2020 has been a strange ‘ole year. Here in the UK, when the Queen has a particularly bad year, we call it her ‘annus horribilus’.
I thought my ‘annus horribilus’ was behind me. Having lost both my Grandparents and my childhood dog (fur-ever my best friend) in the space of 8 months a couple of years ago, I didn’t really think it could get any worse.
So normally I start off the year with a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ style blog post, but this year work has been so hectic that I’ve been actively avoiding the home keyboard. But work has actually been a good inspiration for what I hope will be a series of blogs for 2020.
I absolutely hate that phrase. As soon as it hit 00:00 on 01/01/2017 my Facebook page was spammed with “New Year, new me! posts. But is it really?
Yes it’s a new year, but how exactly are you new? When you wake up on 1st January, you’re still exactly the same person as you were on 31st December, you just may have new resolutions/goals/aspirations that you want to complete. That in no way makes you new.
Alas, I like most have indeed set myself some 2017 goals. I call them ‘goals’ rather than resolutions as majority of them are numeric, and have a tangible result. Now these are things that need much consideration, so I decided to take the first week of the New Year to work out what I think I can achieve.
My third and final guest post of Blogmas comes from somebody who’s already featured in the past with her Cursed Child review, the one, the only, it’s Clare (better known as ABookandTea)! Clare’s Christmas traditions have always intrigued me, so I asked her if she would kindly share them for all to experience. Over to you Clare!
Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won’t drown.
John Walker, Swallows and Amazons
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Rafe Spall, Andrew Scott, Jessica Hynes, Dane Hughes, Orla Hill, Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen and Bobby McCulloch
Swallows and Amazons is the tale of the Walker siblings; John, Susan, Tatty and Roger. Whilst on their summer holiday in the Lake District, the four set off on a venture to a mysterious island in the middle of the lake, commandeering a small sailboat; The Swallow. What they think will be a summer of fun and frivolity, soons turns into an intrepid adventure as they are caught up harms way.
“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret.”
Mark Hadden, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time tells the story of Christopher Boone. A 15-year old boy with an autism spectrum condition, Christopher struggles to cope with the outside world. One night he finds his neighbour’s dog dead, a garden fork sticking out of its body, and from there a whirlwind of investigation and adventure awaits.
The great North American school of magic was founded in the seventeenth century. It stands at the highest peak of Mount Greylock, where it is concealed from non-magic gaze by a variety of powerful enchantments, which sometimes manifest in a wreath of misty cloud.
As a huge Potterhead, any hint of news about upcoming new Potter excites me to no end. So imagine my joy at the release of a new wizarding school story on Pottermore on Wednesday afternoon.
To tie in with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in a new trilogy, due for release in December, JK Rowling is releasing the stories of the schools that inspired the magical setting of the film.
Tomorrow night streets will be swarmed with innocent little children, knocking door to door collecting sweets with a shrill cry of “Trick or Treat!”.
So to get in to the spirit of things I thought that I would share with you my Top 5 Halloween ‘traditions’ (and I put that lightly because I don’t actually do them every year!)
1. Pumpkin Carving
Pumpkin carving has been a classic Halloween tradition ever since I was a child. I would always look forward to the day I could squeeze the big orange fruit of its innards and stab into it with the sharpest knife in the house, drawing scary faces to ward all the other children from stealing my sweets!
But more recently I have enjoyed challenging myself with my pumpkin carving efforts, and have produced some results I feel pretty proud of!
Now I’ve just got to figure out how to top those this year.
2. ‘Scary’ Films
Now I say scary films because it’s Halloween, but I am actually not a fan of horror films at all. But that doesn’t mean that I should miss out on enjoying a flick or two during the holiday.
My favourite Halloween film (and it has just been confirmed that it is in fact a Halloween film!) is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love all things Tim Burton, and this classic just hits all the spots. The dark humour, the colourful animation and the stunning score puts it right up there as one of my favourite films ever.
Some other films I enjoy around this time are Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera, Ghostbusters and I have to include Harry Potter. Although Philosopher’s Stone is the only film that really has any mention of Halloween!
3. The Strictly Special
I am the biggest sucker for some Saturday night Strictly. Give me Strictly over X Factor any day of the week. But there’s just something about Strictly Halloween week that gives it that extra oomf!
4. THE SUGAR
Of course no Halloween is complete without some sugary goodness. My Mum always goes above and beyond with the trick or treater sweets that we put out and never fails to provide one of my all time favourite chocolate bars; Milky Ways. I would always go for them, or drumstick lollies, whenever I knocked on anyone’s doors. But Milky Ways are always so popular, because they’re so delicious, so im not always guaranteed to get one 🙁
This year however, I’ve bought the Halloween sweets. So you can imagine what I went for first. Yes, the Milky Ways are in, and I’m definitely siphoning off a few for myself before the children get their paws on them!
5. Costumes galore
31st October. Halloween. That can only mean one thing, I need a kick ass costume.
Unfortunately this year I have no reason to get dressed up, I’m on Trick or Treater duty this year so will instead get to experience the creativity of the children of today.
I remember when a top notch Halloween costume consisted of a black bin bag with arm holes cut out and tinfoil stars stuck on – witch no? Or of setting the scissors on grey old bedsheet and floating through the night as the ghost of the street.
So those are my spooky traditions for Halloween. I hope you all enjoy your evening, whether you’re getting costumed up to attend a Halloween shindig or, like me, enjoying a nice quiet night in with a bowl full of sugary goodness. But whatever you do, be safe!
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin D Roosevelt
I don’t generally like to talk about fears, and to be honest I don’t really have many of them. Fears to me are always conveyed as a negative, a weakness that I wouldn’t want to expose for ‘fear’ of it being used against me. But I never realised until recently how your fears can bring positive energy to life.
This weekend was a particularly tough one for me. To explain I must rewind a little bit.