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Monday 4 December 2023

My winter holiday traditions

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a good one, although whether I could call what we do "traditions" is open to question. 

For a start, having anything Christmassy in the house is limited until at least the second week of December. I always have an advent calendar (actually I have two this year) but the decorations don't go up until later because my husband, who is the one to put them up, is not a Christmas person. There are houses in our area that cover their entire place in lights, but we generally just stick to a tree and lights in the windows.

On Christmas Day we go over to the local working men's club with my in-laws for a drink before going back to theirs for Christmas dinner. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are incredible cooks, so generally everyone eats enough to keep them going for about a week.

As far as presents go, this year we're doing a Secret Santa with my husband's family, so I'm only buying one present for family plus one for my niece. My husband and I will swap presents before we leave - mine will usually involve at least one surprise as I love surprises, but my husband is always well aware of what his presents are because he's not bothered - plus it's impossible to hide his presents around the house.

For New Year we go out to dinner and then usually go to the working men's club with my in-laws to ring it in. Apart from one year when somebody started a fight on the dancefloor, it's usually a great atmosphere to spend New Year in.

So what are your winter holiday traditions?

Monday 13 November 2023

Criticise my favourite book, show or movie

 I love this topic from Long and Short Reviews. For many years my favourite film was "Heavenly Creatures", and I still do love it. More recently I discovered "Hell House LLC" and its sequels, and those now take precedence. However, the one point of criticism I have for "Hell House LLC" also applied to "Heavenly Creatures" - the director's cut is better. yet harder to find.

"Hell House LLC" uses the mockumentary/found footage format to great effect and manages to evoke real dread, even though from an analytical perspective it's probably quite simple. It does, however, tread a fine line with how much it reveals of what's really going on, and possibly falls slightly on the side of not revealing enough. The director's cut does a better job, as it reveals a little more without going over the top, and as a result is scarier than the original - however, the director's cut has only just become available on Shudder after waiting ages for it, and the DVD and blu-ray are US only.

The film also has one issue which annoyed me the first time I saw it - every haunted house film has to have a good reason why they're not leaving the house, particularly when it's found footage, but in "Hell House LLC" they literally turn the camera off for this conversation and then switch it back on to say "You're right, we can't leave." The reason is revealed in a later film, but this seriously irritated me at the time. 

I'm interested to see what everyone else is going to come up with!

Monday 6 November 2023

Something I believed, but found out wasn't true

 I'm back on the Long and Short Reviews hop after a short break, and this topic took a bit of thought since I was trying to avoid the standard Santa/Tooth Fairy/etc stuff. However, it did remind me of something that was a fond memory from when I was a kid.

We, like a lot of suburban neighbourhoods, had our own Santa who would come round the local streets on a float. As a kid I didn't believe that the various Santas in shops were the real one, since even I had noticed that there were several of them, but for some reason I did believe that the one on the float was the real one. Needless to say, it took me a couple of years before I realised that if I told him I wanted something but neglected to tell my parents about it, I wasn't getting it.

I did also, at one point, leave a note under our Christmas tree as I'd forgotten to ask for something and wanted to see if Santa had one going spare. The next morning there was another note under the tree saying he'd run out and to ask again next year. No, I didn't immediately realise the note was in my dad's handwriting, although I really should have. 

So what did you believe that you found out wasn't true?

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Favourite scary monster

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was quite appropriate, because I watch a hell of a lot of horror and my preference will always be for something paranormal. I don't mind a slasher film, but don't find them all that scary. I also don't like possession films much - they tend to cover the same ground over and over - and find zombie films quite dull.

The sort of monsters I do like are ghosts, and my absolute favourite is the onryo.

I love J-horror (not always the American remakes, although "The Ring" was good) and will always find an onryo scary. Admittedly they're a bit overused now and "The Cabin in the Woods" proved that, but I will always remember Sadako/Samara crawling out of the television and being absolutely terrified. As were the teenager girls sitting in front of me, who screamed hysterically and then ran out of the cinema.

So what's your favourite scary monster?

Saturday 30 September 2023


October 1st-13th

Goodies Given Away Every Day Totaling $210


Every day is Halloween in this paranormal romance giveaway. Thirteen authors have teamed up to bring you the hottest and spookiest October. How does over $210 worth of prizes sound? 

The ghouls and goblins are throwing a huge Monster Mash and they want you to join them. With each new day, they’ll open another door or window in this haunted house to reveal who’s partying and what prize you can win.

Head to Ellen Mint’s website giveaway, click on the haunted mansion, and it will reveal the newest prize you can win.

The giveaway is sponsored by these wonderful authors:

Ellen Mint • AE Lister • Robin Jeffrey • Tanith Davenport • January Bain • Megan Slayer • H. M. Gooden • Letty Frame • Rosanna Leo • Seelie Kay • Tabetha Waite • M.C. Roth • Angela Addams • V.J. Allison

Monday 25 September 2023

How I shake off a bad mood

 I'm back on Long and Short Reviews's blog posts after a break (thanks to being in hospital with a collapsed lung) and this one definitely seemed appropriate. The NHS is a wonderful thing but being in hospital isn't exactly fun - the food is terrible, going anywhere takes ages when you're hooked up to things, and sleeping is virtually impossible when you're constantly being interrupted to take vitals.

So how did I cheer myself up when I finally got home? The three Cs - cider, cheese and cats.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I made sure we had plenty of blue cheese in the house. Cider, frankly any brand will do. And, of course, my two cats Dash and Spot, who I like to think missed me a little bit even though they were as aloof as always.

So how do you shake off a bad mood?