The pursuit of...My Top 10 Festive Holiday Films

I love this this time of year.  Not just for the obvious christmas festivities and fun but when you have time off from work you can also really enjoy all the other holiday moments around Christmas and New Year.
Whether that be taking a trip to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, Ice Skating at the plethora of venues that London has to offer, visiting the Christmas markets or simply staying in with loved ones and watching all the bank holiday movies.

Watching festive old films always takes me back to my childhood.  I remember taping them off the TV onto VHS tapes so I could watch them over and over again! (who remembers going to woolworths and buying 90min and 120min blank VHS tapes and feeling so excited about all the stuff you could record!!).

There's nothing better than settling down with a takeaway and a nice cuppa and watching a nostalgic movie!

Luckily, I have been able to catch a few this year and it got me thinking about what my personal favourite of Top 10 films to watch at this time of year would be.

Here is my list below (in no particular order!):

1. Bedknobs and Broomsticks

This film/musical I watched over and over again when I was younger and I always wished I had a flying bed like it! Angela Lansbury is great in it as a practising young witch in olden day London. I used to beg my parents to take me to Portobello Road so I could sing the song from the film there!

2. Home Alone 2 - Lost in New York

It's not christmas for me unless Home Alone 2 comes on! This really is such a festive feel good movie and for me is the best one from the franchise.  Set in a wintry New York, you have idyllic Christmassy scenes of a snowy Central Park, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and of course The Plaza Hotel. The perfect Christmas movie!

3. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I love all of Steve Martin's films. My favourite of his is definitely Father of the Bride but a close second is this one with John Candy.  It just makes me laugh out loud everytime I watch it....and I have seen it lots of times.  It tells the story of the duo trying to make it home for christmas (or was it thanksgiving?) after a snow storm cancels all flights.  It has quite a sad, touching ending too which makes it all the more lovely. 

4. The Holiday

I wasn't really a big fan of Kate Winslet or (Jude Law for that matter) until I saw this film and it made me really like them both.

Again another really festive, heartwarming film where two women swap homes and continents for Christmas.  I love Cameron Diaz in this and the chemistry between her and Jude Law's character was really quite believable.  I'm always happy when I see this film on over the holiday period.

5. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

One of my favourites and it has to be this original with Gene Wilder (sorry, the newer Johnny Depp version is just too dark and weird!) This is one of the classics that I had on VHS that I watched over and over again during my summer holidays.  Even now when I watch it I can recite lines from it verbatim.
I remember when I was younger buying Kit Kat's and opening them really slowly pretending that there was a Golden Ticket inside!!- A couple of years ago even my dad actually bought me some Wonka bars and Everlasting GobStoppers as a Christmas present! Love it!

6. Big

Another golden oldie and not necessarily a christmas film per se but one that normally comes on during the festive holiday period.  

Again a much loved one for me and Tom Hanks was brilliant as the kid who got his wish to become an adult.  I love the scene at the end where he is walking towards his house as a 30 year old adult and as he gets closer and closer we see that he has returned to a 12 year old boy with his now too big clothes hanging off him. And of course the famous scene in the NYC toyshop FAO Schwarz, where Tom Hanks plays Chopstix on the electronic foot-operated keyboard.

 A great film.

7. Splash

This film was actually on the other night which is a rarity as this film only comes on once in a blue moon.  A true 80's classic again starring Tom Hanks. I love Daryl Hannah as the mermaid who falls in love with a human and goes in search of him in New York City.  The scene of her eating Lobster in a restaurant with the shell still on while all the other diners stare in horror is hilarious!

9. Four Christmases

I really like Vince Vaughn's comedic style (he's also brilliant in The Break Up) and in this film where him and Reese Witherspoon's characters end up visiting both sets of parents in one day it's a truly festive film.
It has some real laugh out loud moments - the installation of the satellite dish, the re-enactment of The Nativity play, the bouncy castle scene...
This is one of my new favourites.

9. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

If I have to think of one film that sums up my childhood is this one.  Ok,... I never had a flying car or anything and my dad wasn't a mad inventor (!) but this was the one movie that we all used to watch as a family over and over again.  Even now, again I can recite all the words and the songs whenever I watch it and it's so nice to see my nephew loving this film in the same way that we used to.  A true classic!

10. Back to the Future

Yep, the story of Marty Mcfly and Doc Brown travelling through time makes my top 10 list of holiday movies.  You really don't get films like this anymore that can stand the test of time.

So these are the films that I like to watch over Christmas.  Not all of them are 'Christmas' films but they definitely get me in the festive spirit!

Hopefully we'll get to see a couple of these on our screens on New Years Day, so grab a takeaway and snuggle up!!

Love, Ivy George x

The pursuit of...The end of 2014

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas everyone!!
Doesn't the big day go quickly?!....and now it's the big countdown to the New Year.

I had a fabulous day spent with my family - it's always a big occasion and my aunts and uncles normally take it in turns to host it.  This year it was held at my parents house and there was 18 of us all together! I was in charge of the table decorations (above), stuffing, mulled wine and pigs in blankets!!!

Since Christmas Day itself I have been relaxing, catching up on all the festive movies on the TV.
I hit the sales today with a visit to Lakeside and got a few bargains - I must admit I'm not a lover of the sales....

I'm now turning my attention to the New Year where I have lots of exciting things happening....It will be a year of opportunities and big changes for me and hopefully I will get to bring you all on the journey with me...!!

Have fun everyone and in case I don't manage a post before the new year:


Love, Ivy George x 

The pursuit of...Home Baking (Part V)

I'm terrible at letting my fruit go to waste - especially bananas, where I very really get through a whole bunch by myself.
But rather than throwing those sad looking over-ripened bananas in the bin, I quite often make banana bread/loaf/cake (there's so many different variations, I'm sure they are all the same thing!).
It is so quick and easy to make - within minutes, you have a very tasty, moist, healthy cake that is perfect as a quick energy snack or for breakfast with a cup of tea,

Here is my recipe.


  • 125g Butter
  • 150g Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 3 very ripe small bananas (mashed)
  • 190g Self Raising flour
  • 60ml milk


1. Grease a standard sized loaf tin and set aside.

2. Melt butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Step 2  (excuse the state of my cooker...the sugar went EVERYwhere!)
Step 2 
3. Remove from heat and add the mashed bananas, mix well.

4. Add the egg. Mix well.

Step 3

Step 3 & 4 with the mashed banana and egg added into the butter mixture
5. Stir in the flour and milk.

Step 5
6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 170C/ Fan 150C/ Gas 3 for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Step 6

Then Voila! One yummy banana bread is ready. Stick the kettle on and enjoy with a cup of tea! :-)

What's great about making this cake (bread/loaf etc!) is that it fills your whole home up with a cosy, festive baking smell. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg for an even more festive hit!

This is a delicious moist cake, with little scrumptious gooey banana bits that is just perfect during these late winter nights.


See more of my home baking posts below:

Ginger Cake (Part I)
Fruit Scones (Part II)
Chocolate Cake (Part III)
Soda Bread (Part IIII)

Love, Ivy George x

The pursuit of...Fabulous editorials - Vogue Paris

Sometimes you come across a really fabulous editorial in a magazine that really stands out and makes you appreciate the hard work and attention to detail that must have gone into it.

In this months Vogue Paris, I completely fell in love with their edit titled 'Panoplies' which has models dressed eerily (and completely believably I must add) as Barbie dolls.

Each doll is boxed and clad in the designers representative SS15 collection with matching accessories dotted around the box.  The attention to detail is amazing!

Photographed by Giampaolo Sgura and modelled by 'doll face' models Magdalena Frackowiak and Elisabeth Erm, this was one spread where I actually spent ages poring over and savouring - I so want one of those dolls!! 

I wouldn't be surprised if the designers themselves took inspiration from this and decide to bring out limited edition dolls from their collection....Barbie Dolls for adults, who wouldn't want one?!!!

Below are some of the pictures from the editorial for Vogue Paris that was styled by Claire Dhelens & Celia Azoulay.  My favourites are Ralph Lauren (above), Chanel, Dior, and Valentino.

Love, Ivy George x 

The pursuit of...Shoes, Sparkle and Festive Fun!

I love shiny accessories! Whether its patent, embellished or metallic, like a magpie, as soon as I see the twinkle, I am all over it!
When I saw these metallic silver shoes in Zara, again, it was LOVE at first sight for me.  They looked almost like a slick, shiny bullet or dart and looked fabulous with my skinny black cigarette pants.

As I am so fussy, I opted to buy them online as the pair I tried on in store had a few (minor!) scuffs on them.
They finally arrived yesterday in all their glory and they are even more shinier (yay!!) - they are so reflective, I could probably use it as mirror too! (I joke!...sort of...)

These shoes are definitely a statement shoe and deserve to take centre stage of an outfit. 
I will be wearing these with a pared down monochrome outfit - i.e. black skinny jeans and a white shirt or my trusted black cigarette pants (which I love!) with a slouchy off the shoulder jumper in either black or muted grey.

By the way....Happy December!!
I was busy putting up my Christmas decorations last night so I was surrounded by sparkle everywhere!!
I ended up putting up my tree whilst wearing these shoes and singing along to Christmas songs at the top of my voice!....I was having a great time!....might have had something to do with that Baileys on the rocks I was also drinking!....ahhh I do LOVE Christmas!! ;-)

Have you got into the festive spirit yet?

Love, Ivy George x

The pursuit of...Work etiquette

Most of us spend eight hours a day or more at work, ending up spending more time with our work colleagues than that of our own family! (unless you are lucky enough to work from home that is!).
How most of us conduct ourselves at our place of work is very different to how we might be with our friends and family in our own surroundings....and with good reason!...

A few years ago, I bought a book at the airport called "The Rules Of Life" by Richard Templar.
I used to really be into self-help books and this one was probably one of the best I have ever read.
Inside it had one hundred 'rules' to live many of them were 'Ah-ha!' moments, others good old common sense and most, just really, really good advice. 
It was an international best seller and the British author, Richard Templar, brought out a series of these self help books for all different scenarios of life.

I brought The Rules Of Work (above/below) recently and again, this edition, is a great common sense guide and advice book on how to get on and be successful in your career.

What is great about these books is you don't have to read it from start to finish like a traditional book.
Each rule is spread over two pages, so if you just open the book randomly anywhere, it will give you a tip or rule that you could use for the day.
Below are some of my favourites:

Don't swear: I love this rule and agree with everything that it says.  Not only is it extremely unprofessional and offensive to swear at work, but in my opinion it also shows a lack of resilience and vocabulary!  I have worked with so many people in the past who think it is ok to use bad language at work....whether it's to be humorous or to vent frustration, it is just not the done thing for in the workplace.

Pay attention to personal grooming: Absolutely a big rule for me.  You are going to work, not to the gym (unless you work in a gym of course!).
Having a groomed, immaculate appearance shows that you care - not only about the impression you give, but also about the work you do.
An unkempt look can translate to lazy, slovenly and ultimately can give the impression that you are bad at your job...perhaps not the perception that you would want to give out.

Be cheerful and positive: Another good rule.  This one relates to putting those positive vibes out there and then seeing them return back. 

So often it is easy to turn up at work, being completely grumpy with everyone and feeling that it is going to be a bad day no matter what.  Actually, you are in control of your day and the mood you are in and how you see and interpret things depends on the positive outlook that you can spin on it.
Also, being so grumpy all the time can rub off and bring everyone else down around you and you'll soon become known as the 'miserable git' that no-one wants to sit next to at lunch!!

Date with caution: Another good rule.  Don't date someone at work if you can not handle the fall out.  People will always talk (everyone likes gossip remember!) but if you are not someone who likes being the centre of office gossip do not put yourself in there!!

However, having said that, I know many people who have met their life partner through work, so the real rule here is proceed with caution! ;-)

If you get a chance to read Richard Templar's series of 'The rules..' books, I would really recommend the Work, Relationships and Life editions.
I've found them to be great, easy to read, funny and informative and at times, very straight to the point!

Have you read any of these books?

Love, Ivy George x

The pursuit of...Clear skin

I am always on the pursuit of clear skin and even though I am in my 30's now, annoyingly I still suffer from tiny little spots that flare up every now and then.
I change my skin care products quite frequently as I find that my skin always reacts really well initially to a new product, but then after a while, it gets used to it and starts playing up again!

My problem areas, like most people tend to be around the nose, cheeks and chin area.  
A few weeks ago I was in Boot's and they had a 3 for 2 offer on all skincare a fish on a hook, I was reeled in and before I knew it my basket was full!

I was intrigued by the Biore range and decided to buy three products from them (above).

Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser:
I was very intrigued by this thick looking, black liquid in a pump action bottle.  It is described as giving a deep cleansing, skin purifying clean and after reading the blurb on the back it was exactly what my skin was looking for.
I have used this now for over a month and am extremely pleased with it.  It is a thick black liquid but foams out white and has a pleasant smell. For some reason I expected this to leave my skin with a 'tingly' sensation but it doesn't at all. I visibly notice that my pores are reduced after using this and  my skin feels smooth.  It removes all my make up including mascara easily, the only con being that it does leave a tell-tale panda eye with the eyeliner that I use.

Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips:

Ok, so these are somewhat of a cult buy and I remember buying these in my early teens and trying it out.
The box contains 6 foil packets of strips that are infused with Witch Hazel and Tea Tree Oil.
I bought these for the specific reason of targeting the little white heads that generate around my nose area every few days.  The idea is to wet your nose area completely than apply the strip, which then dries like 'paper mache' onto your nose area.  Leave it on for 10-15mins and then peel off and inspect the results!
I must admit that the peeling off process really, really hurts!! It sticks so hard to my nose area and it makes my eyes water as I painstakingly peel the strip off bit by bit!
On inspection of the strip, I don't ever really see any residues (I don't suffer from blackheads luckily in this area and this is what most people see on their strips) but my nose does always look smoother and with less open pores so it is doing something!

Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser:
Ooooh, I just love this self-heating cleanser!  It works in a very similar way to the Sanctuary Spa 5minute Detox Mask that I reviewed here before.
To use this one, apply with dry hands onto wet face and it gives such a comforting hot sensation almost immediately - perfect for wintery cold mornings/evenings!
It also has scrubbing micro beads, so my skin really feels like it is getting a great exfoliation as well as pores being opened to draw out impurities.
I use this cleanser about once a week as a little mini-treatment for my skin.

Along with my new serum, the Vichy Idealia Life Serum that I reviewed here a few weeks ago, I have seen a massive improvement in my skin.
It is brighter, smoother and with less targeted outbreaks as before, so all in all, I am a happy bunny!

Have you tried any of these products?

Love, Ivy George x

The pursuit of...Home DIY

I have been having a bit of an autumn/winter makeover in my home and have finally got round to some DIY that I have been meaning to do for a very long time.

It all started when my dad turned up one evening to put up my antique cast iron outdoor lamp....I suddenly remembered the huge mirror that needed hanging up, the hanging basket wall bracket that I wanted fixing, the door number wall plaque that I wanted affixed under my lamp...the list was endless, and with my dad and his power drill at my door, it was an opportunity not to be missed!

The day after all of those items were kindly put up my dad, it kick-started me to start the bits I could do myself inside my home.  When I moved in, I had just asked for all of the walls to be painted white as I did not want to make any quick decisions on colours before I saw how the rooms would work and feel.  The only room that had any colour was my bedroom chimney breast that is painted in Fired Earth's Ultramarine Ashes - a gorgeous matte pastel sea-grey/green.

As well as Fired Earth, I have had a love affair with Farrow & Ball paint colours for a long time and am forever buying the small tester pots to decide which colour to go with.
I love grey, green and duck egg blue colours.  Their estate emulsion finish gives that modern matt look that is very flattering and very 'in' at the moment.

After much deliberation, I decided to paint the chimney breast in my dining room in Farrow & Ball 'Lichen' which is a matt olive green colour.
It was a colour that I thought would go very well with the rest of the white walls and the walnut floorboards that I have.

I brought some FrogTape for marking out the area that I wanted to paint, as I was just doing the front of the chimney breast and not the sides.
FrogTape is brilliant for providing a barrier that seals the edges of the tape and stops paint from bleeding...even so, my heart was in my mouth when I peeled it away, scared that for some reason it might not work!

It was my first time painting anything in my home and it took me a while to get my flow with the paint roller! As someone who is very impatient and wants to always see results quickly, I really had to sit on my hands after the first coat to ensure that it had dried properly before applying the second layer.
In total, I applied 3 coats to get the complete coverage of colour that I was looking for.
The best thing that I noticed about F&B paints is that there is little odour!...I did not have to have any windows open or go through the ordeal of having that strong paint stench in the house.
I could really see the quality of this paint also - the pigmentation is very high and even though I used 3 coats in the end (which was probably down to my technique more than anything) you could probably finish the job and be satisfied with two.

I absolutely adore this colour and how it looks in my room!  It has really brought it to life and added character by just highlighting the chimney breast feature and the matte effect is very cool and heritage looking.

I am currently looking for a chesterfield armchair to put in the corner on the left (above) where I can snuggle up with a good book and a fluffy throw during the cold evenings and I think that will finish the look off nicely.

I am going to follow through with this colour into my kitchen and paint two ceiling beams and my stable door in the same shade. 
I will share pictures as soon as I get round to doing this!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend - let me know if you get round to any DIY too!

Love, Ivy George x 

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