Nights out in Essex: a guide to every night of the week

Being a student is tough; all those lectures, classes and essays we have to  do. Sometimes you just want to have break, go out and enjoy yourself. Well, the Essex campus has got you covered for a great night out. There’s something to do everyday of the week, so here’s a rundown of what’s on offer:

Monday – Milk It

1910069_10153320828371517_2839205340251488959_n Can’t go to Milk It without doing some karaoke!

If there was ever a way to cure those Monday blues then Milk It is it. Karaoke and cheesy tunes all night long and it’s in the SU Bar, so it’s free! Take a trip to the SU, sign up for karaoke (all singing abilities welcome), then dance the night away to the tunes from your childhood and get all nostalgic. I miss S Club 7 so much.

Tuesday – Town

With no official night out on campus on a Tuesday, take a trip to Colchester town. Colchester has some great bars that you wouldn’t get to visit if you only stayed on campus. Of course there’s the old favourite; Wetherspoons, but bars like Twisters, V Bar and Three Wise Monkeys offer something a little different with more alternative music and live music nights. There’s also the new Atik club which you can head to if you fancy a change from Sub Zero.

Wednesday – Sports Fed

12695038_10153345971436517_2657461725610478521_o Dressing up as the girls from St. Trinians for our hockey social

Whilst Sports Fed is the night all the sports teams on campus have their socials and head out, anyone is welcome and it’s a great night out. If you’re on a sports team, expect to be all dressed up in costume. If you’re not on a sports team, why not dress up anyway?! Fed is a good laugh and it can be really funny seeing what themes the teams come up with every week. I have seen some very strange outfits down in Sub Zero

Thursday – Quiz

Thursday night is quiz night in the SU Bar. Head down with a team ready  to have your pointless knowledge put to the test. Every participant pays £1 to enter with the winning team sharing the prize money. 2nd and 3rd prize are free drinks from the bar. Don’t be thinking you can get away with looking up a sneaky few answers on your phone though, they’re very strict on that!

Friday – Friday Night Project

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The Friday Night Project offers all your favourite chart tunes with some others thrown in for good measure. Friday nights are often themed, in the past there’s been a pizza party where free pizza is given out, masquerade night and zoo nights so you can dress up as any kind of animal you fancy!

Saturday – Special events

Who doesn’t love a good Saturday night out? Saturdays at Essex often mean a special guest, in the past we’ve had Mistajam, Conor Maynard, Beat a Maxx, Tom Zanetti and Zane Lowe, among many others. Saturday can also bring some one off events like the Easter Ball (complete with chocolate fountain) and paint and foam parties.

Sunday – Night in?

Okay, hear me out. It’s pretty hard to go out every night of the week and still make to the Monday ready to begin lectures! So why not have a night in with flatmates instead?! Sometimes a night in can be even better than a night out. Squeeze into someone’s room and watch a film, play a few games or take part in Nerf gun wars. I can definitely vouch for how much fun the latter is!

So there you have it, something to do every night of the week! This list is by no means exhaustive so get out there and give it all a go!

Campus Boredom Busters

Every so often we all get a little bit bored. Maybe it’s the weekend, you actually have no work to do for once and you’ve watched enough Netflix to last you at least a week. Or maybe you are just plain old bored. It happens to everyone. But with a campus like Essex where there’s always something going on, that doesn’t have to be the way. Take at look at this list of six boredom busters on campus.

1. Play some disc golf

basket-871276857848l3st Ever wondered what this is?

You’ve probably seen those strange metal basket things dotted around campus and absentmindedly wondered what they were. They’re actually holes on the frisbee golf course at Essex. You can get a disc and a score sheet from the reception desk at the gym, it’s only 50p. I can tell you from experience that it’s not exactly easy but it is very fun!

2. Go and see a Cine10 film

Going all the way to the cinema in town can be expensive and a bit of a trek, especially considering we have one right on campus. Cine10 movies are shown in the lecture theatre building and are a great chance to see the latest films without paying top dollar. Recent films include La La Land, T2 Trainspotting and The Lego Batman Movie.

3. Discover a new sport through Just Play

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Just Play is a great chance to try out a new sport or play one just for fun. There are loads of sports you can do for free or a small fee including swimming, ice skating and baseball and more. Just play is how I got into playing hockey and went on to play in BUCS games. It’s also great to go to with friends to see how competitive you can get! Have a look at the timetable here.

4. Visit ESCALA

You are probably wondering what on earth ESCALA is. It stands for Essex Collection of Art from Latin America. The majority of the artwork is housed in a special space in the Constable Building up by Wivenhoe House and you can go and visit it when there are exhibitions and events on. At other times though the art that is in the Silberrad Student Centre is part of ESCALA.

5. Go for afternoon tea at Wivenhoe House

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If you’re feeling fancy, head over to Wivenhoe House for some afternoon tea. Be quintessentially British and treat yourself some scones, finger sandwiches and some pastries. And, of course, they also have a huge variety of tea. If you fancy anything else they’ve also got you covered for dinner!

6. Take a fitness class

I really am not a fan of the gym but I do really enjoy going to fitness classes. Essex has loads of them at the gym. If you’re a member of the gym then they’re free but for all other students they’re £3.50. My favourite has to be yoga but there are loads more like zumba, insanity and dance classes.

So if you’re ever bored on campus or just itching for something new to try why not give this list a go!

The Homesickness Feels

When you start university in October there are loads of activities to keep you occupied in Freshers’ Fortnight. You’ve got all the stuff going on in the day involving departmental welcome meetings and registering for uni, so you get that handy student loan money. Then there’s all the things happening at night, whether it’s karaoke in the SU Bar, sports fed in Sub Zero or a rock and indie night in Base. Along with your flatmates being in the same position as you in a brand new environment,there really isn’t that much time to miss home. I loved my first few weeks at uni and didn’t go home until the Christmas holidays. Coming to Essex from Manchester, it was quite an expensive and too long of a journey to take just for a weekend. I settled in really well into all of my lectures and class and got on amazingly with my flatmates.

giphy Even The Simpsons get homesick

Pretty much everyone will experience being homesick at some point during university. It can affect some people more than others and happen at any point in the year. For me, homesickness didn’t really set in until I came back after being home for a month after Christmas. I don’t think I realised how much I’d missed my family and friends or how much they had missed me until I went home. By the time I’d settled into being back at home it was time to go back to Essex again. Whilst I was looking forward to going back and catching up with all my friends, part of me just wanted to stay at home.

4gravy You don’t get this every Sunday at uni!

Back at Essex, feelings of wanting to go home would just hit me at any moment. It was never bad enough for me to want to go back home straight away but I’d just find myself cooking my fourth pasta meal of the week and really craving a roast dinner. Even watching Netflix on my laptop with my flatmates made me miss having a TV and a comfy couch to sit on. Usually when I felt like this I would give my mum a call or talk to my friends from home and immediately I would feel better. But it’s not as easy as that for everyone.

On my year abroad here in America, it’s hard not to feel homesick sometimes. The way classes are taught is different, the food is different, the sense of humour is different, even the weather sometimes makes me miss dreary old England! You never really realise how far away from home you are until you want to go back and its a plane ride rather than a train ride away. The great thing about being an international student though is that you know so many other people in the same position and you sort of bond over it. I’ve had so many discussions about the funny little differences that you only really notice living here. Dippy eggs and soldiers are not a thing here, so of course I got my family to send me some egg cups!

If you’re feeling really homesick, talk to your flatmates and friends. I can guarantee that they’ll have felt the same at some point. Call home and tell someone you’re not feeling great. It may sound counter intuitive but don’t actually go home, if you keep leaving uni then it’ll take even longer to settle in. If there is no one you know that you feel you can talk to then pop into SU Advice. You should never feel like you’re alone because there will always be someone willing to help. I promise!

The Only Way Is Essex: Why I Didn’t Choose Another Uni

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Oh Essex, the land of fake tans and stilettos, or so The Only Way is Essex would have you think. When I told people I was applying to the University of Essex, people would automatically think of the stereotypical Essex resident. I found myself explaining that Essex was much more than what a reality TV show would have you believe. Along with the four other universities I applied to through UCAS, I researched Essex in great detail. It just really stood out to me as a university and a place that was unique and somewhere I could imagine spending three years of my life.

The Course

Out of all the unis I visited and applied to, I found the politics course at Essex to be the best for me. The content sounded really interesting and introduced me to new concepts. The wide variety of things covered in first year helped me to work out what I was most interested in, allowing me to choose more concentrated modules in second year. When I visited the Department of Government on an applicant day, the staff made me feel so welcome and that I could ask them anything. After starting at Essex it turned out I was right! The Government Department also has a great reputation for it’s research, which is great when those researchers are your lecturers and you’re learning about cutting edge research as it happens!

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The Campus

Essex has a campus that really is one of a kind. Now it might not look as grand as some other universities but it had a vibe that I didn’t get when I visited the other unis I applied to. I loved that everything was so close together and it wouldn’t take ages to go between my lectures. It’s big enough not to feel claustrophobic but also small enough that you rarely make it to a lecture without running into someone you now. I was also attracted to the location of the campus. Colchester is a town with all the shops that you would need and it’s only an hour from London if you fancy a day out. The train is pretty cheap too. I thought it was great that Stansted airport was nearby too. Me and my flatmates made the most of it when we decided to go a spontaneous trip to Dublin to get away from exams!

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The Year Abroad

I’d always known I wanted to do a year abroad so that was a major part for me in choosing which university to go to. After looking at all the other universities I applied to, Essex had the best opportunities for me when it came to study abroad options. I don’t pay any tuition fees to Essex or my exchange university for my year abroad. There was also so many options of countries I could go to. Being the political nerd that I am, when I worked out the US presidential election was happening during my study abroad year I was set on going to America, but there were so many other options too. I have friends all over the world in Australia, Canada, Europe and Asia. Being on my year abroad at the moment too I have also been experiencing the great support that Essex offers to its students who are away.

If you’re thinking about where to go to uni then the best advice I can offer is think about what the most important things to you are about where you’re going to spend the next few years of your life. I know that I made the right decision. Essex is perfect for me and everything that I could want from my university experience!

Things I Couldn’t or Wouldn’t Have Done If I Hadn’t Gone to Uni

When I was back in college, deciding whether or not to go to uni was a decision a lot of people I knew were having trouble making. Although I knew I’d always wanted to go to uni, it was pretty tough for me to decide where to go and what to study. If you’re having a difficult time choosing what to do after you finish school, you’ll know that the decision is a tough one. Going to uni definitely turned out to be the right choice for me, as there are so many things that I’ve done that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. So if you’re stuck about what to do, hopefully this will show you why going to university can be a great experience!

26783552036_1261e5c830_z Government Conference 2016

Learnt what I am passionate about

This might seem really obvious, I mean you do go to uni to learn! I decided to study Politics because it was my favourite subject at A Level. I liked the subject but I never really took part in politics outside of the classroom. Coming to uni changed that. I was able to choose classes that appealed to my interests which meant that I didn’t get bored and instead I got involved. At Essex, politics isn’t just my degree, I’ve taken part in so many activities in my department such as talking to prospective students at open days, going to talks from guest lecturers and even presenting at the Government Student Conference.

12748043_10153444276971517_4988004449559743022_o.jpg The best pals!

Met some of the most amazing people

One of the reasons I love university and Essex is that our campus is a community of people of all backgrounds from all over the world. Whether they’re your flatmates, course mates or people you meet on a night out at Sub Zero, it’s so interesting to talk to people who have different perspectives on things. It also makes for great debates in class –  it’s always good to have your opinion challenged! I have made some of my best friends at uni and they’re people I would have never met if I hadn’t come here.

Work, work, work!

Now I know that you can experience the world of work without actually attending university, but for me there’s something about the employment opportunities I’ve had at Essex that I don’t think I would have got anywhere else. First off, there’s so many different types of jobs that you can do both on and off campus. I’ve had the chance to work in a variety of jobs that are really understanding of my studies. I’ve worked for both the Students’ Union and the university. The job I had in the SU store was a great opportunity to make some extra cash, whereas my Frontrunner placement in the Admissions Office gave me the chance to work in an office environment, which is something I’ve never done before. Many departments also ask current students to work at visit days where potential students will come and check out the university once they have an offer. It’s really easy to find employment at Essex and if you don’t want a job on campus then the careers centre is always ready to help you find work around Colchester.

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Bonus: The Paternoster!

This one is definitely unique to Essex. The lift in the Albert Sloman library makes even the most boring study sessions that bit more fun. Will you dare to ride the lift over the top or under the bottom?

If you’re struggling to decide whether uni is right for you or are just having trouble deciding where to go then I hope this has helped to show you why uni can be amazing!

Study Abroad: What I’ve Been up to

My first semester as an exchange student in America is officially over! I’m now on my Christmas break which is great after having two weeks of essays and final exams to do. Although I went back home to the UK for Christmas, I’ve actually spent most of my holidays travelling on the East Coast of the US, in fact I’m writing this post in Boston, Massachusetts!

DSCN2341.JPG The Library of Congress has nothing on the Albert Sloman Library!

A few hours after my last exam ended I was on a flight to Washington DC to explore the Capitol (nerdy political pun intended!). One of the great things about DC is that pretty much every attraction and museum is free. I went to the zoo and got to see some giant pandas which was pretty cool, although they were very lazy! Now being the politics student that I am, a trip to Washington wouldn’t be complete without seeing the places where the US is governed from. I visited the White House, which is much smaller than I expected, and had a tour of the US Capitol building which was really interesting. The building itself is huge and really beautiful.

dscn2406 Sunset over New York City

After a few days being in DC, I headed up to New York City. New York is a place I’ve always wanted to go to and I wasn’t disappointed! It is possibly one of the busiest places I’ve ever been to, but that’s sort of what gives the city its character. I explored Times Square and saw the School of Rock on Broadway which was amazing! I also went to Ellen’s Stardust Diner where you’re served by show tune singing waiters and waitresses, something that I very much enjoyed, especially when we were given a performance of some Les Miserables. After seeing the bright lights of Broadway I headed down to the 9/11 museum which was extremely touching and a very appropriate way to end my time in New York.

img_20170107_1047204742 It might look pretty but it was also about -6!

I went back to the UK from New York for Christmas, but time flew by until I was back in the US. I visited Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania. I had returned to temperatures below freezing and some pretty heavy snow! Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States and is the city where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, so it’s full of history. It’s also a very pretty city and it made for some great photos. I also made sure to try an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich. It’s basically what it sounds like and it is delicious!

received_102028450956458571 Being a terrible British person and throwing tea away!

After Philadelphia, I headed up to Boston. Boston is another city that’s very significant historically and politically. My first day here I went to a really cool museum where I got to throw some tea in Boston harbour in homage to the Boston Tea Party. I also made time for some shopping, particularly because Boston has one of the very few Primarks in America and it was just as cheap! It was just like being back home!

It’s now time for me to head back to Flagstaff to begin my second semester at NAU. I can’t believe I’m already halfway through my year abroad! It’s gone so quickly but I’m looking forward to making the most of the time I have left here. Speak to you soon!

My New Year’s Resolutions

First things first, take the title of the post with a pinch of salt. I have never been very good at making or sticking to New Year’s resolutions, although to be honest, I don’t think many of us are. Take the typical examples of eating healthier and going to the gym, these might actually be beneficial if we all stuck to them (and not just for January!) but for me these are things I really don’t think I would enjoy. I can count on my fingers the amount of times I’ve entered a gym in my lifetime! I want my resolutions to be more about what I enjoy and what makes me happy and then maybe, just maybe, we can tackle the gym thing after that! I don’t really want to think of the following list as things that I will definitely stick to, rather that they are just sort of things I want to try and do in 2017.

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Read more books

I have always loved reading ever since I was little. I would sit and read for hours on end in my own world reading book after book. Although I do read a lot for my course, the books I have to read for my degree are not really what I want to relax with before bed! Recently I’ve become a person who just buys and hoards books with every intention of reading them, I just never get around to it. I have so many unread books, so hopefully 2017 will be the year that I finally read them all.

Keep in touch with people

I’m the first to admit that I’m terrible at keeping in touch with my friends from home and my friends from uni who I don’t see now I’m in America. I try to blame this on the fact that my friends are all over the world and it’s really hard to keep up with all the different time zones, although really it’s just me being lazy! I feel like this is especially important for when I go back to Essex for my final year (eeek!) and some of my friends have graduated. It won’t be as easy as just popping down to the SU bar for lunch anymore, I’ll actually have to make more of an effort!

Eat more food!

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I know the opposite of this one might be a more typical resolution, but why not go into the new year thinking of all the new culinary opportunities it will bring? Most years see their food fads (rainbow bagels, cronuts, freakshakes) but really this one is about trying new things. My friends and family know me as a notoriously fussy eater, I will admit that I don’t even like ketchup! Now I’ve been like this for a good 21 years and I don’t think I’ll be changing anytime soon, but I do want to try more food that I previously would have turned my nose up at.

Travel

Now I’m sort of cheating a bit on this one seeing as I have spent quite a bit of 2016 on my travels – I am on a year abroad after all! That, however, is no excuse not to visit new places. I would love to see more of Europe, which is particularly easy from our Colchester campus as Stansted airport is so close and offering cheap flights. Now all that’s left is convincing my friends to go on that spontaneous weekend away!

Explore where I live

This might seem a bit contradictory seeing as I’ve just said I want to travel, but there are so many things on our doorsteps to see that sometimes we don’t have to go to another country. Although it’s not the biggest town in the world, there’s plenty to see and do all over and around Colchester. After living there for two years, I don’t think I’ve made the most of it, so that’s what I’m going to do in 2017. There’s Colchester Zoo, Colchester Castle and the rest of Essex to explore. I’m slightly ashamed to say that the only other place I’ve been in Essex is Clacton!

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So there you have it, those are my sort of New Year’s resolutions. What will yours be? Will or stick to mine or not? I guess there’s only one way to find out: bring on 2017!

My First Thanksgiving in Los Angeles

Here in the US, there’s another holiday that’s celebrated just as much, if not more so, than Christmas: Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a commemoration of a particularly successful harvest season during the time of the Pilgrims in the 1600s. The Pilgrims held a three day long feast and invited so Native Americans. Today Americans mention what they’re thankful for and still enjoy a feast, although it doesn’t last three days!

My university over here gave us a few days off for Thanksgiving break, so me and some friends decided to head over to Los Angeles to see what the West Coast had to offer. We hired some cars and headed off on the 7 hour journey from Flagstaff to LA. I was one of the designated drivers for our trip and at first I was a bit nervous about driving in America but once I made sure to stay on the right side of the road, everything was fine!
thanksgiving-dinner A traditional Thanksgiving dinner but we were on a student budget! Source: http://images.latintimes.com/sites/latintimes.com/files/2015/11/24/thanksgiving-dinner.jpg

Although we left Flagstaff pretty early in the morning we didn’t arrive at our apartment in LA until the evening due to all the traffic LA is famous (or infamous) for. When we eventually reached our destination we headed off to the supermarket to buy our food for our Thanksgiving  dinner the next day. Although, like Christmas, Thanksgiving involves eating much more food than you really should, the food is quite different. Turkey is the main dish, just like Christmas, but there are various side dishes. Unfortunately, as we did our shopping quite last minute there was no turkey left in the shop, so we had to buy chicken instead! We did try to make the rest of our meal pretty authentic though. I was pretty happy when I found out one of my favourite comfort foods was on the menu: macaroni and cheese. We also had stuffing, mashed potatoes, some vegetables and some sweet potato mash. Sometimes the sweet potatoes are even served with marshmallows! Dessert is always the best part of the meal in my opinion and the Thanksgiving tradition is to have pumpkin pie, which we did. I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan, but luckily we had some back up cheesecake and chocolate cake!
15268001_10207775343001842_8297387909497081762_n It’s Hogwarts!

Americans usually eat their Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon but we ate ours quite a bit later as we went to Universal Studios Hollywood to enjoy our Thanksgiving Day. This was what I’d been looking forward to the most about our trip. I absolutely love Harry Potter and couldn’t wait to go on one of the rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They definitely lived up to my expectations even though I go stuck on one of them for a few minutes! I really felt like I was at Hogwarts and in Hogsmeade. The rest of the day was spent going on all the other rides at Universal, I also really enjoyed the Simpsons themed area. I am a bit of a wimp but I braved the Walking Dead experience ride and came out terrified at the other end.

15230603_10154723542166407_8802024443412332291_n.jpg You could sort of tell it was going to rain!

We wrapped up our time in Los Angeles with a trip to Santa Monica. We were hoping to have a nice time on the beach and on the pier but it just so happened that as soon as we’d had a paddle in the Pacific open it began to chuck it down! This didn’t put a dampener on our last day in LA though as when we were looking for some shelter we found a British food shop. This cheered us all up as we bought a lot of the things we’d been missing. And it meant plenty of treats for the long drive home. It’s the travelling and experiences with new friends that really make my study abroad memorable for me and I can’t wait for even more next term!

The Last Minute Shopper’s Guide to Christmas

It’s coming towards the end of the first term at uni and no doubt you’re looking forward to going home and eating something that wasn’t cooked in a microwave. After all the hard work you’ve done this term you really deserve it. You’ve spent so much time writing essays, going to lectures, going out with your friends and suddenly you realise that you haven’t spent any time buying any Christmas presents. Christmas is just around the corner, how on earth are you going to be able to buy and wrap enough presents in time for the big day?! Well fear not, as a master last minute shopper myself, here are some tips to help you shop and make it seem like you’re on top of all things festive.

Shop somewhere less busy

shoppers-crowd-the-pavement-in-oxford-street-in-london Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bumper-christmas-shopping-spree-expected-9203061

Look at that crowd, that is not somewhere you want to be on Christmas Eve, not that I’ve ever left it that late… I live in quite a big city which has a pretty busy town centre almost everyday. It’s a nightmare during the week approaching Christmas. Instead of heading into the city, I go to a smaller town that’s slightly further away but is much less crowded. There are all the shops I need, minus the stress of navigating the Christmas crowds.

Make a list

There’s a reason Santa makes a list and checks it twice. Lists are the best way to keep on top of all the things you need to buy: presents, wrapping paper, Christmas cards. Without a list you’ll probably end up forgetting something, buying more than you need, or both. Before you even think about leaving the house to shop make sure you’ve written a list and double checked that it has all the things you need on it (and you haven’t forgotten anyone…that can be a little embarrassing come Christmas day!)

Food, glorious food

quality Source: https://www.silversurfers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/quality.jpg

If you’re also a person who isn’t great at thinking of gifts for people, food never fails, and it’s especially good if you’re shopping last minute. All you have to do is take a trip to your local supermarket and pick up a few things: biscuits, chocolates, any type of selection box. This sort of bulk present buying means that you can pretty much cross everyone off your Christmas list with just one shop. Who doesn’t love a good box of chocolates?

Shop online

With this one, you do need to slightly more prepared. The latest I would leave shopping online for gifts is probably about a week before Christmas. A lot of online shops will guarantee a date that your presents will be delivered by and of course there’s always that wonderful student perk of Amazon Prime delivery! Shopping online also helps to avoid all the stress of the Christmas crowds and you can do it in your pyjamas. It’s a win-win!

DIY it!

bestcard14 Source: http://www.handimania.com/uploads/bestcard14.jpg

Handmade gifts and cards really show that you’ve put some thought into your Christmas presents, even if you do make them last minute. I have always enjoyed getting creative with my presents and making cards. You’ll often find you have enough stuff lying around at home to throw a few together with so you don’t even have to leave the house. People who receive your handmade creations will be really grateful of the time you put into them. It doesn’t matter if you’re not exactly a crafting pro, it’s the thought that counts.

giphy Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/hulu-blackish-l0MYN7mdvcZBBpEly

So if you’re one of those people, like me, who do almost everything last minute, or you’ve just forgotten to buy a gift for someone, give these tips a go for a stress free Christmas. And, let’s be honest, we’ll probably end up doing it all over again next year!

The 10 Best Films to Get You in the Festive Mood

We are finally in December and edging closer and closer to the festive season! We all love a good Christmas film to get us in the mood for the holidays and if you’re wondering what to watch, then look no further. In no particular order, here’s a rundown of the films that always make my Christmas, so why not watch one (or two, or ten)?

Home Alone

homealone Source: https://www.moviefone.com/2015/12/17/home-alone-macaulay-culkin-kevin-mccallister/

If you haven’t seen this film then you really have not experienced the true joy of Christmas! Kevin McCallister’s parents forget all about him when they dash off to the airport to spend their Christmas abroad. Poor Kevin is left to fend for himself against a pair of pretty dimwitted burglars and Kevin must defend his home in any way he can.

Home Alone 2

You can’t watch Home Alone and not watch it’s sequel, which in my opinion, is the best one! This time Kevin is lost in New York after his family lose him yet again (talk about bad parenting!). His adventures take him all over the city as he tries to get away from Harry and Marv: those pesky burglars again!

Love Actually

love-actually-gallery-2 Source: https://www.uphe.com/movies/love-actually

If you’re looking for something with a bit of comedy, romance and drama then Love Actually is the film for you. It revolves around 10 stories which are all intertwined. The cast is brilliant and I always find myself tearing up at the very first scene at Heathrow Airport. Love actually is all around *cue tears*!

The Holiday

The Holiday is a bit more of a grown up Christmas film. Kate Winslet, an English journalist, and Cameron Diaz, an American advertiser, swap homes for the holidays after bad breakups. They both end up falling for someone else on the other side of the pond, but what happens when they have to come home? This is a great film to watch if you fancy something that wasn’t made for kids, plus Jude Law is in it. What more could you want?

The Grinch

dr-seuss-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-gallery-1 Source: https://www.uphe.com/movies/dr-seuss-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas

I must admit, when I was younger, the Grinch terrified me. Although that’s probably a testament to Jim Carrey’s great acting. Everyone in Whoville loves Christmas. Everyone except the Grinch, that is. The Grinch sets out to steal Christmas from the Whos but then he meets Cindy Lou who tries to help him change his ways.

Miracle on 34th Street

This one is really a classic of the festive film genre. Mara Wilson, who we all know and love from Matilda, is a little girl called Susan who doesn’t believe in the magic of Father Christmas. Susan’s mum works in a department store, whose new Santa Claus almost seems like the real thing. Will Susan come to believe in the magic of Christmas again? You’ll have to watch it to find out!

Elf

Elf.jpg Source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-reasons-why-elf-is-the-best-christmas-movie

If you haven’t seen this film, where have you been?! Elf is a film all about family. Buddy the elf has never really fitted in with the elves at the North Pole. When he learns that he’s human, he sets out to find his father in New York. Buddy’s father doesn’t have time for him, so he bonds with his half-brother. Buddy’s crazy  adventures take him all over New York and it’s all fun and games until Santa needs his help after a sleigh accident on Christmas Eve…gasp!

The Santa Clause Trilogy

Okay, this is technically three films but they’re all worth a watch. When circumstances lead Scott (Tim Allen) to accidentally become Santa Claus (as you do), he’s not really sure that he wants to take up the role but his son convinces him otherwise. The three films follow Scott’s life as he learns to become Santa, but not without a few hitches on the way.

Nativity

nativity_xlg Source: http://www.impawards.com/intl/uk/2009/nativity_xlg.html

I love Nativity! It’s a British film starring Martin Freeman as a teacher competing with another school to see which one can organise the best nativity play. Things take a turn though when he lies about how a Hollywood producer will be coming to turn his play into a movie. Obviously, much chaos and madness follows and the kids are hilarious!

The Polar Express

Who doesn’t love a good animated movie? The Polar Express is exactly that. A young boy on Christmas Eve is doubtful of Santa’s existence and the Polar Express is a train that comes along and takes him on a journey to restore his faith in Christmas. The train is heading to the North Pole with loads of children on board, what could possibly go wrong? This really is a sweet film and is pretty unique as Tom Hanks voices most of the characters

So, there we have it, ten movies to sit down and watch this Christmas! So, why not take a break from all that work that you’re not really doing, get cosy and watch a good old festive film!