confusing. Lisa has written it so well that it all just flows, and each chapter goes seamlessly into the next one regardless of if we're now being thrown back to the present day or switching to a different character, which did happen more towards the end of the book. A lot of the story is from Laurel's perspective (Ellie's mum) and we find her while she's trying to rebuild her life after Ellie's disappearance. She meets a new man Floyd and she tries to repair her relationship with her other children but as her new life begins, a few strange things happen that make her re-think Ellie's disappearance and how the person responsible might have been closer to home than anyone originally realised. 

Whilst this wasn't a book that makes it obvious who the culprit is going to be, I did have my suspicions once I got a couple of chapters in. That being said, I still had no idea where it was going to go and I ended up being seriously surprised at the end when we get the big reveal. It's such an intricate story and each character has so many different sides to them so each time you think you have something figured out, it soon changes again. From the very start I was hooked and whilst there's been a lot of books like that for me recently, there was something different about this. I just felt compelled to keep reading every time I opened it up and I was willing for Laurel to finally figure everything out and get justice for her daughter. The ending I actually found really emotional and it was hard not to be affected by the story and the characters because sadly things like this do happen and people do just go missing so it felt very real.

This is the first book I've read from Lisa Jewell but it definitely won't be the last. I can totally see why people love her books so much as this one had me right from the start and continued to impress right to the very end.

Have you read any books from Lisa Jewell?


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Thursday, 13 December 2018

The Christmas Films I Never Get Bored Of

Whilst I'm not taking part in Blogmas this year, I did want to plan a few more Christmassy posts as this really is the best time of year and I absolutely adore writing about it. Over the last few weeks I've shared gift guides, festive activities I'm looking forward to, and also my Christmas wishlist, but today I'm talking all about films. There are an abundance of classic festive films, we're spoilt for choice especially with the likes of Netflix and Christmas24 (one of the best TV channels ever) so here are a few I always look forward to settling down to watch each year.
stack of Christmas DVDs

Arthur Christmas

This is still a relatively new addition to our Christmas collection compared to most of the others on this list but I'm so glad we have it to watch every year now. I first watched this a few years ago after seeing so many people rave about it and now I'm such a big fan of it too. The film is about Santa missing out one child at Christmas and so his son Arthur takes it upon himself to deliver the presents causing lots of chaos along the way. It's so heartwarming and just gives you all the feels! A great one to watch no matter what your age is.
Arthur Christmas

Bridget Jones's Diary

So this might not be technically a Christmas film but it's one that always epitomises this time of year for me. For as long as I can remember it's been on TV in December and so each year I love to sit down with a blanket and a cup of tea and just enjoy. Bridget Jones is one of those classic films I could never get bored of. Every time I watch it, I feel the same emotions as the time before and even though I know the ending, I'm always waiting for Bridget and Mark Darcy to end up together. All three films are brilliant.
Bridget Jones Diary

Elf

It's not Christmas without Elf is it? I can't imagine a year where we don't watch this, it really is one of the best ever Christmas films, I don't think anything like it will come along again. Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf is just brilliant, I laugh at the same bits every single year and it's just a great one to sit and enjoy with family. I also love all the clips of New York at Christmas time too, each time it makes me want to visit!
Elf

Nativity

Oh the Nativity films just make me so happy! They're probably aimed more towards kids but I really do think they're perfect for the whole family. The first one starring Martin Freeman never gets old and the second with David Tennant was such a good sequel. I love the new story they come up with each time and Mr Poppy is as hilarious as always. I know if I'm feeling down over the Christmas period and just want to watch something that will make me feel good, these films are the one to do just that.
Nativity

Frozen

I'm sure a lot of people would argue that this isn't technically a Christmas film but I don't care, I love it. We watch it every year, usually on Christmas day when we're both extremely full after Christmas dinner and in need of a nap! I love the story and how it focuses on the two sisters Elsa and Anna rather than it being some sort of love story again, and also Olaf is just one of the best characters in such a long time. I absolutely love him. The songs too are brilliant, another classic from Disney.
Frozen

The Holiday

Jude Law. Do I need to say anything else? A film that never fails to put me in the mood for Christmas. This is one I love to watch on a Saturday night wrapped up in a blanket, with a box of Christmas chocolates after a festive day out. I can't imagine a year going by where we don't find time for this film. The cast is amazing - Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and of course Jude Law and also Eli Wallach as Arthur who is one of the loveliest characters. The cottage in the film always gives me the cosy feels too.
The Holiday

White Christmas

Ordinarily this wouldn't usually be my sort of film. I'm weird, I don't like 'old' films but there's something special about this one. It's one George has always loved and over time I've grown to love it too so it would be strange to not watch it at Christmas now I think. I love our tradition of watching it on Christmas morning whilst opening presents and drinking Bucks Fizz! I love some of the music in the film too.
White Christmas

Love Actually

Probably my all time favourite Christmas film. I just adore it and never tire of it no matter how many times I've watched it over the years! I love each of the individual stories we get and how some of them are tied together and the ending just makes me so happy. Such an incredible cast too! Another film I don't think we'll get anything even close too anytime soon, years on it's still so special. It's one of those films that never fails to make me smile, laugh and cry, it gives you everything you could possibly want in a Christmas film. I never get over the scene with Emma Thompson and the necklace though, it breaks me every time 😭
Love Actually
There were so many festive films I could have included but these are the ones at the top of my list to watch each year. A mix of romance, Disney and some older classics. I'd love to know what your favourite Christmas film is? Do you love any of these too?

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