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A Sunday Kind of Christmas Film Rundown

18 December 2016


This week I wrote about why feeling festive is essential and last week I posted my very own Christmas playlist. It's safe to say I'm feeling extremely in the yuletide swing of things. And so this Sunday, I thought I'd do a run down of the must-watch flicks of the season. They're obvious, I know. They're classics you've probably seen.  But they're my favourite, so here goes!

Here are my top five Christmas films:

1) Elf

2) Bridget Jones Diary
(not strictly a Christmas film... but I don't care)

3) Home Alone

4) The Grinch

5) A Muppet's Christmas Carol

What're your favourites?

Why Feeling Festive is Essential

14 December 2016


Festiveness.

It's a weird one, isn't it? How you can feel so overcome by the jittery, warm, overwhelming feeling of Christmas approaching. 

I'll hold my hands up and say I'm the type of person who cranks the cliched seasonal songs in November, I'm the type of person who feels excitement over the unveiling of minced pies. Sure, I disagree with the snow themed decorations lining the shelves in October, but as the end of the year approaches I am on that festive bandwagon, with bells on (sometimes literally). 

Some people don't get it, and I completely understand that. I understand the corporate sentiment that revolves around December. I understand how infuriating the relentless selling can be, as the stress of buying gifts looms while the strings of your purse get tighter, and the message of communion gets lost in a murky pool of consumerism. Believe me, I understand that. 

Sometimes I don't understand myself. You'd think that by the sheer amount of shitty Christmases I've had, I'd be the world's biggest Grinch. Hiding away from the holidays like I hide my face from the world on a morning when I don't want to get up. When it's cold, and grey, and you feel the year beginning to drag...

But that's exactly why I immerse myself in festivity. Excitement. Joy. The bright lights, the joviality, the feeling of community. The feeling of something lovely approaching. 

I don't think it's even really so much to do with Christmas itself. It's welcoming back the memories, the food, the catchy melodies, and the smiles that line people's faces when they come on. It's simply having something to look forward to. People you look forward to seeing. Comfort you look forward to embracing.

If none of these things, it's a break from work. It's a coming-together of friends. It's the one time of year in my privileged world that everybody's home, and everybody's at least a little bit happy to be there.

Feeling festive to me goes hand in hand with finding joy, and feeling grateful. And I think those two things are perhaps more important than ever right now.

x

Orange Pip Market

13 December 2016



Bedford and Baker Street are usually names you'd associate with the capitals of the world, not a town in Teesside. But as more and more students and creatives have moved here, its cool factor has upped. 

I've seen Middlesbrough evolve over the past ten years. We used to go there when we were fourteen, as it was the only place that would let us into the pubs without any form of ID. Back then, these roads were dilapidated. Now, trendy bars and restaurants line them, and old working men's clubs have been transformed into slightly questionably 'hip' pubs. We're talking bicycles on walls and plant fixtures dangling from corner.

That's what's happening inside the brightly coloured buildings. Outside, in has stepped Orange Pip Market, a monthly artisan food market. 

We popped along a couple of weekends ago, for a mulled wine and a mosey. We had lunch at The Twisted Lip, which was amazing! I had the fish and chips, which was gourmet pub food at its finest -- seasoned with a sprinkle of class, without any sort of pretentiousness.

Afterwards we sat and watched the entertainment, a lively Russian band, surrounded by hefty numbers of locals enjoying the thriving energy of the event.

It's safe to say Middlesbrough's no New York just yet. Walk a little further towards the train station from Bedford Street and you'll still see the same sense of adversity of a town betrayed by austerity. But it's definitely on the up, as is the spirit of its residents. At Orange Pip Market you couldn't find a greater, more jubilant sense of community.

Definitely worth a visit. Oh, and the food's stunning too!










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Five Things I've Learnt from Turning 25

8 December 2016


- Mulled wine is so bright, so festive, so delicious, and so likely to cause you a headache the next day.

- It's perfectly acceptable once in a while to spend a small fortune on brunch, and drink champagne at 11am, because why the fuck not. (Especially at The Ox Club)

- It's okay to need and want a slightly quieter life than I did 7 years ago when I was 18 (seven years ago... Christ). 

- As you get older, it becomes impossible to keep in touch with everyone you could easily at school and during university, but that's okay. I've found some truly fantastic friends, new and old. 

- I still feel 18 on the inside. I don't think that ever changes.  

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Dreamy Yorkshire Winter Getaways

2 December 2016

Ever since staying at the amazing Camp Katur earlier this year, I've been thinking about where to next go 'glamping' in Yorkshire... Or more particularly, where would be best to while away a Winter weekend, sipping hot beverages, getting cosy, putting away the iPhone and enjoying the company of the ones you love.

Here are 4 dreamy Winter Yorkshire getaways...



North Star Club in Sancton is where Yorkshire meets North America. It's inspired by rustic wilderness retreats, more akin to woodland hotels, built for wealthy industrialists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There's four Woodland suites, three Hideaway suites, and one indulgent Star suite. Each has its own large veranda, cosy sitting room, large bedroom and spa style bathroom! 



Just outside of Masham, the Bivouac on the Swinton Park Estate is a cafe I've been to many times. Surrounding it are yurts, and also Tree Lodges! 

This type of accommodation, right next to the amazing Druid's Temple, sleep 7 people, there's a range and gas hob for cooking, hot water heated by wood burner, and no electricity! 



A Place in the Pines is outside Osmotherley, North Yorkshire - a place I know well. There are four canvas lodges there, each with their own bathroom, kitchen, deck and personality. To keep warm, there's super-stoves inside! I really dig the Scandinavian feel of it.




Want to feel like a hobbit in Yorkshire? The Shire House is a Yorkshire Winter getaway with a fantasy twist. It can accommodate 6 people, has a fully fitted kitchen and luxury bathroom, and seating area around a large dining table next to a cosy fire. North Shire, voted one of the top 50 cottages in the U.K., is home to farm animals, as well as this gorgeous bathtub! Oh so dreamy.

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This Must Be The Place

30 November 2016


I remember the first time I came here, ten years ago. It was summer, my hair was a blazing orange from a poor decision, and the dog went bounding into the water with absolutely no fear. Inside I was trembling. Terrified. It was the start of 'my new life', the start of my time in this new place. This beautiful place, so rugged, and yet so strange. So unfamiliar. 

Now, I come here, and I feel at ease. I've walked round the reservoir so many times I don't think I could count. I've walked with family, friends, and boys. I've walked with hope, with sadness, and with ambivalence. Bright, bushy-tailed, and other times jaded with hangover. 

I've seen it through the seasons. Glistening from Spring, covered in Winter frost, and now glowing gorgeously with orange. 







x

Turning 25: Limbo Years Old

28 November 2016


This week I turn 25. Mid-twenties. Halfway through my decade of exploration, experimentation, and enjoyment. Or at least that's what I'm told it should be!

Some of my school friends are getting married. Some are having babies. Some have already knitted together their family units for life. And I sit here, sometimes feeling more childlike than ever. Like a fraud of an adult, forever on the cusp of teenage cautionlessness. Staying out and sleeping in. Panicking. Prioritising stupid things. Residing in this urban cocoon, growing my wings.

There are still so many things I have yet to learn. There are still so many things I wish to see. I dream of sailing away for forever and a day. Yet, sometimes I feel like I'd love nothing more than to curl up with you and the dog inside a precious terraced cottage. Somewhere where smoke billows out the chimney, you cook, and I write. And we plod along, happily.

We've got time, I remind myself. I look away from the lives of others, and go with my gut.

Twentyfive, alive and thriving - that's all we need to remember.

Everything will be absolutely fine.

x

A Sunday Kind of Love #9

27 November 2016


This past week there's been torrential rain, there's been Chicago, there's been Black Treacle ice cream from Northern Bloc on Black Friday (as well as some purchases...), there's been food markets like Orange Pip in Middlesbrough which I'll post about soon, and there's been CHRISTMAS SONG after Christmas song... which I'm not actually that adverse to. (I love Christmas songs. And films for that matter.) Seriously though, I've seen the Coca Cola truck, drank mulled wine and Christmas pudding ground coffee, seen many a Christmas tree, so yes- I think it's safe to say it's beginning to look a lot like... 




Watch//  Werner Herzog's Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World (those football playing robots, though!) 


The Hygge Conspiracy - an interesting look at the word that is everywhere
Frances visits a Cat Cafe in Manchester and it looks AMAZING


Drink// This week I went along to The Botanist to sample their new Winter Warmer range. I'll post more about this soon, as I'm keen to try out their Mulled Cider recipe... But the Mulled Wine was an absolute treat, and it was fun to learn how to make the other cocktails, one featuring plum and Justin Timberlake's own tequila. 


Wishlist// With my birthday (next weekend) and Christmas approaching, I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like. Forest Gin, which is made from foraged fruits, would be oh so lovely if it came in a smaller bottle for a slightly smaller pricetag. And also, I'd love a trip away in a log cabin!

Have you all had a wonderful weekend?

x

Chicago at Leeds Grand Theatre

26 November 2016

The show begins with jazz. Fishnets, sleek bobs, and suspenders dominate the stage as the singing and the dancing illuminate the simple black set from the outset.

And all that jazz.

Toned limbs and taut tummies draped in lingerie, alongside bulging packages framed in waistcoasts and tight tight trousers. A fierce and fiery sexual energy.   

I remember watching the film Chicago many moons ago and being bowled over by Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones in the roles of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, respectively. This run of the famed Americana musical sees Hayley Tamaddon of Emmerdale and Coronation Street fame as Roxie. She is small, smiley, and suitably convincing as the fame-hungry naive criminal-ette.

As Velma, in steps professional dancer and musical theatre extraordinaire Sophie Carmen Jones. Jones is ultimately the star of the show, exuding charisma with every smile and twirl of her talented legs.

In support of the lead brunette vixens, we have fellow Emmerdale alumni John Partridge, who cut his acting teeth in West End in productions such as Cats, which the cast of the original U.K. tour he joined at age 16. He is a dashing, warbling Billy Flynn with his Ken Doll looks and sparkling grin. 

And then we have Jessie Wallace (yup, Kat Slater) who returns with a flash of leopard print, extreme bronzer, and a bouffant hairdo as Matron 'Mama' Morton. Though her singing was undeniably and somewhat surprisingly beautiful (as it always is when you don't know an actor can hit the notes), her acting left a little to be desired as she appeared slightly wooden in her stern demeanour, a world away from the sass of Queen Latifah in the Hollywood version. Was she uncomfortable, was she nervous, or was it simply that no one could live up to the vitality of Jones as Velma Kelly?

Luckily, the band were on-hand, cleverly showcased onstage throughout on a stacked block, bringing such energy and pizazz to the music and lyrics. The entirety of the stage direction was impeccable. Seamless choreography, languishes of vaudeville, and the much-loved melodies that were enough to get anybody's fingers clicking. 

Chicago to me, then, was simple, yet powerfully seductive. 

And that's good, isn't it grand, isn't it great... Definitely worth a see!

Chicago The Musical is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 22nd to Saturday 26th November

Tickets are priced from £23 to £47

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700



Thankful on Thanksgiving

24 November 2016


Three years ago today on Thanksgiving I was in Texas eating kolaches and guzzling cocktails with lovely friends. This year I'm in Leeds with a profound lack of pumpkin pie. 

Oh how I miss that place so much. The neon green drinks, the baroque architecture, the drawls.

Despite this, there are a lot of things I'm thankful for.
My friends, my family, my boyfriend, my job, my flat, to name but a few! Living and being in Leeds with all the wonderful things that are happening at the moment.

And my memories of that slightly burnt turkey, the candied yams, the homecoming to the suburbs.

To my friends across the ocean that never escape my wandering mind, who I miss terribly...

Happy Thanksgiving!

What're you thankful for?







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