Christmas Movies - My Top 10

Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to watch movies with the family.

Work is over with, everyone's at home and you're all feeling festive. Why not pick a movie, turn the lights down (or off) and grab some popcorn.

If you didn't know already (where have you been?!) everyone in the Prince household loves movies. From Disney Classics like Beauty and the Beast to Action-packed gore-fests like Shaun of the Dead. We (the Hubby and I) enjoy old films like 12 Angry Men and newer ones like The Hobbit. My boys love everything Disney but go crazy for Ice Age and Shrek.

With the Hubby's game finished and released and the boys breaking up from school on Friday I decided to make this list of our favourite movies. Over the next few weeks you can be sure we will watch one, or maybe all, of these movies.

10.  The Muppet Christmas Carol

A fun-filled movie following the classic story. Who doesn't love the Muppets?

9.  The Nightmare Before Christmas

My boys watch this movie at Halloween as well as Christmas. They both know the words to almost every song and love to sing along. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a brilliant animated movie with some entertaining characters. When I first saw this movie I really enjoyed it and have seen it about a thousand times (the boys watch it over and over again).

8.  Home Alone

As a kid I loved it, as a parent not so much. This is a great movie for the kids, they find Kevin's antics hilariously funny. Setting traps for robbers and enjoying time alone as a 10 year old boy must seem like a dream to them. I feel for the mother and can't believe she left her son alone in the house. But hey, it's Christmas right? And we all forget stuff at Christmas.

One for the kids more than the adults.

7.  Santa Claus The Movie

This is another movie I watched over and over as a child. I loved the elf in Santa Claus The Movie and I seem to remember crying at the end. The actor who played Santa Claus in this movie symbolised Santa for me. A really great christmas movie.

6.  The Snowman & The Snowdog

Aired for the first time in 2012 and made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Snowman, this movie sticks with a similar story. The first flurry of snow and a boy hurries outside to build his snowman. A touch of magic and the snowman comes alive to take the boy on a magical flight. I love the music from this movie so much we bought the soundtrack and I've been listening to it while writing this post!

5.  The Snowman

I know what you're singing in your head right now. "We're walking in the air...." and you didn't read that, you sang it!

Aled Jones' recorded version of that song was the theme tune of my christmases as a child. I loved the short movie, still do. The magic of a snowman coming alive, the wonder of seeing the real Santa! Truly magical. The Snowman holds a special place in my heart.

4.  A Christmas Carol (1984)

It took me a while to find out that this was a TV movie. I remember it very well but didn't realise that it was a TV movie. It must've been on the TV when I was three years old and repeated because I remember watching it every year. It's the movie I think of when someone says A Christmas Carol. Did you ever watch it?

I like the newer, animated A Christmas Carol but I don't think any other movie will hold a place in my heart like the 1984 version.

3.  It's a Wonderful Life

Whenever I hear the title of this movie I hear Phoebe from Friends complaining about a sucky life. If you know the series well, you'll know which episode I'm talking about. As a child her mother stopped sad movies before the end so that she wouldn't have to see all the bad things in life. When Phoebe catches the end of Old Yeller at Monica's apartment she realises her mother had lied to her and goes on a movie watching marathon which gets her depressed about life. But anyway... This wasn't supposed to be about Friends!

It's a Wonderful Life is a truly Christmassy movie with a fantastic warm feel-good ending. Even it being in black and white cannot dampen the spirit of this movie.

2.  The Holiday

When the Holiday was released I was expecting a Love Actually copy. I had watched another Love Actually copy and not been impressed so I didn't hold any hopes.

Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz swap homes for the festive period, both wanting to get away from men. With clips that will make you laugh and cry this is a must for any rom-com lover. It's perfect to watch with your man beside you and a glass of wine in your hand.

1.  Love Actually

My ALL TIME favourite christmas movie. I will never bore of this film. Ever.

Every year the Hubby and I spend Christmas Eve wrapping presents, making deliveries and trying to quell the inevitable excitement of the children. Once the boys are in bed, and all the presents are wrapped and under the tree we can settle down and relax. And every year we watch Love Actually, it has become our Christmas tradition.

If you ever wanted a movie that could make you laugh till you almost pee in your pants, cry so hard you don't think you have anything left, and restore your faith in humanity, Love Actually is it. This movie has everything, from the struggling musician to the newly appointed Prime Minister. It also has one of the best openings of a movie. Ever.

Not one for the kids, but after they've gone to bed snuggle up with the significant other and enjoy the peace.

There you are, my top 10 picks for this festive period. Now go grab yourself a glass of wine, pick a movie and enjoy!

The Writing's on the Wall

When was the last time your children wrote on the wall? 

Have they ever?

Big Prince is 10 years old and I don't remember him ever writing on the wall. Not once.
He drew on his quilt with a felt-tip pen once when he was 5 or 6. He tried to blame his brother, who was less than 1 at the time. The hubby found the drawing while tucking BP in at night and had it been on paper I'd have found it entertaining. But it wasn't, it was on his quilt. I was not happy!

Little Prince has never written on the wall. He has, however, pulled wallpaper off the wall. He saw a piece of paper poking out and pulled. He ended up tearing a whole section off the wall. Again, not happy.

Neither of them have done anything like that for a long time. I thought I didn't need to worry about writing on the wall anymore, even with LP being 5. But it turns out I was wrong.

The other day I came downstairs and saw the Hubby staring at the wall. I wondered if he'd gone crazy until he looked me in the eye and told me to look. I walked into the kitchen and he pointed at this...

This light switch is high up and that drawing is too small and neat to belong to LP. It's the work of BP. The anger bubbled inside me but I tried to quell it. I shouted BP into the room, asked him why he did it.

"I don't know." was all I got.

I shouted. BP stomped. Then he lost (I confiscated) his iPad for the day.

I thought that was it, that there'd be no more writing on the wall. But no...

He also wrote his brother's name, I blurred it out.
When I shouted at him for writing on the wall in the kitchen he failed to mention he'd done this too. When I asked him why he said he didn't want to get in more trouble. Although I understood, I had to walk away as anger took hold of me. He was told not to do it again and punished, but I couldn't talk to him. I couldn't understand why, at 10 years old, he would pick up a pen (that's right, a pen!) and write on the wall.

I still can't. Whenever I think about it anger ties knots in my stomach again. I mean, what possessed him?!

Have your children ever stumped you with their actions?

The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 I am running a giveaway. 

I have a promotional code to allow one of my lucky readers to download the game for free!

I have watched the Hubby and his colleagues at CrashLab work hard over the last few months to put out the best game they can. The original game transformed to the updated version, and it has been amazing. I remember seeing it on an iPad Air for the first time and loved how it looked on the retina screen.

Whenever you play The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 you can't help but hope for snow. It captures the magic of Christmas so well. Unlike other games that have annoying Christmas tunes that are repetitive this game has music from the film. My favourite track plays when you're flying in the plane, it fits perfectly. The soundtrack is available to buy on iTunes for £3.99.

What I love most in The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 are the little touches for that extra bit of magic. For example if you swipe up when flying in the plane, the plane does a loop-the-loop!

There are other things in there too - see if you can find them.

I could go on and on about how wonderful this game is but I'm sure you think I'm biased so I'll shut up.

Check out the video instead!

Lets get this giveaway started!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Brilliant blog posts on

The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 - OUT NOW!

The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014

On 9th December 2012 Channel 4 released the original The Snowman and The Snowdog game on iOS and Android. Downloaded more than 1 million times in the UK and Ireland the game won awards. I am proud to say the Hubby runs the company that made this game.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the Hubby would be making an updated version of The Snowman and The Snowdog game.

After months of hard work and long hours the game is released today! The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 is available on iOS, AndroidAmazon and Windows phones. It costs £2.99 to download, and that's it, the game has NO in-app purchases.

The Dinosaur That Pooped Review & Giveaway

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas is a Christmassy story about a boy called Danny. Although Danny already has lots of toys his Christmas list is long and Santa teaches Danny a lesson by leaving him an "unpleasant" present. What comes next is an amusing story about Danny and his present.

The rhyming in this book makes reading easy and entertaining for both reader and listener. Little Prince liked it so much he wanted to read himself but after trying and failing (it's a little hard for him) he asked me to carry on reading. He was amused by the story content and kept giggling to himself as I read.

Are You The You You Want To Be?

When was the last time you asked yourself that question?

When was the last time you thought about yourself?

Mama_andmore, one of the hosts of #AllAboutYou, tweeted me yesterday reminding me about the linky. At the time I'd been wondering what to write. I thought about Zaz (aka mama_andmore) and her recent adventures with training to be a yoga teacher. I considered my own life and my never-ending love-hate relationship with my novel. And I thought about You. Yes, you. I wondered if you're happy with who you are.

Throughout my years I have, more often than not, been unhappy with 'me'. Whether being overweight, awkward or just plain bored, there was always something that felt off.

Teenage Years:  Ah yes, the time when you don't know who you are, or even who you're trying to be. I was unhappy, stressed and awkward. I had bad hair, had no style and no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

Young Parent Years:  Oh boy this time was stressful. Unsure I was doing it right and afraid I would harm my child. I stumbled through parenting and being a housewife while the Hubby worked in an office every day. I hated being at home alone, I hated having to do chores and didn't think I was a capable mother.

Today:  Well, lets see... I'm a healthy weight. I've struggled with my weight for years, done the yo-yo dieting and never been able to keep a consistent weight. These days I can. I have sustained my current weight (give or take a pound or two) for more than a year. I enjoy daily walks with friends. I'm a confident mother (most of the time) and love both my children.

It has taken time (and money) to make myself happy. Diets, gaining a love/like of exercise and most of all spending time writing. Creating worlds and characters is my purpose. It doesn't make me any money (yet) but I love to do it. I am now the me I want to be.

Healthy, happy and writing.

When was the last time you spent money on yourself? Or even time? Think about it. We, as mothers, spend our every waking moment considering others. Children and partners come first but that doesn't leave much for yourself. Sometimes it's okay to spend time and money (shock/horror!) on yourself.

Soak in a hot bath. Enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee. Or perhaps invest in a future you, the you you've always wanted to be. Take that course to learn something new, apply for that job you know you're right for. Do it for YOU.

So let me ask you again...

Are you the you you want to be?

Mama and More


This morning I started out trying to be inspired by The Prompt for this week which is 'thankful'. A great prompt but it wasn't helping my blockage. A few words came but I stumbled.

Morgan's Milieu | Thankful: A darkened view of a grassy field

I wanted to write fiction. I have written no fiction for a while, I need to get back to it. Then I remembered being inspired for a blog post I hadn't written yet. All I needed to do was take a look out of my window. 

I got up, pen and paper in hand, and stared out of the window in my office. I wrote a few words, and it happened. That magic writers love; inspiration. The words flowed. And here they are...

The house is quiet; they've gone out. I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing I'm alone for a few hours. I drag myself from the bed and wander to the small window. The chain, that's secured around my waist, drags across the floor.

From my window I peer at the world. Fog lingers on the hills in the distance blurring the browning trees. The sun is trying hard to burst through the clouds but failing. Fields span the horizon, green sheets lined by brown trees. Behind one of the smaller hills I spy the tops of rushing cars and lorries. They speed along that busy road, not knowing that I'm here. Maybe Dad is driving one of those cars.

Tears fill my eyes. My heart aches, my chest tightens.

A sob escapes and echoes around my dark prison. I turn and scan my surroundings for the hundredth time. Wooden beams support the roof above my head, restricting space. My bed, the thin mattress on the floor with a sheet on top, sits between two beams in the far corner. One end of the chain is wrapped around the beam next to my bed, secured by a large padlock. The other end circles my waist, again secured by a padlock. My hands are free, for now.

The tears spill onto my cheeks. Accepting my fate I walk to my bed and sit, crossed legs. I cover my face with my hands and scream into them.

A loud bang beneath me shakes the house. I raise my head from my hands, eyes landing on the attic door across the other side of the room. Out of reach.

My heart races and my muscles tense. They're back already?

Muffled voices come from below. I shuffle back on my bed, huddling into the wall. I wrap my arms around my knees and watch the door.

The stairs creak. The banister cracks. Adrenaline rushes through my body and I wipe the tears from my face. I won't let them see me crying. Footsteps come closer. The attic door clicks and light floods into my room as the door opens. Metal scrapes against metal as the ladder slides down to them.

Boots on metal.

I don't think I can take it again. Please let them leave. Please.

A head rises through the hole, black hair and a pale face. It peers into the dark corners of the room and I freeze. I hold my breath. The person steps up the ladder again. I jump and the chain drags on the floor.

"Lou? Louise is that you?"

Am I hearing things? That sounded like...

"Dad?" I whisper.


He rushes up the ladder and storms across the attic. I get up, my legs shaking. Tears flow from my eyes. He wraps his big arms around me, enclosing me in a warm embrace. Dad unlocks the padlock at my waist, drops the chain, and it thuds on the floor. My legs give way beneath me and dad picks me up and carries me towards the attic door.

It may not be great but getting inspiration makes me feel better. I've written a piece of fiction and I'm hoping it's just the start. And you know what? It fits into this week's The Prompt too (kind of). Yay!

Prose for Thought


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Christmas Shopping - How Do You Do It?

I prefer this to the manic shopping centres!

There's less than a month to go...

How prepared are you?

Are all your gifts bought? Wrapped?

Or, like me, have you still got EVERYTHING to do?

Top 10 Kids Movies

Watching movies has always been one of the ways we spend time together as a family, but it’s also how the boys enjoy spending time at weekends and after school, especially if there’s a new movie out they’ve been waiting for. Over the years we have accumulated hundreds of DVDs and most evenings the Hubby and I sit and watch something, whether that’s a movie or our favourite TV show. The boys enjoy sitting in our 'movie room' munching on popcorn and watching a movie They love it even more when their friends visit for movie night. Given our love of movies I asked the boys to share their top 10 kids movies with you.

Top 10 Kids Movies | A cinema is a great way of spending time together with your kids.
Visiting the cinema with your kids could be a great way of finding new movies.

At 5 years old LP has his favourites, they’re all animated and that just reflects his preferences at the moment. 

Wreck It Ralph 

He loves Wreck It Ralph, all the jokes and the colour gets him laughing. This is one movie we don’t mind watching with him too, it’s amusing seeing all of the “old school” references like PacMan and how all the characters from our favourite Arcade Machine games interact with one another. It’s a fun movie with a good story. 

The Incredibles 

LP loves the action in this movie, and his favourite character is Dash - to be honest I think he thinks of himself as a bit of a Dash! He’s always rushing around and trying to speed through everything. He enjoys watching Dash help his dad (which he also likes to do) and be the superheroes they were born to be. A fantastic movie, made by Pixar (I haven’t seen a bad Pixar movie yet!), and one all the family can enjoy. 

I have a very simple definition of a good movie: a good movie makes you forget you're watching a movie.

Michael Cimino

Toy Story 3 

Another Pixar movie LP always enjoys a Toy Story day. He will often want to watch all three in quick succession. And of course he has to have his Buzz Lightyear and Woody dolls with him when watching. Woody is his favourite, and he even has a pull string too. It’s funny watching him play with Woody as he watches the movie. 

The Lego Movie 

Young boys do love Lego don’t they? Imagine a movie that brings that lego to life. I have no doubt that’s why LP loves this movie so much. Seeing characters like Batman brought to life who have a brilliant sense of humour too - a young boy’s dream. The Hubby and I have watched The Lego Movie too and I have to say it’s very entertaining. There’s some jokes that must go over the kids heads and Hubby and I always laugh. I love a kids movie that acknowledges adults will be watching too. 

Ice Age Series 

This is a bit of a cheat because there’s 3 movies in the series (so far) but LP tends to watch them together. He has a bedding set themed on Ice Age, and he has books to read too. I think he likes all the snow and watching the animals have fun while beating the challenges thrown at them during the movie. 

Top 10 Kids Movies | The snow in Ice Age is very appealing to the kids.
A winter wonderland the kids would love.

BP, now 10 years old, prefers the older movies. He does enjoy a good animated movie but his tastes are starting to change a little and there are a one or two live action movies he likes too. 

Star Wars 3 

I’m not sure why he chose this movie in particular but it is his favourite of the Star Wars movies. To be honest I’m not much of a fan of the series but I know it’s huge and very popular. I think BP likes it because of all the fantasy - the aliens and space travel is very appealing to a young aspiring writer

Lilo & Stitch 

Being a huge Stitch fan, he’s even drawn him once or twice, this one was an obvious choice. He likes the story but I think what he likes most is that he gets to see Stitch. I love this movie because it’s about family, and teaches children that even though someone might be a bit different they can still be part of your family. A good lesson I think. 

One of my main weaknesses is a good movie. I'll just bawl my eyes out. 

Randy Houser

Rio 2 

Not having watched this movie I don’t know a lot about it, but I do know it’s about birds. BP often has this movie playing after school when he’s “chilling out”. 

The Simpsons The Movie 

It’s so funny when BP watches this movie because he laughs a lot. His funny little laugh echoes through the house and I have to laugh too. The movie is full of amusing things and I think the fact that it’s about The Simpsons, a dysfunctional family that truly love one another despite driving each other mad, makes it fantastic. And BP loves the SpiderPig too. 

The Sorcerer's Apprentice 

Another movie that also fuels his love of fantasy. A young boy learns to be a sorcerer, as the title suggests, but BP likes it because I guess he can imagine himself being that boy. He likes the magic and mystery of this movie.


When given the choice I’m not sure whether BP would choose an animated or a live-action movie, I think it depends what mood he is in. 

We have friends coming over this evening because the Hubby is in South Korea and we decided to have a movie night. The boys chose their movie - Frozen. LP said he wanted to watch that movie because his friend is a girl and he thinks she would prefer that. I have no doubt he is right. 

What are your kids' favourite movies? 

If you enjoyed this you’ll also enjoy The best movies to watch with your children or if you’re looking for other ways to spend time with your kids check out How we spend time together as a family

Do stop by Facebook and let me know what your favourite movies are. 

And if you’re looking for ways to keep your kids busy during the holidays I have this Christmas themed Activity Book for you. Why not check it out?

A Week of Lone Parenting

A week of lone parenting when you're used to dual parenting?

This week the Hubby goes to South Korea and I'll be alone with the boys...

Zombie and Frankenstein children's costumes

Forget About Technology

Surrounded by laptops, tablets and smart-phones 24 hours a day can get overwhelming. Never being out of range and always having the ability to access the internet can make you forget the simple pleasures. 

Morgan's Milieu | Forget About Technology: Two boys sat on a brown leather sofa playing games.
The boys playing games, as usual.

These days children entertain themselves with iPad, Xbox, Playstation, DVDs, Netflix and loads of other technology. They’re bombarded with advertising, whether it be on the TV or iPad, and they always want new things. New Xbox games, new characters for said games, new apps for iPad. My boys rarely ask for new toys, not real toys, like an action man or something. 

Alton Towers Fireworks 2014

Alton Towers Castle at sunset
Alton Towers Castle
Every year Alton Towers reserves the last weekend of the season for their Fireworks show. On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening at 7pm the show begins. 
We attend most years (with merlin passes it's free) and the boys look forward to it every time. This year was no different and as we headed home from school on Friday 7th November they were super excited.

It's The Simple Things

We dream of a better life. 

Whether it’s winning the lottery or snagging that perfect job we have an urge to do or be better. No matter where you live or what job you have there’s always that nagging feeling someone has a better life than you. Their lives are easier, or they’re more lucky, or more beautiful. 

We work lots of hours, push ourselves hard thinking we can get there. We chastise ourselves when we don’t succeed and push harder next time. I’m guilty of this myself, I try hard to achieve something and when I don’t self-doubt eats away at me. 

Forts made from blankets
Cue blanket forts...
But lately I’ve been paying particular attention to the times when we are together as a family. Those times when the boys are playing or when we’re sitting watching a movie together. Even a simple drive in the car when everyone is singing along to a movie soundtrack. These times make me realise it doesn’t matter how much money we do or don’t have. We could be sat on the floor of an empty house or relaxing on the couch in a mansion - the only difference is the setting. My family makes my life awesome.

A drive in the car fills me with such happiness I want to cry. My boys singing along to Shrek the Musical soundtrack at the top of their voices brings tears to my eyes. They play together and a  magic sweet spot drops over them and there’s no bickering. Even ordering a pizza brings us together in a way that can’t be ignored. 

Lego Chima set
...and lots and lots of Lego
It’s those simple things. The things that just happen. Taking a minute to appreciate those times can change a dull and boring day into a magical one. It makes you realise no matter what ‘things’ we own, no matter how much money we earn, the simple things matter most. The time spent together and the love between us. That’s what makes life worth living. 

Are you ever overwhelmed by the simple things?

Drawing Stitch

Back in my teenage years I loved to draw; sketching, shading, colouring, anything artistic. I’d spend hours on one drawing and even though I had little talent it made me happy. I was self-critical, but I always enjoyed the challenge of sketching something intricate.

Drawing of Stitch by adult
My attempt at drawing (and colouring in) Stitch

My eldest son, BP, likes drawing too. When he’s inspired he can spend ages on a drawing. For christmas last year we bought him two ‘how-to-draw’ books. They taught you, step-by-step, how to draw Disney characters and villains. We are big Disney fans and thought this would be the perfect fit. So far he’s tried three Toy Story villains including Zurg. 

Back in September last year I impressed BP with my attempt at drawing Stitch. He has avoided drawing the little alien since then. For half-term I challenged BP to draw Stitch, and it lit a fire in his belly. He spent the whole afternoon sketching. When he’d finished he was proud of himself but wanted to colour it in too. He asked me if I would colour in my drawing so he could watch how I did it. I agreed.

He surprised me with his enthusiasm and he listened to my advice, which is a novelty!

Drawing of Stitch by 10 year old

BP's drawing of Stitch. He makes me so proud!

I’ve challenged him to do more drawing. At the moment the Disney characters are enough and he has a Marvel how-to-draw book for later. I want him to get to a place where he can challenge himself. But I look forward to the day he creates his own characters and I see them animated in the next Pixar movie!

How do you challenge your children?

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A New Yoga Routine

At the start of half-term, concerned that I wouldn't be doing any walking, I checked out yoga videos on YouTube

I rolled out the mat. The instructor recommended doing yoga every day for a week. And this is how it went...

Monday 27th October

Day 1

Followed the instructor on the video. My whole body stretched and lengthened which is a new experience. I enjoyed it though. Being able to exercise my body without getting out of breath is nice too.

The Bickering Siblings

When I was a child, living at home with my parents, me and my sisters fought. We bickered and taunted each other. We pulled hair, scratched, bit, punched and kicked. The older we got, the worse the fighting got.

I remember our mother yelling. A lot. She told us to stop bickering and annoying each other. She confiscated toys, took away TV and punished us in every way she could. In fact I remember getting a clip around the ear once or twice. 

Ghouls, Ghosts and Goblins

On Halloween they emerge from the underworld trawling the streets for victims. Weapons in hand, swag slung over one shoulder. Travelling from house-to-house they collect their ‘gold’ and shriek into the night. Then head home to munch on sweets.

Skeleton Halloween Outfit

Skeletons, witches and zombies.

Children love Halloween. 

As a parent I am in two minds about Halloween. I love seeing the kids in the neighbourhood dressed up and knocking on doors to collect sweets. I enjoy looking at the houses decorated with pumpkins, skeletons and candles. But Halloween falls at the end of October. It is bleak. The wind is brisk and strong and the chill in the air makes its way into your bones. Brrr.

Fiona Halloween OutfitShrek Halloween Outfit
Two years ago the hubby and I wore outfits too. The hubby dressed up as Shrek and I was Fiona, the kids thought it was great. I was freezing, the dress I had on was thin and didn’t protect me from the bitter wind. But it was fun entertaining the little ones in the houses we visited. 

This year the hubby and I aren’t dressing up but the boys love it just the same. They’re looking forward to going out in the dark, visiting the decorated houses and getting their bags filled with sweets. They’ll be full of smiles when we return home and Halloween will be over for another year.

As much as I hate being out on an autumnal evening I know I’ll miss it when the kids are older. When they decide they’re too old for dressing up I’ll wish I could take them trick-or-treating. 

I will make the most of the next few years of Halloween. I’ll take pictures and enjoy the time, even after the sweets are gone.

What do you do to get into the spirit of Halloween?

Exercise Anyone?

Exercise is important.

Or so the experts say. It reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and if you need to, helps you lose weight. The more exercise we do the healthier we are. And yet so many of us find it difficult to drag our lazy butts to a gym. Including me.

I’ve found that carving out 30 minutes for a power-walk in a morning has done wonders. After dropping the kids off at school but before starting chores at home I walk with friends. While doing my walk I get to chat to friends and catch up on gossip as well as getting that all-important exercise. 

Thirty minutes every day…

I don’t walk every day, and in the holidays I don’t walk at all. 

How do I get exercise in the school holidays? 

I go on the treadmill or do yoga. The treadmill is harder, especially when the kids are home and LP comes running into the garage asking for a drink just as I’m sprinting. I tend to save treadmill for school days.

Yoga is different. In the past I attended a class, which I enjoyed very much, but it got cancelled. A few days ago, as I was suffering with backache, I decided to check out videos on YouTube. I found a brilliant one for beginners (find it here), watched it and tried it out. At only 20 minutes long it was enough to stretch out my body and ease the aches. And it doesn’t matter if the kids come in to talk - bonus!

Start small

When you’re first starting out with a new exercise regime I suggest starting with small changes. Start out with the occasional walk. Once you’re ready add in a minute of running or jogging. Then two minutes. Eventually you’ll find you’re running for 20 minutes.

When I do get the chance to run on the treadmill I run for a mile without stopping, that’s my limit at the moment. At the mile mark I slow to a power-walk for a minute, have a drink of water, and run again. The second mile is more like that, power-walk and run, but I am getting there. I know that I’ll get to running that 2 miles in no time.

If I can go from being 14st 8lbs and never running to 10st 9lbs and running on a weekly basis then anyone can.

Do you have any tips for anyone starting a new regime?
What would be your questions if you’re the one starting?

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light - Review & Giveaway

A few weeks ago I received Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light to review. It is a book I'd never heard of but thought it might be something BP would enjoy reading. I'm always looking out for books to encourage him to read more.

Skulduggery Pleasant

Here's a teaser...

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: The Dying of the Light 

The FINAL shocking, heart-wrenching book in the jaw-droppingly stupendous Skulduggery Pleasant series. 
Valkerie. Darquesse. Stephanie. The world ain’t big enough for the three of them. The end will come… 
The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties. Following the loss of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder.And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals… and Valkyrie’s own murderous reflection. 
The war may be over, but the final battle is about to begin. And not everyone gets out of here alive…

With a book like this I wait for BP to read the story and then ask him to tell me about it. But as the book is large (605 pages) I figured I'd get through it far quicker so I read it first. At least that's my official reason. BP is working his way through book 1 in the series - Skulduggery Pleasant.

I wasn't sure what to expect, after all it's an older children's book. And the last in a series of 10. Could I read the last story first?

Well, as it turns out, YES I could. The book was hard to put down, and I was pleasantly (hehe) surprised. I am not ashamed to say I will back and read the other books. I enjoyed the story, the characters and their adventures.

There were a few references to things that had happened (in earlier books) that made me want to go back and read the other stories. It wasn't distracting or jarring and I followed the story without knowing anything about the characters' other adventures.

When I picked up the book to continue reading I transported into their world and felt like the characters were alive. Or dead, as the case may be. Skulduggery Pleasant is a brilliant character who provides comedic relief in times of tension but is also a good friend to have around in a sticky spot. I found myself wanting to know more about this mysterious detective.

I don't usually enjoy fantasy books but this one grabbed me right from the start. Even though there were monster hunters, dead people, and magical powers I believed it all. I laughed along with characters breathed faster in the 'fight' scenes. 

I know BP will enjoy Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light and if this last one is anything to go by, he will enjoy all the others too. I'd recommend this series of books.


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I was sent Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light for review. This is an honest review and all opinions are my own.

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The Storm Rages On

The Prompt this week was Thunder and I was immediately hit with inspiration. It has taken me all week to hone this flash fiction and I hope you all like it. 
A lightening strike in the night

The walls shook as the front door slammed. My heart jumped into my throat.

He was home.

I put on my mask and smiled as he walked into the kitchen. But something had happened, he glared and the anger in his eyes burned my skin. I fought back the tears.

"I told you the drive needed clearing!" He said.


He left the kitchen and headed into the lounge. Not wasting a second I darted out of the kitchen and hurried upstairs, making sure to keep my footsteps light. I closed the bedroom door behind me and as it clicked I froze. Holding my breath I listened for him coming up the stairs. Nothing.

"ANDREA!" His voice boomed from the lounge.

My heart hammered in my chest as I looked around for somewhere to hide. The wardrobe was small but tucked away in the corner. He wouldn't look in there. I pulled the doors open, climbed inside and closed the doors. I shuffled into the corner, wrapped my arms around my knees and prayed that he wouldn't find me.

"Andrea!" He shouted.

I heard his heavy footsteps as he stomped from one room to another looking for me. The storm was brewing and it would make landfall soon.

"What is this crap? I'm not going anywhere!"

He shouted from the bottom of the stairs. A moment's silence and he ran upstairs; footsteps like thunder raging inside the house. The bedroom door burst open. I held my breath.

Please don't let him find me. Not again.

The bedroom door closed but I couldn't bring myself to check. My heartbeat thumped in my ears.

"I won't be back." He called.

The front door shook the house again and I let out a breath. I clambered out of the wardrobe and inched the bedroom door open. I peeked out. The house was silent.

I creeped downstairs. My foot landed on the carpet at the bottom and I sighed. As I walked towards the lounge my heartbeat settled. I glanced in and stopped dead.

His cases still sat in the centre of the room.

"Hello Andrea." He smirked.