My Top 10 Films/TV Shows to Watch this Christmas.

If there is one great thing about the Christmas holidays it is the chance to binge watch your favourite films and TV shows, guilt free.

Yes, I haven’t watched the likes of Home Alone or Arthur’s Christmas but I feel like that’s how you keep a bit of the Christmas magic in the air. I do actually want to watch a new film each year that doesn’t involve Vanessa Hudgens playing 3 characters in one film (sorry Netflix).

Thus, I have accumulated 10 of my favourite shows/films and placed them all into one blog post. I hope I have managed to provide a good mix of Christmas fun and genuinely good entertainment (not all being centred around Christmas).

Each show/film includes a star rating, category (kids, romance, comedy etc.) and my general thoughts. Christmas gives you the perfect opportunity to hunker down under a blanket with a large cup of tea (or wine) and watch several films in a row. Enjoy!

The Santa Clause

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Kids/Comedy

Thoughts: When I think of a Christmas film which defined my childhood this one majorly sticks out. Full of nostalgia and crazy reindeer this one brings me back to sitting on the couch in my Christmas pjs. Plus Tim Allen is now an iconic Santa figure and he has done three Santa Clause films so you can now fill your boots (and your day) with these iconic films.

Love Actually

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Category: Romance/Comedy

Thoughts: Yes I am probably your cliche 20 year old but you can’t have Christmas without Love Actually. The stellar cast provides copious amounts of entertainment to make you feel all warm and cozy. Plus you just can’t beat Hugh Grant’s fantastic dance moves!

The Holiday

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Romance

Thoughts: Now I only actually watched The Holiday a few years ago and it has swiftly overtaken my love for Love Actually. Jude Law and Cameron Diaz are my absolute favourites and it is the perfect film to make you feel cozy (and fill your head with unrealistic expectations of holiday romances). More importantly I desperately want the cozy little cottage that features in the film, if it doesn’t showcase the ideal Christmas location then I don’t know what does.

Frozen 2

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Category: Kids

Thoughts: Frozen kept me highly entertained with Olaf in the first one and to be honest I didn’t think they could top that one. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the second instalment. The music is just as good, Olaf is just as cute and the storyline is just as entertaining. If you want a film to watch with the kids (and not get bored) then I recommend you give this a watch.

The Muppets Christmas Carol

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Category: Kids

Thoughts: Now it’s not my absolute favourite Christmas film however in my opinion, it is not really the festive season if this doesn’t turn up in your watch list at some point. Usually popping up on TV this brings me straight back to primary school. The muppets are a nostalgic staple and a great way to introduce kids to Dickens’ tale.

Last Christmas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Category: Romance/Comedy

Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this film. Largely I’ve been disappointed with the offering of Christmas films recently (if you couldn’t tell by my love for Vanessa Hudgens) but this one didn’t disappoint. The charm of both Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding shines through in this production while providing a wholesome yet light hearted storyline.

Nanny Mcphee

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Kids

Thoughts: Now before you say anything, I know this is not a Christmas film. However, I know Christmas films aren’t for everyone and Nanny McPhee has always been a staple in my household. Great to bring a bit of magic into your home while possibly teaching your kids how to behave.

Dash + Lily

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Category: TV show, Teen Romance

Description: Recently added to Netflix, this TV show is perfect for getting your hit of Christmas in a short amount of time. Each episode is roughly 30mins and follows a red notebook around New York with Lily who loves Christmas and Dash who despises it. Cheesy but wholesome, a perfect mix right?

Modern Love

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Romantic Comedy

Description: Now this is another show which doesn’t revolve around Christmas but just like the traditional films it provides you with copious amounts of romance, laughter and unrealistic expectations. The show is highly acclaimed and I adored watching it. The way it has been produced and shot is brilliant, for Christmas or not, I highly recommend you watch it.

Notting Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Category: Romance, Comedy

Thoughts: Another film which always gets watched early December and like every other rom-com features Hugh Grant. Not the most christmassy I must admit but when you don’t have a lot of time throughout the year to watch films, classic ones like this always get watched in December. Spike will always be my favourite character and after only watching it last year I couldn’t get over how many times I laughed out loud at this. Notting Hill is very much a ‘cheer you up’ film.


So what’s your thoughts? Are you annoyed that the likes of Elf or the Grinch haven’t been featured. If I am honest I hold the probably very unpopular opinion that Jim Carey and Will Ferrell are particularly annoying. I know, I AM SORRY. However, if you hold the same opinion and want to watch the Grinch I do recommend watching the animated version with Benedict Cumberbatch.

If you want some more recommendations of films, TV shows or books to read then check out the Review section of my site.

Do you have any other recommendations? I could have had tripled the length of this blog post but for now I thought I would leave it here. If you want more recommendations then let me know!

Much love.

Sophie x


Show of the Month: The Queen’s Gambit

Netflix Poster

If you couldn’t tell I love a good TV show. Lately I’ve found myself escaping in an hour long episode in the evening. Mostly because taking an hour out of my day doesn’t feel as bad as taking two hours out of work for a film. But with Netflix and Amazon coming out with highly produced and well filmed shows on the regular it is not hard to find your next best hit.

The Queen’s Gambit, a 7 episode mini-series which appears to only be picking up speed now, quickly became my favourite show last month. Set during the Cold War, Beth Harmon is orphaned at the age of 9 where she learns chess from the resident janitor who produces a young chess prodigy. Harmon quickly becomes a well known figure in the chess circuit but this is not without difficulty. Her young years of fame are steeped in addiction and isolation, the question is will she make it to the top or sabotage her chances with drugs and alcohol?

There is so much I could talk about when it comes to this show. From the apparent sexism in the chess circuit, female empowerment produced through Harmon’s character, the struggle of addiction especially with fame, orphanages and a lot more. However I do not want to spoil it and, let’s be honest, there are probably a mountain of articles on these topics. Instead I thought I’d share my general thoughts on the show, what I loved and what I think could have been done better (not that I am an expert or that there is much to comment on in that department).

Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon

To start off with I have to mention the stellar acting of Anya Taylor-Joy and the other excellent actors that feature alongside her. I appreciated her ability to act alongside the predominantly male cast and the fact a female leading show has yet again graced one of the largest streaming servers. Her unique and extremely striking features and that eye-catching hair cut allows her, in a stylistic perspective, to stand out amongst the men who mostly wear dark clothing.

But more importantly, her ability to inhabit this rather complex character allows you to feel fully immersed in her journey from a young kid to adulthood. I must also mention that the TV show is based on the book by Walter Tevis although it certainly leaves you questioning at the end if it is a real story (that I wish it was). Which I also think is down to the impeccable acting and cinematography found in the show.

Now if you weren’t already sold the show also features Thomas Brodie Sangster as Benny Watts and Harry Melling as Harry Beltik (who plays Dudley in Harry Potter FYI) to name a few.

Harmon mid game earlier in her career

What really struck me was the intricacy and level of detail to their performances. In particular I was fascinated by Tayler-Joy’s ability to play these stellar games of chess. From the movement of her arms, to her facial expression to even the smallest detail of how she placed the pieces it is literally a work of art. Part of this will be down to the director Scott Frank whose cinematography was impeccable. Every shot could be a painting deserving of a place in a museum, which alongside the costume, in my opinion, is deserving of multiple awards. The Guardian did an interesting article on the costumes if you want to find out more.

The one thing that slightly irked me about the show was the length of the background episodes. I personally love a bit of character development but the time spent as young Harmon started to drag in my opinion however I understand that this was partly necessary to set up key themes like her addiction. I just wish they appeared less repetitive and more interesting.

Nevertheless, The Queens Gambit is a piece of art not only on a stylistic level but through storytelling, narrative, acting and drama. The show hits all the key points I look for and will leave you in desperate need to watch it in one sitting. How I wish they would come out with another season!

I hope this has enticed you into watching it or if you have let me know your thoughts below, I’d love to know what you thought!

Much love,

Sophie x


6 TV Shows to Binge Now

Image made by and belongs to Sophiesedit.com

If you haven’t already gathered I am a lover of TV. It gives you short bursts of entertainment and education whenever you want. Leaving you inspired, needing more or, on the one off occasion, ready to turn off your TV from fear or disgust. TV brings a range of emotions and even the oldest of shows brings about the fondest of memories.

Today I am going to share 6 of my favourite TV shows which will most likely grip you in your seats and, I apologise in advance, leave you stuck in your bed/couch for a good few hours.

Greys Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy can be found on Amazon Prime (Season’s 1-15) and is soon to arrive on Netflix UK.

As they say, this is an Oldie but a Goldie. After only recently starting it, I’ve managed to get through 6 seasons in only a matter of weeks. Filled with trauma, drama, relationships and some extremely gory injuries, this series will leave you unable to switch the television off. Not only that but a lot of famous faces fill the screen, whether that is through the main characters like Christina, played by Sandra Oh (most notable for currently playing Eve in Killing Eve) or Izzy Stevens (played by Katherine Heigl who starred in Suits). Or, through their patients which have often been young actors in the early days of their careers for example Elizabeth Moss and Dylan Minnette. It really is a feast for the eyes (both literally and figuratively).

Selling Sunset

3 Seasons are now available on Netflix.

Now if you like reality TV and fancy viewing homes selling at ridiculous prices, this is a show you need to watch. I have never been an avid watcher of reality shows however I love interior design and (like I imagine a lot of people) love to see the inside of homes that on a normal day I probably would never encounter. It follows the Oppenheim Group, owned by twin brothers Jason and Brett, who are in charge of 7 (on the show) agents battling it out to sell the most expensive properties in LA.

This show, like many reality programmes includes; intense stakes, extreme emotions and a lot of arguing but it adds to the whole experience and in the end makes it a show you can’t resist.

Normal People

Normal People, is available on both Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

Now I am aware I have banged on about this A LOT. However, I couldn’t write a post like this and not include it. If you still haven’t watched it, then please do. Based on Sally Rooney’s best selling novel, the show follows Marianne and Connell on their journey to adulthood, including their exploration of the relationship they constantly find themselves in and out of. I’ve written a review of the show if you want to read it (available here) or if you want to read with me, I’ve done a post on the novel as well, here.

Both central actors have propelled themselves into the starlight after the show, so if you want to get to know the actors who will most likely be appearing on your screens more often, then give it a watch.

Jessica Jones

3 seasons available on Netflix.

A Netflix Original, following one of the Marvel comic characters.

If you like Superheroes with an edge then this is the show for you. Jessica Jones is not a conventional ‘superhero’, she is full of grit, determination and well, alcohol. The show follows her life as a private detective with a tricky past and condition which makes her have super strength and the ability to jump to insane heights. You’ll end up being tense with anticipation the whole way through.


This mixed genre show (crime, thriller and superhero drama, to name a few) complements the main character and allows you to get attached to not only the over arching storyline but also the crimes that she is encountering in each episode.

Luther

All 5 seasons are available on BBC iPlayer.

Another oldie but one of the best crime TV shows to grace the BBC, this is a thrilling must-watch. DCI John Luther, played by the incredible Idris Elba, has won numerous awards for the portrayal of the iconic character. Luther is an incredibly complex character who often gets violent and possessive in his fight for justice.

Not only this but the show documents his relationship with Alice Morgan, without spoiling it, someone he should not be engaged with. If you like crime shows that are both captivating and thrilling then this is one you need to give a watch.

Sex Education

All 2 seasons are available on Netflix.

This iconic show, which has become a staple on Netflix, is one of my favourites to watch for some lighthearted relief. The comedy drama stars Asa Butterfield who plays an insecure teenager that battles with his mothers job as a sex therapist (played by Gillian Anderson). Asa’s character Otis finds himself in the tricky position of taking on his mothers role in school, secretly giving out advice around love, relationships and sex (without his mothers permission). Which notably he has very little experience in.

As I mention this show, I have to mention the incredible Ncuti Gatwa, a Scottish-Rwandan actor who plays Eric, Otis’ best friend. He is utterly fabulous and leaves me laughing at every possibly opportunity. But this is not a letter of admiration for him, so please just watch it and see what I mean.


I hope this covers a lot of bases when it comes to TV and different genres. Don’t be put off by the length of some of the shows, the fact the post is called binge worthy, really hints to the fact that no matter the length it probably won’t last too long.

Let me know if you have any TV shows you recommend below and if you end up watching one let me know!

Much love,

Sophie x


Review: ‘Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Miss C.J. Walker’

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Miss C.J.Walker (available on Netflix) documents the real life story of an African American self-made millionaire (one of the first) and her invention of hair care products for hair loss and curls, predominately for African women. She was not only known for being one of the first African American female millionaires but was also known for her Philanthropic endeavours, especially her donation towards the making of the Indianapolis YMCA.

If you couldn’t tell this was one amazing woman! However, her past was not without hardship; she was born on a cotton plantation in 1867, with her parents being recently freed from slavery. One of five children, she was the first to be born into a life of freedom.

The programme sees Sarah (Miss C.J.Walker), played by the wonderful Octavia Spencer, grow into a business woman. It details the hardships, competition, sexism, racism and jealousy that she faces to get to the top. Not only this, the programme accurately details that money does not eradicate any of these problems, in fact, in many cases it makes them a lot worse.

Miss C.J. Walker

As a female it was refreshing and interesting to see the hardships she faced to build a business and how she did not let any of her setbacks get in the way of her success. More importantly, it is great to see an African American business women represented, especially in such a large institution like Netflix. I must admit I did not know about her story before watching the show. That in itself perfectly describes how important the show is.

Family plays an integral role to the life of Madam C.J Walker, with her husband Charles Joseph Walker, or C.J (played by Blair Underwood), having an illustrious affair with one of Sarah’s employees. On the other hand there is her daughter A’Lelia (played by Tiffany Haddish) who is secretly a lesbian and finds her true self in Harlem, New York. It is hard to say whether the lesbian affair or the ‘wounded pride’ of her husband is purely there for dramatic affect. A’Lelia did host extravagant queer parties in her lifetime but it is never once spoken about that she was queer. In fact her descendant who wrote the biography that the show is based on is planning writing one on A’Lelia, so perhaps we will find out more about her extravagant yet hazy past.

It must be said that I was rather surprised when doing research after watching the show that there wasn’t more emphasis on Sarah’s philanthropic endeavours, for example her involvement with the anti-lynching movement. Conversely, like Mike Hale said in his review, it was a shame there wasn’t more emphasis on the earlier experiences she had at trying to build the business from the ground up. For example, she was married three times and started experiencing hair loss because of the extreme labour and stress she faced. I think it is here that we would have seen a more raw and endearing performance from Octavia Spencer.

It appears that they missed out two really important parts of her life, parts which could have made the show a lot more impactful and true to her life story. I understand that focusing in on one particular element will dilute what can be mentioned, its just a shame that such large parts were skimmed over.

It is not to say that it is not important to watch the story of such an inspiring woman. I just wish that the important issues of racism and sexism were dealt with in more depth and that such a woman was highlighted as not just a businesswoman with a problematic husband, a lesbian daughter and a conniving, jealous competitor. She had a rich history and a rich future who dealt with issues far beyond her business.

Unfortunately the show appeared more like something that suited the stage rather than the screen. At points I was actually surprised it didn’t break out into song – something quite disappointing when I believe the story deserves more than the apprehension of whether music is going to fill my ears.

Please watch the show and form your own opinion. However, at the very least, research the strong woman behind such a company and what she did for African Americans, particularly women.

Much love,

Sophie x