Archive of ‘Reviews’ category

The Princess Switch (2018) Netflix Review

This one seems to be the “hot” Netflix Christmas release for this year, so it was firmly on my list of movies to watch. The Princess Switch starring Vanessa Hudgens who you might recognise from High School Musical.

The Princess Switch

Synopsis:

Stacy runs a bakery in Chicago (CHICAGO! SHE IS FROM CHICAGO! If it is mentioned once it is mentioned a hundred times), who enters a Christmas baking competition in the kingdom of Belgravia. She bumps into the fiancee of the prince of Belgravia, who is her double just with a posh accent and pearl necklace. Lady Jane Poshface wants to find out what it’s like to be a “real life girl” so they embark on the ol’ switcharoony for a couple of days. What could possibly go wrong?!

Acting:

9/10

Actually not too bad, not too cringe. It’s no Shawshank but on our ‘Terrible Christmas Movie’ scale it’s up there.

Story:

9/10

SPOILERS

A solid score! Of course, it’s stupid and silly but I thought it was quite a cute story. Hudges does a great wondering accent from both sides, but none of the other characters seemed to notice? No “mate, what happened to your accent?”, I would have noticed!

I am not sure the whole rival with the woman in the competition was needed, it felt a little bit tagged on and didn’t necessarily bring anything to the story. Also, I mean…. she managed to bake an entire gigantic cake without a mixer, I am sure she can handle some filling by hand. Also, did anyone else notice the cake was decorated before she had made the filling? These oversights did make the whole attempt at creating suspense in the baking competition feel last minute and not very thought through. They were not needed.

Dead Parent Count:

2

Setting:

9.5/10

It could not have been more Christmassy unless it was set in lapland. We quickly move from Chicago to the snowy Christmas villages of Belgravia. The country seems to thrive on Christmas and it’s all about the decorations, baubles, stockings, trees. Every scene is pretty much focused around Christmas or doing something Christmassy.

Predictability:

6/10

It manages to be predictable without feeling like you are wasting your time because you know where the story is going. Yes it is predictable but I didn’t mind.

Cheesy Rating:

8/10

Mozzerella

Terrible Rating:

5/10

It is silly. It is not THAT terrible. I may have even enjoyed it.

Once Upon a Holiday (2015) – Netflix Review

Once Upon a Holiday. Cue awkward family photograph movie poster.

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Synopsis:

A princess of a teeny weeny country no one seems to have heard of is visiting New York doing her yearly Christmas meetings. She wants to go and explore and have fun, but alas now she is a grown up she has to do boring things. So she runs off.

Acting:

6/10

Hit and miss. The main actress playing the Princess is alright as are most of the main cast. However the opening sequence with the child actor is pretty painful. The chap playing the (sisters?) journalist boyfriend is woeful. It’s like he went to the acting school for comic books are studied the villain chapter. He may as well be doing a Dr Evil impression.

Story:

7/10

SPOILERS

Don’t think too hard about the story, because it will ruin the fact it is terribly enjoyable. If you think too hard you realise it is terribly terrible. The beginning is somewhat amusing, even if it is not meant to be. She seems woefully inept at navigating the city and is wondering around like a doe eyed alien who has never seen a skyscraper before. She is mugged for her vintage camera and clutch bag, and doesn’t seem to notice. She just stands there blinking at our love interest like she malfunctioned, has restored to factory settings and is awaiting instructions. *blink blink* I did question the motivations of the “helpful” characters who seemed to just be okay taking in a woman who seemed like she may have had some kind of breakdown and wondered off without any ID in her fancy shoes. At no point is anyone like “love you ok?, can I call someone?” instead like, “here have some chips and a kip on my sofa”. Bizarre.

Also the journalist who seems to be covering this story and it’s his make or break career moment doesn’t recognise her? Fail.

Dead Parent Count:

2

Setting:

8/10

The film feels pretty Christmassy I think. City Christmassy. One of the main plot points is that this was where she felt close to her parents as they would all visit together at Christmas time. There are lots of lovely decorations. And of course the token Snowy European Mountain of her kingdom (queendom? princessdom?)

Predictability:

7/10

Of course we know there is a happy ever after coming and the warm and fuzzies are on their way. However it doesn’t feel like a tiresome journey to get to where you know you are going.

Cheesy Rating:

7/10

Burrata

Terrible Rating:

6/10

It is suitably terrible in that you don’t want to admit you actually might have enjoyed it.

A Wish for Christmas (2016) – Netflix Review

A Wish for Christmas was next on my Netflix tour of terrible Christmas movies.

A Wish For Christmas

Synopsis:

Sarah is a junior website developer for a marketing company with dreams of moving up the ranks. However she is unconfident and afraid to speak up, meaning that people like her boss walk all over her. Santa pops by to grant her one magic wish (ta pet) and she wishes for courage (ala cowardly lion) which she has for the next 48 hours. HURRAH. Cue sassy pants, making goo goo eyes at the CEO of your company and decorating cookies with his Mum.

Acting:

8.5/10

Lacey Chabert plays the main character Sarah and does a pretty standard Hallmark movies job. Ticks the boxes for me. Extra 0.5 for the cute child with speech impediment “fwanks Sawah”

Story:

8/10

It’s corny, but corny like a nice barbecued corn on the cob smothered in butter. It’s what I want going into a Christmas movie. I am not sure magic Santa wishes were necessarily required in the plot, could have been that she just had enough and started speaking her mind.

Dead Parent Count:

1

Setting:

9/10

Starts of city, heads over to small snow capped ski town. Cute houses, snow, smothering of fairy lights and baubles. Random carol singers. Scenes are suitably Christmas pretty.

Predictability:

8/10

Overall we all know where the story was headed but there were some nice sassy pants moments that were not too painful to watch. It’s predictable in the warm cosy way, like you know what you are getting. A comfortable old pair of slippers.

Cheesy Rating:

8/10

Cheddar

Terrible Rating:

6/10

Can’t lie I enjoyed it, I had a nice time. It is not that terrible. It certainly isn’t great but it’s what I want in a Christmas movie.

 

Angel of Christmas (2015) Netflix Review

Hallmark movies, Angel of Christmas was next up.

Angel of Christmas

Synopsis:

Susan is set the task of writing an article (looming deadline, Christmas of course) about a wooden hand-carved angel that has been passed down through her family. The angel seems to bring people together (when I say bring them together I mean, doe eyes and marriage within a year or so…YIKES).

Acting:

6/10

Generally not too bad, but there are some super cringe worthy moments of weird acting.

Story:

5/10

SPOILERS

It’s pretty painful if I am honest. Even by my terrible movie standards. Her great-grandfather carved the angel for a mystery actress he fell in love with before meeting her great-grandmother. It’s all a big mystery. Both her grandparents and her parents met after dealing with this pesky wooden angel (who I am SORRY but is far too heavy for any sodding Christmas tree). OOOOOH MYSTERIOUS. Damn thing seems to be able to blow papers around, turn TVs on and cut out the power. What did G-G-PA carve this thing with?! Gandalf’s staff?

Susan hates Christmas because her ex dumped her one year. WORST REASON EVER. Get over it, have a gingerbread latte love.

Her love interest has paint splattered on his face and clothes for the majority of the film…we get it, he is a free-spirited artist. Susan and him are just so mismatched, I think that is what they were going for (opposites attract kind of thing) but it almost went too far. I give their relationship until Easter. She was better off going with the bloke in her office.

Dead Parent Count:

0

Setting:

3/10

Set in New York. Throw in a token snow cabin at the end. The constant CGI fluttering snow was really distracting and really fake. There is some laughable green screen. There are also some awful outside but actually inside a set scenes. Some points for token decorations thrown about the place.

Predictability:

8/10

There is a twist, I spotted early on. It is your bulk standard love story of opposites attract. Well at least I think that it what it was trying to be.

Cheesy Rating:

8/10

The rind of a strong blue cheese. The bit no one wants.

Terrible Rating:

10/10

Just awful.

Christmas Inheritance (2017) Netflix Review

Second on my terrible movie watch list was Christmas Inheritance

Christmas Inheritance

Synopsis:

A young heiress from New York, who seems to have remarkable random talent for gymastics but also been the most uncordianated clumsy person ever is sent to a small town Snow Falls to deliver a letter. Because apparently a post man won’t cut the mustard and it simply MUST be delivered by hand. Cue snow, fairy lights, silent night played on repeat and an inevitable romance with taxi driver/hotel manager Jake. Will she deliver the letter? Will she remember she has a fiance?

Acting:

8/10

Alright actually, at no point did it make me cringe or question if they had their lines written on their hand. Andie MacDowell makes an appearance.

Story:

4/10

(SPOILERS)

It makes an attempt to tell the “spoiled stupid heiress turns good” plot, yet kind of forgets to mention half of the plot points required for any sensible character development. She seems like a nice girl from the start despite doing some stupid things. The whole spoiled girl having her life turned around just didn’t really seem to work.

There are so many many questions. So many many holes. A snow storm means a run on the hotel of needy guests including the local homeless chap, however a romanic walk outside is had… and her fiance manages to drive up? Why is her fiance such an arse? Is it only when she is doing shots that she can do a backflip? The rest of the time she just breaks stuff and falls down? Her dead mother is mentioned at the end that, that was the reason she was reluctant to go to the town… was it? Did I miss this? Why does she seem to suddenly be running the hotel after about 48 hours? Did Andie MacDowell properly read the script before she signed up for this film?

Dead Parent Count:

1

Setting:

8/10

Setting is pretty cute. Small cute American town sprinkled in snow. The main action is in the super cosy hotel.

Predictability:

8/10

The overall plot is pretty predictable, but part of me thought it might be going elsewhere alas this was due to the superbly wiggly plot line that just made me question what on earth was going on.

Cheesy Rating:

6/10

A nice ripe brie.

Terrible Rating:

10/10

Truly awful

A Christmas Prince (2017) Netflix Review

I love Netflix. What I love more than Netfllix, are the terrible Christmas Movies on Netflix.

There are some absolute gems on there this year! So here I embark on my mission to watch them all and bring you the best of the worst, and the worst of the worst.

First up we have A Christmas Price

A_Christmas_Prince

Synopsis:

An American reporter is sent to the beautiful snowy mountain country of Aldovia to follow the story of their playboy prince who is set to take the throne on Christmas eve. She conveniently accidentally becomes part of the staff by pretending to be the princesses tutor and of course conveniently accidentally falls in love with the prince. Can she convince him not to give his throne up to his annoying cousin? You guess.

Acting:

6/10

Pretty solid score for a terrible movie. The villains in this story are pretty bad, reminded me of a kids movie. Maybe it was a kids movie? I am not actually sure… “size matters” *wink wink nudge nudge*. It wasn’t great. No oscars for best actor here.

Story:

5/10

I don’t think too much time was spent scribbling down the plot on the back of a beer mat. Perhaps room for a doodle of a pretty European castle.

Dead Parent Count:

2

Setting:

8/10

Pretty scenery. Think fancy snow resort, snow, castles, snow, horses, snow, twinkly lights, snow. Oh and snow.

Predictability:

9/10

Pretty sure I have seen this story before? It is hilariously predictable. Not a full score for one small twist I didn’t see coming.

Cheesy Rating:

10/10

Camembert.

Terrible Rating:

7/10

It’s pretty terrible. I made it all the way through though without too much physical pain. It even managed to raise a couple of smiles. Suitably terrible.

 

 

Random thing I loved in… November

I had never actually ventured into The White Company. Something about its clean and simple lines had never lured me into the store. I think perhaps I have never considered myself a clean and simple lines kinda gal. That was until November when I finally stepped through the door of my local store and immediately wanted to set up camp and live there forever. It is a really beautiful shop.

I found myself in the candles and fragrance section, where I spent probably far too long drawing the attention of the security guard while I proceeded to sniff every single fragrance they had.

Amynoos The White Company Winter Candle

The one that caught my attention was their seasonal fragrance titled ‘Winter‘. This is something I have been aware of as lots of bloggers go mad for it this time of year. It was clearly a popular choice as a large table dedicated to just this fragrance was in the middle of the section surrounded by hungry candle lovers getting their fill. Just approaching the table I knew I was in trouble and would not be leaving the store without one.

Amynoos The White Company Winter Candle

I am always a bit dubious about Christmas fragrances. They can often be cookie, vanilla, sickly sweet fragrances but this one is different. It combines cinnamon, clove and orange. The smell reminds me of walking into a cosy pub in December that is selling mulled cider and wine. It really for me defines the scent of Christmas. It is delicious.

The smell is strong without being overpowering. Just having the candle in the room not even lit you get a bit of an aroma as you pass.

Amynoos The White Company Winter Candle

They are not cheap. This candle was £20. Which, to me is a bit of a mad amount to spend on a candle but I do love it so much. The candle has an approximate burn time of 28 hours. You get a lot of smell for your money. I just adore it. Expensive but totally worth it! I can see this being a real seasonal favourite and something I will purchase year on year.

Adagio Teas & Giveaway

It is the first thing I do each morning. Get up, turn the kettle on. A day doesn’t start right without a cup of tea followed by several more over the course of the day.

I love tea, cannot get enough of the stuff! So, when the very kind people over at Adagio Teas asked me if I would like to try some of their festive teas I jumped at the chance!

Adagio Tea Amynoos 1

Adagio Teas are an online company specialising in Tea. Teas of every kind, from Oolong to Earl Grey all the way to Matcha and Chai there is a tea to suit everyone. There are even some more adventurous flavours like their special Christmas selections which include candy cane and chestnut flavours. Loose tea, tea bags, tea cups, tea pots. Everything you could ever need to go on a worldwide tour of tea. Glorious!

They have a fantastic selection of gifts for Christmas, and they are all reasonably priced.

My favourite definitely has to be these super adorable mini tins of tea, filled with loose tea. They are just so cute! For £12 you get these 6 tins of each of their festive flavours, chestnut, cranberry, candy cane, pumpkin spice, candy apple and gingerbread. You could gift them separately as stocking fillers or as a set.

Adagio Tea Amynoos 6

If loose tea isn’t your bag (see what I did there?) these mini tins are available filled with teabags. You can also get a Holiday Cheer selection box of their festive flavours for £14. This include 30 teabags with the same selection of flavours in a lovely presentation box. I would be over the moon to receive this as a gift.

Adagio Tea Amynoos 7

Their tea selection is huge! With so many to try you might find it difficult to decide on which one to choose. Luckily most of them have a sample pack available for a mere £1.50! This makes around 10 cups. This is great if there is a flavour you fancy trying without buying a large pack.

Adagio Tea Amynoos 5

One of my favourites from Adagio is the Christmas black tea. Ceylon tea with cinnamon, clove and orange peel. It is spicy and aromatic. The cinnamon and clove are not too powerful, just enough to give a real warmth to a delicious black tea. I can see this being a favourite over the Christmas period.

Adagio Tea Amynoos 4

I can also highly recommend the candy cane tea. I was a bit dubious about this, wondering how a festive favourite hard candy walking stick would translate to tea but it is just incredible. It combines black tea, peppermint flavour and candy cane pieces. It has a decadent vanilla and mint aroma and a real delicately flavoured sweet mint taste. It reminded me a bit of a humbug (the sweetie kind not the Scrooge kind). It is incredibly moreish.

Adagio Tea Amynoos 2

GIVEAWAY

Adagio Tea are very kindly giving one reader the chance to win a fabulous prize just in time for Christmas! The prize includes a red teapot and cups, and a Christmas tea selection so that you can see for yourself the amazing variety of special teas they have out this season.

Serving suggestion; enjoyed with a mince pie and a Christmas movie.

To be in with a chance please enter using Rafflecopter below;

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was sent product samples and provided with prizes for a reader giveaway in exchange for publishing an honest review of Adagio Teas. All opinions are my own.

Diamonds Fall by Rebecca M. Gibson – Book Review

Annabel Maria Hoddington is a young woman of high stature on the approach of her 18th birthday. Betrothed to a young man of similar high stature, she is on her way to meet him for the first time when we join her story. She is beautiful, wealthy, spoiled, and rude. On route to meet the man to whom she has been matched, she is kidnapped and forced into captivity. Experiencing a world she never knew existed, a life of poverty and violence, we see Annabel begin to change.

Diamonds Fall - Rebecca M. Gibson

The characters in the book are captivating. I found myself not only falling for Annabel, but also the characters she finds herself surrounded by in the village. Rebecca M. Gibson has created a world of such dark and light contrast, reflected in the characters themselves as well as the very different worlds of class that Annabel finds herself in. Gibson has a beautiful way of describing which really transports the reader to the situation. I found myself really almost being able to feel the fabrics touching their skins, being able to smell the smells, or feel the rough calloused fingers of the characters on my own skin. The story takes many twists and turns, and a times an overwhelming sense of brutality both physically and mentally. The story made my heart ache, and also sing with joy in the same chapter.

Diamonds Fall is a page turner, I read this book in just 3 days. It is not the genre of book I would normally find myself picking up. I am not one to usually be drawn to period pieces, and certainly not romances, however I was really captivated by this novel. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for a tale of personal discovery and development set it a world where your class and stature means everything.

Diamonds Fall is available for Kindle or in paperback here on Amazon

I very kindly received this book free of charge in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.