My 2015 Overview.


So it's that time of year again, when us bloggers write down how our year has gone - our accomplishments and downfalls, and send our hopes for the following year into the universe. This is my first year participating in this, but I look forward to it. Okay, that's a tiny fib. I'm actually a little nervous, which is silly, I know. This is without question a personal post, but I want to start documenting my life better. It would be easy to just write about the good but we learn from the bad, and more often than not, I find the struggles in life shape us into who we are destined to be. Grand scheme and all that. So deep, I know. I digress, once again. I really need to get the hang of not rambling. So, without further adieu.. let's go.

I'm going to be blunt, this year has resembled that roller coaster ride in the third Final Destination movie for me. I wish I was exaggerating, but no. It's been a tough year, plain and simple. But it has also been a year of positive changes, which I want to leave 2015 remembering. But you are going to have to wait to hear about them, and read through the crappy parts first. You're welcome.

Losing a Loved One.
I know that you know that I know we are indeed talking about what some would call just a "pet" here. But at least 80% of you will understand what it means to lose someone who has always been there, pet or otherwise. I don't want to delve into this at this moment in time, so I'll just direct you to the blog post You Are My Sunshine which explains everything. But yes, most definitely the worst part of 2015 was losing a best friend. In a much different circumstance but similar theme, the one I treasure most lost someone he loved this year. And having to go through the motions of that while living countless miles away, was, well.. torture. His sadness was heartbreaking, knowing he was going through such pain.. there are no words. An uncle of mine also lost his second half earlier this year, and knowing the agony he was going through was.. bizarre. That may seem like an odd word to use to describe something so sad, but it's the only one I can think of. Usually we don't know when someone is in pain, people hide it behind closed doors, so to feel it in a room; watch the events unfold.. Indescribable. And yes, bizarre. I had been fortunate prior to 2015 in the sense that I had yet to lose anyone I have loved through death. Nor had I experienced the ordeal through someone else's eyes. In a way, I wish I could say that I understood what grief was before this year, to not appear sheltered and to say that I knew what to say to these people during the tough times, but to be perfectly honest, I still don't understand it. And I have learnt that that is to be expected. Nobody gets it, we just get forced to survive through it. No matter how hard. That may not make sense to anyone other than my own muddled brain. That's okay.

Oy vey. Love was arguably the theme of my 2015. Both with family, friendships, and relationships. And yes, in both the good and bad sense. The first big change was letting go of my first love. We'd be apart relationship wise for a good few months, but earlier this year was when The End would of rolled onto screen and those large plush red curtains would of closed. Almost 5 years. The friendship was and is what I miss the most. I hope that will one day fade, but I doubt it. It was and is a difficult thing to gloss over. The hard thing is, I do believe we could of stayed as friends. No matter how many people bark that it's impossible. We, in a sense, grew up together. But no.. The end credits roll, even when you don't want them to. There will always be some things they didn't wrap up.

Fibromyalgia is a bitch. Plain and simple. I went into this year midway through physical therapy classes, Since then I have completed over 5 months of appointments, a batch of hydrotherapy, and yet my health is still deteriorating. It's perfectly fine. This is probably the better of my low list, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a tad scary at times. I push myself and I can manage, but it's exhausting. Going through daily chores shouldn't be this exhausting to the body. Though, the hardest part to manage is often in the mind department. It can be mentally dehydrating. (Is that a correct term? Eh. Going with it.) I worry about how this will affect my future, and I worry that it'll keep going worse. But only time will tell. Anyhoo, yes. Not the greatest aspect of 2015.

And time for the lowest of moments....Glee ended. Okay, I'm kidding. Kind of. It was rather traumatic. Thankfully Scream Queens gave me my Lea Michele fix. Don't worry, I made it through. Is the mood lightened a bit yet? No? Okay, here's Bruno in a tie for your viewing pleasure..

Now you're smiling, aren't you? Great! Let's end on the highlights. The clock is ticking.

How can I not start with the very thing you are reading this off of? A 2015 resolution of mine was to start a blog. I'm not going to lie, I have created many in the past but always wound up chickening out and deleting the entire thing. But I learnt a world class secret, want to know what it is? Write for you, not for the people who may or may not bother reading your posts. So simple, and yet it took me years to figure out.  I'm a stress head and fret about the little things. Such as, I wasn't going to publish this post until I had taken a decent new "head shot" for my sidebar, as I've grown to detest the photo. So insignificant, and yet it was going to stop me from doing something that I wanted. Silly. I may not post often, nor do my posts have a great quality to them.. But I enjoy it. And that is all that matters. Thank you to anyone who has read anything I've written on here. My little corner of the internet always appreciates a visitor. Really, thank you. (That seems sarcastic, but it really isn't. Nor is this. Maybe my brain just reads everything sarcastically. Hm.)

My first vacation. My first time going abroad, or well, anywhere, alone. My first plane ride. The first time leaving my cat to fend for himself (He had my mother, I'm not a psychopath.). Oh, the first time leaving my mother to fend for herself. But most importantly.. the first time I did something entirely for myself. It was incredible and I wish I was vlogger so I could have something other than photos to look back on. But alas, I am not and never will be. You can read more about my trip here and here.

Paired with that great ol' Germany paragraph up top - friendship. One woman in particular, who was not only the greatest hostess a girl could wish for, but simply a beautiful human. Esma is undoubtedly the strongest female I know, hell, strongest human. And every year she surprises me by continuing to be a wonderful friend, and offering her support when it's needed. You always need a best friend, and I can only hope that she will continue to be the Serena to my Blair and the Christina to my Meredith for many years to come. We all need a person.

I did it! That's about all I really have to say on this one. But, hey first year and I managed to complete the word count. My chin may of been tilted a little higher than usual that day. I'll be gracious and confess that I never in a million years would of managed to keep going if it weren't for my writing buddy (and everything else buddy). He was my rock throughout, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Who needs adrenaline boosts from roller coasters when you have a deadline!?

This was one of my resolutions for 2015. Ironically, it wasn't time or health that held me back from volunteering in 2014, or 2013 for that matter.. It was confidence. Anxiety. A whole big thing that I won't bore you with as that isn't the point of this paragraph. Hello, we're on the good part. It was at the end of August that I waddled into a local charity sop and asked for a form. One step, and things just slotted into place. To be honest, it is bloody hard to juggle with the pain and I am often forced to cut down my hours due to it. But it's freedom, you can't put a price on that. It's something so small and so simple, but carries so much weight behind it for me. Plus you are doing something helpful, so bonus! I have also done a tiny bit with a local community thing and that has been equally incredible. As I am very unlikely to be able to hold down a job at this particular moment of time (pain and juggling it with being a carer for a family member), it's like my little escape from my bubble. Whether it be via handing out leaflets at a kids party, to sorting through bags of mostly junk..

Still in the volunteer category, I accomplished one of the things on my bucket list this year. Which was very obviously dressing as an elf and prancing around a grotto. Yup. Been there, done there. Mourning my elf costume.

Rediscovering Love, Differently.
Here we are again - love. I saved the best until last. Have you ever felt so incredibly lost and inhuman, that you fear the world around you will drop from under your feet at any moment? That you aren't worthy of the beauty of it all, so why should you belong here? Taking another human's spot? It all seems fictionalised for the worst reasons and you long for the silence. Maybe you know what I mean, maybe you are jut labelling me as crazy right now.. Either way, that's okay.  felt this way when this year began. I had already met this man, a friend; or that's what I tried to convince myself, this beautiful man. A heart of gold, words that could melt a coin, and a man who bore the gift of handing out laughter like it was as easy as a hug. He saved my sanity. He was the only one there and he didn't even realize it. To be honest, this post was written with the intention of documenting a year in my life. But now I'm writing, I see it, the reason for all these typed out words. A message to me, and anyone out there who is running scared from what they find unfamiliar. You see, this man, he appeared to offer me everything that I wanted, and most importantly, needed. He had it all in the palm of his hand and was offering it to me. Me! The girl who's heart still throbbed, and the girl who felt unworthy of one small compliment. How could I possibly accept it at this time in my life? I shouldn't of been happy, it was wrong on countless levels and I didn't accept his offerings for far longer than I ought to of. I guess you could say, I was scared. Scared that he would snatch his hand back after seeing my demons. He knew of them already, and yet I ran scared. Fear. Sodding fear. But you know what this silly man did? He said that it was okay, and waited. He didn't get mad, he didn't change anything.. Nothing changed between us. We continued to laugh. So.. The second time he asked, I pushed his hand aside and kissed him. Theoretically, of course. But that's how it felt. All those weeks wasted, thinking I deserved to continue to be unhappy for a wee while, for what? Even if you feel like you are the least worthy person on the planet to be offered something, big or small, if you desperately want it.. Do it. Don't make yourself unhappy. If you can change it, change it. And if you can't, I hope you find the strength to smile again.

So, yes. Love. Sweet love. My year started and ended with it, for two completely different reasons. And friendship vs. romantically. Someone somewhere can find the irony in that. I wouldn't change my current relationship for anything the world has to offer. For the first time in a good few years, I see a future. And yes, it does involve this certain gentleman but that isn't the point. He helped me want to live again. His love. Love. It's tragically beautiful.

This was a darn wordy blog post, my apologies. If you made it to the end, then.. I love you. Too much? Okay. I'll give you free chocolate. Or coffee. I'd go with the coffee. I hope your 2015 went well, or that you will at least step into 2016 with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.

My resolution post should be up soon.
Happy New Year, ya filthy animal. (Oops, wrong. I can't let go of Christmas!)

- Anne x

❆ The Christmas Tag ❆


I was looking for a Christmassy post to write out, and remembered BroganTatexo doing a tag video that was originally made by someone else. Chain reaction. So I watched, wrote down the questions, and we're off. I need to stop doing a chit-chat at the beginning of the a blog post. I also need a greeting. "Howdy!" doesn't really seem to cut it nowadays. Plus I'm Welsh, not Southern. Wish I was though. Anyhoo, I digress, read on. Please. Maybe. It's right there, go on..

What's your favourite Holiday movie?
I want to say Elf. But my heart says The Santa Clause. Or Black Xmas.

What are your favourite Christmas colours?
Red and green, you can't beat the elfness of it. I'm still on the hunt for a perfect red skater dress that I can pair with a green cardigan and embrace the festiveness.

Do you like to stay in your PJ's or dress up for Christmas?
I usually dress up, just for the novelty of it. I'm not really a PJ's girl (I know, I know.. Blogger sin. Burn me at the stake,).

If you could only buy one person a present this year, who would it be?
As you can probably guess, this is an impossible question to ask. So, I'm going to go with my cat. Just to be fair to my loved ones. Not at all because it's my honest answer, nope. That'd be crazy. Or would it be? Yeah. It would. Would it?

Do you open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Both! My and my mother swap one present at Christmas Eve night (Usually cheesy Christmas PJ's for her, and an oversized t-shirt that has something Christmas themed on for me.), and we open the rest on Christmas morning.

Have you ever built a gingerbread house?
Nope! I really want to though,  Just need someone to eat it for me. Any volunteers?

What do you like to do on your Christmas break?
Six words: Three day Christmas movie marathon. Food.

Any Christmas wishes?
I'm going to assume this question is asked directly to me. As in, I can't wish for peace on Earth or for millions of happy faces come Christmas morning. So to be perfectly honest, no. Not really. I, of course, hope that the day will be as beautiful as it is magical to young children. I'd just wish for a happy Christmas. One I look back to come future years and smile at the memories. If Santa also wants to steal a certain American in a sleigh and drop him at my doorstep, that'd be nifty.

Favourite Christmas smell?
Tinsel. Hands down.

Favourite Christmas meal or treat?
Terry's Chocolate Orange, but the mini exploding candy ones. Or the tube of pink Smarties. They scream Christmas to me.

So, there you have it. I apologize for the randomness of this post but I was in the mood to post something and failed miserably at coming up with an original idea. I hope you enjoyed the quick read.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or just a lovely week if you don't celebrate it. Hug a loved one.

- Anne x

Krampus: A Bloody Holiday Treat.


Tis was the week before Halloween, and a girl was awake, 
searching for horrors, Krampus was a happy mistake.
The promise of wreaths and a blood bathe galore,
oh sweet Gingy made her long for more.

Okay, so maybe lyric rewrites aren't my speciality. And if you don't know who Gingy is, I question your movie taste. (Shrek, just FYI.) This is normally my boyfriend's corner of the Internet, as I am no reviewer and pretty much suck at getting my thoughts across eloquently. I'm a mess in the brain department, but also a horror buff. And a little crazed when it comes to Christmas. I am actually writing this while wearing a Christmas cat apron, and accompanied by the jingle of the bells on my antlers. Because, well, why not?

When I first saw the trailer for Krampus way back in October, I knew I needed to see this movie. There was no question about it. There appears to be a major lack in the Christmas-Horror world. Sure, you have the obvious choices like Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, P2, Silent Night (They like using that pun, huh?), but there aren't enough to keep me entertained throughout the entire month of December. The travesty! It's a joy to have a new movie to add to my list.

Now, let's get one thing out of the way. If you're going into this movie with either high expectations, or expecting to experience some sort of Rob Zombie movie, don't be idiotic. There's a killer gingerbread man in one of the trailers. Come on now! I had the displeasure of viewing Krampus with a guy who apparently expected it to be some spine chilling horror, and bitched about the silliness of it for hours later. I'll repeat for good measure, it has a killer gingerbread man in the trailer. 'Kay?

Krampus is pretty self explanatory. It's about Krampus, the horned opposite of Santa from Alpine Folklore. He supposedly punishes children who have misbehaved, unlike Santa who rewards them. That is a real simple way of putting it, if you want to read more Google is your best friend. But you are here for the movie review. So.. Upon the opening scenes of Krampus, I laughed, went awww, and was slapped in the face by festiveness. To be completely honest, I was a little worried as I started to debate whether we were in for a Gremlins experiences (nothing wrong with that!), and not much horror going on. But I was proved wrong not long after. Was the start of the story a little dragged out? Maybe. But I appreciated the opportunity to get to know all the characters. The dysfunctional "classic" american family, who bicker constantly and have one child who wishes for a perfect Christmas.

Said child was played by Emjay Anthony, his character Max Engel was arguably the main character of this movie and he did a pretty good job at playing the role. Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott played the loveable father, and Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Fright Night, Little Miss Sunshine) played the meh mother. They were decently written characters but there wasn't much to note. David Koechner (The Office, Anchorman, Final Destination 3) played Howard, the character you loved to hate. He was possibly my favourite solely for the fact that he made me laugh in every scene he was in. It also starred Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men), Krista Stadler, Stefania LaVie Owen (The Carrie Diaries), and Allison Tolman (Fargo). The acting was good, but cheesy at times which I think was the goal. It was a cheesy gore feast.

The story itself, as I previously mentioned, revolved around Max. A young boy who wants nothing more than a perfect Christmas with his family. He wishes for this in a letter to Santa, but after getting teased and causing a "little" family tiff, rips up said letter and chucks it out of his window and into the night sky. The scene is beautifully shot as the pieces of paper magically get pulled into a mini tornado of sorts and we watch as the power of the town goes out. You have to give the movie at least that. With the blizzard outside, the arguing family's only question is how they are going to survive the upcoming few days (not the mention Christmas itself!) without any gas or electricity. If only they knew..

From that moment on, the movie really gets going. The first death scene has great suspense, and although you know exactly what is going to happen, you still find yourself wanting to yell at the character to move it. Other "frightful" scenes are a mixture of horrory and just plain silly, but that's the joy in it. The elves we meet later on in the movie are bloody terrifying, and a take on them that I haven't seen in any other Christmas/Horror adaptation.

Time to be a Grinch and mention the things that I didn't enjoy about the movie. The first death that I mentioned above involved one of the many children in this movie, and I felt as though the parents managed to forget about said child with a blink of an eye. They wanted a search party, and then boom... Let's all barricade ourselves in for the night, forget him/her. That annoyed me. Secondly, we get a little expected tale midway through the movie to explain who Krampus is. But it's animated. Say, what? Yes, it was beautifully done and fun, I suppose. But it did take away from the horrory aspect a little. Unless I am missing something completely obvious, it was just weird. And lastly (ironic), the ending. It was.. Well.. Three people said "what?" as the end credits rolled. I saw it coming due to a fairly obvious spoiler you will realize once you watch it, but it still doesn't make absolute sense to me. But you know what? I enjoyed the fun of getting to the ending so much, that I kinda don't care. Which is a terrible thing to say, I know. But.. Did I mention I really like horrors and Christmas?

This was undoubtedly a movie that had a better atmosphere in theatres. I jumped a grand total of twice during the film and that is pretty darn impressive for me as I am dead on the inside and hardly ever get a fright when it comes to horrors. Saying this, I doubt I would of had I seen this for the first time on DVD. The surround sound most definitely played a part in the scare factor. The other thing I'd like to mention is that if you have a phobia of clowns you may want to skip Kampus. My mother is, and she wound up in the fetal position and felt the need to ask me to go to the toilets with her. So, yup. May want to consider that.

All in all, I enjoyed Krampus  and it was exactly what I went in expecting. It had the Christmas movie feel without being a proper one, and didn't take itself too seriously which made it all the more enjoyable. I'd recommend you go to the theatres to watch it if you're interested in a good bit of horror style cheese, but otherwise maybe wait for it to go down to £7 in the sales next Christmas. And as I said in the beginning, if you take movies seriously, give it a miss. You may wind up a tad wound up.. Or even, tinselled up. Get it? I'll stop typing now.

Merry Christmas!

- Anne x

Lops Scouse: The Aunt Cath Edition.


Today we are doing another recipe, yup, that's right. The second in under a month! I'm on a roll. I don't know what it is about the Autumn months, but it makes me want to stay inside, lock myself in the warmth of the kitchen and cook something hearty for loved ones to enjoy. This is a family recipe, passed down from my Great Aunt Cath. It's my mothers favourite and although I don't eat it (*waves my veggie flag*), it's always nice to make someone something that takes them back to their childhood. 
It is really simple, and could probably be made to taste much nicer. Hell, fancier even. But I just thought I'd share as it's a little personal touch to my blog, and well, I wanted to. I hope you enjoy.

First off, this is a 'no rules apply' recipe. Change the quantities depending on how many mouths you have to feed. Cut the pieces as big or as small as you want. Want it more liquidy? Add less veg. Want it thicker? Add a bit of flour. Just do what you want. Cooking something like this ought to be homey, not stressful. I'll give you my quantities, but remember that they are not set in stone. 

What you'll need:
400g diced beef
2 stock pots, beef. (You can of course make your own stock, but as I don't eat meat we rarely get the bones that are necessary to make it. Cath used OXO cubes, so it could be worse.)
1/2 onion
2 carrots
4ish small potatoes (I ended up using 3)
1 parsnip 
1 swede

Step One
Chop your beef to the desired size chunks you want, and thinly slice/dice half an onion. 
Put both in a saucepan with, roughly, one pint of water (You may need more, it depends how big of a portion you are making.) Bring to the boil, then lower and let simmer for an hour or until the beef is cooked through. Please choose this moment to ignore how unappetizing it looks.

Step Two
Dice all your remaining ingredients to however small/big you want them, and add into the saucepan. Give it a good ol' stir and then add in the stock pots.

Step Three:
 (The best and worst part, according to my mother.)
Put it on the lowest heat possible and let it simmer for many hours. I gave it a little over three hours. Of course, you could up the heat and it'll be done quicker but apparently it has to stew. It's a tradition.
Once done, pile up your tray with slices of fresh bread smothered in butter and delve in!

And you're done. The scouse gets thicker overnight, and much more blended. So if possible, I advise you to make it the night before. If you make a big pot, put in freezer bags/plastic containers and it will last up to 3 months. 

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

- Anne x

7 Ingredient Pumpkin Pie


Right now, you are only 7 ingredients and an easy 7 steps from having deliciousness in your mouth. This quick and lazy pumpkin pie is basically cinnamony goodness, with a texture that almost resembles cheesecake. Creamy, and practically melts in the mouth. Fancy giving it a go? Well, read on..

Saying that, if you're a chef or more of an Ina Garten over Nigella, I'd advise you to look away now. This is your basic "cheat" pumpkin pie recipe, but adapted to suit my laziness.. I mean.. preference. You'll probably end up crying over my mistakes or broken rules, which I am more than willing to put up with if it means you'll make me pie yourself. But if you're just going to complain.. Don't be a Halloween Grinch. To the rest of you folks, enjoy!

(Side-note: I'll apologize now for the shoddy/unappetizing photos. I had the bright idea to bake at 3am and that doesn't bode well with lighting. Forgive me!)

What you'll need:
1 savoury pastry case. (I originally wanted sweet, but they were out of stock. Your choice.)
1 can 100% pure pumpkin.
2 medium free-ranged eggs.
1 cup of granulated sugar.
1 can sweetened condensed milk (The recipe only calls for 3/4 of a can)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
1 teaspoon of salt

First step (the easiest): 
Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7. 

Second step:
Mix together your dry ingredients, which are:
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt

Third step:
Beat together your eggs in a large bowl.

Fourth Step:
Add in 3/4 of the can of pumpkin. Once incorporated, slowly add in your dry ingredients and condensed milk. 

Fifth Step:
Make a face over how much this mixture resembles baby food, and poor into your awaiting ready made base that a factory was kind enough to make for you.

Sixth step: 
Put on the middle shelf of your oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to Gas Mark 4, Bake for a further 35-40 minutes, but check it throughout. You want a little bit of jiggle, but make sure a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Seventh step: 
Place on a wire rack, wait for it to cool down and delve in! It supposedly keeps up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

I'll be honest, I was hesitant to try this out as I'd never made a pie/tart before, nor had I tried pumpkin. I'm more of a cookie/brownie/muffin girl. It was a failure waiting to happen. Alas, it worked out and has given me the urge to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to baking. My moods have been atrocious over the past few weeks, and I find baking to be very relaxing. It shuts my mind off, even for just an hour. The result? Happy family and co-workers with full stomachs. Nothing wrong with that.

I am tempted to attempt to make a pumpkin pie from scratch over the holidays, so perhaps there will be an updated (and likely far more complicated) version of this blog post. Who knows?

Thank you for reading.
 Happy baking (and yes, this counts!). Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween.

- Anne x

Autumn FOTD


I may be a newbie when it comes to the world of blogging, but I know well enough to document any decent make-up days that my face happens to be blessed with. 

I apologize for the shoddy photo quality but it was the best I could do before leaving the house. I was running late, which is terrible. But my cat was so adorable! I don't think that would withstand in a court of law, but I'm standing by it.

Items used:
Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Palette || £3.99 (I only used the darkest shade for my brows)
Collection Fast Stroke Eye Liner, Black 1 || £2.99
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, Blackest Black || £4.99
Collection Shimmer Shades Blushalicious Blusher, The Peachy Shade || £4.19
Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter, Candy Apple || £7.99

Dress || New Look
Knitted Beret || Matalan

I hope your week is progressing nicely!

- Anne x

Movie Suggestions: Halloween Edition.


October is the month for crisp leaves fluttering to the ground, Americans making us Brits jealous with their many, many, many pumpkin spice flavoured choices, fancy dress, and great movies. (Also, if you live in my house, a stone's worth of sugar filled goodness). Today, I'm going to suggest some movie options for over this spooktacular month. Some classic, some new, some underrated.

Ready, set, treat! Or maybe trick. You'll have to watch to find out. (Or read. I didn't think that sentence through.)

Let's start with a classic, and my favourite..

Halloween, 1978

If you haven't seen this movie, I question whether you are actually living on the planet earth. Maybe you're an alien who hacked his/her way onto the Earth's technology system and sadly ended up on this blog instead of Google. So, err, hi there. Seriously though, this movie is a must over Halloween.

 Psychopath (or wildly misunderstand man) Michael Myers returns home 15 years after brutally murdering his family to continue his killing spree. This and 'Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, 1998' are mine and my mother's personal favourites. It wouldn't be Halloween without them.

It of course stars the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence. You must know this.

The remake is also worth a watch (Just the first, let's all act like 'Halloween II, 2009' didn't happen.) but for Halloween, I say stick to the original. Or maybe marathon them. Yeah, marathon them.
[Click here for the trailer]

Hocus Pocus, 1993. 

We all knew this one would make it in. Whether you are 4 or 40, you will find yourself singing along to Bette Midler's version of 'Put a Spell On You' as you get lost in the magic of this Disney flick. A cat that talks, vacuums that fly, and insane hairdo's that will leave you wondering how many cans of hairspray were used during the making of this movie.

Bette Midler is incredible, Sarah Jessica Alba and Kathy Najimy's craziness only adds silly string to the fun. If you haven't watched it, do it. I can guarantee you won't regret it. You'll laugh, get enthralled in the magic, and possibly weep at that one particular scene.

I can't wait to rewatch this movie for the first time, through the eyes of my future child. It's one of those magical movies.
[Click here for the trailer]

The Strangers, 2008

This one is for the readers who want a little scare this Halloween. Horrors are my favourite genre of movie, and I could easily fill this list with options for you to enjoy. But I had to narrow it down, and The Strangers definitely made the cut.

Starring Liv Tyler and  Scott Speedman, The Strangers taps into that fear we all have buried deep inside of us, you know the one, the one that niggles at the back of your skull when you have to put the bin out in the middle of the night, eerie silence and darkness looming over you. The one you get when you think you catch a second reflection in the windows when it's pitch dark out. When someone bangs on the front door too loud, making you jump out of your skin, and question for barely a second whether you actually want to open it. Yeah, those fun fears.

I'm not going to describe the plot to this movie to a T, as I think it'll ruin the fun. Just watch it. It's more of a thriller that turns to a horror, but is exceptionally enjoyable.
[Click here for the trailer]

The Collector, 2009/The Collection, 2012.

The Collector is one of my personal favourite horror movies. I believe it to be fully underrated, and although the sequel The Collection is massively unrealistic, I love it. Whether it's because of the protagonist Arkin, played by Josh Stewart - who is possibly the most well thought out horror victim to be written in years - or the story itself, which is complex, crazy, and keeps you guessing. It is gruesome at parts (as you'd expect, seen as it is directed by Marcus Dunstan who also directed Saw IV,VI,VII) so if you can't handle a bit of gore, I wouldn't suggest you choose this one. Otherwise, go for it. 

The Collector follows Arkin, a man who is forced into pulling off a thieving job to pay off some debts. Targeting a wealthy family's mansion, he sets his sights on a valuable jewel that is locked away in the safe. The family is supposedly on vacation. Break in, take a jewel, easy as chips. Right? Wrong. (Shocker. A horror not going smoothly, oh the surprise.) He soon finds himself in a game of cat and mouse with a masked madman who has kidnapped the family and turned the house into one big fun house with deathly traps.

What makes this movie enjoyable is the character Arkin. I've never wanted the main character in a horror/slasher to survive so badly. He is smart, cunning, and doesn't make a single flaw in judgement throughout the movie. That is what makes him great. You never want to yell at the TV over his idiocy, and the result is you holding your breath as he narrowly slides by this masked man. I wish more movies in this genre had such well written characters.

Keep an open mind, and enjoy the ridiculous ride that these movies are. Also, join me in the Arkin fan club at Jokes. Kind of.
[Click here for trailer]

Scary Movie, 2000.

Want some humour mixed into all that blood and guts? Look no further. Now, this may seem like an obvious choice. But every single time I mention it to someone, they say "I haven't seen that in years!. Which is a damn crime, if you ask me. Which you didn't. But hey ho.

They did countless Scary Movies. The last I saw being the fourth..? Maybe fifth. But nothing beats the originality of the original. Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project.. All the best movies! (All of which I recommend for Halloween. This does not count as cheating.).

Whether you've seen this once or ten times, you'll laugh and enjoy it. It is never a bad option. (Unless, like us, you only own it on VHS and get really baffled over why the remote doesn't work each time you want to press pause. Ah, the idiocy. No shame.)
 [Click here for the trailer]

Zombieland, 2009.

Firstly, let's talk about the actors in this: The gorgeous Emma Stone, the hilarious Woody Harrelson, and the loveable Jesse Eisenberg. Talk about a dream cast. Even Abigail Breslin is note worthy. Secondly, who doesn't love a good zombie movie? Add in a list of rules that involve 'Beware of Bathrooms' and 'Don't Be a Hero', and you have one that will top your favourites list.

The plot is as the title would suggest - a zombie apocalypse. It's a zombieland. Some unknown virus is wiping out all the humans, and unlike those downers in The Walking Dead, these guys actually have a plan. Go to a funfair, find some twinkies, and well, er.. survive?

Everyone should watch this movie at least once. What better time is there than Halloween? The party day for Zomb's. No nicknames? Fair enough.
[Click here for the trailer]

Mean Girls, 2004

This may not strike you as a Halloween movie, but there's a Halloween party in it.. So.. When isn't it okay to watch Mean Girls? The costumes always make me excited for Halloween, and that scene with the flying popcorn is probably my favourite one in the movie.

Does really need more of a plot? It's Mean Girls.
[Click here for the trailer] 

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, 2006.

This is a hidden gem that many seem to look over. It's a slasher with a twist. Filmed in the style of a mockumentary, Behind The Mask follows the aspiring serial killer Leslie Vernon, as he gets ready for his debut into the slasher world. Wanting to follow in the steps of the likes of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Kruger, he invites a documentary crew to come along and film his story.

Starring Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Scoot Wilson, and the wonderful Robert Englund, the cast doesn't fall short. I urge any slasher lover to give this movie a go. It's both hilarious and mind-racing. It is unlike anything I have watched before, and although the ending is rather predictable, the ride to it is riveting.
[Click here for the trailer]

Honourable mentions:
Practical Magic, 1998. [Trailer]
The Purge, 2013. [Trailer]
See No Evil, 2006. [Trailer]
The Hills Run Red, 2009. [Trailer]
The Witches, 1990. [Trailer]
Annabelle, 2014. [Trailer

Alright folks, that's all I can think of for tonight.

Got any other Halloween movie suggestions? Please, please, please tweet them to me at @RootingBranches. Or comment. You can never own too many movies.

I hope your October is coming along nicely.

Thanks for reading.

- Anne x

You Are My Sunshine.


This will be my first personal post on this blog, and although I, as a reader, would probably deem it too soon, I feel it necessary to write. I'm a strong believer in voicing your story, the good and bad. And that words can often help. Written or spoken, either or. If you think personal struggles are not something meant for a blog, then please don't continue reading. Come back in a few days for a post about Autumn. For those who are choosing to continue, stick with me. This will be a difficult one.

19 days ago, on September 21st, I lost a best friend.  Her name was Jess. And she had spent the final 12 years of her precious life honouring myself and my mother with her company, care, and unwavering love. She was a collie cross. She had a sweet tooth, hated flies, and was a real minx when it came to just about anything. She had a smile that resembled a growl, a bark that was monotone and drove us all nuts, and a butt that would sway if you told her she was sexy. She was original. She was.. well, Jess.

The tumours had been there for awhile, and we all knew what the outcome would be. But as a friend said "You can never be prepared.". I don't want to write about her passing, as I deem it unnecessary and prefer to remember the good. But I will say this, if you feel a lump on your dog's body -- get it checked out. Even if you're stricken with fear or think it's nothing, check it. You'll be in undeniable pain if you don't. We did, the news was terrible, and that wasn't even the reason for her leaving us in the end. But still.. get your dogs checked. If we hadn't, I can't imagine the turmoil we'd put ourselves through. Okay, now for the good memories.

I'm not going to lie, when I first met her, she terrified me. Which is laughable now, as she was the softest soul you could ever meet. But boy, when you're a seven year old girl who has this skinny black dog running to you.. Well, you think you're going to be eaten. Especially if you've just watched Dog Soldiers. (Yeah, my movie game was strong at a young age.).

Jess was a rescue dog. She was roughly 4 years old when we had her. Her last home had resulted in many cigarette burns, ribs poking out each side, and a fear of humans. She refused to eat unless I hand fed her, only me. My mother? She'd have non of it. I spent hours feeding her dog biscuits - one at a time. That was... fun. It took roughly 2 weeks to get her comfortable enough to sit in the living room with my mother and I. Another 3 weeks to talk her into coming upstairs. And countless months to help her no longer feel terrified at a knock at the door. It was a long process but she soon settled in her home. And that was the start of our happy little family.

I know fully well that dogs shouldn't be allowed sugar, but a vet in future years said she had probably grown an intolerance to it. And it was fine in small doses. So please don't butcher me in the comments/twitter for saying this, but the girl's dream would of been the chocolate factory in Willy Wonka. She loved her sweet treats. Especially cakes. Every year I would bake her some cupcakes, made with doggy chocolate and yumminess. Whenever she heard the song "Happy Birthday" she would lick her lips, expecting cake. It was hilarious.

Exhibit A:
The girl loved cake. And was much more of a queen than princess. Such a modest lady.

Now, my mother and her friend gave Jess one hell of a name. Take a breath.. Jessica Margaret Tooloola Thrombosis In-Da-House J.D Sports Margaret Roberts.

Yeah, safe to say we didn't put her full name on the ashes plaque. But alas, she learnt it. If we called her Tooloola she'd know we were teasing, say Jessica Roberts and her ears would go flat knowing she was in trouble. The girl had brains. And a lot of names.

She'd often run into the school yard and tackle me down as soon as I stepped out. About a 1/3 of the school knew her. She was a socialite. Also a little... friendly. She once ran away for a good 4 hours and we found her in the middle a group of 5 boy dogs, getting a little jiggy. Which reminds me.. Please neuter your dogs. The fact we never got her done caused so many issues with age, problems we never even knew. Lung worm, urine infections, bleeding.. Just get them done. Please.

Her song was You Are My Sunshine. That is why I've titled this post just that. Me and my mother sang it to her so often. She'd smother you in kisses. If my mum actually tried to sing, she'd bark. If I sang, she'd lay down and fall asleep. Talk about good taste.

We'd had Jess for, golly, 7 years(?) when the option came about to get a second dog. We weren't even thinking of it, but a friend had a pup who needed to be re-homed and well, the rest as they say, is history. Jess usually hated other dogs (and cats, and men. She was just picky, okay?), but Sally eventually grew on her. Kind of. The cat, Bruno, not so much. But that's another story for another time.

I think she appreciated Sally's company. It was rare for her to show enthusiasm when it wasn't about food, but maybe Sally brought that out of her during walks. Maybe it was too much. I guess we'll never know. The most important thing was that she appeared to be happy, and not in pain. She had had too much pain in her life, we swore we'd never add to it. 

Saying goodbye is never easy, and to be honest I didn't. I couldn't. I watched, I was a shoulder to cry on for others, I did daily chores, and I just.. existed. Felt numb. I did for days. To many it would seem daft, but she wasn't just a pet. She truly was a part of the family. The trio. Me, my mother, and her. That's how our little life began, and it feels like a large chunk of my childhood passed along with her. We'll never get those moments back. Build new memories. It's just.. in the past. I couldn't fathom that, and I still can't to a certain point. But I'm learning to accept it. It hits me sometimes, like a sudden shower of rain. It's constantly like something is missing when we all sit in a room, and I still find myself looking for her during walks. I don't know when or even if that'll change. 

I hadn't intended to write this blog post when I sat down, it just seemed to flow in this direction. What's the point of it all? I don't think there is one. I just need other people on this planet to know of this dog who filled my life with such blissful happiness. To remember her. She deserves that much.

I'll always miss you, dear friend. 
God bless,
Sweet dreams, 
I love you, 
and I will see you soon. 

- Anne x

September Wrap-Up.


'Ello there.

September has been a good reading month. I've gotten through 3 and a 1/2 books (I'll explain more on that "half" later), and one graphic novel. Considering my record over the course of 2015 so far, this is good going. I'm a little proud.

I'm technically cheating with this first one as I finished it at the very start of the month. But it was so good, and I did power through the last 200 pages in one sitting, so.. I'm allowed, right? Right.

Here we have, The Passage:
 The Passage is a post apocalyptic meets vampire virus themed book. The story is split into three parts, which I, personally, think one should know before going in as it did throw me completely off; It eventually ties together nicely, but I still would of liked to of known beforehand. The characters are well written and develop nicely throughout the story, which is always great. Nothing worse than a character without development. The scenes are described perfectly which results in an easy mental image. And most importantly, the story keeps you hooked until the very last page. Saying that, I deem it necessary to warn you that this isn't a quick read. It's almost 900 pages. Not going to lie--I did a double-take when it came in the post.  

This is the first in a series, and I'm looking forward to picking up the second book at some point. Oh, and this book was a recommendation from Fleur De Force. I can't take the credit for discovering it.

For a few days after finishing The Passage, I was in reading grief. So I thought I'd pick up something light and fast paced to pick myself back up. I honestly wasn't expecting more than your typical YA run-of-the-mill story. What I got instead? A heroin who kicks ass in fancy ball gowns, and a love triangle that I can't pick a side of.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Throne Of Glass;
As I previously said, my expectations were painfully low for this book. I haven't thoroughly enjoyed the latest YA series's that have become popular. City Of Bones, Clockwork series, Divergent, even THG.. They just haven't excited me. I enjoyed the read, don't misunderstand. But I wouldn't rush to read the next book. Alas, I really, really, enjoyed Throne Of Glass. The hype around the series is well deserved, in my opinion.

The story follows Celaena, an 18-year-old girl who has been imprisoned in the mines of Endovier. For she is an assassin, the best of the bunch, and following a betrayal of someone close to her, got caught and was convicted to a life's sentence in the toughest place on earth; where humans become slaves, guards become animals (not literally), and no human has ever escaped from. She comes to terms with her fate when, crazily, she gets approached by the Prince to take part in a to-the-death competition, to play to become the kings personal weapon. But more importantly, to gain freedom.

It's an entertaining quick read, and definitely leaves you wanting to know where the story leads.

Following that, I rented out the second book in the series, Crown Of Midnight:
But I won't say anything about this book as it is impossible to do so without giving spoilers. But know that I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the story was much darker than the first book which was a pleasant twist. I may of enjoyed the second more than the first, now that's saying something.

Next up, we have the graphic novel Serenity: Those Left Behind:
This is of course based in the world of the TV show Firefly. So if you haven't watched it, what are you doing with your life? You have not lived! No, kidding. Sort of. You'll probably only enjoy this if you have. It takes place between the end of the first and only season *sob* and before the follow-up movie Serenity.

It was amazing. I adored the artwork, there were a few lines that made me laugh out loud, and I love how it answered any possible questions you could be left with after the show got cancelled too soon.

I have to add, one of my favourite parts of the entire book was the introduction. Nathan Fillions words were beautiful, and heart warming. If you fancy giving them a read, I'll write it up on my tumblr and you can read it here. It's spoiler free, just FYI.

And here is my failure of the month, Half Bad:
Please don't flail me alive. I'm aware so, so, so many people adore this book. Hell, it's constantly on people's Top 10 book lists. But.. I'm halfway/just over a third way through Half Bad, and to be truthful, am finding it really difficult to keep going. The style of writing and pace of the story is unlike anything I have previously read, and I'm uncertain whether I like it. The characters don't appeal to me much, and the jump of chapters is frustrating. Currently, I'm on page 130 and just have no thrive to get back to reading it, but I will. Perhaps my mind frame was wonky, or not in the right state to be reading such a grim way of writing. Here's hoping October and the Halloween spirit will make it more enjoyable.

So, there you have it.

September has been a crappy month in my private life, so I am thoroughly looking forward to a possible new start. Bring on pumpkins, costumes and maybe even a few Halloween themed blog posts *wink, wink*.

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day.

- Anne x

The Doctor Who Tag.


This is late due to some life problems, my apologies.
The beautiful illustration is sadly not mine. It is done by the wonderfully talented Lechisho on RedBubble, Click here to see the artwork in full.

In celebration of Doctor Who returning on September 19th, I thought it only logical to do that pesky Doctor Who tag that is soaring through Youtube at the moment. I'm not entirely sure who started it, but I mentally credit them.

Let's jump right in!

1. Who's your favourite Doctor?
David Tennant. Hands down. I didn't even have to pretend to think about it. He was one of the main reasons why I fell in love with the show. He's hilarious, handsome (common, you know it), and plays the line between tortured soul and delinquent child perfectly. His portrayal of the Doctor will always be my favourite,

2. What's your favourite Doctor Who episode or story? 
I'm going to answer both of these as it's too difficult. My favourite story would probably be the stolen planets/Davros' return in the double part season 4 final. I'm a sucker for heartbreak and reunions, this offered me both. The intensity of the story always sucks me in. Episode? Besides 'The Christmas Invasion', I have to say I really enjoyed 'Vincent and The Doctor'. It was a stunningly beautiful episode for more reasons than one, and will always hold a place in my heart. 

3. Who's your favourite companion?
This one stumps me. I've been thinking through my answers over the course of the past few days (because I take serious things seriously), and I still haven't come up with an answer. My initial answer was Rose. But the more thought I give it, the more I realize how much I love Donna. Her humour was a welcomed change, and her and the Doctor's banter will always be one of my favourite aspects to the show. Clara, though extremely controversial in the fandom of Doctor Who, is another one of my favourites. I wholeheartedly agree that Steven Moffat did concentrate on her a little too much over the course of season 8 and it did indeed change to "The Clara show" but I like her, so it didn't bother me.

4. What was the first Doctor Who story/episode you ever watched?
Season 1 Episode 12: Bad Wolf. To be honest, I hadn't much interest in the show prior to this episode. But it was like Big Brother meets Saw. It was awesome.

5. What's your favourite series or era? 
The David Tennant era. Just a shame about Martha. I loathed her character.

6. What is your favourite pre or post regeneration story?
The end of the 10th Doctor -- otherwise known as the moment David Tennant broke all our hearts (Sensing a theme in answers yet?). As I previously said, I'm a sucker for stories that make you feel like you've been stabbed repeatedly in the chest. His farewell to the show did that, twice over. But in spite of the brutality of the story, it's just horribly perfect. From the goodbye scenes to his final line of "I don't want to go.". In my opinion, this episode showed the heart of the show. The core of the story. This alien's love for the humans who touch his life. It's all smiles and laughs, until the story chapter closes. And that's what his life is, a constant stream of goodbyes and endings.

7. What is your favourite Tardis desktop theme?
Season 1. No idea why, I just liked it.

8. What's your favourite villain or monster?
Weeping angels, come on! They have no prime reason for their attacks. You have hardly any way of defending yourself except for doing the impossible. Not to mention that we, humans, actually see those statues in the real world. Hell no. Terrifying and awesome. Saying that, Missy is fast approaching to becoming my favourite.

Credit to the talented romantically.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the read, and if you do do the tag, feel free to shoot me a link. Or say I tagged you!

Have a wonderful day.
- Anne x

PS: How great was that season 9 premiere? Can it be Saturday already?

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