Reading, Watching, Listening, Doing #4

It’s 2018, aah!! Strangely enough, I’ve spent the latter half of 2017 thinking it was 2018 – I panicked about things I bought that went out of date in 2018, thinking they must have been sat on shop shelves for a REALLY long time and I was writing 2018 on all my documents. But then I wrote the month and year on the first page of my new work diary and wrote “January 2017” – figures, right?!

So anyway, we’ve made it to 2018 and can I just have a moment please? WE’RE GETTING MARRIED THIS YEAR!

Okay, now that’s over and done with – on the with the show! This is how the second half of my December 2017 looked in books, TV shows and more:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children


Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never Knew You Never Knew by Jim Korkis
This was one of two Disney books Ben got me for Christmas, and I dived straight into it on Boxing Day. I’ve always been a Disney lover, but now that Ben has joined my cause too, we’re now both Disney addicts, WDW even more so – and Ben possibly more than me!
I’d barely read 5 pages of this in the bath before I was shouting facts downstairs to him. I picked it up thinking there might be a couple of things I didn’t know, but there were actually plenty – in fact, there were barely any facts in here I did know!
This book is less of the sensationalist style stories of WDW, more history. It was truly fascinating and I know any Disney park addict like me would love it.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I watched the film of this book at the cinema when it was launched and really liked it, then when I spotted a good deal on the book, I bought it. I always enjoy seeing how films compare to books, although I generally prefer to read first then watch.
When Jacob, a normal boy from Florida, finds his grandfather killed in a pretty horrific way in the swampland behind his home, he knows that there’s something not right. In an attempt to get over his grief, he travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales where he discovers Miss Peregrine’s crumbling home – destroyed by bombs in the war. But there’s something more to it than just a decrepit building. How do the mysterious and curious photographs his grandfather once showed him fit into it all? And do the monsters he’s sure he saw have something to do with everything?
The film is definitely a good version in this case in my eyes, and I really liked the book too. It has a particularly unique twist in that the pages are peppered with the photographs Jacob describes and discovers – like the one on the front cover of the book. And what’s even more interesting is that it’s explained at the end that these are real photographs from a variety of collections – amazing!
The story itself is very well told, it’s gripping, and the characters are an eclectic collection of people who are just as fascinating as the story itself. With more than a hint of the supernatural, a little bit of time travel and the unique photographs, this is a book I’d recommend.


Christmas television is awesome! I actually didn’t even get to watch a huge amount this year compared to other years, but there were some really good films I recorded ready to watch when I get a chance.

4 Weddings and a Funeral – one film I did manage to watch and an old classic British favourite. If you’ve never seen this one, you need to watch it now.

A Christmas Prince – this was a Netflix exclusive film that I’d heard people talking about. It sounded a little bit cheesy, but I thought it would be fun to watch on the day Ben was at work between Christmas and New Year and I was right – I loved it!

What Britain Bought in 2017 – this was a TV programme on Channel 4 with Mary Portas that was really interesting. It’s what it says on the tin really, but it was fun to see which things I’d bought and which I hadn’t even heard of!

Yorkshire Vet – there was a Christmas special episode where my friends appeared with their tortoise! He’s now my claim to fame as we occasionally babysit him ;D

Gossip Girl – still working my way through this!

Ears 2 You – we’re still watching our other Disney Youtubers like Tim Tracker, but Ears 2 You is definitely another favourite. We’ve been watching them for a while, but got more into them recently. They’re so much fun and really likable.


Um, difficult one! Apart from Christmas songs, I haven’t really done much listening over December!


Now hopefully this will make up for my lacklustre “listening” heading – it’s been busy!

Bronco Christmas Party 2017 outfit - tutu skirt & bodysuit

So first up, we had our work Christmas party in early December. I wore a giant tulle skirt, ate some awesome food and had a lot of fun. This was our best work Christmas party yet I think!

I also had a Brownie pyjama party on our last night before Christmas. I turned up in my fairisle print pyjama set from Matalan a couple of years ago and we played pass the parcel, musical bumps and musical statues, then we had a Christmas feast of bits and pieces of party food we’d gathered.

Still on the pre-Christmas theme, we had our work Secret Santa and I was very excited to discover my work BFF had got me. We bond over Harry Potter and Riverdale so of course I had a package filled with amazing HP and Riverdale themed gifts: a Hufflepuff scarf, sorting hat candle and Riverdale stickers!

And a final pre-Christmas treat, I went out for tapas with 3 of my best friends and my sister in York, then we headed over to York Minster (minus one, as Charley had a Christmas party to get to!) to watch the Snowman on a big screen with a live orchestra. They actually did an introduction first followed by some of the more famous pieces from the Nutcracker accompanied with especially created animations before showing and playing the Snowman. It was absolutely freezing in the Minster but it was very magical – a little boy got up to sing the Walking in the Air solo and the Snowman himself greeted us with a surprise visit!

And finally we had a last day of work Christmas lunch. On Friday 23rd, we were allowed to finish up our work before lunch then we all headed up to a pub in town. We’d been able to choose our food beforehand (via a shared spreadsheet that was mightily abused!) and I’d picked out the “posh” fish finger sandwich (for which I was abused – the running joke of the office is that I’m posh, despite my claims to the contrary!). It was really good food and the perfect way to finish for Christmas.

Unfortunately in the last week before Christmas, Ben and I had a few exhausting nights. We were awoken at 2.30am one morning to an odd but loud bleeping sound coming from downstairs. We quickly established it wasn’t smoke alarms as they make a different bleep and realised it must be the burglar alarm, but it wasn’t actually going off. In my confused just awakened state, I was absolutely convinced that it must mean someone had broken in, so I sent Ben downstairs with a marble soap dish in defence. It turned out it was just running out of batteries, reset it and came back up…only for it to set off again 20 minutes later. This time he ripped the loud bleeping box off the wall so it would only bleep quietly (but still audibly for light sleepers like me), and we had to remove the battery after a couple days of non-stop bleeping before the new battery arrived!

…only for our smoke alarm on the middle floor landing to run out of batteries at 2.30am on the first silent night I’d had in a few days, argh! Again, Ben was dispatched (minus the soap dish this time, although I still wasn’t convinced it wasn’t burglars) to remove that from the wall and replace the battery the next day.

And so finally on to Christmas! Unfortunately Ben’s grandad had an accident on his bike on the ice in the week before Christmas so ended up stuck in hospital with a broken hip over Christmas Day. There’s more about our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in this post so I won’t repeat it all!

In the gap between Christmas and New Year, I had a lot of baths, read books, watched TV with Ben and helped clean and clear the house a bit. And Ben also bought a bookcase for all his cookbooks – we’re nearing 200 now, he’s obsessed, this bookcase isn’t even all of them!

New bookcase
Ben with his pride and joy – his cookbooks! (And spot my new Harry Potter cushion my sister got me for Christmas!)

We also had some really bad news over Christmas that really shook me – I’m not going to share here because it’s not my news to share (I don’t think it’s right that I share some things about friends and family members here), but it was really upsetting. There had been a tentative plan to go to the Peak District over New Year for a while which Charley and I had left the boys to organise and I almost cancelled on that as a result, but decided there was little I could actually do so we went ahead with it. We had a really lovely time, albeit a quick trip – we were there barely 24 hours!

Another pair of friends also met us there, although we did have a little trouble when they arrived…the cottage in the Peak District is located down a tiny lane with a driveway that is essentially a field – it’s very isolated. They’d had quite a lot of snow which had turned to slush and rain over the previous days and the end of the driveway had turned into what became known as The Swamp. Charley and Frankie went through first in their Fiat 500 and just cleared The Swamp. We watched them go through then got through a little more easily in my Hyundai with snow tyres. David and Amy didn’t fare quite so well when they arrived a few hours later in the dark – they couldn’t quite see The Swamp. Let’s just say the AA had to make us a visit that night.

Hartington – a village near the cottage

The rest of the trip went more smoothly! We paired up to create a course and I was on pudding, so I made a chocolate orange bread and butter pudding. David and Amy managed to whip up a smoked salmon and prawn starter on a bed of asparagus and rocket which was amazing, followed by Ben and Frankie’s main course of steak pie (their speciality! Made in the new electric pressure cooker I got for Christmas) with roast potatoes and veg. We actually ended up toasting the New Year in with a bowl of bread and butter pudding each in the midst of a Pub Quiz game (which the girls’ team won, by the way!) before playing Mr. & Mrs. (our Christmas present from Charley and Frankie) before heading to bed about 3am.

The next day we got up and sorted out the house then headed for lunch at a local pub that we often visit when we’re in the Peak District. I had a chicken breast with stilton sauce and chips (amazing!) then we jumped in the car for the journey home as we had to be back at work today.

Paper cranes

Oh and I’ve also obsessively been making paper cranes for the past few weeks for the wedding – just 800ish more to go!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!


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