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!

To Write Or Not To Write

There are many definitions of writing but for this post I'm talking about novel writing.

Do I continue or not?

I've been working on my current unfinished novel for more than a year. It is intense and challenging and I often need breaks from the darkness. As a result I end up forgetting half my story and having re-acquaint myself with my characters. This is usually fine and I can get back into writing no problem. I know this novel is in me, I know I can get it out, but should I?

Blogging takes dedication and time. Minutes to write the posts but hours editing and finding the right image. Then there's the social side with sharing my post and communicating with others through linky's, social media and email.

Being a mum sucks my time away. I'm swamped by the constant cleaning, doing laundry and daily school runs. I struggle to keep on top of everything and if I don't I end up with a mountain of laundry and blah-blah-blah.

All I'm doing at the moment is complaining, and that's not how I feel about my life at all. My problem is that I'm torn, I want to blog, I want to turn it into something I can be proud of. But I also want to finish the novel, to get that book out there just to say I did. I don't even think it would sell but it would just be for me anyway, right?

The mum part is something I can't escape, those chores will be there every day. No one else will do them for me. So do I need to give something up to feel better about the other thing?

Do I stop blogging and concentrate on the book? I'm not sure I could even do that. I love blogging, and although I'm not consistent at the moment I have a plan for the new year.

So that leaves the book. Do I stop writing it altogether and concentrate on the blog. This is the question that's been plaguing me for a few weeks now. I love to write fiction but I'm better at the shorter pieces; flash fiction and such. I'm not one who is 'good with the words', I didn't go to university and I've spent most of my adulthood with children. Do I have the talent to write a novel?


I hate writing posts like this but I'm at a cross-road and I don't know which way to turn. I could really do with your help. Anyone. Everyone.


Writing Bubble

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?


This week feels like it's flown by, we've had so much going on. The boys' Christmas plays, Christmas Jumper day (at school yesterday), LP has a school trip today and The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 released yesterday.

The Hubby has been working his bottom off over the last few months, as well as his colleagues, to get the game out. And I've been testing (read playing) the game for him. Normally I would be worn down by the hectic week but I'm more motivated, which is strange. I've made plans for the blog in the new year, that I can hopefully stick to. I'm looking forward to getting back to my healthy eating after Christmas. And I can't wait to get lots of presents*.

Shopping this afternoon, still got so much to do for the big day! Deliveries to be made next weekend so that means lots of driving around the country. Christmas is always a busy time.

I'm currently running a giveaway, which ends on Monday, to win an iOS promo code for The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014. If you win you get the game for free (it costs £2.99). Please stop by and enter - there's a video clip that shows what the game is like.

*Hint, hint, Hubby!
The Reading Residence

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!

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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.

Christmas Wish List

A few weeks ago Kim over at Northumberland Mam posted her own Christmas Wish List. I was inspired to create my own and so here it is.

  1. A Thomas Sabo Charm Necklace Set.         £125.80
  2. Black high-neck dress from Next.                £24
  3. Grey Metallic Rib Dress from Next.            £30
  4. Central Perk mug from Hawkins Bazaar.     £7

I've wanted a Thomas Sabo Charm Necklace for ages but have been keeping it to myself. I do that throughout the year and then add things to my christmas list. The necklace above is the "Guardian Angel" set but they have lots of other charms too. This is a gift that could keep you going for years and you could end up with a huge collection of charms for it. *Hint, hint, Hubby!

When I was on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago I spotted this...

OMG I fell in love! It's a Lanvin cashmere dress and cannot be bought anymore. I was upset to say the least (not that the Hubby would let me buy something so expensive). However scouring the internet I found a couple of dresses that would just have to do. Both from Next I think they're lovely.

I'm a huge fan of Friends and have always wanted one of those large cappucino cups with 'Central Perk' on it. You can't buy them anymore but the mug from Hawkins Bazaar is awesome!

It's not much but this is my wish list for Christmas. What's on your list?

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

International Day for Abolition of Slavery

International Day for Abolition of Slavery

Today,  Tuesday 2nd December 2014, is the International Day for Abolition of Slavery. 

In 1807 Britain abolished slavery but holding a person in slavery didn't become illegal in the UK until 6th April 2010. Can you believe that?

Although slavery is outlawed in every country the number of slaves remains high. According to The Global Slavery Index modern slavery exists in all 167 countries covered by the GSI. The total number of people enslaved is 35.8 million. This number is 20% more than previously estimated (due to improved measurement techniques).

India is the country at the top of the GSI's list with an estimated 14.29 million people living as modern slaves.

Whether through human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, or commercial sexual exploitation, millions of people out there are suffering. Imagine what their lives must be like; unable to go for a walk when you feel like. Forced to commit acts you would otherwise never dream of. It's unthinkable.

That's why the abolishment of slavery is so important.

The Walk Foundation is a global organisation. Their mission is to:

 "end modern slavery in our generation by mobilising a global activist movement, generating the highest quality research, enlisting business and working with government to drive change in those countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for slavery today."

If you pop to their site you'll be able to read stories, find out what's happening and help spread the word. You can even follow them on Twitter.

India may be at the top of the GSI's list but the UK still has issues. With the publication of the UK Modern Slavery Bill comes extra powers to convict and punish child traffickers. But some say the bill doesn't go far enough. You can sign a petition to help the government get more powers to prosecute.

Modern slavery is happening right now. Let's help abolish it.

This isn't a sponsored post. I just feel it's important to spread the word. 


I'm back!

It feels like weeks ago that I was raving about things going so well. Ha! Famous last words.

As predicted it blew up in my face. Not even the organisation helped me. And then I got completely swamped with blog design and 'structured data errors'. OMG I never knew blogging would be such work!

Anyway, *takes a breath* I'm back. On Thursday I was so frustrated at not creating anything that I made myself sit until I'd written something. I glanced out of my window, stared at the distant hills, fog blurring the trees... BAM! Inspiration hit.

It was amazing and even though the piece was dark (quelle surprise) I was smiling the whole time. Words filled my head and my fingers raced across the keyboard. From now on I'm going to try to carve out time for creation every day. I've said before that I always feel better when creating.

As for the book I'm giving myself a break. I've put myself under a lot of pressure to finish but I don't work well that way. The book will be finished when I'm ready, even if it takes years. Okay so it's already taken years but how is it going to be great if I don't give it time?

Writing Bubble