Lifestyle, Fashion and travel

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Top 10 Favourite Christmas Films

So it's nearly Christmas; come on now it's almost December and we've got a lot to do!

One of those things to do is to snuggle up the fire with hot chocolates in our hand and onesies/Christmas jumpers on and watch some good old Christmas films!

 So I thought I'd share with you the top 10 films that are on my list of Christmas films that I'm going to be watching over the next few weeks.

So....

1. Elf


Nuff said!

2. Love Actually



Probably one of my favourite films ever! Every year me and mum (just us, no men allowed) we snuggle up with Cadbury chocolate snowmen and enjoy this amazing film!

3. It's a Wonderful Life


Now contrary to popular households, my childhood Christmases never included the Home Alone series but instead we always watch the oldies like It's a Wonderful Life (one of my faves!) and a few more I've listed below - but this one definitely tops!

4. Family Man


Again, not a Christmas film that anyone else I know watches each year, and although I'm not Nicholas Cage's biggest fan, this film is adorable and so heart warming and perfectly captures the classic 'Family Man' and family life!


5. Polar Express


A Christmas Classic let's be honest, who wouldn't want a ride with Tom Hanks on The Polar Express?


6. Santa Claus


Tim; what a guy! You couldn't cast a better actor for this role and it has become a classic within our family (and the second one two if we've got enough time!).


7. Miracle on 34th Street

Photo credit here and here

Now since, I'm a fan of Matilda and mum loves the good old black and white versions, we tend to fit in both of these gems during December. So sweet, festive and heart warming! I also did used to have a slight crush on Dylan Mcdermot in this film - anyone else? Just me?


8. White Christmas


Mum loves a bit of Bing at Christmas, what can I say?


9. The Holiday


What a film! Come on, who doesn't love the Holiday! Great cast and wonderful storyline (even if it is a bit hollywood for a Christmas film!) - and even if you don't like it, at least watch it in order to look at Jude Law for an hour or two eh?


10. Bishops Wife


Now, this is probably a film not known to many, but I'd be interested if anyone does enjoy this film? It's another black and white classic that my mum has introduced and it's just sort of stuck as tradition in our family. Also if anyone's ever watched the old Pink Panther films (no not Steve Martin) with David Niven (right), you'll know he's hilarious and his work alongside Cary Grant (left) is brilliantly filmed in this fab film!


So here's a few of my favourite Christmas Classics, I'd love to know if any of these feature in your traditional go-tos at Christmas, or any others that you love to watch at this time of year?

PS we may have watched Elf already the other day, anyone else already started watching them?





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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

York Cocoa House


Let me ask you one thing?

Have you ever had a dark or white hot chocolate?

But have you ever had a 'Quite dark' or 'Moderately dark' or 'Completely dark' hot chocolate?

Or an Orange hot chocolate... or a ginger one, vanilla one, chilli one, vanilla one, caramel one? Yes I could go on...

Not to mention the amazing-looking cakes and treats that would probably be my calorific intake for the day.

AND... it's a restaurant, posh but cute and fancy, that everything on the menu includes chocolate. Now this isn't just a cakey-chocolatey menu, I mean BBQ Chicken Quesidilla - Chicken smothered in a smokey CHOCOLATE sauce and similar! Can you imagine?

Personally this sounds disgusting, but I haven't tried anything savoury on the menu (I had a shockingly good moderately dark hot chocolate, which has become one of my favourite tastes in the world, even as not a big big dark chocolate eater!) and my first impressions of the cafe/shop/restaurant and those working there, gives me a good impression that these chefs know what they're doing and that the chocolate involved in the savoury meals, isn't much chocolate or is a special taste that really complements the food.

Having said that I haven't yet tried the food 

But I can safely say I'm most definitely going to return because now I've had that taste, I can't be kept too far away!!

Anyone else ever visited?


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Friday, 20 November 2015

Why my Second Year is better than the first!

So I know we're basically at the end of the first term of second year! Good golly that went quick, however it equally feels like ages until we break up for Christmas (which I'm ever so excited for!)

Now I didn't really post much on my feelings about uni last year - because I was just starting out my blog and didn't really want to be moaning and depressing the whole thing with my problems. 

The truth is, I hated it last year. Uni wasn't what I thought it was. I felt awful. I was scared, I was lonely, I was far from home, I was doing a course that was difficult and I didn't really want to go into afterwards.

Of course there were some good times, I met some nice people, we had a few good nights out. I did learn loads about myself and luckily a bit about Biology (my course) too in that first year. Personally looking back I do feel a gap year would have been good for me. Some time out to travel, recover fully, work and earn a bit of money and be more ready and prepared for the change. But then again hind sight is a wonderful thing and I didn't so...


Anyway, I've decided to stay and I'm now coming on 8 weeks into year 2. This year I can say that I'm enjoying it waayyyy more than last year. And here's a few reasons why;

- I know how it works; 

I think now that I've experienced my course and uni life for a year I know what to expect and how to deal with things a bit better. 


- I'm more familiar with people;

Although I haven't made absolute best friends yet, I feel more comfortable knowing people and having some friends to spend a bit of time with or just chat to between lectures, instead of feeling totally alone.


- I've decided not to put pressure on it

It's only 3 years of my life (after deciding the year in industry's not for me) and I shouldn't put so much pressure on it. I think I felt last year, that it was all so important, each exam and piece of work had to be perfect and that because I was paying ridiculous amounts, that I should be making the most of it. Which is true in part, but I've realised now that it's not like school anymore, now's the time to make mistakes and take risks, whether it be 'let's see if I can do this essay in 2 hours prior to hand-in' or 'try this module or course or society and see if I like it'. And at the end of the day... the worst thing that can happen is that I fail, and let's me honest that doesn't make me a bad person, it probably won't happen and there's more important things in the world.


- I'm more comfortable with myself

I felt so pressured last year to go out all the time, drink loads and join in on absolutely everything in case I was thought of as 'the boring one' or missed out on something brilliant - this year I've had no problem saying no to going out or going to some random course or gathering and no-ones judged me or thought I was weird, (or if they did they forgot after 5 minutes) so just remember no-one really cares! Just be yourself, do what you enjoy, because everyone's different and there's nothing wrong in what you like doing/not doing!!



I guess what I'm trying to say amongst all this babbling, is that if you're a first year hating life and not sure if uni is for you, that's OK. Although I didn't exactly love my time last year, I do feel it was a very valuable learning curve and I learnt a lot about myself and my comfort zone and (although I'm still learning) when and when not to branch outside of it. Uni is much more enjoyable now, that I'm just living each day as it comes, doing things that I want and that I'm comfortable with and seeing everything as a great opportunity as opposed to dreading it all and thinking it's all hugely important.



How do you guys feel? I know everyone sees it differently, but I thought I was totally weird for not liking it that much, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.



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Monday, 16 November 2015

November blogs

I've really been loving blogging and reading other blogs recently so I thought I'd share with you some blogs I've really been loving reading at the moment.

Carrie Brighton:
+carriebrighton



I've been really loving Carrie's blog recently (and her instagram) because her feed is so beautifully autumnal and cosy and warm and just makes me feel all snuggly and nice when I look at her lovely photos and read her posts. She has a lovely variety of posts, including shopping, beauty and fashion as well as simple lifestyle tips and food & drink posts and I love her 'Lovely Things' posts because they're always so ... well lovely - they have really great photos and little notes on what's nice, which I love reading because it either inspires me to give them a go (for example a book/brand/food) or make me realise appreciate things a bit more (e.g. weather/family/cosy nights in). 

Openmysoul / Coffee and Croissants:

@openmysoul

I first came across Emma on instagram as @openmysoul and then found that she has a blog called coffeeandcroissants - great name! I really love her photos on instagram and also love reading her blog now too. She's 18 and is currently at uni in Oxford I believe and it's great to hear how she's finding it (as I'm also at uni). I also love the autumnal mood to her style of photography and writing.




Fashion Nomads was a blog, I've literally come across today! But I've read many of her posts in the last hour of blog reading and I've got to say they're great. I loved her recent post on her journey into becoming a digital journalist as I found it very interesting and inspiring really. I also quite like that she's more of a lifestyle blogger. I'm not huge on beauty and makeup posts really, I do like them now and again and enjoy some reviews and things, but I really like Sophie's writing style and she seems really friendly and supportive in her comment replies! I look forward to reading more from her!


Anyone else follow these three blogs? What are you favourite blogs to read at the moment?



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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Stories

Robert Galbraith - A Cuckoo's Calling

Oh my Gilly Gosh! I've just finished this piece of gold and I'm still in shock!!! She's done it again, I tell you this woman (JK Rowling) is sensational!

This book was so exciting and so incredibly cleverly written, I honestly had no idea who the killer was until she revealed it at the very end (and even then I couldn't believe it). All the intricate details were so brilliantly thought out and revealed at the perfect time.

A Cuckoo's Calling is a mystery crime book about Detective Strike on his investigation into the suspected murder of well-known model Lula Landry. He investigates with the help of his secretary, Robin, and together they proceed through the events prior and post Lula's death and the people involved in her life. Whilst this is happening, however, Galbraith reveals Strike's own personal struggles and Robin's thoughts and life, which all help in uncovering the truth behind this suspicious 'suicide'.

Now I loved the Harry Potter series (come on, who doesn't?) but this book, even being nothing to do with the Potter stories, was right up my street at the moment. I'm really loving the tense and exciting crime books at the moment and this book had me taking any chance I got to open it up and keep reading! (not only for long awaited sleep and comfort).




Girl on a Train - Paula Hawkins

Another amazing crime story about a girl who goes missing and Rachel (the girl on the train) looking for clues to piece together to find out what happened that night! I admit there were some parts of this book that were a bit dark and I was scared occasionally, but that's all part of the fun isn't it!

The book is written in chapters, each being a diary entry from different female characters in the book. It's written tremendously well, each chapter giving details to make you think one thing whilst all the details equally tallying up with another scenario. Also at the end of each chapter something really exciting was revealed meaning you literally couldn't just stop reading, you had to go on!

Amazing book, and I'm gutted I've finished it! I would most certainly recommend both of these - these are probably some of the best books I've ever read. I know in my last book review post I loved those books too (which I do still), but I feel they were more teenage-focused and I think these two books are so much  better in terms of adult reading and I felt they were a lot more gripping for me!!




I can safely say the next Robert Galbraith is most definitely on my Christmas List and I can't actually wait!!!!

Has anyone else read them? What did you think?



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Monday, 9 November 2015

October Favourites

Now that we're into November (Only 46 sleeps till Christmas, just saying) I thought I'd do a quick post on what I've been loving in October.



1. Tesco Blanket


Due the sudden drop in temperature and the fact that my room downstairs in an already cold student house is utterly freezing most of the time, I decided to invest in a £25 snuggly throw/blanket from Tesco which you can take a look at here.

This is probably one of my favourite purchases for a very long time, and it is the most snuggly blanket I've ever had and I love it and currently have it wrapped round me this very moment!

It has a sort of knitted look on one side and on the other it is kind of sheepskin material like you get in snuggly dressing gowns from TopShop! It's good stuff! I really love it and it keeps me nice and warm through those cold cold nights of revision.


2. Twining's Salted Caramel Green Tea

Now I've never been a fan of green tea and it never really appealed to me (being a classic PG Tips girl) but when I saw this on the shelf of my local Co-op and with 10% off my whole shop with NUS, I thought I'd give it a go.

Now it's not the best tasting drink in the world (compared to hot chocolates for example) but it smells very sweet (if too sweet, that I was a bit pessimistic) and actually tastes lovely. I have worked through the entire packet this past month and I don't think I've ever achieved that with any tea that wasn't PG Tips. 


3. Nakd Bars & Nibbles

Those who have read my other posts will know I did a post on Trek Protein flapjacks not to long ago (you can find it here) which are a partner of Nakd. Ever since my aunt gave me my first chocolate Nakd bar I've grown more and more in love with them, and now my favourite are the chocolate orange bars and the new salted caramel (almost a theme here) nibbles. I do like some of the other flavours but these are my 2 faves and they've been perfect for that healthier kick for a full day of lectures or essay writing.


4. A Cuckoo's Calling and Girl on a Train

On the reading front, I have been absolutely hooked by these two books - for which a blog post will be up very soon! I don't want to give anything away but they are both equally exciting and I just couldn't put them down. For both books (kind of crime solving mystery books) I was utterly gobsmacked by the end and was gutted when I had finished them. Bring on the next one ... - I think I've found my favourite genre.


5. York Coffee Shops

Since starting uni again - now in my second year - I've been taking little visits into town to attempt to try out each of the millions of adorable little coffee shops in York. I try and do a blog post (and I think I've managed it just) on each one I've been visiting and I'll link them at the end of this post - so if you're ever in York pop into one of these gems for a treat! I've really been loving this little break of student life (whether it be essay writing or lectures or even the drama from uni itself) and been taking a bit of me time - could spend hours in there with the two books above - to relax and reflect a bit and avoid letting all the stress build up in me.


6. Cadbury Snow bites!

I kind of fell in love with these last year but just the mere sight of them in the shops has lifted my spirits because it's Christmassy and that means we can celebrate! These gorgeous little bites are basically mini eggs but for christmas and the shell coating is sort of dusted making them all snowy and lovely - and, well who doesn't love a bit of Cadbury eh?



York Coffee Shop reviews

What have you been loving?





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Friday, 6 November 2015

Things that tell you Christmas is on the way!

Ok Halloween's finished, bonfire night's over,it's officially time to start celebrating Christmas right?

Well I break up for uni at the beginning of December so, we need to decorate the house!


I'm sure most of you out there have been feeling a bit nippy, or have passed a shop window or pub with 'Book now for Christmas' signs, even some of you may have heard the odd Christmas song on the radio...so yes I feel it's time. So here are a few things we all know and love that get us just that bit more excited for the holiday ahead!


1. When the leaves go from being dry and colourful, to being crunchy with frost!

Link

All you early risers know what I mean. When you wake up and see that blanket of fog outside your window, or walk down the road to school/uni and the grass and leaves have those frosty silver highlights on the top. Winters looming...


2. When advent calendars and selection boxes come into supermarkets

Now to be honest, I think they were there from October, but hey just the sight fills me with excitement I think, doesn't it you? I'm a Cadbury girl at heart - which one do you go for?


3. The famous John Lewis Advert. (or indeed the Coca Cola advert!)


So have we all seen the John Lewis advert? Any tears? I'm sure there are many. I've got to say they've done better, the penguin was sort of adorable, however, it doesn't make me any less excited. I'm sorry but I can start celebrating now can't I?


4. The local Chestnuts vendor in town.

Now there aren't any of these back where I'm from, but since being in York, I am loving the cute little vendors on the streets of town selling ice cream in the summer and chestnuts in the winter - I just hope they were roasted on an open fire!


5. The start of Strictly Come Dancing/X Factor/ Downton Abbey



I'm sure at least one of these is a tradition among some of you - for me it's Downton Abbey and I really do love it! (In my family it's also Strictly, however the lack of recognisable people for me each year and the fact that I'm really busy at uni and have had to prioritise my TV habits has left me a bit late on the bandwagon this year)


6. It starts getting dark at 4.30pm!

Yep, the clocks are back and now Halloween's over - it's officially time folks! I do love the talk evenings that just make snuggling up in bed/ on the sofa that much more cosy! However it does make my mind think sleep at about 5 which isn't great when I've got a ton of essays to write.

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Monday, 2 November 2015

Things I love about Autumn

This is a common blog post idea I think, but it's also one of my favourites. I love reading about autumn, seeing the nice pictures and hearing what different people enjoy this time of year, so here's my go at it.

1. The Colours


Of course, the main thing we all love about Autumn is the beautiful red, orange, yellow and burgundy colours that fall from the trees and blanket the pavements. I also love the colours in fashion at this time of year, I love to bring out the burgundy and the browns of my clothes. I also take it upon myself this time of year to market the dark purple and red lippys and use them pretty much daily - I love them so much! I have a lovely dark purpley-burgundy No 7 one which is my fave.

2. Fireplaces

Now being at uni, I've been far from the dear warmth and cosiness of when dad would light the fire in the living room and we'd all watch Strictly under blankets on the sofa. However, it's still one of the things I love about this time of year and I'm very excited to have many a fire when I'm home for the Christmas holidays.

3. Hot choccys and festive drinks!


Well duh! Something I've started to do this year (since our house is closer to town now) is pop into town and visit a different coffee shop. Either with friends or on my own, I try and pop down every now and then and endulge in a lovely coffee/hot choc at a new spot in York (there are so many that it's my mission to visit as many as possible before I finish uni!) and do a bit of work or just watch the world go by. Similarly, me and my housemates have formed a slight tradition involving, a box of chocolates, hot chocolates and Gogglebox and I'm loving it. I really want to try the Gu salted caramel hot choc too - sounds delish! (Mentioned on Zoella's blog)

4. Nature

I personally agree that Autumn is the most beautiful time of year. I love taking photos of all the stunning colours and trees and birdies everywhere, as well as the kids playing about and everyone wrapped up warm and cosy with their families. I also really enjoy the weather at this time (mostly). I mean I'm never really a fan of rain - when I'm outside in it - but when the suns out but the airs cold and crispy, I love it! And to be honest, cosy nights in are just made better when it's tipping down outside, aren't they?





5. Warm baths and candles!

Sadly in our new house at uni, baths are a rare occurrence for me, and I'm still not sure whether or not we're allowed candles so I'm playing it safe. However, this does mean two things I love about autumn once again have to be saved for when I return home for the Christmas holidays - I'm counting down and It's now only 33 days until I have a nice hot, extremely bubbly, lush-Christmas-bath-bomb-smelling, Yankee candle-lit bath waiting for me!



What do you love about Autumn? 





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