Thursday, 31 December 2015

Reflecting on 2015 and looking forward

I can say that without a shadow of a doubt that 2015 was the best year ever. Ok so the main goal for the year didn't work out, we'd actually hoped to move in with each other around the middle of 2015 but quite early on in the year we made the conscious decision that we wanted to spend the money we'd saved on other things, on making amazing memories, and I can safely say that 2015 was exactly that, the year that the best memories ever were created. As much as we're both more than ready for our own place (and have been for a long time) I'll be forever happy that we made the decisions that we did. 2015 was the first year we've been truly settled since returning home from university in 2013, we both have secure jobs, a healthy attitude to what we want in life and how to go about it and as the year draws to a close, for the first time ever it actually feels like everything is falling into place.

I love looking back at all the things Josh and I have done this year so I thought I'd share some of my favourite photo's and memories from this year...

 Harry Potter Studio Tour // Visiting Abby Road // Seeing Paul McCartney in Birmingham and Liverpool // Going backstage at Paul McCartney in Liverpool and meeting Peter Kay // My Dad's 50th // My Mum's 50th // Meeting Tinkerbell at Magic Kingdom // Going to Florida // Seeing Bill Bailey

 After an amazing 2015 I've been thinking a lot about 2016. I don't like to make resolutions as realistically no one ever sticks to them anyway but there are a few things I would like from the next year:
  1. Our own home - Josh and I have been together for 8 years now, 3 of which we lived together at university. Living apart all this time hasn't got any easier and 2016 is definitely the year that we're getting our own home. It fills me with so many emotions to realise that this is finally happening, but mainly I can't contain my excitement when I think that this time next year Josh and I will be settled into a place we can call our own and we'll be creating a beautiful home together. 
  2. To stop talking and start doing - it's a little cryptic this one but for the longest time Josh and I have talked about a few ideas surrounding things we'd like to do and a month or so ago we hit on an idea that we both really like. When we're settled with our own place I'd like to start putting our ideas into action. I want to stop talking about all these things and start actually doing them!
  3. Go back to YouTube - a few years ago I tried my hand at YouTube and I'll be honest I wasn't very good. I didn't have the right equipment meaning I was never happy with my substandard videos and I'll be honest, sitting down and talking to a camera isn't really my thing. However over this past year I've discovered a type of video I actually love making and that's the vlogs that have cropped up throughout the year such as the Paul McCartney on and the Florida ones. I'd like to continue making and developing those and hopefully grow my channel to document all of our adventures.
 So they're the things I would like from 2016, not unrealistic and completely achievable I think!

Finally I thought I would do a round up of my personal favourite posts from Calico Skies this year so if you missed any of them, please take a look: Having it all // A Letter to 18 year old me // Dear time, slow down please // Having your shit together // On turning 24 and reflecting // When your body doesn't work // All of the Florida posts

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas 2015: What I got for Christmas

I know everyone says the same thing with these types of posts but I just know if I didn't someone would say something but in no way do I do these kinds of posts to brag or show off. I am very grateful and thankful for everything I am lucky enough to receive. Also it may look like there's a lot of things at first glance but if you read what I received a lot of things, aside from the presents from Josh, are actually more stocking filler type presents as both Josh and I asked for money to put towards things for our house next year. I absolutely love these kinds of posts because I'm so nosy but if looking at other peoples presents isn't your thing then please click off now.

Now that's out of the way here are the presents I received for Christmas:
 From Josh: Sweets, Inside Out, The Beatles 1 Deluxe Edition box set, cake recipe book, The Beatles American Albums remastered, Marvel Tsum Tsums, Dancing Groot Pop then not pictured here he also got me a bottle of Baileys and the whole Boardwalk Empire box set.

From my mum: Sweets, Lush Snow Fairy Set, Soap and Glory Set, L'Occitane handcream set, body scrub, Harry Potter colouring book and pens and money.

From my dad: Yankee candles, Harry Potter wand stand, Bomb Cosmetics set, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Lush The Comforter shower gel, Lush H'Suan Wen Hua hair mask, two Bath and Body Works moisturisers, Crockery set and Tea and Coffee canisters (for when Josh and I move next year).

From Josh's parents: Benefit makeup set, Tinkerbell makeup bag, Minnie Mouse pj's, Next perfume, Soap and Glory set, Cranberry body set and Next candle.

From other people: Lemon reed diffuser from Josh's gran and grandad, Invisible Monsters Remix book and red reed diffuser from my step sister, Golden Wonder Lush set from my gran and grandad then money from grandparents and aunties and uncles. 

As I have said I feel so lucky to have received all the lovely presents from my family and from Josh. Christmas is more than just about presents and I can honestly say I've had one of the best Christmases ever this year but I do like to look back on these posts too.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas 2015: Traditions

We don't have an abundance of Christmas traditions at the moment as we don't live together so we don't spend the entire festive period together. I suspect that next Christmas when we do have our own place then more things that become 'tradition' may start sneaking it. However I thought it would be fun to share some of the traditions we do have now as it'll also be good for me to look back on to see how things change.

  1. Exchanging a present on Christmas Eve - it usually isn't anything big, just some sweets or chocolates, but we like to exchange a small present on Christmas Eve.
  2. Watching The Muppet Christmas Carol and Polar Express on Christmas Eve - these are our favourite two Christmas films so we always save them to watch on Christmas Eve.
  3. Maltesers and Cherry Coke - Josh always buys me a bottle of Cherry Coke and a box of Maltesers for Christmas because it was the first thing he ever bought me when we got together which happened to be a week before Christmas
  4. Drinking Jacques - for some unknown reason Jacques fruit cider has become a traditional drink for us to have on Christmas Eve.
  5. Starting Christmas Day with a bacon sandwich - the first thing we do when we get up, before opening presents or anything is have a nice, big bacon sandwich.
 
 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Christmas 2015: Playlist


 
I love a good, cheesy Christmas song so today I thought I'd share my Christmas playlist with you to get you in the festive mood. 
 
My top three songs are Wonderful Christmastime, Fairytale of New York and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. 
 
I hope you enjoy this playlist, let me know what your favourite Christmas song is.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Book Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.
Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.
Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.

I've said it before but I don't really do romance novels or chick-lit, so when something like this comes along I'm pretty wary of how much I'll enjoy it.

Eleanor sticks out with her less than conservative appearance, she's bullied and alone. Even the boy she sits next to on the school bus doesn't acknowledge her. Until he starts giving her comics and mixtapes then the perfect friendship turns into a love. The fast, passionate, can't live without you kind of love.

Where do I begin with how much I loved this book?! It completely wrapped me up in Eleanor and Park's world and made it difficult for me to leave once I'd reached the end. I found it difficult to concentrate on any other book for quite a while after reading this because I enjoyed it so much. It was just perfection in a novel. The funny thing is I can't actually place what makes this book so good, yes the writing is good, the characters are brilliant and are written about in depth, but at the end of the day the story line isn't anything groundbreaking. Yet it manages to absorb you completely. I think because it's so relatable it makes it extra difficult to put down.

If you haven't yet gathered, I urge you to read Eleanor and Park and be transported back to the days of young love.  

 Rating: ★★

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas 2015: Decorating

Last Saturday we put up our little tree at Josh's so we thought we'd make a short vlog of the occasion to share with you. We both love Christmas and getting out the lovely decorations we've begun to collect but it's a shame we can only decorate a small tree, which is why it's super exciting that next year we'll have a huge tree (and a whole house) to decorate when we have our own place. Hello 6ft tree and fairy lights galore!

Anyway I hope you enjoy our little Christmas vlog and please subscribe to my YouTube channel. Oh and make sure you stay tuned to the very end for the outtakes.


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Christmas 2015: Plans

Ah Christmas, my favourite time of the year. This year seems a little odd for me though as it's the last Christmas where we will be living with our parents and that just stirs up all kinds of emotions. Anyway I thought I would share my plans for this years festivities with you, because you know it's going to be full of wild parties...I lie it's going to involve too much food, fluffy pj's and films and chocolate. Homebody for life!

Because I work in a school I'm lucky in that I finish work for Christmas on the 18th which is also the date of mine and Josh's anniversary so I'm guessing the fun begins there, Josh took it upon himself to be in charge of plans for our anniversary this year so I really have no idea what to expect. As part of a treat for Christmas and our anniversary though we are going to York on the 21st for two nights. I'm so excited! York is one of my absolute favourite places and I just can't wait to wander around the market and sip mulled wine.

We don't get back from York until the evening of the 23rd and I expect after all the fun we'll be grabbing an early night to recharge for Christmas. I'm spending Christmas at Josh's again this year so on Christmas Eve morning we're going to see my mum before heading to Josh's in the afternoon. We're actually having Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve because Josh's dad is working on Christmas Day. In the evening Josh and I will probably snuggle up and watch films with a little drink or two.

On Christmas Day we'll both be up early, it's the law on Christmas Day. You have to be up early to see if Santa has been! We'll probably do presents with Josh's family first then we'll both swap presents before spending the rest of the day eating, drinking and watching things. I'm heading back home on Boxing Day for round 2 of food and presents.

We're packing quite a lot in but it's going to be sooo good, I just cannot wait!


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

FILMS: What We Watched #17

















Devil
2010 | 80 min | Horror / Thriller
J: Four people trapped in a lift and wouldn't you know it, one of them is the Devil. That pretty much summarises this film's plot. There's nothing intricate or different or even vaguely scary about this, so I wouldn't recommend it. I mean, it'll kill 80 mins if you have nothing better to do, but I'll assume you do so just so you know...it's the old woman. You're welcome.

L: I was pleasantly surprised by this film as I actually really enjoyed. I called it from the beginning who was the devil though, but you know, Josh has given that away now...
Granted the plot doesn't sound that great but it is a pretty decent movie for something I thought would be utter trash.















Surveillance
2008 | 98 min | Thriller
J: We watched Surveillance because we really enjoyed Chained, the other film by Jennifer Lynch. I'll admit it wasn't as good as Chained it was still a pretty good watch. The long and short of it is some folks are murdered and it's a bit of a who-done-it? It got quite confusing at times and a bit ridiculous, And the twist at the end was quite...odd. But if nothing else I found another movie that the president from Independence Day has been in!
 
L: My god I don't even know where to begin with this. I hated it. I was confused, bored and thoroughly underwhelmed by this film to see how much I was taken in by Chained in last month's reviews. The characters were far too out there for the film to resemble any sort of real life situation. It was weird in a very terrible way. Don't waste you're time. 

















Patch Adams
1998 | 115 min | Comedy / Drama / Semi-Biographical
J: Ahaaa, a good old Robin Williams movie! Has he ever done a bad one?! Robin plays Patch Adams, a medical student who finds that befriending and engaging with the patients has a much more positive effect on the patients' outcomes. Of course there are the suits that try to stamp out such tomfoolery! As well as Robin been fantastic (as usual), the supporting cast are really good too. It's heart-warming and life afferming. I'm not sure if Lauren cried...she almost definitely did.

L: Am I ever going to find a Robin Williams film I don't completely love?! (or one that I don't cry at) I don't think so! It disappointed me to read that the real Patch Adams wasn't a fan of this movie and I can see why when parts of his life and work were skipped over and glamourised, but I loved this film. It was funny, touching and heartwarming.


















The Da Vinci Code
2006 | 146 min | Thriller
J: I love the book and while the film has to streamline the complex plot it still does a fantastic job at staying faithful to the text. I can't even begin to explain the plot, suffice to say that Tom Hanks' character Woody Professor Robert Langdon has to find the Holy Grail. One great casting call was having Gandalf Sir Ian McKellen as Leigh Teabing, a Holy Grail enthusiast, adding a wonderfully theatrical gravitas to proceedings. Together Woody, Gandalf and criptologyst Sophie Neveu set about their needle-in-a-haystack task.

L: I could never get into the book for some reason but the film really grips me. We've watched this before but it didn't stop it from being any less exciting the second time around. It presents some very interesting ideas and the cast is well chosen, drawing you into each character. I really want to watch Angels and Demons though I've heard it isn't as good.
 Dead Poets Society
1989 | 128 min | Drama
J: This is right up there as one of my favourite films ever. Dead Poets Society sees Professor John Keating become English teacher at the prestigious Welton Academy, a prep boarding school. Through his inspiring words and poetry he encourages students to think independently and seize the day. The entire cast is fantastic and relatable, and you find yourself really rooting for all of the boys (especially the pre-House Jimmy Wilson (called Neil Perry here) played by Robert Sean Leonard...the boy just wants to act!) From start to finish, an amazing film. Watch it! Oh, and that final scene... "oh captain, my captain!"

L: This is easily one of my favourite films of all time. I don't even think I can put into words why this film is so great. You come away feeling inspired and as cheesy as it sounds like you want to do something with your life, seize the day. It's a great look at education too and the small box that it can place you in, I would have loved a teacher like John Keating who teaches free thinking to his students. Whilst Keating and Neil Perry are arguably the main and very well played characters I have to say I also love Charlie 'Nwanda' Dalton, the lovable rogue.
Jackass: The Movie and Jackass Number Two
2002 and 2006 | 88 min and 92 min | Comedy / Reality
J: Guys just having a laugh, standing around usually half naked (and sometimes completely naked) doing absolutely stupid stuff. Not going to lie, it's hilarious. Some of the mad stuff they think up of is mad: sometimes it's dumb as s**t, sometimes it strays into insanely dangerous territories. All of it has you howling...if not cringing and gipping a little too! Love the TV show, loved the movies!

L: We've grouped both the movies together because lets face it they're hardly that different. It's the same bunch of guys doing stupid stunts, walking around half naked 99% of the time and making me gag in pretty much every scene. I have a very boyish sense of humor so I have to say I find Jackass bloody hilarious but there are a fair few stunts I just can't watch because I probably would be sick.

 
If you only watch one of these films it should be...
J: Dead Poets Society
L: Dead Poets Society