Category Archives: Films I have watched

Sisters are doing it for themselves (well for mums, dads and everyone really)

Well there was two more ticks today – a few problems with both challenges but I think Kathryn has passed both with ticks.

After doing The Great South Run which I will always be proud of doing and will always be grateful for Kathryn setting me this challenge, today’s challenge of running a 10k run with Kathryn should have been just a run in the park! Unfortunately my body had other ideas! I had been determined to prepare for this run and make sure I did 10k practice every month. January 1st was my first 10k of the year so I was on to a great start. I was running regularly in April but after a run on April 29th, I found myself limping. I had a pain in the bottom heel area of my right foot. I carried on walking to work but it got very painful. With my race for life 10k run looming, it was not good news. I did manage to go to zumba and tried to take it easier than normal but managed to hurt my knee! It was great yesterday when I had my first day without a limp so I was hopeful that I would be able to run today.

Finding a 10K run before Tuesday proved difficult locally so today’s run was for a great cause, Race for Life, at Royal Windsor Racecourse. It did mean a very early start with Chris driving us up at 7 a.m. Luckily the day was gorgeous and the venue for the run was stunning. Before the start of the race there was a guest speaker from a survivor of cancer; a great inspiration as to why we were running this race. After a warm up, we found ourselves near the front for the start of the run. I would love to say I ran the whole of the race but with being a bit out of practice and the heat of the day, I did have to ask Kathryn to walk a few times (okay more than a few times!).  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t run all the way this time but it was great running with Kathryn and running for such a great cause. I do have a bit of pain in my foot but not as bad as previously. Once it is fully healed, hopefully I will take on another running challenge.

My second tick today was challenge number 35 – DVD night with your kids (one film chosen by each). This has been very difficult to arrange with Kathryn being in her final year at university and Jordan back in London and having restricted time at home. We decided to change to just one film and all of us sat (well collapsed) in front of the TV this afternoon and watched Kathryn’s choice, Me Before You. Kathryn and I had seen this at the cinema but it was just as emotional watching it the second time. It was a hit with Chris and Jordan too. I still want to watch the film I would have chosen so we will find some time in the next couple of months. One of my favourites, and one that Jordan and Kathryn haven’t watched, Sixth Sense.

I only have 8 more to do but with only a few more days, can it be done! I will have a good try.

Life is a Battlefield but we are strong

42 days left and whilst life can feel like a battlefield, I actually like living in it. Well now for the totals this week:

28 completed

10 ongoing/planned

4 changes 

8 still to do

After reading the Challenge Yourself book, I did start getting up early. It was a struggle and for several days I felt it might have a negative effect but I can know say I feel great. Probably the turn around came with the weekend and not lounging in bed but getting on with things.

So this week, I have earned 3 ticks:

Challenge 44 – go out for dinner and pick something that sounds awesome but you wouldn’t normally pick.

Skate Wings were delicious

I could have achieved this much earlier but than would I have gone out so much. One thing I have decided in my 50th year is to, where possible, avoid the restaurant chains and hopefully try something a bit different. Chris and I were off to cinema on Saturday. It is situated at Port Solent so there were lots to choose from. We opted for a fish restaurant. I like fish but don’t tend to order it. I am a bit ignorant with it and sometimes I don’t know how to eat it plus the bones put me off. I ordered skate wings which was delicious. Not a fish I had tried before (more a haddock person) but will eat it again. Restaurant was great too.

Challenge 45 – write a short story.

My story

It took me a while to be confident; gained this from the Challenge Yourself book. I really enjoyed this and even printed it in book form for the family to read. They were impressed. I will share later.

Challenge 39 – mum and daughter pamper evening – bake whoppie cakes, eat cakes and watch 13 going on 30 and paint nails.

Yum yum!

I can’t believe that it has taken us so long to do this challenge and we have already seen 13 going on 30 once this year but it is one of my favourites. Who can resist a film with Mark Ruffalo in. The songs in it are amazing – Ice Ice Baby, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Jessie’s girl etc. My favourites though are Thriller; fantastic dance scene and Love Is A Battlefield. We made whoppie cakes from the kit I had been sent from the baking club. They were very yummy. Kathryn chose a red for me to paint my nails with whilst she went for a nice frosted cupcake colour for her own. I am sure that we will be able to have lots of evenings like this once Kathryn has finished her degree. Not many days left for that either.

I am still very optimistic that I will achieve all my ticks. I am hoping to finish my cross stitch kit in the next couple of weeks which is a big achievement and frees me up to complete the others. I might even have read Kathryn’s 10 favourite books on time too.

Life is a battlefield at the moment but it is fun.

She Works Hard for Her Ticks

It is 9 weeks until Tina’s D-day; the day I need to complete my challenges. Here is the position so far:

23 completed
10 ongoing/planned
4 changes (all confirmed accepted)
13 still to do (most of them achievable)

With 23 completed, I could look at it with my glass half empty and think 27 left; not achievable. Instead, my positive head is on, and I am looking at the 9 ongoing activities. A few of these are having to be almost treated as work (the rare enjoyable type) and certainly in the last few weeks, I have worked hard on one in particular and hope to complete by end of April. Putting that date down gives me an aim. The challenge is number 29, start and complete a sewing project.

I am not the fastest of cross stitchers; I just plod along at my own pace. Something I do with most of things in my life! I am also not known for finishing the projects. Having this as a challenge has made me want to finish it and it has also made me realise how much I enjoy stitching and when I have finished, I have my next one waiting to do. A great big hint to the kids; well a link to the site where they could buy the kit from and I had a happy mother’s day! I wanted this one because of the umbrella. I will not open until I have finished my first cutie.

Gorjuss Puddles of Love

I am at the moment trying to stitch every night but have made Tuesdays my big stitching day. I normally share a picture with Kathryn as the evening comes to an end. Last week was very exciting as I had finished the face.

Face completed

Yesterday, I did wonder if the end of the April is realistic (small voice is whispering you have got until 6 June). There is still a lot to do but I’m sure if I put my mind to it, this girl can!

Today’s start – end of April!!

As previously mentioned, I do actually get to watch a bit more television now. Last week I enjoyed watching Drew Barrymore in Miss You Already and last night’s film was Mother’s Day. I’ve caught up with Broadchurch, Mary Berry and this week’s film was Flashdance – I knew every scene!  Definitely a great hobby that I am going to look forward to continuing once my challenges are all ticked.

Tuesday evening’s work

Certainly working hard for my ticks.

Tempted by the fruit of another (well a wicked queen)

Another tick has been awarded. Well there are three ticks on the page but it does only count as one challenge.

The hardest part of this challenge was which films to choose. The weirdest thing is some of the films I love, I think of modern films: Grease, Flashdance, Airplane; all from 70s and 80s  but are actually classics now. It came as a shock the other night to realise that the series, Just Good Friends, was from 1983, and the gorgeous actor from it, Paul Nicholas, was 72 years old. How time flies.

I have written about Singing in the Rain previously which I had enjoyed. That film brought back memories of my childhood.

To Kill a Mocking Bird was chosen for two reasons; when my mother was alive, I would visit her every Saturday afternoon and often watch films with her. I had been engrossed in the film but didn’t get to watch all of it. This led me to reading the book. Having partly watched the film first, I could clearly picture Atticus played so wonderfully by Gregory Peck. The story is about prejudice in the 1930s of a small town in the Deep South but narrated through a child. The film is a great adaption of the book and I loved watching the kids being able to play carefree. Atticus had the difficult job of earning a wage whilst bringing up two inquisitive children. A fascinating and enjoyable film to watch. I still have the prequel, Go Set a Watchman to read. It is on my list of things to do after my challenges come to an end.

Snow White was the first featured length film by Disney. It was always a particular favourite of mine. As a child, I had the story on a record and would sit for hours with headphones on listening to the story. Who could resist the seven dwarfs; Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Grumpy. My favourite will always be Dopey. Perhaps my greatest memory when listening to the record was the scene with the wicked queen asking “Mirror, mirrors on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”. It is a Grimms fairy tales which explains the frightening side of the story. I was surprised at how scary the huntsman and Snow White scene was. I certainly don’t remember feeling frightened as a child. In true Disney style though, Snow White, being so sweet and loving, is saved. Everybody falls in love with Snow White, even the hard to please Grumpy but they are unable to protect her from the evil queen.

It has been lovely to watch the classics whilst cross stitching. I have actually watched more films in the last year, and stayed awake, than I have ever done before. One other film I have enjoyed recently is the new Cinderella, a modern day version of the old classic. It did not disappoint me at all, and now, I am looking forward to watching the new adaption of Beauty and the Beast.

Now how many more ticks have I got to get?


Let’s go La La

Thursdays have had a bit of change of routine for me this year. I actually went out for the first two which is a change for me on a “school” night.

The first Thursday of the year, Chris and I enjoyed tapas at Antonia’s restaurant. We had been given a voucher from Kathryn and Aaron for Christmas so decided to use that up.

The second Thursday of January, Jordan booked us tickets to see the first showing of La La Land. Jordan is big on films and watches all trailers for new films. He showed me the first trailer some time ago and at first I didn’t see the attraction. Second trailer was released and I was hooked. As well as the dancing and the music, the two leading actors attracted me to it. I don’t remember watching their previous films but both looked natural people and I liked that about them.

I still didn’t know what to expect from the film but was looking forward to it. As this was the first performance, the film wasn’t on until 9 p.m. (on a school night and a very cold one at that).

What can I say about the film? It is a 2 hour film which actually surprised me at the end because I enjoyed it so much, it didn’t feel that long at all. The film started with a singing number whilst sat in traffic. I would certainly loved my commute to work if we all started singing along – that was a bit of make believe there (or la la).

The film centres around Seb (gorgeous Ryan Gosling) who is a jazz pianist (although doesn’t find many opportunities to play it) with a dream to open a jazz bar and Mia (lovely Emma Stone) who is trying very hard to find her break into acting. Well I would have hired her after her first audition but I must remember it is a film! Seb and Mia meet and are drawn together as they encourage each other with their dreams.

The film is like an old familiar musical with a modern theme and I enjoyed every moment of it even the ending! I loved Ryan and Emma’s singing and it was a lovely surprise when I realised the actor playing Seb’s friend Keith was John Legend. Didn’t work that out until he sang!

With this film in mind, last Thursday saw me at home on my own so I thought I would enjoy the night by starting on another challenge:

I settled down to watch Singing In The Rain at 7.30 whilst continuing my cross stitch. I consider this film to be a classic as it was one I would have enjoyed watching with my Nan. I absolutely loved it and I fell in love with Debbie Reynolds. I am a great fan of the 1920s fashions so as this film is based around 1927, I just loved the dresses. All the songs were so familiar too so it was great being able to sing along. As well as enjoying the film, I did manage to get some stitching in. I might just change my Thursdays to a film and stitching night.

All by Myself (and loving it)

Challenge No 38 – Have a Pamper Night

* Use Lush bath bomb
* Light a newly bought candle
* Use a face mask


A week before Christmas found me with a night to myself. This was going to be perfect for my pamper night. As well as enjoying my bath, it also meant I had the TVs controls. What a bonus.

A few weeks previously I had braved the lush shop (is that place ever quiet) and bought myself a bath bomb. I went for the sex bomb purely for the colour and smell. As I run the bath, the scent was lovely with a pretty pink colour.

Pretty pink bath water!
Pretty pink bath water!

I had bought some beautiful candle holders from Next intending to give them out for presents but I fell in love so kept them for myself. Using festive spice tealights, I lit the candle and “jumped” into the bath.

The bath was certainly a luxury. I normally hop into the shower. Once in, I noticed petal shapes in the water which felt lovely. I didn’t stay in too long as I had a date with Strictly. It was the final and although I hadn’t watched much of the series, I was excited to watch the final without any interruptions! I used a face mask I had but wasn’t over impressed with it and then dressed in my pjs. I settled down to enjoy my show with a ready made meal and a glass of water. I had appreciated that Danny was a favourite and had been from the first show. However I always loved Louise’s smile but when I saw Ore dance, I was convinced he would win.


Strictly Come Dancing has always been a favourite of mine and Kathryn’s but neither of us had watched a complete show this series. I was looking forward to it when I had found out Will Young was going to be one of the contestants but he pulled out of the show.

It was great to watch and enjoy the final on my own and I felt for all finalists because they were all great. I was overjoyed when Ore was crowned the champion.

With the TV controls in my hands, I now needed to find out how to use it! I don’t normally get possession of them. It didn’t take long to work out and I found the film I wanted to watch, Still Alice. A few weeks before I read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is about Alice, a cognitive psychology professor, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50.

The book is a real tearjerker as the family and Alice come to terms with the diagnosis. It was the first book written by Lisa Genova and a fantastic read. I was looking forward to watching the film. Julianne Moore played a fantastic Alice. I had my reservations when I realised Kristen Stewart was playing the daughter. She isn’t my particular favourite actress and I never find her happy which wasn’t the character I had in my mind for Alice’s daughter. I did however warm to her as her acting was brilliant. Whilst I enjoyed the film, I did think that watching the film so soon as reading the book is not a good idea. I noticed all the differences between the book and the film. Normally I wouldn’t see a film until a few years after I have read the book but I was a little late in reading this one.

I did enjoy this challenge and will treat myself to this routine regularly. Might have to pay everyone to have another night out so I get the house to myself again!


That’s Entertainment

Since reaching 50, I have been able to watch films without falling asleep which is a big thing for me.  I tend now to only watch what I want to and also do something when I am watching.  Can even cross stitch too.

I have even been to the cinema four times and only paid for one of them.  Technically with the help of Tesco club card and Nectar I have though.  I have seen Me Before You, Ghostbusters (love those women) and Finding Dory which is a must for two 50 year olds.

The funniest film that I have ever seen and never stopped laughing so much, has got to be Bridget Jones’s Baby. I went along with Chris.  It was a packed cinema too and Chris was a bit of a minority in the audience.  There were probably only three men there. There are so many funny moments that when I talked about the film with Kathryn, I had forgotten about the man that worked at Starbucks! Trying not to give that away.

Bridget, played by Renee Zellweger, has grown up but still capable of getting herself into lots of trouble.  I so want her to be her.  Colin Firth is back again with the bumbling Mark Darcy and I can’t give anything away about Hugh Grant.  It was great to see the return of the old cast plus the gorgeous if not naughty Patrick Dempsey and one of my favourite’s, Emma Thompson.  I just love her.  It was probably the best of the three Bridget Jones films but I still love the other two. The soundtrack is wonderful too.   I now want to try the old glamping thing out.


The same week was an annual visit to the theatre with my two friends, Kelly and Leanne.  This is our third show and we have previously seen Wicked and Stomp. This time it was the foot tapping Mamma Mia with all those fantastic Abba songs.  We enjoyed our usual pre-dinner and wine at Nick’s Restaurant before heading to the Mayflower theatre.    Mamma Mia is definitely a show you see with a group of people and you want to go along for a jolly evening.  It certainly had great reviews and as it was the first time in Southampton, I knew plenty of people going to see the show.  There were a few groups who had dressed in the 70’s Abba outfits and I certainly missed out on wearing my 70’s hat I had bought for an Elton Tribute night.


I had seen the film and loved that.  The show did not disappoint and it was not hard to dance along to the music.  The actress who played Donna had an amazing voice and her two friends were very entertaining.  Wish I could do the splits like Rosie.  The three possible fathers were just like the characters from the film.  I loved the friends singing Super Trouper but I have no idea why but I do love Our Last Summer sung by Harry. I think it is the Colin Firth connection from the film.

It was the very good evening and a most enjoyable show.  Just have to plan our next year’s big night out.

Saturday Night At The Movies

I don’t often watch TV.  If I’m honest, the remotes baffle me and take a lot of working out.  Also I’m rarely in control of the remotes so I don’t even get to choose what is on the TV.  If the soaps are on, I can normally catch up with them easily even when a character has been brought back from the dead.  Every now and then I like to watch a drama series.  I tend to do that on catch up at my own leisure.  I do like to watch the Christmas films no matter how awful they are.  Christmas Trees and Santa have a place in my heart and I’m so excited when they start advertising the Christmas Channel.

It amazes me that whilst I grew up with 3 channels, we now have so many channels but most of them are duplicates (plus 1 and even plus 2) and films are repeated so much.  I don’t want to watch people fighting to buy junk, so called celebrities locked in a house and countless quiz shows.

After flicking through the channels and finding You’ve got Mail and Back to the Future on about 6 channels (nothing wrong with either of these films I must add), it was decided to try the Amazon Prime site.  Now I’m scared of this site as not all is free and I worry I will spend somebody else’s money to watch a film I fancy so I tend to stick to Netflix.  Anyway as it was Saturday and Hubby had controls, it was decided we would buy a film and chose The Intern. I was happy about this as I liked both the main actors, Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro.

There are quite a few American actresses I like watching and Anne Hathaway is certainly one of them.  People might not have have rated her Yorkshire accent in One Day but I loved her anyway and I loved her in Les Miserables.


A few weeks ago, I had been told about a song that Barbara Streisand performed with Daisy Ridley so I searched to listen.  Now Daisy Ridley was one of the reasons I went to the cinema with the family to watch my first ever Star Wars movie.  I have turned out a big fan of both Daisy and Star Wars which was a surprise.  I did have a few people saying you can’t see the new Star Wars film if you haven’t seen the rest but I have given birth to children who, if they enjoy something, will be so knowledgeable that they can teach you everything you need to know.  This meant I didn’t have to waste my time watching parts 4 – 6 (or whatever number the first three films are now!) and enjoyed the film so much.  Anyway sorry for the digression, lets get back to Anne.  The recording I watched was At the Ballet (from one of my favourites, The Chorus Line) and Anne was singing in it.  I do love Barbara but I was so blown away with Anne’s part.  The song was put on my iPod and I enjoy singing along to that.

As for Robert DeNiro, I was late in discovering him.  It was in Meet the Fockers that I probably first enjoyed watching him.  I know that he won an academy award for supporting actor in The Godfather Part II but I’m not that cultured.

I don’t take much notice about the critic’s view (as far as I’m concerned we are all different people and what I enjoy as my pastimes might all be different to another person.  If something is truly dreadful, the majority of people would agree.  Look, I like trashy Christmas movies but don’t enjoy trashy programmes with celebrities).  The film was perfect viewing for a Saturday evening and, I forgot to mention that once sat down to watch TV, I am well known for falling asleep, but this kept me awake.  I even left the ironing so I could get myself drawn into the story.

It is about Ben, played by Robert DeNiro, who is a widowed 70 year old.  Retirement isn’t so great especially as he is a widow so when he sees a advert for Senior Interns, he applies.

Jules, played by Anne, is a successful founder and owner of About the Fit, an e-commerce start up where Ben becomes an Intern.  Jules’ investors decide it is time to find an outside CEO to take some pressure off Jules which she is opposed to.

Whilst trying to keep her distance from Ben who has been assigned to her, Jules slowly finds Ben as someone she can trust and share her thoughts with.

You can’t help liking Ben’s character and he certainly gains the respect of his younger colleagues.   Ben is certainly a man who believes in tradition and still wears his suit to work.  He’s old and trusted briefcase goes with him too and the fact that he shaves everyday meets astonishment from his colleagues.

Whilst he might have old fashioned ways, he is still struck by how Jules has started her business and how much she cares in it and how she shares her ways with her staff.

Now I know I can actually watch a film without falling asleep, I can look forward to watching a bit more.



Well I finished my reading challenge for June on 30 June and have been trying to write a review.  That has been challenging in itself.  Once happy with it, I will share.

I love the excitement of choosing the next book to read.  I had bought the follow up to Me Before You written by Jojo Moyes, After You, but did not want to read that before I had seen the film so I chose to read a book I had bought when it was on special last year, Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown.

This appealed to me for so many reasons

  1. Everyone talks about the hot summer of 76 (well us who have experienced it).  I was only 10 at the time but I do remember not being sent home from school whilst the students from the local senior school where only too happy to taunt us because it had been too hot for them and they were allowed home early.
  2. It is based in the Isle of Wight –  just across the water from me – and a place I would have spent some of my summer holidays.
  3. The main character, Luke, is due to go to Brighton Polytechnic after the summer holidays.  Again, Brighton was another childhood favourite of mine and somewhere I have really enjoyed going with my children  and where I was going on an adventure with my friend Karen.

I have been reading the book for a week and just like my holidays in the Isle of Wight, the book is following a slow pace.  Each chapter starts with the temperature in Fahrenheit.  I wasn’t impressed with the May temperatures at all but now I am in June and it is 91° and I want that now!  There is also a secret that is waiting to be told which is likely to increase temperatures again.

I am enjoying reading about the food and music from the era.  Luke’s mum is trying to make her own wine which brings back memories of my dad brewing his own beer.   Luke is also working on a holiday camp which is somewhere I would have stayed at during my visits to Isle of Wight.

Once finished, I can finally start After You because I finally went to see Me Before You last night.  Me Before You was the first book I read by Jojo Moyes.


To say I enjoyed it seems so wrong as the subject isn’t something you would talk about openly.   Whilst tissues are needed for the book, there is certainly a great deal of real life and humour.  Lou, one of the main characters, is just so fun and loving.  I knew I would not be disappointed with the film because when I saw interviews with the lovely Emilia Clarke, I was so impressed with how she was the perfect Lou that I had read about.  I loved so much about Lou but especially her shoe collection.  Wouldn’t it be great to have those lovely shoes and to have the nerve to wear them – mind you, I do wear bright pink skechers.  I also remember my daughter wearing woolly tights and wellington boots on a summer’s day so hearing Lou describe her favourite things with her stripey tights at top of her list did put a smile on my face.


Sometimes when I watch a film after reading a book, I can be disappointed.  This film was everything I imagined and the cast were fantastic.  It is an extremely sad story and there will be always be strong opinions around the subject.  I could never express an opinion on the subject but I do think the story allowed me to see sides to everybody involved in the decision making.  I am looking forward to reading After You even more now.

I do love my kindle but challenge number 6 is to read my daughter’s 10 favourite books in paperback.  I have been given the collection and will also be choosing something from that very soon.