Winter is coming…

…well we have to get through Autumn first Jon Snow but you’re not wrong! Autumn and Winter are my favourite of the seasons by a country mile, partly because I cannot cope when the weather is too warm! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holidays in the sun, but they are a different kind of sun to what we get here in the UK.

Already the days are getting shorter and the temperature a lot cooler and summer feels like a distant memory. I can’t wait for hot chocolates, long winter walks and all of the festivities that are to come. I think that’s what makes Autumn/Winter so special – the amount of holidays there are! There’s Halloween, Bonfire night, Christmas and if you’re American, Thanksgiving too.

Halloween is also the day before my birthday so that always used to add to the excitement surrounding my birthday so I’m a huge fan of Halloween! I’m a bit too old to go trick or treating nowadays, but I’m still planning on playing lots of Halloween themed games with my sister and watching scary movies!

funyn-hallowee-no-candy-pumpkin.jpg

I always tend to have a holiday booked around Christmas time as well, this year it’s Disneyland Paris and I’m super excited for it this time around!

The films are so much better in Autumn/Winter as well! Yes you get your Summer blockbuster movies at the cinema but for me you just don’t have those staple films that get you excited for Summer. In Winter you obviously have all of the Christmas classics, Elf, Love Actually to name a few and that’s why for me it’s such an exciting season.

faf2e499-09cb-4518-b5fc-0902bc9611dc

Now I know Autumn/Winter isnt perfect, I’ve already noticed a mass increase of spiders and moths creeping into the house and I’ve definitely taken for granted not having to defrost the car the past couple of weeks! But for me Autumn and Winter are definitely the best seasons of the year!

Are you a Summer lover or a Winter wonderer? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Why Normandy is a History Lovers Paradise – Part 2

One of the best war sites to visit in Normandy is Pointe Du Hoc, located about 45 minutes away from the coastal town of Arromanches which we were staying in. Pointe Du Hoc is a lookout, which was used by German forces during the D-Day landings and now comprises of remaining part-destroyed turrets and bunkers. Pointe Du Hoc was initially the intended location for the opening beach-storming sequence to Saving Private Ryan, however they opted for Omaha beach instead.

There is so much to explore at Pointe Du Hoc, from the giant craters which have scarred the landscape to the numerous bunkers dotted around. Some of the bunkers are amazingly still well intact and can be explored – just remember to take a torch! There is a nice memorial as well located on the very edge of one of the cliffs which really does looking striking, backing onto the sea behind it.

 

It’s not only World War 2 history which Normandy has in abundance, Bayeux is home to one of the oldest (and possibly longest?!) stories in the world! Bayeux is of course home to the famous Bayeux tapestry, an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres long, depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings. This was something I definitely wanted to see whilst I had the opportunity and it was a fantastic experience.

You get given headphones to listen to as you walk around the tapestry, and honestly, the story is so immersive! The tapestry itself is magnificent and is in pristine condition considering how old it is! Sadly you aren’t allowed to take pictures of the Bayeux tapestry, as the flashes could hasten degradation of the cloth.

Bayeux itself is a beautiful city with a lot of history, evident in the magnificent cathedral, watermills and old cobbled streets. It was lovely sitting out in the sun enjoying a beer watching the day go by without a care in the world.


Normandy has so much more to offer than just cider and cheese, and as you can tell, you’ll come back well educated! Have you visited Normandy before? Let me know in the comments!

Why Normandy is a History Lovers Paradise – Part 1

So last month I visited Normandy in the north of France for a week, for yet another holiday this year! Normandy is infamous for its history, cider and cheese, and having visited a number of times when I was younger I was looking forward to going back to really appreciate and learn about the history (and drink the cider!).

If you are a history lover, or love learning about new places, Normandy offers all of this in abundance. Normandy is home to some of the most famous beaches in the world – the D-Day landing beaches. D-Day was the allied invasion of Normandy during the second World War and the key to liberating Europe from Nazi control. 

Today the five beaches; Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword and Utah are stretches of golden sand and picturesque landscapes, however 70 years ago it was a very different story. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed as a result of the battle of Normandy and it is clear to see the devastation left behind. There are numerous cemeteries and museums scattered all around, showing how significant the battle of Normandy was in history. 

We stayed in the coastal town of Arromanches, remembered historically for its place in the Normandy landings and in particular as the place where a Mulberry harbour artificial port was installed. The artificial port allowed the disembarkation of 9,000 tons of material per day following D-Day. There are some remnants of the Mulberry Harbour still present surrounding Arromanches, and there are even some pieces on the beach which you can go and explore. 


Nowadays Arromanches is a popular spot for tourists and there are several restaurants and bars in the town, as well as a number of different museums and souvenir shops. 

At the very top of Arromanches is the fantastic 360 degree cinema, which lets you experience 20 minutes of unseen D-Day footage with full surround sound in a very unforgettable way. I would highly recommend visiting the 360 degree cinema if you ever happen to be over that side of Normandy as it really is a great experience, and does an especially a good of a job of explaining the importance of the infamous Mulberry Harbour.

Just 20 minutes away from Arromanches is the Normandy American Cemetary. The Normandy American Cemetery honours American troops who died in Europe during World War 2 and is situated overlooking Omaha beach, one of the D-Day landing beaches. The Normandy American Cemetery is actually where there opening scene of Saving Private Ryan was filmed. The Cemetery is such a humbling place to visit – there are over 9,500 individual memorials, and the rows and rows of white crosses really does make you realise how lucky you are.

Hacksaw Ridge: Review

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 biographical war drama film directed by Mel Gibson starring Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss. The film is based on a true story and focuses on the World War 2 experiences of American pacifist combat medic Desmond Doss who refuses to carry or use a firearm or weapon of any kind.

I really have had a poor year in terms of watching movies as soon as they are released at the cinema and way back in January I was eager to watch Hackshaw Ridge upon its release however I didn’t get round to it. I finally got round to watching it at the weekend and I was NOT disappointed!

I’m actually a big fan of Andrew Garfield, I feel as if he is a really talented actor and got hard done by with the response he got from playing Spiderman. In Hackshaw Ridge, I feel as if he has silenced his critics with a fantastic performance. Garfield plays Desmond Doss with ease and it really is a breath-taking performance from him, you feel so immersed in the film thanks to his performance.

Hacksaw Ridge is definitely one of those films that will stop and make you think about the bigger picture. Being based on a true story, it would be easy to just enjoy the film for the cinematic masterpiece that it is and not the story of heroics it is actually trying to portray. It’s fascinating to see war from the perspective of someone who was more focused on saving lives rather than taking them.

Cinematically the film is brilliant, some of the action sequences are brilliant, especially in the first couple of scenes where Hacksaw Ridge is first stormed by the American troops. The brutality was apparent from the first bullet fired and there were a number of moments which were reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan.

One thing that really did annoy me however, was the background in a couple of scenes during the film. There were a few moments where there appeared to be almost a green screen in the background portraying a scenic background, and whilst I have no issues with the use of a green screen, there were times in which the dodgy background was distracting me from the on screen action.

It was a lovely touch at the end of the film to include interviews with the actual Desmond Doss and his comrades, it was great to see the real hero behind the whole story.

To buy or not to buy? – This is definitely one of the best war films of the past decade or so and I would highly advise you watch it! Even if you’re not a fan of war films, Hacksaw Ridge is must watch film – so go watch it!

Rating: 8.4/10

Daniel Craig as Bond

So with Daniel Craig confirming that he will return to reprise his role as James Bond for a fifth film, I’ve decided to look back and rank his previous roles as Bond. *Please note I am solely focusing on Bond’s performance and not the whole film itself*

4. Spectre

Spectre seemingly looked to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond and frankly if it had been his last outing I would have been disappointed because I felt as if Craig still had unfinished business as Bond. Out of the four films I feel as if this is the weakest ‘character’ – what I mean by this is in terms of character development of Bond it was the weakest, Craig’s performance was great as usual however. I just felt as if Bond had become too predictable and too similar to previous films. I also felt as if Craig’s character was a lot more reserved than what we had seen in previous outings and there were times where I felt as if the character could of just been any spy and not the infamous James Bond.

3. Quantum of Solace

Quantum of Solace is a fine example of some of Daniel Craig’s grittiest performances as Bond. Here we see how Bond really takes matters into his own hands and there are a number of examples of brutal and breathless this new Bond is. There are a number of scenes in which Bond goes AWOL and this a theme throughout the film. The only issue I have was how a lot of the time I didn’t understand the rational behind his actions, however this was perhaps down to the plot more than anything.

2. Casino Royale

Casino Royale was Daniel Craig’s first outing as Bond and if I’m honest, when I first watched it I wasn’t overly impressed. However having re-watched it a number of times since, I may have been too quick to judge. It was a huge task for anyone to step up and replace Pierce Bronan (who in my opinion is the best Bond of them all), and in fairness to Daniel Craig, he came in and completely revamped the whole James Bond franchise. I like how ruthless Bond is in Casino Royale and how Daniel Craig’s character brought a whole new style to Bond. Bond was always known as classy and elegant almost but with the introduction of Craig, Bond became more brutal and in my opinion, more realistic.

1. Skyfall

Skyfall is definitely my favourite of Daniel Craig’s performances as Bond. I love how there is a huge focus on Bond’s past and how the film shows that there is a lighter side to him, rather than just a cold blooded killer he actually shows compassion – evident lengths he goes to in protecting M. Skyfall is also where we see a real nitty gritty Bond which I enjoyed seeing, it gave a sense that he isn’t untouchable which is often suggested in a lot of action films with a male protagonist.

What do you think of Daniel Craig as James Bond? Let me know in the comments!