There’s not much better than a cosy night in, especially at Christmas. Settling in for the night with the tree lights on, a candle burning and a good film is heaven, and around Christmas I watch the same films time and time again. Call it my own tradition of sorts… Anyway, I’ve teamed up with Panasonic to celebrate my love of predictable film choices and their Panasonic Oled TV. So without further ado, these are the films I always reach for to get into the Christmas spirit.

Notting Hill
Who can’t love watching a baby faced Hugh Grant bumbling his way through Notting Hill? I never tire of watching this. Julia Roberts is, and always will be, one of my biggest girl crushes, and I’m pretty sure my love of dinner parties is a direct result of this film. Everything about Notting Hill is perfect, and it’s impossible to go wrong with some comedy genius from Rhys Ifans. Richard Curtis, you’re an absolute legend!
Favourite quote: “I’m also just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.”

The Holiday
The core four characters are just fabulous, and don’t get me started on my love of Alfred. I adore Kate Winslet’s character for being one of the most relatable in any modern rom-com, and as though that’s not enough, the smaller moments in this film are just as special: Jude Law’s ‘Mr Napkin Head’, the ‘Three Musketeers’ moment, Alfred’s award, Hans Zimmer’s score and Cameron Diaz’s ability to flawlessly wear polo necks…  I needn’t go on.
Favourite quote: “You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life…”

Love Actually
Richard Curtis proves his excellence again with Love Actually. The cast is star studded and incredibly smart, the soundtrack is fantastic and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you first watch it never fades. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Love Actually and Bill Nighy defacing posters of Blue.
Favourite quote: “Let’s get the shit kicked out of us by love.”

Harry Potter
I love a bit of Hogwarts magic at any time of the year but if December isn’t the best time to re-watch them all from start to finish, then I don’t know when is. I actually think I love Harry Potter more as I get older, or perhaps my appreciation of JK Rowling’s imagination is the thing that grows but either way, if you’re ever unsure where I am in December, you can probably find me in front of Harry Potter with a hot chocolate and a blanket. No further explanation needed.
Favourite quote: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

The Sound of Music
The Sound of Music has been my favourite film for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure it’s my Mum’s favourite and was my Nan’s favourite too – it transcends generations in our family and with good reason. Julie Andrews can do no wrong in my eyes, ever. She’s perfection. I can confidently recite every word of the film, all of the songs, and even the ‘So Long Farewell’ dance routine.
Favourite quote: “I can’t seem to stop singing wherever I am. And what’s worse, I can’t seem to stop saying things – anything and everything I think and feel.”

Elf
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of Will Ferrell in an elf costume, would it? It’s an absolute classic. I genuinely think it’s impossible not to smile and laugh your way through this movie, even when Buddy’s Dad has no Christmas cheer. In short, Elf is one of the best festive films of all time and has to be one of the first films I watch at Christmas to get me in spirit.
Favourite quote: “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favourite.”

I’d love to know what your go-to films are at Christmas too. Are any of your favourites on my list? I’m off to watch The Holiday…

Sincerely, Sarah xx

Between the cooking, shopping, decorating and the social pressure to enjoy every minute of the season, its hardly surprising that Christmas often brings a sense of stress. In an attempt to make this Christmas a celebration like no other, I’ve made a few changes to the way I approach the holiday and have focussed on being prepared. My aim: to have Christmas sorted by December 1st.

If mad rushes to Oxford Street on Christmas Eve are your bag, I applaud you but if, like me, that makes you break out in a cold sweat, here’s how I’ve approached things to keep the festive chaos under wraps.

Identify your responsibilities
In the words of Maria Von Trapp “let’s start at the very beginning…” – it’s a good idea to sit down and compile a list of everything you need to do before the big day – this will become the list of all lists but it’s a great way to focus your attention. Make sure you write down everything, regardless of how small a task may seem. My list covered who I needed to buy for, social gatherings and shopping lists.

Budget
Christmas has the potential to completely break the bank, which is why this step is so vital. Set a total budget for presents and work backwards setting a limit per person you want to buy for. Don’t get me wrong, the thought behind a gift is far more important than how much you spend, but it’s all too easy to go OTT. To avoid weeping into your receipts come January, budget, budget and then budget some more.

Stick to your budget
I realise this point is implied by the previous but it’s one I had to remind myself of, especially during the whole Black Friday/Cyber Weekend thing. There really is little point in going to the hassle of working out your numbers only to blow it with one mighty trip to Westfield. I simply updated a spreadsheet each time I spent anything, but keeping a list on your phone works too.

Gather your intel
Thanks to social media we can communicate with anyone at the drop of a hat but gone are the days of everyone having an address book, and at Christmas that becomes a faff. If you’re into sending Christmas cards, collate everyone’s addresses before you sit down to write them. That way you’ll know exactly where they’re all going and you can just enjoy a stress-free evening in, with a glass of wine and Love Actually whilst you write your cards. You’ll thank yourself for starting a list next year too.

Shop around
I’m normally an impulse shopper but part of this new found Christmas organisation means embracing the effort and doing some research. By starting so early, you can make the most of the sales too – double win. If you’re in need of some gift inspiration, I have a range of gift guides that are worth a quick look (if I say so myself!).

Finishing touches
Once you’ve got your shopping done, get straight on with wrapping and labelling. It’s often the finishing touches that get forgotten about and leave you surrounded by sellotape and gift tags on Christmas Eve. Throw on your favourite Christmas film, light a festive candle and get wrapping – make it an event to look forward to rather than one you dread.

Right, I’ll stop there for now but hopefully you find these tips helpful in saving both pennies and stress. I’d love to know how you approach Christmas – are you a planner or a last-minute shopping extraordinaire?

Sincerely, Sarah xx

Breast Cancer Awareness month may be over but the cause is as important as ever. After breast cancer touched our family, it’s been a cause super close to my heart so I’m incredibly proud to be working with Breast Cancer Care again. This time we’re raising awareness of their #GivePink campaign.

Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Care are welcoming the return of Giving Tuesday and it’s really easy to show your support and get involved. All you have to do is take a picture of yourself in your favourite pink lipstick and post it with a message as to why you’re joining in and giving pink.

With 1 in 8 being diagnosed with breast cancer within their lifetime, Breast Cancer Care do invaluable work. From telephone helplines and online peer support, to group courses and info materials, they offer support to anyone diagnosed, as well as friends and family. They reach 5.5million people a year already, and by supporting the #GivePink campaign, we can help them reach even more!

If you want some inspiration for your own #GivePink post, have a read of mine on the Breast Cancer Care blog here.

I’m looking forward to going through all of the #GivePink posts tomorrow.

Sincerely, Sarah xx