Welcoming 2017

So we're on the brink of 2017 in the UK and I think most people will be glad to see the back of 2016, whether it's the political instability brought about by Brexit or the loss of treasured celebrities. As is customary for me, I've got a cold on New Years Eve, so we're having a quiet one with my partner's parents, I hope you're having a good one whatever you're doing. I've got some plans for the new year but I'll save them for another post... Anyway, hopefully the New Year will bring health, wealth and happiness to all (especially those reading this blog).

Five Favourite Friday... Things That Happened In 2016

This week for our Five Favourite Friday post we've decided that we will look back at the last year and recount our favourite things that happened during 2016. I've not really started to debate my favourite moments from the year just yet, but I can tell there will be quite a few family related memories!

1) Going to Carding Mill Valley in August - Carding Mill Valley holds a special place in my heart as it's somewhere I used to go with my childminder during school summer holidays to pass the time, and I'll never forget taking our son there for the first time in August. We thought he may enjoy standing in the stream that runs through the middle of the valley, but to our surprise he was fairly proficient at walking his way along the stony bed. The reason for our surprise was because a month earlier he took his unaided first steps.

2) Visiting the Birmingham Sealife Centre - In March we took a trip to Birmingham to visit the Sealife Centre as a Mothers Day treat and we had a great time. It was the first time we'd taken our son to an aquarium and he loved it. There was also a memorable moment when our son wanted to try some of my ginger beer, as soon as he tasted it, he opened his mouth and the liquid came pouring out, such a funny memory.

3) Change in job role - In May, my job role at work changed and I think it's suited me more, which has been beneficial for my employer, myself and also my partner as I was a more content with life.

4) Starting my blog - Having spent a number of months maybe even years wanting an online presence, my partner helped me set up my blog in September. I've really enjoyed doing my posts and proud that I managed to complete #Blogmas2016, I wasn't confident that I'd do it at the start but I came through.

5) Watching an Formula One test session at Silverstone - A week after the Great British Grand Prix, there was a test session that I attended with my dad to try out my photographic abilities. It was nice to get away from reality and not have anything more to worry about than whether the cars were in the shot / focus or not!

I think these were my favourite moments of 2016, I might have included the trip to see Shrewsbury Town play at Sunderland, going to Santa at Attingham Park or the train journey up to Newcastle upon Tyne across the Pennines.

I hope you have reason to look back fondly on 2016, here's to 2017.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 25

Wow! I made it to day 25 of #Blogmas and I'm really proud of this achievement, as I thought I'd struggle to do a post a day, it's quite the commitment. With it being Day 25, that can only mean one thing, (in a Noddy Holder voice) it's Christmas [Day]! 

As I look back on Christmas 2016, I think it will be with fondness, our son is more conscious of what's going on this year than last year, his pronunciation of 'Anta', reindeer and Santa's 'Ho, Ho' will stick in the mind.  Our little boy was lucky enough to see Santa on a number of occasions this year, but the highlight (for me) was visiting the National Trust's Attingham Park estate and going into their winter wonderland to see the big man himself - though it would have been nice if our little man could have raised a smile for a photo! We've had a lot of fun this year already and I'm sure there will be more to follow as we start to hand out gifts later this morning.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas if you celebrate it and if not enjoy the bank holidays with family.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 24

It's Christmas Eve babe, as the Pogues and Kirsty McCall sang in 'Fairytale of New York'. The idea of doing a letter to Santa has been kicking around since I started my #Blogmas2016. But I wanted a twist on this type of post, so I've asked my partner to write a letter on my behalf:

Dear Santa,
You might have seen my letter earlier in the week. I indeed have been a good girl. But now I'd like to talk about Tim. 
He's been really good to both me and our son Alex all year long. Of course we've had our ups and downs but what couple doesn't? And I'd be lying if I said none of it was my fault. Usually it's been out of tiredness, other times just pure frustration. But in spite of those days where we've been stressed or anxious or sad and taken it out on the other person, I genuinely think he's come through on the other side and been even more loving.  
He is our rock and me and Alex don't know what we'd do without him. Please make sure he knows how special he is this Christmas. 
It would appear that Nikki thinks I deserve a place on Santa's nice list this year. Hopefully Santa will get chance to see this before he drops presents off to all the good boys and girls of world tonight. Fingers crossed you've been good too and Santa visits you.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 23 / Five Favourite Friday... Christmas Cracker Jokes

For our final Five Favourite Friday of #Blogmas2016 and the second to last one of the year, I've chosen to go with Christmas Cracker Jokes. It's a known fact that Christmas cracker jokes are designed to be bad so that everyone will 'get' them and no-one will feel left out when they are read aloud. I had a quick scan of the internet for some of the best jokes (2016) and these are my favourite five.

1) What is the best Christmas present in the world? A broken drum, you just can't beat it!

2) How is my life a lot like the Christmas carol? Every night I try 3 different spirits, and wake up in the morning and have to apologise to everyone.

3) How do Santa's employees have to register their tax returns? Elf assessment.

4) Two snowmen were standing in a field. One said, "Can you smell carrots?"

5) What did Santa do when he went speed dating? He pulled a cracker

I've also selected a patriotic honourable mention this week as it did make me laugh:
Why did the three wise men only have frankincense and myrrh? Because Team GB took all the gold.

You can check out Nikki's favourite Christmas Cracker jokes here. Next week will be the final Five Favourite of 2016, and we've already agreed what the topic will be - Things That Happened In 2016. Amongst the bad things that have happened, there have been some fun events too, so we'll be focusing on them!

#Blogmas2016 - Day 22

I made a commitment to do a post a day for Blogmas, but I feel emotionally drained tonight as I attended my auntie's funeral this afternoon and I'm not in the right frame of mind to do one of the posts I'd been considering. Instead, I would like to remind people that not everyone will have a fantastic Christmas every year. There can be a number of reasons for this and they're not always obvious to people outside your circle.
Interestingly I read a Facebook post yesterday which resonated with me by Martin Lewis (of Money Saving Expert fame) who wrote:

"And a word to those who'll face grief or loneliness this festive time. While we're sold the concept it has to be a special day, it is just a day. Sleep in late, watch the telly and it'll pass."  
I have a feeling that this year we will have muted celebrations whilst trying to keep the experience special for our little boy. I could write a whole essay on this kind of subject, but I'm hoping this post comes across in the right manner. And although of course I wish every single one of you a very Happy Christmas and hope that you have an amazing day, just please remember to be considerate for those around you who may not feel like celebrating this year.


#Blogmas2016 - Day 21

As we approach the big day I thought I'd review what I've added to my wish list in 2016, in the hope that Santa thinks I've been a good boy this year and maybe I'll get something from the list:

Munchkin Marvel / The Nightmare Before Christmas Edition - I started playing Munchkin over a decade ago with some mates in the pub.  Since then I've got my own version of the standard and some of the expansion packs, but the range has been expanded in to a number of franchises and I'd love to get either (or both) the Marvel or NBC editions.

Funko Fabrikations - Over the past couple of months, we've got a variety of My Geek Box Mini & Kids.  Two of the Kids boxes have included Funko Fabrikations, we've got both Captain America and Ironman so we can recreate our own version of the Marvel Civil War.  Funko produce Fabrikations for a number of different franchises, but there are a number that I'd prefer (listed below) but if I get any I'd be happy.
  • Daredevil
  • Deadpool
  • Groot
  • Rocket Raccoon
  • Thor
  • Hulk
  • Baymax
  • Stitch 626
  • Jack Skellington
Soor Plooms - I'm known at work for enjoying sour sweets and one of my colleagues has suggested that I try Soor Plooms, a Scottish sour apple sweet.  Apparently they're one of the sourest sweets on the market - yum!

Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System - Ever since Nintendo announced that they were making classic mini, I wanted one.  Growing up, I didn't have a NES but a friend did and we spent a lot of time playing on classic games like Super Mario Bros 1,2 & 3, Donkey Kong and Pacman.

Blood Bowl - Another game from my past, this is a fantasy take on American football, where the injury toll can be as rewarding as the final score!

I know Santa won't be able to get hold of these, but there are a number of Xbox games that are coming out in early '17 that I would like to get, they are 'Lego Dimensions Batman Story Pack' and 'Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade'.

Having got this post ready there are plenty of other things that I'd like to get for Christmas, but if you're reading this Santa, I'll be grateful for any gifts you want to leave me.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 20

I think it's time I discussed my Christmas Future(s) as I've written about my Christmas' past and present. Where do I want to go, what do I want to do, who do I want to be with? All questions I'm hoping I'll cover in this post.

Although I think I'll struggle to find a reason to be away from home on Christmas Day, that doesn't mean I don't want to travel during the Christmas period. I think I've only been aboard once around Christmas and that was a trip to Vienna, Austria, in between Christmas and New Year. I'm hoping in the future I'll be able to do some more travelling and get to New York, Australia and to some European Cities. There are so many Christmas films set in New York, I'd love to do a tour of all the locations and get my own snaps of iconic places. Also I think New York would be a great place to do my Christmas shopping.

Some of my extended family in live in Melbourne, Australia and it would be great to go to visit them to experience a Christmas in the middle of summer, perhaps even go for a barbecued turkey for Christmas lunch, I'm sure it would be awesome! Another reason for wanting to go to Oz for that time of year would be to be one of the first people on earth to welcome in the new year - it's not like I'd travel that far for a couple of days!

I really want to get to some European countries to see how our neighbours celebrate Christmas. I'd love to go to Scandinavia to have a snowy Christmas perhaps in a remote cabin to be with my family cut-off from the rest of the world. Alternatively, I'd love to go to in to the major cities to see some of the sites in the snow... I want to see snow at Christmas!

Of course going to all these places, I'd want to be with my partner and little boy. They are my world and I want to experience everything with them.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 19 \ The Last Week (12/12/2016)

Monday - Back to work, which was needed to get back into a routine. After leaving work, I made my way home to see my little boy but didn't get much time with him due to traffic, but it was pleasing to hear that he had been a good boy and that he seemed like his old self again. I headed out to five-a-side for the first time in three weeks a little bit late, but I was glad I made the effort as it was a good game. It took me a while to get my first goal, but after that I felt a bit happier and managed to grab a few more including one half volley that "Two 'keepers wouldn't have been able to save" according to another player!

Tuesday - After finishing work, I met up with my partner to collect our little boy from nursery. He ended up showing us a pop-up frog toy and bouncing around the room like a frog... if only he could get his feet off the floor when he jumps! A fairly uneventful evening followed up until I was putting our son to bed, when my partner came running up the stairs and asked for my phone. She ran back downstairs and I heard her talking to someone on the phone, all very intriguing. She came back up to tell me the dishwasher had water and bubbles coming out of it. Our son had fallen asleep by this point, so I went downstairs and met my Dad arriving (that's who she had called), sure enough bubbles were coming out of the dishwasher! We mopped them up and waited for the cycle to finish. More bubbles poured out. It transpired that my partner had put a small amount of washing up liquid in one of the items in the dishwasher to help shift some dirt, little did she know what would happen. When it felt finished we finally were able to open the door to see the aftermath!

As you can see there were thousands of bubbles, cue having fun trying to get rid of them - using bowls to shovel them down the sink, waving trays outside - our son would have loved it! Thankfully there don't appear to be any lasting problems.

Wednesday - A casual evening spent watching Dave Gorman on 'Modern Life Is Goodish' on catch-up. The fact that we really enjoy his presentation style, I annoyed that we haven't made an effort to watch them live each week.

Thursday - We spent the evening watching 'Arthur Christmas' and I frantically created a post for my blog reviewing the film - link to the review if your interested.

Friday - After our little man had gone to bed, we spent the evening challenging ourselves on various 'Name that..' YouTube videos, mainly songs, but also TV shows and movie themes. What a rock 'n' roll lifestyle we lead.

Saturday - A full on day, as our son's nursery we're holding a Christmas fair in the morning that we said we'd visit. They had plenty of activities to partake in for little ones, decorating cards & tree ornaments, lucky dip draws, raffles and a guess the name of the teddy. For the parents there were stalls selling cupcakes, jewellery, books and beauty products. We also got a picture with Santa, I hope our son doesn't look scared again this year!

When we left the fair we headed in to town to pick up a gift for someone, but we noticed that St Chad's church had their Christmas tree festival on so we had to drop in to have a look around. Despite our son being obsessed by trees at the moment, the festival failed to capture his imagination (probably because he hadn't had a nap).

In the afternoon I made my way to the Greenhous Meadow to see Shrewsbury take on Bristol Rovers. I wasn't expecting much from the game as I'd heard that Rover were 'play-off chasing', but an early error from their goalkeeper and a penalty midway through the second half gave us a deserved 2-0 victory. Paul Hurst seems to have got the players pulling in the right direction and look a lot harder to score against, while retaining a threat upfront. The efforts of the players are rewarding fans, who are in turn creating a bit of atmosphere at the stadium again.

In the evening, we chilled out catching up on QI and YouTube-ing Michael McIntyre's 'Send To All'.
Sunday - We started the day by getting on with our laundry whilst our son slept and we gamed. Shortly after our little boy woke from his nap and while we were watching Pixar short films, I got a call from my parents asking if we fancied going out for lunch at The Two Henrys. We couldn't say no to a meal out, the only bugbear was that service was quite slow, for a two course meal took three hours and our little boy got a bit restless. After the meal we went back to my parents and ended up watching 'Miracle On 34th Street' (1994), before a quiet night at home.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 18

The big day is almost upon us, only a week to go until 25th! I'm now beginning to panic, have I got everything ready (no I haven't done any wrapping yet), what do I need to do, do I need to ask anyone to do something? So today's post is a checklist of everything you'll want to get prepared ahead of Christmas Day. Below I've listed a 15 point checklist of things you'll want to consider as Christmas approaches:
  1. Make sure your Christmas Card list is up to date as you don't want cards to go to the wrong addresses (people may think you've forgotten them!).
  2. Check prices online to make sure you make your money go as far as it can.
  3. Wrap gifts as you buy them so you don't have a mad rush to do it on Christmas Eve.
  4. Buy batteries for any gifts that will need them.
  5. Agree which board games you're going to play in the afternoon of Christmas Day.
  6. Make sure your camera has a full battery to capture those historic moments (and provide blackmail opportunities as your children grow up!).
  7. Wash your Christmas jumpers / outfit, you want to make sure your looking your best for Christmas.
  8. Take your children to meet Santa.
  9. Check out TV listings to plan your schedule with all the great movies and TV specials.
  10. Prepare a plate for Santa - a mince pie & drink for Santa and a carrot for the reindeers.
  11. Attend a Carol service.
  12. Go for a drive / walk around your neighbourhood or town to look at Christmas lights that have been put up.
  13. Create your Christmas playlist to listen to whilst you open your presents.
  14. Do some Christmas baking (mince pies, gingerbread, etc.).
  15. With the shops being closed for all of 24 hours, make sure you've got plenty of drinks and snacks in case anyone comes round un-expectantly.
I think this is everything you'll need to consider, if I've missed anything let me know in the comments below.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 17

The other week we took a trip to the Telford European Christmas Market. When we got there they were still setting up, but it gave up an opportunity to have a good nose around the stalls without too much bother.

Similar to the Birmingham Market we visited the previous week, there are plenty of stalls selling various wares, from Christmas decorations to foodstuffs to household ornaments. There were also a number of outlets selling a variety of hot meals, local burgers, waffles and bratwurst, there is also a large bar at the far end of the market.

One thing that I did like at the Telford Market, is there were no duplicated stalls - which was a bugbear in Birmingham.  Well worth a visit if you're in the area, although nowhere near as big as the Birmingham Market, it's not without charm and it was nice to walk around and look at everything on offer. 

Also as an added bonus at the market (I'm not sure if it's there for the duration), there is a Ferris wheel near the bar - possibly a recipe for a disaster or a great snapchat story waiting to happen!

#Blogmas2016 - Day 16 / Five Favourite Friday... Christmas Decorations

It's that time of the week again when my partner and I reveal five of favourite things on a subject. We're keeping to our #Blogmas theme this week, as my partner has chosen Christmas Decorations! 

1 - Baubles
It's great how my partner's and my parents differ when it comes to baubles. My partner's family have very co-ordinated baubles, whereas my family have an eclectic mix of baubles from over decades but in my opinion neither is the wrong way to do it, both look amazing.

2 - Strings of Christmas Card
My parents string Christmas cards they receive out across their front room, it's their presence that make me think of Christmas and everyone they know.

3 - Advent Wreath / Advent Crown
Its one of those decorations that take me back to my youth, every Christmas Blue Peter would show viewers how to make an Advent Wreath / Crown using sticky back plastic and empty washing-up liquid bottles (or that's how I remember it!).

4 - Fairy Lights
I love that lights now are just on or off when you put them on your tree, you can get those that pulse, flash and even blink to Christmas tunes!

5 - Christmas Trees 🎄
Without the humble, and sometimes not so humble, Christmas tree some of the other decorations would end up in a pile on the floor.  How sad would that be!

My honourable mentions this week go to Tinsel, Foil Garlands and chocolate tree decorations, all could have snuck in to the list, but just missed out today.

As always, you can check out my partner's selection here. Its my choice next week, and the final one as part of #Blogmas2016, so we'll see what I've chosen next week!

#Blogmas2016 - Day 15 | Film Night | Arthur Christmas [2011]

"Sleigh fever they call it! The Pressure of Christmas sends a man doo-lellied-tap! Santa Claus XVI of 1802! Every child that year got a sausage nailed to a piece of bark!" - Grandsanta, Arthur Christmas [2011]

Tonight we watched 'Arthur Christmas' [2011] as my partner had intended to partake in The Girl Gang Movie Night, but due to our son going to bed  everyone else started watching we started late, so we watched it on our own.

Going into the film, knowing a little bit about it, I was expecting a typical Christmas feel good film. As soon as the credits started, my expectations shot up when I saw that Aardman were part of the production (it made me question if I've ever seen a bad Aardman production) as I'm a big fan of theirs. Even though the film is completely CGI, you can sense the level of character that Aardman are renowned for coming through and it gave them a depth that is sometimes missing from festive films.

This is the story of Santa's 70th mission to deliver all the worlds children their presents on Christmas Eve. It soon becomes apparent that a present was left behind and Gwen, from Cornwall, didn't get a present from Santa! You can guess how the story ends but there is some clever story writing that keeps you engaged as the goes on.

The quality of the casting is top rate, lots of British talent lend their voices to the characters. Jim Broadbent is the perfect Santa for this story, Hugh Lawrie is again a perfect fit for Steve (Santa's eldest son) and Bill Nighy provides the personality required for Grandsanta. I've got to say that Grandsanta was my favour character whipping out some great one-liners.

I had heard good things about the film and I'm glad it lived up to expectations, it'll definitely be one of the go to films for us each Christmas!

'Arthur Christmas' [2011] - 4/5

#Blogmas2016 - Day 14

Christmas Present...

On Day 11, I posted about my Christmas memories, today's post is about my Christmas Present. Since my partner and I moved in together, we've had a pretty consistent pattern to our Christmas'.

Due to Christmas Eve being my partners sisters birthday, we tend to spend a lot of time with her family and in recent years we've stayed overnight to allow us to have a drink, last year also allowed my partners family the chance to wake up with their grandson on Christmas morning. Once we've opened some presents together, my family disappear off for a couple of hours to see my parents where we have our traditional biscuit breakfast and open gifts to one another.

We then return to the 'in-laws' for Christmas lunch, which is the traditional full roast turkey dinner, and opening any remaining presents. After lunch we generally put on the music channels and play board games, quite nice really. As the afternoon draws to a close, we return to my parents to spend a bit more time with them and have some turkey sandwiches for tea. Then it's back home, all over for another year.

Tomorrow, I'll be watching Arthur Christmas with my partner as part of the Girl Gang Movie night, it's the first time I will have seen it so I'll put up a quick review of the film when we're done.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 13

Due to a bit more excitement in our house hold, more on this next week, I haven't had chance to get a post ready for today. Fortunately, however, Pokémon Go has released an update today with a bit of a Christmas-y theme.
They've added a bit of a Christmas holding page and the little yellow fellow has been given a Santa hat for the Christmas period - see below, as I managed to catch one on the journey home!
This is a short blog - for which I apologise. All being well, I'll be back to full blog posting tomorrow.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 12

Monday - A day off spent with my little boy and he was a dream to be with, happy and chatty all day long. During his morning nap, I was able to continue playing Terraria and beat a couple of bosses with a new character in a new world - we are trying to playing through using only one class (melee/magic/ranged). In the afternoon we spent time playing with Duplo, moving books around the room and watching music on TV. As I'd been off work, I hadn't seen an email sent out saying five-a-side had been cancelled, I only found out when I arrived at the sports hall. After our son had gone to bed, my partner and I were able to catch-up on some YouTube videos.

Tuesday - Whilst looking for something to watch on Netflix, my son spotted 'Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit' and shouted "Dog". Who am I to stop my son watching Wallace & Gromit! He was transfixed by the film for about twenty minutes until his mum got home. Again whilst he napped we played on Terraria and furthered our game, beating the Queen Bee, King Slime and Skeletron, next up will be the Wall Of Flesh! When my son woke up he was off to nursery and we set about tidying our bedroom as it had gotten in to a bit of a mess. Several hours later and it felt like we'd made progress, but there was still plenty to do. I was also able to get to our boiler to adjust the settings and we now have a much warmer house! Again the evening passed off without drama, watching YouTube and Jessica Jones before bed.

Wednesday - Back to work on Wednesday. I tried to be good by getting some bits in for tea, but I grabbed the wrong sauce for some noodles. When I was taking our son up stairs, I tripped and he caught his head on a step, cue lots of crying, daddy feeling terrible and mummy being superwoman trying to calm everyone down. Thankfully he was fine, and slept really well through the night.

Thursday - I woke up to some unexpected and very sad news, during the night my auntie had passed away. The rest of the day was a blur as I came to terms with the news, but what I can remember was going to meet up with the rest of the family to be part of the grieving process. She will be missed.

Friday - As I walked home on Thursday I noticed that our car had a completely flat tyre. After swapping to the spare, I spent most of Friday trying to find a company that were able to replace the tyre. After a short delay whilst the tyre was delivered, we got it replaced. I made use of the time spent at the garage by working on my Five Favourite Friday post for the blog, so it wasn't wasted time.

Saturday - A chilled out morning for me and my partner playing on Terraria whilst our little boy napped. In the afternoon we all went to see some friends in Wem where our children made some salt dough shapes as the parents chatted (and helped). Then off to see my partners parents before heading home with a very tired little boy. We caught up on QI and some subscriptions on YouTube before heading to bed.

Sunday - The events of the morning were overshadowed by those of the afternoon. Whilst doing some tidying up in the kitchen my partner caught the water pipe at the stop tap and water started spraying all over the kitchen! After about an hour of trying to call our home insurers and various plumbers, we finally spoke to someone who could come out and help us. Not what we had planned 2 weeks before Christmas, but we couldn't exactly not do anything! The evening saw us mopping up the excess water and getting them washed. Not that he's likely to see this, but our neighbour deserves a massive thank you as he stopped and tried to help us during the panic. Also, we were so grateful that our son was so well behaved during it all. We had plenty on our plate trying to deal with the incident, and he sat playing, watching the TV and having a snack - he'll never know how grateful we are that he's so well behaved.

#Bolgmas2016 - Day 11

In today's post, I thought I'd tell you about the Christmas Day traditions that I grew up with...

Even though I would generally wake up earlier than normal, I wasn't allowed to disturb my parents before 07:30 so I'd stay in my room until then (I like to think it was a way of building excitement but I know it's because they valued a lie in). When I was finally allowed to leave my room, we'd all head down and I'd go into the front room to see if Santa had paid a visit to our house whilst my parents got drinks (tea/coffee/orange juice, nothing too strong at that hour!). Once we were all settled, we'd start to open gifts to one another. During this time, we would have our breakfast from a biscuit selection box. When our gifts had been exchanged we would spend the remaining time trying them out before lunch.

As I was entertained by new toys and my dad kept an eye on me, my mum would be preparing our Christmas lunch, turkey with all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding and a mince pie or two. I can recall that one year a cold winter had prevented our turkey thawing and we had to wait until quite late to have lunch.
After lunch we would go to my grandparents to meet up with the extended family to exchange gifts and have a buffet tea. One regret from my childhood traditions would be I don't remember watching the Queens speech, whether this was because I was busy playing with toys and / or my cousins or we just didn't have it on I can't remember. Later on in the evening we would head home to catch some of the Christmas TV specials or watch a film before heading to bed.
That's how I remember my childhood Christmas Days, do they sound like yours? Let me know in the comments below. Tomorrow I'll be putting up a post about the last week, and unfortunately there have been a number of stories to tell.

Reaching A Milestone!

This will be a very short post to say thank you to everyone for taking time to look at my Blog.  This morning I noticed that we've reached a bit of a milestone in that my blog has had 2,000 views since I started it back at the tail end of August.
I sometimes wonder if it's worth the effort to create my posts, but it's seeing these figures motivates me to keep going and putting posts on my Blog.
Thank you :)

#Blogmas2016 - Day 10

For today's blog, I thought I'd do a quick Christmas Q&A:
  1. What are your favourite things about Christmas? Spending time with family members and taking time out
  2. How much sleep do you average on Christmas Eve? It used to be a fair amount but I'd wake up earlier than normal at about 6:30, now I've got a young son I didn't not get much sleep as it is.
  3. Do you like flurries, blizzard, or no snow on Christmas? Blizzards, I'd rather be snowed in somewhere with loads of snow everywhere, than having small smatterings dotted about. I'd give anything for a Christmas like that!
  4. Real or Artificial tree? Real, every possible time. Due to circumstances we've gone with an artificial one this year and I fear there's no way back.
  5. What is your favourite ornament? This one
  6. Do you like giving or receiving presents more? Giving, I sometimes feel awkward opening gifts from other people so I'd rather give presents, even if I can struggle to get creative ideas!
  7. Star or Angel on top of your tree? Star, but I won't say either is right or wrong.
  8. When do you put up your decorations? I'd put them up a couple of weeks before Christmas but my partner gets impatient and wants to get them up at the start of December.
  9. When do you take them down? On the twelfth day like you're supposed to.
  10. When do you normally go Christmas shopping? Through December, although I do tend to pick bits up earlier in the year as I see them.
  11. When does the Christmas Season officially start for you? 1st December.
  12. What is better, the weeks leading up to Christmas, Eve, or Day? Christmas Day as all the stress (for me) dissipates because gifts are exchanged and there's no point worrying about things.
  13. Do you stay home on Christmas, or go out? In recent years, we been to my parents for breakfast and my partners parents for lunch before heading home.
  14. Have you ever had a miserable Christmas? No but I feel this year will be a bit muted.
  15. What is your Christmas meal? Turkey, plenty of vegetables and potatoes, with Christmas Pudding and mince pies to follow.

#Blogmas2016 - Day 9 / Five Favourite Friday... Family Friendly Festive Films

This week it's my turn to pick the topic for our Five Favourite Friday post, and after deliberating about a spin on favourite films, I've plucked for Family Friendly Festive Films, mainly because I knew my partner wouldn't like me mentioning Die Hard (1988).

On with my choices...
1) How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
One of Jim Carey's best performances as the lead character.  The Grinch is not a fan of Christmas, until he meets a small girl in Whoville who tries to befriend the Grinch...
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Poster
2) The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
A classic tale from Charles Dickens about Christmas redemption gets the Muppets interpretation.  Michael Caine takes the role of Scrooge and it's a role he was born to play, the fact he works so effortlessly with the Muppets... he should have got an Oscar for this performance!
The Muppet Christmas Carol Poster
3) The Snowman (1982) / Father Christmas (1991) / The Snowman And The Snowdog (2012)
It's impossible to separate The Snowman and Father Christmas, The Snowman And The Snowdog deserves its place alongside them.  Spanning 30 years, these are classics for UK children and are a staple on British TV every year.  I'm sure we'll create a family tradition of watching the films each Christmas.
The Snowman Poster  Father Christmas Poster  The Snowman and the Snowdog Poster
4) Home Alone (1990)
This is the Christmas film I remember from my childhood. Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) was a hero to my generation for taking on two robbers having been left behind by his family and chasing them away by making homemade traps.
Home Alone Poster
5) The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (2005)
Aside from the religious undertones, I love this film which contains some great CGI (or that's how I remember it).  Telling the story of four children that get evacuated during WW2 and get taken in by a couple with a wardrobe that transports the children to the magical realm of Narnia.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Poster
A possible honourable mention for Elf (2003), I say this as I've not seen it yet but it's my intentions to watch it this year (fingers crossed) as I've heard good things about it from a lot of people.  Another film that's been talked about for inclusion is Arthur Christmas (2003), which we're planning to watch next week, I'll let you know what I think of it soon!
Are there any films I should consider checking out with my family? Let me know in the comments below.  As always, you can check out my partners choices on her blog here.  My partner will be choosing the topic for our next Five Favourite Friday post, I suspect it will be Christmas themed again.