Monday, 26 March 2018

What's My Favourite Film? {Learn About Me}

I always think picking a favourite of anything is a dangerous thing. Where is the room for change? If something's declared your favourite then it is often presumed that it will never change and that it should be noted (usually by an other half) so that people are aware of it.
I have wanted to write about my favourite film for ages. I always find films are really great to talk with friends about as you can find out about some real gems that you may have otherwise avoided. For me, I have had a favourite film for approximately 3 years. 3 Years ago, I sat in the cinema and fell in love with a classic story which I felt was perfectly retold. I knew it would long stay as a favourite and not one film has ever made me smile with pure belief in true love like this film does. CINDERELLA (by Kenneth Branagh) has been unbeatable since I watched it. I think it is the most magical retelling of a fairy tale and when I watch it I want to burst with love for the beauty of how the classic story is portrayed. This film makes me happy. I love watching it and it just speaks to me. Simple, easily forgotten about, but to me, a perfect story captured.
Having seen The Greatest Showman 4 times in the last month I feared that it may knock Cinderella off the top spot, but it is a different film. The first time I saw it I felt like I had held my breath through the entire film. It was just wonderful and a really captivating film. I walked away completely enthused with a love for musicals and a real admiration for the simple story telling. A very strong contender but it didn't beat the scene from Cinderella where she meets Prince Charming for the first time in the forest. Their instant fondness for each other and how they communicate that is just perfect!
There is only really one other film that has ever been in contest for the top spot and amazingly it is another Kenneth Branagh one. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is a Shakespeare that I have loved since I first saw it 8 years ago. It was never one I studied and having been in no way interested in English literature I had stuck to Twelth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream being my favourite Shakespeare plays as I had studied them in school. Shakespeare language was complex enough so getting into his twisted plot tragedies was hard for me. Romeo & Juliette was probably his only exception for me but we all knew that story from a young age. Anyway, I digress... Much Ado About Nothing not only features the brilliant Kenneth Branagh himself, but also a host of fab actors such as Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Emma Thompson and Kate Beckinsale. It is just a Shakespeare at the end of the day, no reinvention as such but a good copy of the play and just so wonderfully done. It is a real romance and actually being 25 years old makes no difference. It is still a fab film to put on and watch.
With those 3 very much being up there it is hard to suggest a good small collection of films that i think you should see but I have put together a list of films that I could put on again, and again and genuinely enjoy.

For original Girl Power you need to see The First Wives Club. From 1996 this film is about serious revenge (in a good way) over some cheating husbands! Goldie Hawn is great and as I love her in most of her films this really is one to make you want to have good girl friends!

I would think all of you reading this will have seen Billy Elliot. This hardcore, northern drama is an absolute must see. Totally inspirational with fantastic British actors in and a great story of determination. The dancing (plot spoiler) is also fantastic and the story of a father's love will stick with you forever!

Of all the classic novels it's hard to find a film that really makes you believe in the story as much as the book. I have long been a fan of Emma Thompson and really enjoy watching her. Something about her voice is just beautiful and it always sticks with me. Her role in Sense & Sensibility is perfect and so representative of so many women. I just love it, and as a film and the fact that it has Kate Winslet in it also makes me happy!

I am trying not to fall into a trap of just giving you Romances, I really am, so as another must see; HOT FUZZ!! Simon Pegg is great but I can't say I like the other films in this series as much as Hot Fuzz. I remember the first time we watched it, Rob and I were dating and we sat and laughed and laughed. I hate gruesome films, I really have a thing against them, and I hate even more when films show violence for no reason at all (the Kill Bill franchise literally needs to be burned) but something about the Britishness of this really is funny and the one liners are overflowing; "You ain't seen Bad Boys 2??" I have, it's not great!!

Right, come, let's be more precise, films you must see........ La La Land {one of Rob's Faves}, Eddie The Eagle {will make you really smile}, 3 Men And A BabyThe Devil Wears Prada {What girl didn't want to be Andy}, Ocean's Eleven {the original and the best, love a heist movie but most these days remind me of this one!}, The Thomas Crown Affair {If Pierce Brosnan was your 007 then this is a film for you}. That said, I will always love Daniel Craig as James Bond and SKYFALL is a must see. 

I always find Children's films have such an importance in our lives now but find even the messages from these films touch my heart as an adult and make me believe in magic. Big Hero Six {get emotionally prepped for this one}, Nanny McPhee {Oh, Emma Thompson again}, MoanaTangledBrave {that's three full of awesome girl power}, Ratatouille,  NEW COCO {Disney's new wave of magical story telling at its finest}.

Gosh, it's hard. Once I started the list I didn't want to write down any old film. I have really been thinking about the good ones! There are so many though but hopefully this gives you some ideas for watching on those lazy Sunday afternoons.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

An Instax Share SP 2 Review

First of all, I just want to say that this product was a gift, but one that required no review. I was given it when I was away in Cornwall with Joules and was asked to tag any pictures I shared of it, but that was it. I wanted to put it on the blog because I genuinely love it and having always wondered if they were any good, I feel it is important to tell you how much I genuinely love it.

As I said it was a gift, but it is only on here because I am so genuinely pleased with it.

A lot has changed in my life with cameras. My very first camera was a Spice Girls (Spice World) Polaroid instant camera. It was fantastic. I loved it so much, but the films were so expensive it spent a lot of its life sat on a shelf rather than being used.

We all know that feeling. One Polaroid picture was like having a piece of gold. Those 10 films gave you only 10 chances to get a good photo. And not wanting to waste them, I knew how important each shot was. I miss it. It was an iconic piece for its time and one that dated fast as soon as I got a digital camera. It became void, but if only I knew what a revival Polaroid pictures would make. Reality is, we all love the nostalgia of holding a Polaroid and actually having the new up-to-date versions are all the rage. My 18 year old sister got one for her birthday and she is so precious over it. I think it needs to be enjoyed more but I really understand it as film packs are always over £15 each. 
This though, my friends is expensive, and you still have the same cost for the films but, you can guarantee a perfect picture every time. I blooming love it! Honestly. The kids too, they think its magic how I have the picture on my phone and it comes out of this little box.

The INTSAX SHARE SP 2 is a FUJIFILM printer which allows you to literally send a picture from your phone to print old school style. It's brilliant. I know it has been on the market for ages and similar products are available but I love this for its sleekness, look and usability. Even on my iphone 5SE the app works great and it is just a really good product.

I think it's more because you can plan, yes, you lose the magic of the spontaneity but you get really beautiful pictures you can do so much with.
Really, if I had known about this before my sister's birthday I would have suggested this instead, it really is great, and for a teen, it's a great way to print and keep those great moments in life. 
As I said, this was a gift but not for sharing in this way, however, all these thoughts expressed are my own and I am sure you can tell just how happy I am with it.

Plus, I can now sing Outcast's 'Hey Ya' over and over {Shake it like a Polaroid picture, hey ya, shake it}.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Back To Print

We live in a world that is so often only ever viewed through a screen. We all know this. And more often than not we have lusted over interior and travel images online more than we ever have before because it has become so easily accessible.
Instagram is a great way we find little drops of inspiration. It's all there, set up so nicely and laid out so clean, and now you only need to swipe to suddenly be shopping exact items in an instant. 
With that brings all sorts of good things. It's nice to see pretty pictures whenever you want but actually a lot of the time instead of absorbing someone's creativity we are actually absorbing a huge amount of want and desire in a way we never used to. It's on a colossal level now and we all know it.

My mum has always been one for having magazines. She has always, and still gets, subscriptions for a few classic ones and I went through a phase of finding them void due to their inability to feed my want, but I realised, print is not that. The joy of print is that it truly is there to just inspire. Yes, you can shop from them but only if you seek it out yourself. No one is going to type it in to google and just send you a link. You yourself have to seek out the want and it changes the whole experience. I now know it changes it for the better. A social world is great but actually with regards to wants and needs, we are actually feeding our minds poison. That sounds harsh as you are not going to see me deleting my accounts any time soon but it is the truthful reality of the world we live in. 
Recently we signed up to start getting Raph The Beano each week. Part of it it to help encourage his reading, but part is also as it is really nice to receive a magazine in the post. It has nostalgic value for Rob and I and therefore it seemed a nice thing to do.
It's been a long time since I bought a glossy mag or a fashion mag. I started to really dislike them as they made me feel bad about myself. Now I have Instagram giving me all those emotional joys too. But recently I decided to buy into Suitcase Magazine, Country Living and Lincolnshire Pride. Something style based, something classic and something local. All three publications are of beautiful high standard. This puts the price up as the famous credit card advert says; what it gives me is priceless. 

I found I look through them and want to learn. Want to learn about a place, design and yes, products but not in any kind of instant way. I want to look at things in my own time, at magazine pace. I look through it, put it down for a few days, then revisit it and it just makes my whole look at finding inspiration more laid back rather than some fast paced copycat style life that is more stressful than successful. Instagram makes me want to have something, just so immediately. Turning back to print makes me want to daydream more about what I could do or where I could go and just enjoy it!! 


Thursday, 15 March 2018

Modern Rustic Dining Room Inspiration

Having written about turning back to magazines for inspiration, this look was definitely inspired by Country Homes Modern Rustic Edition. I just loved looking through the pages of rooms sharing pictures about this crossover contemporary look where you mix your deep wood and leather items against modern straight lines and textures. I love it. In fact, it's so Scandinavian that I really loved the ideas of mixing wood and plastic. Two totally opposite materials but a look that fits our house really well. 
When we first moved in everything was shabby chic. It was a trend that has been going for a long time but when we rebuilt and restyled everything got a lot more minimal. It took time mind you. We have never had the money to just change it all as we feel like it. And it is only in the last year that colours and shapes have really streamlined the place. 

Now though it seemed like the right time to rid myself of the mismatch dining chairs and actually invest in something a bit more modern. I am sure many if you will have seen how popular plastic chairs have become. Actually, when you say it it sounds a bit silly as the seats are genuinely the same as the ones we sat on at school but the new modern Scandi twist is having them with wooden legs. I love them. They are super sleek, ultra clean and the Danes love them. I, however, knew that there was no way I was losing my vintage church chairs so I needed to pick the most simple ones that would sit alongside and just blend modern and rustic styles. At first it was genuinely weird to look at as we had gone from 4 church chairs and 4 random chairs to 4 church chairs and 4 ultra modern chairs. It looked weird but I think that was because I was so used to what we had. 

Over the last two weeks I have really fallen in love with the look. It so suits our space and actually really smartens the dining area up. With all the plants we have around and the very square sofa, mixing these two chairs actually works really well. I love having more matching dining chairs too. It makes me feel way more grown up.

Want the chairs too? 


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Understanding Motherhood, A Trip Away & Watergate Bay.

This week has meant so much more to me than I could have ever imagined. I was invited down to WATERGATE BAY HOTEL by JOULES to take part in a mother's retreat. They wanted to give us a few days away from all the noise of life and allow us to just be ourselves for a few days with our own mothers. 

Even though mum and I live within 20 minutes of each other we actually hardly ever see each other. We both lead quite busy lives and it was made quite apparent that time moves more quickly than we realised. The last time we properly spent time together, just us, was a few years ago. But she is a mother to 8 and that makes her time even more sparse. 
For me, going into this trip, my anxiety levels were running high. We have quite a solid routine through the week due to after school clubs. Monday is tennis, Tuesday swimming, Wednesday drama, Thursday dance and going away mid-week threw up the usual contentions of worry about Rob remembering it all. I need to give him more credit because of course he would, but I suppose as a mother and organiser you find yourself comically explaining stuff even though they are nearly always part of the activities anyway. Letting go of the household reigns is hard. We are all quite used to things being just so, so letting that go was already a task. I am glad I did though. Once we made it to the hotel I was not worried at all. In fact, I was so glad of the break from routine that it really did give me that mother's retreat.

Being there with Joules was a joy. Not only are the girls wonderful, but they had organised some real treats for us to take part in while we were there. There was a group of 6 bloggers, including me, all with their special plus ones and we all just clicked. We laughed and shared stories, and found that actually we all had a really nice common ground to stand on. We found ourselves in a very lucky group of very nice people, but that in itself was great. We clicked, our mothers clicked and quite quickly we were all just enjoying the break from life. 
Our few days were spent eating, doing yoga, Nordic walking, swimming and relaxing. We got the opportunity to head out to the beach whenever we wanted due to the beautiful location of WATERGATE BAY HOTEL and what's more, the hotel itself offered perfect views so you didn't even need to leave to get that feeling of being lost in the view. 

The time spent gazing out into the blue ocean is one I won't forget though. I feel so lucky to have been in a position when I had the chance to reflect this week. Motherhood is a job that is just thrust upon you. Are we ever really ready for it and all its trials and tribulations? 
I feel so lost in it all and its ever changing pace. The kids go through weeks of completely stressing me out and as a human I question myself so much within this time. It's hard and the more sleep deprived you become the more you begin to feel like you are lost in the darkness. Then, they, in their development turn a corner and you have a certain amount of time living with a completely different child. Their journey is as tough as ours. They are constantly absorbing views and ideas from so many different things and from there they develop in a way that I actually can't keep up with. I have to remember that however hard I find it they are literally learning how to just be human. I know how to do that already and it actually is amazing to know that me, my ways, are what guide them on each little step. 

As hard as motherhood can be nothing rewards you more. Even in the smallest action like when they say please and thank you with no prompt, they are such celebrated milestones in my head!

Being away with my own mum actually gave me time to reflect on her role in our family to. She has a million plates spinning at all times and for us to spend 3 whole days together was quite an achievement. It's good getting her away from her usual jobs too, ones I understand more about now I am a mother myself. All we are trying to do is provide the best life for our little loves. To give them our time more than anything as that is actually all our children require from us. Time to help them, time to play with them and time where we can just be together with no need to do anything else. 

Motherhood was highlighted this week, I learned that getting away from it all is just as important as getting back into the role. Life didn't go wrong while I was away and it seemed like I wasn't needed at all but there is this space in life which motherhood fills, and I have been given the job of filling it. My role is hard but it is needed and very much wanted.

Watergate Bay

It only seems fair that I include some more details about our stay away. WATERGATE BAY was our little home for three days. It's a hotel that sits right on the Cornish coastline on the way to Newquay. The airport is just 5 minutes away and once you are in there isn't much need to go anywhere else. 
The hotel has 3 restaurants, two in the hotel itself and one right on the beach. There is also an indoor swimming pool, spa and kids club, where all facilities are of the highest standard.
Rooms come in various ways, full sea view, partial sea view and no sea view. As expected though, you will want to see the sea from your window, it is stunning. Even if you don't get a room with a good view you can always head to the pool, ocean room or Zacry's for a perfect panoramic. That's something this hotel does very well, it shows it all off perfectly. 

Food was a big part of our trip. We had 3 great meals every day and ate in all the restaurants. It was perfect, delicious and beautifully presented. Exactly what you would want and so much more. 

The interiors were where I was struck. I absolutely loved the use of classic beach colours but they had styled them so incredibly well. Soft blue velvets against beachy woods. Baskets of blankets and logs and wicker lampshades in the most modern styles; I just loved all the combinations and it made the hotel so beautifully stylish. 

It's almost completely boutique in style but it is actually a massive hotel. Perfect for those family getaways and actually this time of year, perfect for a mini break with just your partner. I would love to take just Rob down. The beach itself is a really familiar place for us as we have holidayed there for years and years but to spend time in the hotel and just walk out onto the beach would be a really lovely thing to do for a few days with just him. 
The ease of it for families though is too good to be true. With onsite childcare and the beach a small walk away, regardless of weather you could enjoy your family stay here easily. No carrying big beach bags down to the sand; you walk down, play and walk back up. It would be so easy. Too easy perhaps!

I know I have come away wanting desperately to go back. It was such a great experience with the other girls, I think it will now always be an even more special place for me, but for what could possibly come in the future, Watergate bay definitely holds a special place in my heart.


Joules was a big part of this trip. It was their event and I am so proud to share all their loveliness with you. They provided for us tenfold and not only were our bedrooms dressed in their newest prints, but we were, head to toe. 
I must share what we had as it really made for a picture perfect trip. 
Everything is available from JOULES online and I will link to individual bits as I go along.

JOULES itself is a brand that is not housed too far away from us. It has always been a popular brand here in Lincolnshire due to its country style, but now more than ever before JOULES is still creating lasting clothes, in iconic prints, that everyone wants to have. I have worn their clothes since my teens and now dress my children in them. They are a brand who actually, at the heart have a team of enthusiastic and caring humans. Having had an art class with some of the print design team and spending the whole three days with PR I can truthfully say that I love being in these guys' company. 
And this is not the first time. A couple of years ago Joules sent me to Bath to do some coverage and I came away from that with the same feeling. I have a lot of time for this brand and their products.

The weather was great while we were down there. Considering a week before we were off school because of the snow I think we were all hoping and praying it would subside. We were lucky. it was sunny most of the time with occasional showers but we all made sure to make the most of it. We did yoga as the sun set on the first day and went Nordic walking in it another. We got a bit wet but the sea breeze also dried us up. I saw my very first full rainbow, where I could see both ends {no gold though} and lived in my wellies, as they were so comfortable!

In the bedroom, our clothes were all lovely gifts and Joules provided us with everything we needed for our trip. 

 With plenty to keep us occupied through the whole trip it is a wonder we we had time to chat and socialise but I am so pleased I got to meet all these wonderful ladies. I thought I would just list their blogs for you:

Thank you to Joules for giving me this time and just letting me be Emily for a few days.

* This whole experience was a gift.
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