Putting the sleep in Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

In the early days of being a parent you wonder whether you will ever really sleep again. A basic human function that was once taken for granted becomes a kind of Holy Grail. You think of those dreamy nights and lazy mornings with a kind of wistful nostalgia or crazed hysteria drenched desperation depending on just how sleep deprived you might be feeling at that time. You start having competitive parent discussions at baby groups about just how tired you are and how little sleep you’re getting. Jealousy and disbelief descends when you hear a smug, ‘my baby sleeps through’ uttered from a smiling mum who’s hair is brushed and make up deftly applied. I swear the first few months of my girls’ lives are a fog to me. 

Now that my girls are six and nine a full nights sleep is generally had and definitely expected. The thought of having another baby and going back to sleepless nights actually scares me! I think these days because I expect to sleep that on the nights I can’t or when I struggle to fall asleep I find it incredibly frustrating and definitely struggle to work the next day. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t sleep well it completely impairs my ability to function as a human being. I can’t think straight, I’m irritable, actually I fear that I become the worst version of myself. How I, and those around me survived that newborn baby stage I honestly do not know. Like I said it’s all a big foggy!

I must admit that since we’ve moved house I’ve struggled to settle to sleep, I think being surrounded by boxes and not having a proper bed didn’t help because since our new bed was delivered and we started to get more organised I’ve felt a lot more relaxed. Change, it seems, impairs my ability to settle and rest, I guess I’m quite like a child in that way! Having a good bed, and mattress are just pieces to the puzzle that make up good sleep.

It’s not just about what we need to have or do for good sleep but also what we need to avoid. Caffeine, my best friend, swiftly becomes my darkest nemesis when consumed after 2pm in the afternoon. I’ve learnt that if I have any coffee after that point I can guarantee that very little sleep will be had. I end up lying awake for hours on my phone which, according to research is one of the worst things we can do as the light tricks our brain. I’m always up for finding out how to get a better nights sleep, and this video is really helpful, I mean, who knew that cheese actually helps!

 

There’s more tips in this handy article too, How to Sleep Better

What do you think?

What are your top tips for a good night’s sleep?

 

This post is conjunction with Tempur but all thoughts are my own.

morganaPutting the sleep in Coffee Work Sleep Repeat
read more

Must See US Dramas On Netflix – My Top 5

All work and no play can make one a rather dull girl, so when I want to relax Netflix is often where I turn. There are so many films and programmes on there it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to even begin. I get so many requests on social media for recommendations on what to watch that I thought I’d do a series of posts dedicated to various genres with what I think are must see series or films. I’ve already shared my favourite comedies now it’s the turn of my must see US dramas on Netflix, I also include a few more at the end that are lesser known but in my opinion just as worthy, and yes, I included them because I couldn’t narrow it down to just 5!

US Dramas on Netflix must see

House Of Cards

 

This is US drama at it’s absolute finest, from the breaks to the fourth wall with Frank Underwood’s monologues to the casting and script, it is exceptional. My husband recommended this series to me after he began to binge his way through it. I loved it so much I ended up overtaking and beating him to the end! I’ve been desperate for the next season ever since, thankfully the wait is nearly over as Season 5 airs May 30th. If you like your dramas gripping, political and cutthroat then this will be heaven.

Watch House Of Cards on Netflix

Seen it? Liked it? Try Homeland, The Killing, The Good Wife

Breaking Bad

Okay, so if you haven’t seen this one, where on earth have you been? Seriously though I wasn’t sure whether to include this one as I imagine most have seen it already, but I in good conscience I can’t have a top 5 and not have it in there. If you haven’t seen it and you like your dramas gritty with some humour thrown in then this is really a must watch. I can count on one hand the number of people I know that don’t like it so I urge you to give it a go.

Watch Breaking Bad on Netflix

Seen it? Liked it? Try Better Call Saul (though I personally didn’t like this spin off), Walking Dead, Bloodline, Dexter, Narcos

 

Orange Is The New Black

Orange Is The New Black Season 5

This is another iconic series, and I think one of the first things I watched when I signed up to Netflix, is the outrageous OITNB. Set in a female prison, it certainly caused quite a stir with it’s strong female cast and explicit sex scenes, not to mention it’s dialogue on race, religion and sexuality. I binged season 1 and 2 and eagerly awaited season 3 but I must admit I think it was the weakest season and I was rather disappointed with it, as plot wise it felt that nothing much happened. It found it’s feet in season 4 though and certainly didn’t pull any punches.

If you’re all up to date and an avid fan you’ll be pleased to read that Season 5 hits Netflix June 9th.

Watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix.

Seen it? Liked it? Try Breaking Bad, Narcos, How To Get Away With Murder

The OA

THE OA

I will openly admit that this is a Marmite kind of choice, I personally loved this series but I also know a whole lot of people that would disagree with me rather vehemently. If you like your thrillers gritty and supernatural then this is one for you.

Prairie Johnson, a missing blind girl, returns to the community she grew up in with her sight restored. Some hail her a miracle, others a dangerous mystery, but Prairie won’t talk about her seven missing years with anyone except four teenage boys whom she tells her story to in order to recruit them for a mission.

Watch The OA on Netflix

Seen it? Liked it? Try – Stranger Things, Sens8, Orphan Black (though this isn’t a US drama), The Returned, Travellers

Stranger Things

I cannot begin to express how much I loved Stranger Things, it took everything in me not to stay up all night and binge watch the whole lot. Instead we rationed it out, one episode a night, and I was still utterly bereft when we finished it. Like The OA it is science fiction, but if you science fiction normally isn’t your thing then please do not let that put you off. The young cast are phenomenal, a group of young boys set out to find their missing friend and uncover so much more than they and the town bargain for. It’s iconic and and a must see for any 80s/90s kid purely for the nostalgia, and well, Winona Ryder at her absolute best.

Watch Stranger Things on Netflix

Seen it? Liked it? Try – Travellers, Black Mirror, The OA

 

Now I’ve shared my must see US dramas on Netflix I’ll be sharing my favourite UK dramas soon, so keep an eye out for that one. Looking for something funny instead? Then check out my comedy recommendations by clicking the button below.

Top 5 comedies on netflix

What do you think of my choices?

Have you seen any of them?

 

morganaMust See US Dramas On Netflix – My Top 5
read more

Living in limbo land

I’ll hold my hands up. I’m starting to feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed with waiting to move into our new home. I’m trying to work and focus while surrounded by boxes and mess and it’s getting to me. I think if I had a regular 9-5 job where I could just check out and focus on something else away from the house for most of the day I’d find it easier. We have been given a new move day but this won’t be confirmed until later this week so I’m in limbo, not knowing whether to crack on with getting the rest of our lives packed into cardboard boxes or just to wait. I don’t know about you but when I’m about to move I just check out of our house mentally and I’m already thinking about the new one. I find motivating myself to stay on top of jobs like thorough cleaning and tidying a bit of a battle. I’m fully aware that this is reeks of first world problems and all that but alas it’s how I feel!

In an attempt to pull myself out of this I want to focus on the fun we’ve had in this house and the bits of it that I’m going to miss. We moved into to this house when our eldest was just a toddler so we’ve been here for about seven years. It’s the only home she remembers and is the only home that our youngest has ever known.

When we bought it there was nothing wrong with it structurally, but it just wasn’t to our taste at all decor wise. Due to me being a student at the time, and my husband just starting out with his business we didn’t have money to spend to do the things we wanted to do. All our pennies had gone on the deposit with nothing left for renovating. This meant having to put up with the house just not being very ‘us’ and I’ll admit while being at home with my youngest I really got fed up with it!

The living room and dining room space were the first that we properly renovated back in 2014, the rooms needed completely replastering, the carpet ripping up and well, everything, changing! I have very few photos of what it used to look like, purely because I hated it that much I tried so hard not to take many photos in there!

One of my favourite changes – getting rid of the smelly wee stained carpet and replacing it with grey laminate flooring.

We also had shutters put in  our bay window the following year, 2015. We love the shutters so much that we are having them fitted in the front downstairs window of our new home.

Our living room and dining room makeover

Freshening up our living space

Last year we finally had the horrible small bathroom renovated, and where there once was brown wallpaper and turquoise tiles now it’s got beautiful white subway tiles with grey grout and a fantastic shower.

renovating our small bathroom

renovating our small bathroom

renovating our small bathroom

renovating our small bathroom

renovating our small bathroom

Renovating Our Small Bathroom

It’s weird, I finally feel that we are making our stamp on this house only to move out of it! You might wonder why we’re moving at all, but the main reason is desire for a set aside office room and a fourth bedroom that can be a permanent guest bedroom. We live far away from all our family and a lot of friends so having space to properly host them is so exciting for me. I can’t wait to properly host and entertain in our new home, I love having people to stay and having a proper guest room makes this so much easier.

With it being a new build we can really make the house our own, but without having to live in a house that decorated in someone else’s taste. This home is a blank canvas for us, and as fan of white walls anyway it feels more me than any home we’ve ever been in. I’ve already started blogging some of my plans for the new house, like the shared workspace, and no doubt there will be many more to follow.

Even just writing this post has helped my anxiety and stress levels, though it probably helps that I’m sat in a cafe not at my desk that’s surrounded my big brown boxes!

Now, fingers crossed I can stay level headed this week ready for our much hoped for move early next week!

 

morganaLiving in limbo land
read more

My Top 5 Netflix Comedies

Looking for something funny to watch but not sure where to start? Don’t worry I’ve done the hard work and research for you and put together a list of my favourite top 5 Netflix comedies that you just have to watch. It’s such a hard job, but you know, someone has to do it.

top-5-netflix-comedies

Grace and Frankie

In Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda (“Grace”) and Lily Tomlin (“Frankie”) star as two women whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when their husbands reveal they are gay and leave them for each other. Both sparring partners and partners-in-crime, they form an unlikely bond to face an uncertain future together and discover a new definition of “family,” with laughter, tears and plenty of mood enhancers along the way.

To be completely honest, I started Grace and Frankie with rather low expectations, but five minutes in and I was hooked. It is laugh out loud funny and has definitely made me face up to what it’s like to be an older woman in our society. The whole cast is fantastic and you’ll find yourself trying to work out if you’re a Grace or a Frankie.

Watch if you like… your comedy to have a lot of laughs but more depth than a sitcom

Watch with… your mum

 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

crazy exgirlfriend

Rebecca Bunch is climbing up the career ladder in a big city but feels unfulfilled, after bumping into an ex-boyfriend from camp when she was a teen she ends up changing her whole life and moving to his town. The things she does force me to watch through my fingers and cringe while laughing along. She is by definition a ‘snowflake’, very self involved and on the pursuit of ‘love’ whatever that is and whatever the cost. Oh and did I mention there were musical numbers? These are the jewel in the crown of this programme but also they will either make you love it more or realise it’s not for you. It’s similar to Kimmy Schmidt in that way… though Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs are a little more risque… like the one about Period Sex. (I KNOW!)

It took me a few episodes to full get into this series and then I was hooked. Once I got used to them breaking into song every now and again I really enjoyed it.

Watch with…. your best friend

Watch if you like… ‘GIRLS’, ‘LOVE’ and musicals (what a combo!)

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

After living in a cult for fifteen years or more specifically in an underground bunker, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. I LOVE this programme, which is weird because I probably shouldn’t. It is bright and fun and ‘nice’ and has musical numbers, I’m fairly serious, critical and wear a whole lot of black, but it is so endearing and just so funny you cannot help falling in love with Kimmy and rooting for her as she finds her way in New York. The supporting cast are excellent and provide just as many laughs as Kimmy. 

Watch… on your own or with a group of friends who love it as much as you

Watch it if you like… musicals

 

Santa Clarita Diet

Santa Clarita Diet

Now this is an odd one and you will either love it or hate it, it’s the marmite of Netflix comedies. Yes, Drew Barrymore is a zombie, and yes, it’s gross at times BUT it’s also really funny and even heart warming! Be warned though, my husband and I are long standing Walking Dead fans but even I retched in a couple of the scenes. Don’t be put off though, as beyond the whole Drew Barrymore people dead and needing to eat people thing it actually has stronger themes of discovering who you are and pitching together as a family and making things work. It’s not joke after joke kind of funny but definitely has plenty of hand on mouth, laugh out loud moments.

Watch with.. your partner or good friend

Watch it if…. you don’t mind gore and like a laugh

Odd Mom Out

Oh, this mom is my spirit animal for sure. During a couple of scenes I nearly stopped them so I could play them to my husband. Living on the Upper East Side in New York, Jill navigates her way through the wealthy mommy clique, that includes her sister in law. Sure this comedy relies on some played out stereotypes, but for me it’s no less funny because of it. I found the first episode a little too ‘try hard’ with too many jokes shoe horned in making it feel a bit like a stand up act. It definitely relaxes into itself as the season plays out and I cannot wait for the next season to be available.

Watch with your… mum friends

Watch it if… you’re a mum that rejects the whole ‘perfect’ mummy drama 😉

 

There you have my top 5 Netflix comedies, not all are Netflix orginals but you kind find all of the on Netflix UK. I would have added in Community which I LOVED but unfortunately Netflix no longer has it. I’m so relieved I managed to finish the last season of it in time before it went. Next on my list is Jane The Virgin, I watched a couple of these ages ago but I’ve heard such good things about it recently I’m going to dip in and give it another go. I must add that I watched most of these on my own so my watch with are obvs just suggestions! Feel free to binge away on your own.

Have you seen any my top 5?

Got any you would add to my list?

 

I’m part of the Netflix UK Stream Team

morganaMy Top 5 Netflix Comedies
read more

My current favourite inspiring UK instagrammers

inspiring instagrammers with tips and hashtags

This isn’t a list full of huge Instagrammers with hundreds of thousands of followers, these are just a few of my favourites that make me smile with their content and beautifully curated feed. Some will be well known and others are little gems that should have way more followers than they currently do. As well as sharing a few photos from their accounts I’ve asked each Instagrammer for their top tips and favourite hashtags for a little insider knowledge that we can all learnt from.

Inspiring UK Instagrammers

 

Kerry Villers | @KERRYVILLERS

 

Kerry is a fellow blogger and I’ve been following her on Instagram for quite a while now. Her thoughtfully curated feed is so beautiful, there’s so much light and creativity to her shots of her home and family life. Follow her if you love a bit of greenery, light interiors and a glimpse into family life.

Kerry’s top tips – 

“I go through phases of either loving Instagram or finding it a bit of a drain. Worrying about numbers is one thing that ruins the fun for me. More recently, I have tried to worry less about numbers and think more about the kind of photographs I would like to take. The photos I enjoy taking may not get as many likes or attract as many followers as others, but that’s OK. I have also stopped following some of the popular advice to like and comment on so many photographs in a hashtag after posting a photo, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I think that advice can work, but I found it sucked the joy out of Instagram for me. 

I recently found the bookmarking function on Instagram and absolutely love it. I bookmark the photos I find particularly inspiring and look back through them when I am feeling a bit meh. I find it helps me to think of ideas for the kind of photographs I might like to take and provides a reference point to the kind of style I like and admire. Emily Quinton advises to make Pinterest boards of your favourite Instagram photos, but I’m not organised enough to do that, so bookmarking has been a god send. 

If you’re struggling to find accounts you want to follow, go through your favourite accounts follow list. You will find a ton of great accounts there. 

Antonia from Tinker Tailor Online recommended using an app called Mosaico in a recent blog post. It’s amazing. It has the same grid layout as Instagram, so you can see what your next photo would look like in your feed, or what it might look like if you deleted a photo. Worth the £5.99 purchase price, in my opinion. 

Listen to Me & Orla’s podcasts – Hashtag Authentic

Engage with your followers. There is nothing worse than liking and commenting on photographs time and again, only to get nothing back. Plus, why are you doing it, if not to engage with people?” 

Favourite hashtags –  #littleloves, #lifecloseup, #myeverydaymagic #cornerofmyhome

 

Tigerlilly Quinn | @TIGERLILLYQUINN

 

We’ve both been on the blogging scene for a few years now and I would call Fritha a friend, though I must admit still have a fan girl moment whenever I meet up with her in real life. She is such a beautiful authentic soul and this is reflected in her relaxed and colourful feed. With over 30k followers I am not the only one to love Fritha’s account that  simply bursts with family adventures, stylish and creative fashion and every day life in Bristol. The hashtags #dresscolourfully and #thebrighthome are both run by Fritha* and she has individual instagram accounts for each to showcase the communities.

Fritha’s top tips – “Don’t get sucked into comparing yourself to others or focusing on the numbers. Engage as much as you can and slowly but surely you’ll see that return on your account and followers will happen naturally”

Favourite hashtags – #dresscolourfully #thebrighthome

 

Old Fashioned Sus | @OLDFASHIONEDSUS

 

Fellow north of Watford instagrammer, Susie, shares her home town of Manchester in her feed. Weaved in with her love of vintage fashion and styling Susie gives us a glimpse into her life and loves. Expect rich architectural shots and interiors full of texture and beauty. Champion of the breton tee, Susie also runs the hashtag #bretonloversunite where she invites fellow breton striped fans to join in and hashtag their breton striped pics.

Susie’s top tip – “My biggest tip is be yourself! Also posting around the same time each day helps you get into a routine of connecting, I try to post before I get the kids up for school.”

Favourite hashtags – “These change all the time but I’m going to biased and say #wallsofMCR which is my newest baby and there’s loads of amazing walls in Manchester to see!”

 

Charlotte Rawles | @CHARLOTTERAWLES

 

Charlotte’s portraits of her children are absolutely stunning. No blurry, badly framed pictures to be found, just beautifully curated photos capturing her family life. We’re not talking overly stylised and posed photos, of which I’m personally not a fan of, but beautiful captures that feel spontaneous whether they are or not. It’s not surprising to learn that Charlotte is a photographer, you can see her professional account here @charlotterawlesphotography

 

 

The Ordinary Lovely | @THEORDINARYLOVELY

 

Rachel and I entered into the parent blogging community at similar times and both of us are now on blogs that reflect our lifestyle rather than one centred on being a mummy. She made the leap before me and was so helpful when I made the transition. Through her instagram account Rachel shares her home and interior style with us in such a fresh and inspiring way. She has fantastic taste that works for family life yet doesn’t compromise either style or practicality. Her feed is so fresh and bright, sharing beautiful home style as well as family adventures and trips. 

Rachel’s top tips – “I’ve read so many articles and so many posts about how to increase your Instagram following, but very few touch on using it simply because you love to. Using it because you love to share photographs and stories and because you love to look at photographs and read other people’s stories. Even if your goal is to have a mega huge following and work with lots of amazing brands, never forget that you’re building a personal photo album and no matter the quality of the images and no matter the amount of likes you receive, at some point in the future, you’ll look back on a technicolour history of precious memories and moments.”

Favourite hashtags – “My own feed is full of family adventures and colourful interiors … the first is my life and the latter, my hobby. I use hashtags for both so that I can look up and connect with others who share similar interests. #UKexplore is my very own hashtag (with Karen from @Mini_Travellers) which is all about days out and beautiful places to visit across the UK. And I love #realrooms in order to have a nosy around other people’s homes. It’s addictive viewing.”

 

 

Kelly Goyette | @KELLYANNGOYETTE

 

I am fairly new to Kelly’s feed and it was love at first sight. She has such a beautiful eye that captures even the tiny moments of her family’s life. I personally find Kelly’s feed inspiring and it definitely challenges me to up my ‘instagame’! Now I just need to convince my children to love being in front of the camera..!

 

 

This is the first in my series of Instagram favourites. Every so often I’ll be highlighting a few themed favourites, such as inspiring home style accounts, mama style, etc. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Do you follow any of these?

Who are your favourites?

Let me know in the comments below

 

(* #dresscolourfully is co-run with @hungermama and #thebrighthome with @lottie_storey)

morganaMy current favourite inspiring UK instagrammers
read more

Gin Festival – Date night at Blackpool Tower Ballroom

I remember the first time I tried a gin and tonic. I was staying with a friend in London and before we headed out to a gig, she poured me a glass of pre-mixed Gordons and tonic. I think I’d just had my youngest daughter so we’re  probably talking about five or six years ago. I’m ashamed to admit it but after one sip I pulled a face and handed it swiftly back to her. I was not a fan. Funnily enough I don’t exactly remember when this changed and when I became one of gin’s biggest fans and out spoken advocate. Let’s face it gin is having a huge moment right now, and I for one couldn’t be happier. If you’ve only ever tried a pre-mixed G&T or a cheap gin with a cheap mixer in a bar then you really do need to give gin another try. With events like the Gin Festival that showcase hundreds of varieties of gins you are bound to find one you love and. I was so pleased to be invited by the Gin Festival to their Blackpool Tower Ballroom event and join many fellow gin lovers for a fun night out last Friday.

 
gin festival blackpool tower ballroom

gin festival

gin festival

gin festival

The way the Gin Festival works is you buy tokens at the ‘Off Licence’ that you then exchange for drinks at the various bars. On arrival you are given a gin glass and The Gin Book, you choose the gin you want from the book and head over to the designated bar and place your order. Easy peasey. I loved how each gin is described and you know which mixer and garnish it comes with. As I particularly like spiced and fruity gins I was able to look for them and the later also try out some more dry and citrus flavours too. 

gin festival

My husband isn’t a gin drinker per say but even he found a drink he loved that was mixed with ginger beer, Jawbox gin with Fever Tree Ginger Ale.

gin festival

gin festival

Gin Festival

The atmosphere was fantastic and such a diverse group of people. Gin love definitely spans the generations! Throughout the night there was live music, master classes, street food and you could even try various gin based cocktails.

date night gin festival

We had a great night out at the Gin Festival and I will definitely be going again. I think going in a group of friends next time who like gin as much as more could prove to be even more fun. No offence to my long suffering husband who put up with me photographing him and helped me juggle drinks and my camera! You can find a Gin Festival event near you here.

Are you a gin fan?

Is this your kind of night out?

 

Let me know in the comments below or come and chat to me on social media!

 

Thanks to the Gin Festival for inviting me to cover the event, and giving me complimentary entry.

morganaGin Festival – Date night at Blackpool Tower Ballroom
read more

A creative photowalk around Preston

For a while now I’ve been wanting to go on a photowalk. For those not in blogging circles a photowalk is when you get together with a few other people and cameras in hand you capture what’s around you and what interests you as a photographer. Most regular readers will know that I’m good friends with Jenny who blogs over at Let’s Talk Mommy, a very talented blogger and photographer. I knew that Jenny was interested in photowalks too so we decided to just pair up and go on one together. We met up in Preston, a city that’s easy for both of us to get to and with our cameras and coffees we went for a wander.

preston coffee photowalk

how to host your own photowalk

We decided to take photos for each other as well as doing our own thing. The great part of it just being the two of us is that we could direct the walk wherever we wanted and combine it with some outfit shots too!

Millers Arcade

Telephone boxes are such a rarity now, we couldn’t resist stopping and taking a few shots

Luckily for us there was an exhibition of Martin Creed’s work at the central art gallery, Harris Museum & Art Gallery. I must admit wandering around and taking pictures took me back to my A Level Art days!

Of course now trip out would be complete without a stop off at a coffee shop. As much as I love the convenience of a Starbucks for working. I do love supporting independents when I’m meeting socially. Ever the bloggers we couldn’t resist popping into Ham and Jam when we saw the gorgeous yellow bike outside it.

I love spending the morning with Jenny on our photowalk. Just having someone that ‘gets’ blogging that you can get creative with is so necessary with the lone working of blogging. You don’t need to be the best photographer to go on a photo walk. Jenny will tell you that I still don’t really know how to work my camera properly and I’ve had it for years! At the risk of being heretical you can even just use your phone as long as it has a good camera. I’ll definitely be going on one again, it was so much fun exploring a city I thought I knew really well and finding little hidden gems.

Top Tips for doing your very own photowalk

Get together with some friends

Make sure you have a camera, or at least a phone with a good camera

Decide where you’ll go collectively

Think about what you want to focus on personally

Get creative and be brave!

 

What do you think?

Will you be trying out a photowalk?

morganaA creative photowalk around Preston
read more

5 Things I Love About La La Land (and why you should probably go and see it)

Last Friday I had a little impromptu cinema trip. It had been a busy and rather stressful week so on Friday lunchtime I popped into our local cinema and bought myself a ticket to the much anticipated La La Land. With the added bonus that I had enough points to get the ticket for free! I know people might think I’m a little weird for admitting this but I’m no stranger to solo cinema trips. If there’s a film I’m desperate to see I will make time to go and see it, I guess this is one of the perks of my children being at school and me working from home. The last film I saw on my own was Suffragette, you can read what I thought about that here. I knew I had to blog about La La Land from about 5 minutes in, so here we go with the 5 things I love about La La Land

5 Things I Love About La La Land

5 things I Love About La La Land

  1. The homage to old Hollywood glamour

It was like a love letter to LA, a nod to all the beautiful and iconic musicals that have gone before it. As a child I loved watching the bright coloured and evocative American musicals on TV. Often they’d be on BBC2 on a Saturday afternoon and instead of playing outside as my mum wanted me to, I would curl up on the sofa, my eyes glued to the screen swept up in the perfectly choreographed routines, the often chaste exchanges and the glamourous dresses. It took me far away from our little house in Cornwall. La La Land had the same magic for me, and I smiled my way through it. You’d think that because of my exposure to these musicals at a young age then it would mean I’m a bit of a musical buff but I fear the opposite is true. I can count on one had the number of theatre productions of musicals I’ve seen. I can however safely say that I’ve watched many film adaptations and that’s really where my heart lies.

 

2. They aren’t the stereotypical leading man and leading lady

I’ve read some criticism that Ryan and Emma’s vocals weren’t particularly strong and how actors with a more musical theatre background should have been cast. While I agree that their voices weren’t the ones you’d expect in a musical, I do however think that they were perfectly cast. I loved their chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love (a must see, if you’ve not watched it) and it’s very much present in La La Land. Emma as struggling actor Mia is simply charming, I found her instantly likeable, and Ryan brings a little edge in his performance as the jaded Jazz pianist , Sebastian.

I particularly like their voices, it adds to the clever juxtaposition of contemporary film and storyline, and old school musical. I think it could have been so dull with standard musical theatre actors with powerful voices. That brings me on to..

3. The music

The La La Land soundtrack has been on my Spotify most days after seeing the film. My girls love jumping around to the opening number Another Day of Sun, and while it’s not my favourite or even indicative of the rest of the film it is a song you can’t help move to. Mia and Sebastian’s Theme is so evocative and just those first few notes transport me right back to the film. It’s hard to really talk about it without spoilers, but let’s just say it becomes really emotive.

I have to mention the jazz. I love jazz and Sebastian’s passion for the art form is simply magnetic. I’m not as enamoured by the song Start a Fire though, but I think that isn’t really surprising when it’s viewed in the context of Sebastian wanting a ‘steady job’ and John Legend’s character’s spin that it is bringing jazz to the masses you can understand it. Plus is crazy catchy, dammit.

You can listen to Justin Hurwitz’ full score for the movie here –

 

4. The clever juxtaposition

This film walks a clever line between musical and contemporary film. Set in ‘modern day’ but with a very Hollywood musical feel to it. I want to point out that it’s not just a film with songs and dance numbers thrown in incongruously, something that I fear has been the case with a few more recent musicals on the big (and small) screen. I also dislike it when a TV series decides to set one of it’s episodes as a musical (Greys Anatomy being one) as to me it feels so clunky to watch a cast member of a drama suddenly break out into song. It just feels odd. Due to my feelings on this I did have my reservations when sitting down to watch La La Land, but thankfully for the most part it was cringe free. For those not used to musicals I can imagine some of the scenes could have been confusing or unnecessary – the number at the planetarium for example. Personally I enjoyed them as they reminded me of when in musical films they’d suddenly have a scene with dancers in floaty dresses with a pink floor and back drop and it would all get a bit arty and dreamlike, I wish I could give a clear example here but I’m afraid I didn’t really pay attention to the names of films as a child.

5. The ending

Don’t worry there will be no spoilers here. If you’ve already seen it I’d be keen to know if you agree. And yes. I got rather emotional. I did not expect to but when Sebastian sits down at the piano poised to start and tentatively plays.. oh boy I was a wreck.

So there we have my top 5 Things I Love about La La Land!

If you’re not a typical musical fan but go in prepared to embrace it then I think you could enjoy it. I’ve nearly convinces my husband – the storyline and the jazz are swaying him, plus he liked Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love, so we shall see. Perhaps, when he’s seen it I’ll add his non-musical loving perspective.

Have you seen it yet?

I’d love to know what you think

morgana5 Things I Love About La La Land (and why you should probably go and see it)
read more

Eating out at Disneyland Paris – The Earl of Sandwich

We recently visited Disneyland Paris in October Half Term and as you can imagine we had a fantastic time. While we were there we had the opportunity to go to both Planet Hollywood, and The Earl of Sandwich, two of the restaurants at the Disney Village. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Situated in the Disney Village, The Earl of Sandwich is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before heading back out and enjoying the rest of Disneyland Paris. With the option to take away or eat in it’s quick food that tastes great.

earl of sandwich

Since it opened, Earl of Sandwich, Paris has been serving its customers The World’s Greatest Hot Sandwich®. Made to order in just 4 minutes, the gourmand’s delight comprises of deliciously fresh, top-quality ingredients and is served on bread baked to order, on the premises (the recipe is a closely guarded secret). Featuring hot sandwiches as well as a selection of salads, wraps and desserts the restaurant also has a breakfast menu and offers a selection of delicious fruits and home-made cakes and puddings!

After ordering you get a buzzer which will buzz when your food is ready to be collected.

20161101_121920789_ios

earl of sandwich

Unfortunately for us we went on an extremely busy day, it was a French Bank Holiday, so the queues were huge. I guess this shows just how popular it is! The staff were still friendly and helpful despite being run off their feet.

The girls were happy with the meal deal style of kids food both the mister and I were happy with our wraps and potato wedges. It was good to get a lunch that was warm but not too heavy and despite being busy the service was really fast.

earl of sandwich

This is a perfect place to stop in and grab some lunch and have a break from the park. It’s not far from the hotels either so well situated if you’re staying on site like we were.

20161103_074153810_ios

Planning a trip to Disneyland Paris? Read all our Disneyland related posts here.

We were given complimentary lunch for this purpose of this review, all views are our own.

 

 

 

 

morganaEating out at Disneyland Paris – The Earl of Sandwich
read more

Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life – My thoughts

First off, this post will contain spoilers so if you haven’t finished watching Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life then click away now, do not read this post! I would hate to ruin it for anyone so please, please don’t read this post unless you you’ve watched the four new episodes.

Who’s still with me?

Right, here we go, here are my thoughts on the most recent Gilmore Girls episodes. First off, it was so good being back in Stars Hollow, even if it was just for a few hours. Everyone has aged so well (if a little puffy faced..) and I felt like I wanted to clap every time one of the much loved characters came back on screen.. just me?

I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of Spring and Summer and wasn’t surprised to find out that they were written and directed by Daniel Palladino and not Amy Sherman Palladino. They had a different feel to them for sure and what was up with the musical?! I want those minutes of my life back. I felt like it didn’t add anything to the storyline, apart from the scene with Lorelai and that one song. I’d love to know what you thought of it? I ended up skipping over most of it.

I’m so happy that Lorelai and Luke were together and that they ended up getting married. It was the perfect conclusion for them and brought a whole lot of closure and relief.

Let’s talk about Rory, I do feel like she got the rough end of the deal with these episodes. Gone was the focussed, ethical and sensible Rory we all knew. Instead she floundered and flip flopped throughout the series. Although the Paul storyline was funny, it was also rather cruel and not what we’d have expected from Rory. I guess she’s been so ‘together’ her whole life she was bound to have a season of ‘wandering’ at some point and instead of doing it in her early twenties she’s doing it in her thirties. I imagine lots of people can relate. I read an interesting interpretation that Rory has the tenacity of Lorelai but the entitlement of an elite trust fund kid, something that teen mum Lorelai eschewed. This led to Rory assuming she’d walk into top jobs and get the success she craved but didn’t prepare her for the ‘real world’. 

Jess and Logan

We didn’t see much of Jess did we? I get the feeling that Jess is in Rory’s future though. He seems in such a good place and when Rory settles I imagine he could be the Luke to her Lorelai. Did you see the clever similarities woven into the storyline? How Jess got rid of the wifi box for Luke, he gave Rory the listening ear and the boost she needed like Luke would so often do for Lorelai. Talking of character paralells, we have to mention Christopher and Logan. I can’t be the only one that spotted them in the scene where Rory visits her father. Christopher’s phrasings, mannerisms and words were so Logan! It was then that the cogs in my little brain started whirring and I started to figure out where we could be headed with those last four words.

The last four words

Did you see them coming? Or were they a bolt from the blue?

I hate to be ‘that person’ but I had an inkling of what they could be and wasn’t that surprised with how it ended. It seems that we’re doing a full circle. Rory – Lorelai, Logan – Christopher, Jess – Luke. Did you spot the parallels? Maybe you disagree? I know there are a lot of theories knocking around and if you have one I’d love to hear it.

Favourite bits

The Secret Bar – How funny were the shouts of “Five O” when Taylor was about to walk past? Honestly, I was in fits of giggles.

Kirk – Oh how I love Kirk! His short film, the pig, Ooober, it was all funny.

Lorelai trying to pack her camping back pack. In these scenes Lorelai is my spirit animal for sure. The way she keeps trying to stuff everything in and then waking up in the morning still surrounded by it all, so funny.

I have to talk about Emily, her storyline was hands down my favourite. To see her character develop and change in the wake of Richard’s death was perfect. I loved the scene with the DAR when she calls then all out and wanders off. To see her happy and settled doing her own thing in Nantucket just warmed my heart.

Least favourites

Rory – I get what they were doing with her character I really do, but man she was dull. It was like banging your head against a wall watching her at times.

The musical – so, so awful

The lack of Sookie! I know, I know, Melissa McCarthy is super busy and there was scheduling conflicts, and blah blah blah but it still wasn’t the same without her. The five minute scene she was in felt shoe horned and I’d have preferred her to have been at the wedding.

 

All in all I of course loved being back in Stars Hollow and have already watched through the series twice. Do you think they’ll bring in back so we can follow Rory and her pregnancy? They’ve certainly left it open for it haven’t they? I’d love it if they made more but on the other hand I wouldn’t be devastated if they ended it there. What do you think?

Now it’s over to you.. what did you think? What are your theories? I’d love to know!

 

morganaGilmore Girls A Year In The Life – My thoughts
read more