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A round-up of some cheesy Christmas films

Because...I had Christmas early.

Why?
My Christmas self-care looks like this - I can't, for Christmas , disappear off on holiday and do what I want. So, instead, I have another, pre-Christmas Christmas.
Think log cabin, hot tub, forest and LOTS of Christmas films.

Over the course of the week, we watched what I consider to be an impressive 12 Christmas films. Now, for the most part, I am not talking your big budget, Hollywood releases. I'm talking terrible, cheesy Hallmark-style, you know the plot because they're all the same films. I have to say, Netflix is putting in an impressive effort to out-Hallmark Hallmark by now too. 

Christmas socks

Animation

There's only one animated film on the list, and it's a short, Netflix one, called 'Robin, Robin'.
It's cute, musical and, best of all, stop motion (does that count as animation? I'm not a real film critic).
If Aardman-created stop motion felted animals might be your thing, I recommend it for a quick leap into the Christmas spirit.

Surprisingly catchy songs, plus, it has the voice of Gillian Anderson - win!

The Worst of the Bunch

Oh dear.
Netflix may have decided that they can Christmas film with the best of the cheesy film companies, but they really should not have offered out 'A Castle for Christmas'.
They particularly shouldn't have put Cary Elwes in it, because what self-respecting woman of a certain age isn't going to be lured in by Westley?

On the face of it, this film ticks many boxes:

  • Woman needs to escape somewhere remote
  • Castle
  • Did I mention Cary Elwes?
  • Clash of personalities between the main protagonists

But, it is all just so...clunky. It really does feel like a film written by AI, rather than a person. Seriously, just watch The Princess Bride again and forget this movie exists.

The Ones That Are Exactly What You Wanted

If you're a lover of cheesy Christmas films, these will all have that ring of familiarity you're craving.
Across these films there's a mix of finally achieving potential, love, breaking into song for no real reason, a LOT of carol singing, over the top Christmas decorations, more cookie eating than could ever be reasonable, and a ton of other familiar tropes from the slightly naff films that get shown all year round, just with Christmas trees.

Please don't think I am saying any of these are actually good films.I'm pretty sure none of them are getting any Oscars their way.

I'm going to give an honourable mention to the Netflix offering 'Love Hard', just for referencing 'Die Hard' (and also 'Love, Actually' a bit). It's about cat-fishing. So, what could be more festive than that? I probably enjoyed this one the most, out of this group.

Also from Netflix is 'The Holiday Calendar', which adds a mystical element to, well, the same story.

Then, the following all have the familiar, feel-good format:

A Wish For Christmas (Hallmark)
Santa Girl (most exciting thing here is Brad from Rocky Horror as Santa!)
A Cinderella Story - Christmas Wish  (apparently, there's a whole series of these - who knew? Anyway, this one's best for a bit of 'randomly breaking into song without actually being a musical').
A Christmas Prince (Netflix - plus, they helpfully made 2 more!).

Christmas Action Films

Obviously, the crown here goes to 'Die Hard' - we watch this every year. It simply is the best Christmas film, no exceptions.

This year, we also watched 'Fatman'. Probably not one to sit down and watch with the kids, as an assassin is after Santa. There is blood, violence and also, elves. A strange mix and, to be honest, if you're looking for a Christmas action or horror film, I'd find 'A Christmas Horror Story' instead, which at least has William Shatner to amuse you. (Actually, genuinely a pretty good film).

Best Christmas Zombie Musical

Whilst I admit this is a small category, I can't believe I'd never heard of this one before - I give you 'Anna and the Apocalypse'.
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' meets, well, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' if you happen to love the 'Once More with Feeling' episode.
There's singing, dancing, a terrible headmaster, and lots of fighting off zombies. It's all a bit 'Ice Cream Trilogy' with songs. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas,
Anna
xx

(ps - I said we watched 12, I listed 11. One of them was 'Last Christmas'. I can't remember a single second of it - too much champagne, I'm afraid, so someone will just have to let me know if it's any good xx).

Presley is Home

Presley the peacock has come home!

When we opened the new studio in October 2020, everything was looking great. The studio was fab, the garden was fab, but...there was just something missing.

Then my sister, Rebecca, found this awesome peacock for us, and promptly purchased him.

As the studio is in West Oxfordshire, and Rebecca is in Nottinghamshire, we were planning to meet up in November and effect a 'handover' to bring  Presley, as we named him, home.

And then November lockdown happened, so Presley had to stay where he was.

But, we could possibly meet up in December some time?

And then my sister's area went into Tier 4.
We all know what happened with the Christmas plans.
Followed by Oxfordshire going into Tier 4.
Followed by us all going into lockdown.

Presley was not set to come home to us any time soon.

(Truth be told I began to suspect Presely was becoming a permanent addition to my Rebecca's garden...

By the time we got to April, I though Presley was destined to never come home. After 6 months, he must be pretty settled in!

Then, Rebecca announced she was coming to Oxfordshire - if the weather was good enough for a socially distanced, outdoor visit, she could come and visit and bring Presley.

We're delighted that the British weather was on our side, and Presley is now home, exploring the garden, before he finds his favourite place to settle.
He will be here to greet you (and is frankly quite considerably calmer than the poodle and the goldendoodle), when you come to us.

We (and Presley) look forward to seeing you at the studio soon.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Dementia Action Week

On the 26th of May (let's ignore the fact I say 27th in the video) we are doing mini portrait sessions to raise money for Alzheimer's Society.

Come along and enjoy having your make up professionally done by our talented stylist Katrina, a mini portrait session of your choice (makeover, boudoir, head-shots) and one edited digital image.

The only cost is whatever amount you'd like to donate.



Most people know/knew someone who suffers from some form of dementia or Alzheimer's , and charities don't get enough support or funding for something that can really turn someone's world upside down. So let's help contribute and make a difference.

Get in touch and do something fun for a good cause this Saturday (26th May), it's not something you get the chance to do very often is it? 
You can call the studio on 01993 862896 to book sort out a time - there's nothing more to it!

Much love, 

Anna

xx

New Studio Before and After Images

OK, so 'new', is pushing it, when we moved in back in February, but hey, we've been busy!

If you happen to remember all of those posts about the move, and the before pictures, here's how it all turned out at our Witney studio.

Reception

Originally, our reception space had walls but no ceiling, so that was quite a big job.

Before

During

After

The Office & Changing Room

There was one big long room that we were originally going to use as the viewing room (with the office going upstairs, you know, where we just built that ceiling over reception?).
However, we realised that the far end would be the perfect changing room (as it connects to the studio) and switched things round a little in our plans.
The first 'before' photo below shows the changing room end, before the wall was built to create the two rooms.

Before

After

The Viewing Room

Before

During

The Studio

Before

We have a much bigger studio now, and it really needed zoning into smaller areas, which we've done using different back drops and flooring.
It has quite a 'film set' feel, due to the high ceilings and metal beams.

During

After

We're loving having more space and we're very settled in now.
If you'd like to come and visit us at the new premises, even if it's just to have a nosey around just let me know (if you happen to pop in on a Friday you maybe encouraged to take part in our Fab Shoe friday too).

Much love,
Anna
xx

(ps - if you were one of our film photo models, take a look at the 'after' images for reception - there are no images on the wall, still, as we are waiting, still to get yours up there. We bit off a bit more than we can chew, but they will be going up and we will be having a launch evening, even if it turns out to be a one year celebration in the end! xx)

Shoes with a story

So these shoes come with a story.

Firstly, I should say I know they're nuts. I'm not expecting everyone to rush to the shops, wanting a pair. I like mad shoes. And when I first saw these, months ago, I fell completely in love.

However, they're also not the most practical shoes ever and I couldn't really justify getting them. Then, Irregular Choice had a huge sale. Maybe I could justify getting them, if they were a little cheaper...

So, I watched the price and kept thinking 'just a little bit lower and I'll buy them'.

They reached the right price. They were sold out in my size. They had pink ones, they had blue ones, but they didn't have these ones. All that was left to do was whinge to Robin that I had lost them forever (I didn't think they'd me making more - I doubted they were the most popular style they could be making).

I'd like to say I let the whole idea of them go, but that would be a complete lie - I grumped, whilst Robin pretty much took no notice.

And then, on Tuesday, it was my birthday and I found the reason they had sold out in my size is because Robin had bought the last pair.

Is it ridiculous for a pair of shoes to make you happy? Yes. I'm therefore ridiculously happy 😉

Much love,
Anna
xx