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Christmas

Five more Christmas specials

Published December 25, 2021

Five more Christmas specials

Last year, I wrote about the top five Christmas television specials, featuring such gems as the wonderful Vicar of Dibley, the ever-engaging Doctor Who and of course, my complete obsession with The Goes Wrong Show. Looking back at this now, I’m a bit annoyed that I called it the top five because… I don’t know how much thought I put into it actually being the BEST five. They were certainly five very good specials that were on my mind at the time, but the best?

Putting a bow on top

Published December 23, 2021

Putting a bow on top

If we rewind six months of so, and ask my former self if the upcoming Hawkeye TV show would have been my most anticipated of the new MCU TV outings, I would have laughed long and hard. But then they signed up Hailee Steinfeld, then they set it at Christmas, and then they made all the artwork and superhero uniforms purple. Tick, tick, tick. The season finale was released yesterday, bringing to a close a six-episode arc that introduced a new character to Hawkeye’s life, as well as bringing in some returning faces both friend and foe.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Published December 22, 2021

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

I read this because we watched the film, and it was exactly what I expected - a really good children’s book with some excellent illustrations. It reminded me very much of Roald Dahl in the best possible ways. The film stuck very closely to the book to start with, just a few tweaks here and there, but the ending was quite different. In the book, Nikolas well and truly becomes Father Christmas with the big beard and belly and laugh and older. In the film, he’s still a kid when he has his big idea. The book makes more sense on that front, but I say it’s worth enjoying both!

Hide by Nell Pattison

Published December 21, 2021

Hide by Nell Pattison

This is the second book in a row I’ve read where the central idea is great, and the characters are interesting, but there just seems to be a big lull in the middle. Once the big crime occurred, it was really just a book of following these characters around as they walked through a nature reserve in the dark, either acting suspiciously or thinking about their suspicions. In the end, the mystery reveal and the twist were good, it just felt like it took ages to get there.

How a Christmas playlist should be done Vol. 2

Published December 18, 2021

How a Christmas playlist should be done Vol. 2

Four years ago (!) I published a Christmas playlist, having taken offence at some of the collections various streaming services had pulled together. Their festive mixes included party songs that really had no business being on a Christmas-related playlist, other than being good for the office get-together. They got you in an uplifted spirit but were they really true to the name? No. Since then, it seems like Christmas has been a growing trend for everyone, more films, more TV, and definitely more songs, as I’ve had to put together a second volume of the playlist, cleverly titled: How a Christmas playlist should be done Vol.

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

Published December 18, 2021

It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

This was a good set up for a story, people heading out of their comfort zone for a final Christmas together as a family, and I really felt the atmosphere nicely. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of plot to unravel, though - from the very beginning it was clear that the parents didn’t actually want to split, we knew straight away that there had been a miscommunication over the sexuality of our main couple, and all the other ones needed was a minute to relax. It was mostly just like spending time in the company of these characters, rather than actually getting a super-duper story. But still, very Christmassy!

The Merry Christmas Project at Cathy Bramley

Published December 14, 2021

The Merry Christmas Project at Cathy Bramley

I really loved this book, very well written, in depth and with some lovely characters that developed as the book wound its way towards Christmas. At first I thought we were never going to get there, we started so far out from the big day and there was so much evolving, but we made it, and everyone got a happy ending of sorts. I just want to know what happens next… how on earth is Merry going to manage all those orders in the new year!

Snowed In At Snowflake B&B by Kellie Hailes

Published December 8, 2021

Snowed In At Snowflake B&B by Kellie Hailes

This was a freebie book of the week on Apple Books but as it was a Christmas story, I figured now’s the time to read it! It was actually quite good, a lovely cheesy romance story with characters dealing with their baggage and working their way through misunderstandings. My only complaint is there were a few spelling and grammar mistakes - the kind that a spellcheck wouldn’t pick up but were still quite jarring. Looking aside from that, though, it was a cosy Christmas book with a happy ending.

Top five Christmas specials

Published December 25, 2020

Top five Christmas specials

In a festive season where everyone’s plans have gone awry, we instead focus on the Christmas content we know and love. There are so many TV Christmas specials out there, but only a few that I revisit on a regular basis. Here’s a countdown of five of them… Vicar of Dibley - The Christmas Lunch Incident Just a joy from start to finish - Geraldine trying to do the best for her parishioners at the expense of her own sanity, as usual!

What's occurring? Gavin & Stacey at Christmas!

Published December 26, 2019

What's occurring? Gavin & Stacey at Christmas!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but Christmas television this year hasn’t felt as special or as inspiring as it sometimes does. There’s no Christmas Doctor Who special, and no superb films finally showing on TV, so that the only thing to look forward to seemed to be Gavin & Stacey. Wait a minute, Gavin and Stacey returning after a decade?? Yes! Many, many, many of us were looking forward to this welcome return to the twin worlds of Billericay and Barry Island, and thank goodness it was a perfect episode that wasn’t ruining anything that went before.