Monday, 31 December 2012

My favourites of 2012. Happy New Year!

First off, apologises for not completing Blogmas. I have a good reason for not completing it and that was being really busy with my family and friends over the Christmas holiday.

At the end of every year I like looking at the positive stuff that happened, so I thought I would write a last post of 2012 with a list of my favourite films, good stuff that happened in 2012 and a few stuff for 2013.

Annoyingly, going to the cinema this year was not like 2011. I saw only 26 2012 film releases compared to last year’s 54, so compiling a top 10 list isn’t going to be the fairest of decisions. Not only that, but I didn’t review a lot of what I did see which really disappointed me, but I guess A-Levels and other stuff means I don’t have as much spare time to write and see new stuff.

Regardless, here is a list of my five favourite films from 2012 (UK releases).
5. Moonrise Kingdom
4. Ruby Sparks
3. The Dark Knight Rises
2. Magic Mike
1. The Avengers
With a few, unordered honourable mentions:
  • The Hunger Games
  • Life Of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Like Crazy
  • Brave 
My lists are pretty filled with the big films, which is a shame, so I’m hoping to catch all the good stuff I missed this year on DVD soon.

There have been some great things happen in 2012. I went to a few early film screenings, had a week's work experience at Sky Movies Online, passed my driving test, got good AS results and went on my first ever plane journey to Paris.

Despite the quality of my reviews and blog posts this year being far better than previously, the amount of them has been very slim. So in 2013 I aim to have a little change with the appearance of my blog and to actually blog a whole lot more. Other things I hope to achieve in 2013 include getting fitter, getting good at baking and making good decisions for after my A-Levels.

I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve and an awesome start to 2013! Surround yourself with people who make you happy and you'll have a fantastic year I can assure you.
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Saturday, 22 December 2012

9: Decorations | 12 Days of Blogmas

I'm really slacking on Blogmas posts recently. I seem to be busier this year than most because college broke up closer to Christmas than we have done previously.

To update with day 9 of Blogmas, I thought I'd share some pictures of my decorations at home.

I've loved our Christmas tree for years now. It's not very traditional because it's black, but I love the colour of it with the blue theme we have in our house. Though I do love the classic reds, golds, creams and so on for Christmas, I love our own family tradition.

 Who else has Christmas themed candle holder?!

 Our kitchen has it's own theme of gingerbread. Pretty cute (or choose)

We have three Christmas blankets (or throws), but this is my favourite. I'm ALWAYS cuddled up in one. (Note: The flower canvas is not a Christmas decoration)

I assume everyone has either broken up from school/college or are in the last few days of work before Christmas! I have so much planned for tomorrow, Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing day and I'm super excited for it!
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Sunday, 16 December 2012

8: Wrapping Presents | 12 Days of Blogmas

Growing older, I found that I'm more excited to give presents at Christmas than receive them. Then there is that extra special feeling of buying all the presents yourself. As much as my poor purse feels a bit lighter after buying all my Christmas presents, I feel so good and excited to give them out!

I also get just as excited when I  wrap them up. This weekend I've been wrapping all of my presents but I sadly ran out of paper. Therefore, I have to finish my parents and sister's presents this week. For now, here are some pictures of my wrapping up for a simple Blogmas update.

Do you wrap up presents early or leave it to the last minute?
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7: Christmas Cookies | 12 Days of Blogmas

I have memories as a kid of baking Christmas cookies with my sister and Nan. It was one of my favourite traditions and this year I realised how much I miss doing it. Therefore, to honour our Nan, my sister and I decided to have a go at baking Christmas cookies again.

I'm not very good at baking, so I had to make sure I found the most simple, easiest recipe out there. I used this one from the BBC site.

You need:
  • 100g  unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 275g plain flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Optional decorations:
  • Icing sugar
  • Food colouring
  • Cup of water
  • Edible glitter

I don't want to copy the website recipe. If you want to see how to make cookies from these simple ingredients, go to the site here.

Here are some images of making my cookies and the final product!
They were very yummy but I wish we could have found out Christmas Tree cookie cutter! That just means I need to do them again before Christmas!

Do you have any good Christmas recipes? Tweet or comment me them please!
 I love baking sweet treats at Christmas time, something about it feels so comforting when you bake with family and friends.
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Thursday, 13 December 2012

6: Luxurious Hot Chocolate | 12 Days of Blogmas

I love Hot Chocolate and nothing says Christmas like a luxurious, tasty and warm hot coco on a snowy afternoon whilst watching a Christmas film.

Hot Chocolate is relatively easy to make, so you don't need this recipe to make one, but I've been told on a few occasions that the hot chocolates I make are pretty tasty because I cram them full with delicious and luxurious toppings

What you will need:
A mug (obviously)
Hot chocolate powder (either milk or water one)
Whipped Cream
Mini marshmallows or 5 marshmallows cut up into small pieces
A topping sauce sauce (I have a caramel desert one)
Chocolate dusting

First off, make your hot chocolate.
If I'm feeling really indulgent, I'll use a milk hot chocolate powder, but because I have a hot chocolate a lot throughout November - January, I realised I went through too much milk, so I usually use the hot water powder and I think it's just a nice. Just follow the instructions on your tub.

(I make mine by putting 3-4 scoops of powder into a mug, fill it half way with boiling water, then fill about 1/6 of the mug with milk, give it a good stir with a whisk then add the rest of the boiling water)

Make sure the hot chocolate is fully mixed together and leave enough space for lots of goodies.

Add your marshmallows. I know, I know, marshmallows are usually on top of the whipped cream. But I like to put my marshmallows onto the hot chocolate, making sure they're small so they don't sink to the bottom and that way, the bottom of the marshmallows begin to melt into the hot chocolate to create a nice cover.

Add on your whipped cream. It's Christmas, so make sure you squeeze a lot on top of your hot chocolate (and directly into your mouth). Don't forget a pointy tip.

You can always add more marshmallows at this stage if you're feeling really indulgent.

Next up is the sauce. I use a variety from chocolate, caramel and hazelnut.

Sprinkle on your chocolate dusting.
For this, I mixed a few different hot chocolate powders together and put them into a shaker I brought from Dunelm a few years ago, it still tastes good. Of course you could always grate chocolate. 
(If you're aiming to impress, use a cutter, or make your own, to sprinkle on a particular shape onto your whipped cream)
You can do tons more like add a flake, add coloured sprinkles or whatever you feel like adding!
But that's pretty much it for my basic but luxurious hot chocolate.

Make sure you're in your pj's, the fire's on and you're settling down to watch a Christmas film and you're set for a nice cosy night in.

I'm going to be trying a few varieties of hot chocolates later on, like a peppermint chocolate and a peanut butter chocolate one- yum! I'll let you know how they go.

Have you got any good Christmas drink recipes?
Maybe Eggnog recipes I could try, because I've been dying to try some for years. Please comment or tweet me!
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Sunday, 9 December 2012

5: Christmas tag | 12 Days of Blogmas

My friend Laura tagged me in her Christmas tag and I've decided to do that for Blogmas day 5! I took out some questions as my answers were all very same-y and replaced a few with tags youtubers have done (1, 2, 3)

1) What are your favourite Christmas colours? 
I'm not usually one for red (long story) but at Christmas I love red and cream together (see the pic below of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone- cute colours!).

2) Do you stay in your PJ's or dress up for Christmas?
 Pj's allllll morning until dinner, when I gotta wear a dress!

3) What's your favourite Christmas film?
I have so many, but Home Alone seems to make me smile more than the others.

4) Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas morning!

5) What do you like to do on your Christmas break?
As much family quality time as I can. I love going to the cinema at some point with my family, going on a walk with my little dog, watching Christmas films and most of all, giving out out presents!

6) Favourite Christmas smell
I can't explain it well, but the smell when you're house is really warm because the fire is on.

7) What's your favourite holiday/Christmas song? 
I have a few, but Baby It's Cold Outside might just be my favourite.

8) Favourite Christmas meal or treat? 
I love the Cadbury Snow Bites chocolates. Chocolate balls covered in a candy shell with icing sugar- yum!

9) What's your favourite holiday drink? 
Hot chocolate.

10) Candy cane or Gingerbread men? 
I don't usually like gingerbread but this year I'm finally liking the taste. So I'll say gingerbread.

11) What is at the top of your list this Christmas? 
I could cop out and say nothing, I want happiness and smiles but on the top of my list is MAGIC MIKE BLU RAY and The Dark Knight Rises.

12) What is most important to you about the holidays?
Seeing family and friends and kind of just being happy with everything. Looking back at the year and being thankful.

13) When do you start getting excited about Christmas? 
This year was super early! October time. But usually last week or so of November.

14) What's your favourite holiday nail polish?
Either Southern Lights or Northern Lights from Models Own.

15) Share your favourite winter accessory.
Cute hats. (will upload pic tomorrow)

16) What's your favourite winter candle scent? 
 This gingerbread one mum brought. It smells so yummy.

I tag everyone who is doing BLOGMAS.

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Friday, 7 December 2012

4: Christmas movie checklist | 12 Days of Blogmas

And on the 4th day of Blogmass....I had a winter change to my hair and I went to a recording of a TV pilot with Tom Daley. So Today's Blogmas post is a bit last minute, but I wanted to do something simple, quick but still very Christmassy and Me.

Last year I blogged about my favourite Christmas films and looking back, I could easily change it to re-upload it. I don't want to make another post listing favourites, so instead I'm listing most of the Christmas films I watch every year and a few others so that I can check them off once I've seen them. Simple blog post today.

Arthur Christmas (2011)
Bad Santa (2003)
Batman Returns (1992)
Elf (2003)
The Holiday (2006)
Home Alone (1990)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Little Women (1994)
Love Actually (2003)
Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Nativity! (2009)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Polar Express (2004)
The Santa Clause (1994)
Serendipity (2001)

Hopefully I'll get a chance to watch nearly all of them before the big day!

Below are a few screengrabs of some of my favourite Christmas movie moments.
What are yours? (comment, tweet, etc...)

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

3: My Christmas playlist | 12 Days of Blogmas

 I have so many favourite Christmas tunes, but I've attempted to narrow it down to just 15 for a favourites post. Some are old favourites and some a new, but altogether I've complied my ultimate Christmas playlist.
My playlist is swimming in Christmas cheese and there is a lot of Michael Bublé.

1. Michael Bublé - Cold December Night (x)
2. Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone - Baby It's Cold Outside (x)
3. Glee Cast - Extraordinary Merry Christmas (x)
4. Frank Sinatra - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow (x)
5. Michael Bublé - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (x)
6. Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You (x)
7. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas (x)
8. Michael Bublé and Shania Twain - White Christmas (x
9. Bing Crosby - White Christmas (x)
10. SHeDAisy - Deck The Halls (x)
11. Justin Bieber - Mistletoe (x)
12. Michael Bublé and The Puppini Sisters - Jingle Bells (x
13. Ross Lynch - Christmas Soul (x)
14. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee (x)
15. Michael Bublé - All I Want For Christmas Is You (x)

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

2: Winter nail trends | 12 Days of Blogmas

I’m not someone who wears heaps of make-up and I’d say my look was pretty simple, but when it comes to painting my nails I usually go all out to make them look very girly and pretty.

This winter I feel like there is a big nail trend with glitter and as I’ve purchased some great glitter nail polishes in the past few months, I’d thought I’d blog about them and share some of the designs I’ve been doing.(Apologies for the bad photos, I’m not someone who usually does these posts)

Glitter is such a big trend at the moment but finding a good glitter polish can be difficult. Sometimes you think you’ve found a good glitter but when it comes to painting your nails, the glitter to clear polish ratio is about 20:80. I’ve found some glitter polishes which not only have nearly 100% glitter coverage, but their colour payoff is incredible and they look SO festive.
Models Own Wonderland collection (x)

These nail polishes are my favourite Christmas polishes. Jack Frost, Snowflake, Southern Lights, Northern Lights and Blizzard.
My favourite of the 5 are definitely Southern Lights and Northern Lights. They’re completely glittery and work well as tips or over the whole nail. I’ve found that with a top coat, they’re pretty chip resistant for at least a week compared to other glitter nail polishes I’ve tried.  I've been receiving lots of nice comments when I've been wearing these in the past few weeks.

Jack Frost is similar to the two above, with a white undercoat and pink glitter sparkles; however it works best over colours such as white or black. Snowflakes and Blizzard too work best over colours as a top coat, with Snowflakes looking like tiny snowflakes and Blizzard being small round silver glitter.

Another great glitter is again one from Models Own. Ibiza Mix from the Hed Kandi collection. The glitter remind me of fireworks because of all the different colours. You have to make sure you get a lot of glitter with the brush, but once you have you can you can easily just use one or two coats. With enough glitter you could use this as two coats over nails, but I prefer it over colours.
(Excuse the awful picture)
Other polishes I think I’m going to go back to this winter are No.7 Rose Truffle, Barry M Gold Mine Glitter, Barry M Burgundy Croc, Models Own In The Navy and Models Own Purple Grey.

As for winter nail looks, I think there are some very simple and easy ways to make nails look different and arty without having to go get them done professionally or spending hours attempting nail art.

1. Glitter over colour. (Models Own Ibiza Mix over Avon Midnight)

2. Glitter tips! (Models Own Purple Grey with Models Own Southern Lights)

3. Snowflakes (Miss Sporty Coty Paris and Models Own White Nail Art Pen)
(Here’s how I did the snowflakes (from here)…pretty easy if you have a steady hand!)

4. Accent nails. Either a full glitter or a design. (Models Own Purple Grey with Northern Lights)

5. Or a simply dark red! Festive.(Rose Truffle No.7)

I’m no expert but these are just a few things I’ve thought of. When it gets closer to Christmas I’m going to try some of these designs from Cute Polish on youtube. Santa Hats, Rudolph Reindeer and I’ve already painted some fake nails inspired by Caroline's (Burkatron) Fair Isle nail design. These are SO cute and I can’t wait to put them on!

Any special way that you get your nails done for Christmas? Let me know and if you have a link to your Blogmas's, please leave it in a comments!
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