18 December 2016 • culture
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:
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?
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.
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!
8 December 2016 • life
- 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.
2 December 2016 • yorkshire
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.