Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Ultimate Christmas Movie List

Christmas is a time to hang out with family and friends, eat until you are in a food coma and relax. I love watching movies and each year at Christmas I indulge in my childhood tradition of watching Christmas movies. Here is my ultimate Christmas movie list.

the ultimate list of festive season movies
The Muppet Christmas Carol

When we were little my aunt, uncle and gran moved to England. The year that they moved, they sent us a Christmas box filled with amazing goodies from across the pond. One such treat was The Muppet Christmas Carol video. My sibling and I watched this movie countless times and even use quotes from the movie in our everyday communication. I must admit that this movie is the only reason why I know the plot of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol and was able to impress my English teacher back in high school.

Watch this because: great songs, funny one liners and MUPPETS!

The Nightmare before Christmas

I'm a sucker for anything by Tim Burton and The Nightmare before Christmas is one of his best. It's not your average festive season movie but fun to watch because it is gloriously weird.

Watch this because: Tim Burton.


Buddy the elf lands up in the real world and hilarity ensues. Some of my favourite quotes include: Buddy: You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa. 
Buddy: You sit on a throne of lies! 

Watch this because: funny one liners, gets you into the Christmas spirit. 

The Grinch

Similar to Elf, this movie is funny because of the one liners (for adults and kids) and the Grinch's mannerisms. 
The Grinch: BRILLIANT! You reject your own nose because it represents the glitter of commercialism. Why didn't I think of that? Cut, print, check the gate, moving on. 

Watch this because: you will laugh and love the festive season. 

Home Alone

My sibling and I were raised Catholic and as such had to attend Midnight Mass. For those that don't know this is where you attend mass at midnight just before Christmas. We would always watch Home Alone with my dad and after the movie go to sleep for two hours, only to be woken up, dressed up in our nativity scene gear and sleepily taken to church. Afterwards we would get back, climb into bed and only have to sleep for about five hours before we could wake our parents up so that we could open our presents.

Watch this because: brings back childhood memories and really funny slapstick comedy.


And finally a piece of Americana. When I spent my first Christmas in Taiwan with my American roommates they introduced me to A Christmas Story. It is an American staple at Christmas and they even have a channel that plays it on repeat.

Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Books to Read this Holiday Season

Black Friday came and went. And why would you argue do we celebrate this day in South Africa? So that we can get really good deals and buy stuff. That's why. 

I was quite excited for these sales because I am an avid book reader and collector, and bargains excite me. I managed to buy most of the books on this list for half the price. Win win. Here are my suggestions for great books to read this holiday season. 

A YA Novel for teens and adults alike - PAPER TOWNS

A business book with a difference - THE LEADER WHO HAD NO TITLE

A can't put this book down page turner - ADULTERY 

The biography that will make you laugh - SO, ANYWAY...

A book for people who liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time  - WHAT MILO SAW

Bonus - for me Christmas would not be the same without reading Madam & Eve. Memories of chilling on the lilo and reading the entire book while getting sun kissed. Since then I've become older, I also enjoy Zapiro and My Name is Jerm. Keep it local.

Sign up for Good Reads to discover new authors, your next book to read and so much more. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

13 Alternative Christmas Trees

So the Festive Season is around the corner and if I go by shopping mall decorations, I should have already posted this in October. Here are a few alternatives to the beloved Christmas tree. And why would you need an alternative? Well if you're like me, I will be out in the mountains and that calls for an alternative to the Christmas tree. 

If you have spare space on your wall add some washi tape

Washi tape makes everything better. There are so many different colours and variations and best of all if you mess up, just pull it off and start again. Click here if you would like to get your hands on some lovely washi tape.

Paper Craft Trees

Get your paper crafting on with these easy to assemble trees. Instead of one tree, why not create a tree curtain by sewing paper strips together? Get the whole family involved with an origami tree . Use decorated paper for a more dramatic effect or plain paper and decorate it afterwards. For a mini tree use buttons to decorate and any one cut up paper into strips. Finally create strips of paper, glue or staple them together to create a chain.

Something for every one 

 Use your Christmas cards to create a tree or create an advent calendar. For the foodie, bake some festive cookies and arrange them in a tree shape. If said foodie is on a diet, use fruit or veggies to do the same. For book lovers, grab all of your summer reads and stack them up. (If you've joined the e-reader generation, then this is not for you). And finally for the wine connoisseur collect, those corks. Giving you a reason to try out new wines.

And if all else fails...

Grab a branch and make it your own.


The first decorated Christmas tree was in Riga, Latvia in 1510.

Friday, September 5, 2014

On Packing & Beating Jet lag

I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow. The last time I did a half way round the world trip, was because I had spent a rather large sum on getting my pet back to South Africa. I decided to save some cash and get the cheapest flight back. It took me about two days and four flights to get back to Johannesburg. This time I'm off to the US of A via Dubai. I am a lot older than I was when I did that trip, so I wanted to see how I could make my flight there fun.
I want to go to there. :)

I like to think I'm good at packing. The last time my BFF and I went to Cape Town for a long weekend I only brought a backpack. Paulo Coelho describes the luggage you carry around with you as the "weight of your vanity" and I wanted to carry as little of that as possible.

So here are some ideas on how to pack lightly and beat jet lag. I'm writing this before, so will have to let you know afterwards if it was successful or you can just take my word for it. :) 


  • allocate a settling fund to buy necessities when you get to your destination. This means that you don't have to worry about packing everything for your trip. It also means that if you do forget stuff, you can just say that it was part of the plan all along.
  • pack the things you regularly wear and narrow it down, twice. We always end up taking way too many clothes anyway. 
  • roll your clothes. This saves so much space, you can easily see everything when you open your case and I have found this doesn't crease them either. 
  • pack a sarong or large scarf. You never know when this will come in handy - you can use it to keep yourself warm, as a headband, shawl or little blanket. 
  • take comfy shoes. Going abroad usually means you will be a tourist and will do lots of exploring. Make sure your shoes are comfy. Happy feet = happy adventures.

Jet lag is for amateurs

  • the most obvious is stay hydrated. Not with fermented grape juice or potatoes, but with water. As my Dad used to say when we were kids and complained that we were  thirsty, "Drink what the lions drink".
  • Walk around. Every hour or so get up and talk a walk to the bathroom or through the aircraft and see which unlucky flyers have the screaming baby. There is always one. 
  • Adjust your watch to the time at your destination. When you arrive avoid the temptation to go straight to bed, and only go to bed when it is night time there. 

Read more by Tim Ferris - How to never check luggage again