The Disney Favourites of my Childhood

I was born in 1994, which was the year that The Lion King was released, and my first Disney trip was actually while my mum was still pregnant with me, so its pretty safe to say that Disney has been ingrained in me from birth.

I was lucky enough to be born at a time that meant my childhood was filled with some absolute Disney bangers, and I remember watching so many of them, although at that time it was all VHS. The films and the characters from this time all still hold a really special place in my heart, and many of them are still firm favourites of mine, but there are a few in particular that stand out for me.

Sleeping Beauty

Aurora was my favourite princess while I was a kid. I let this slip from my memory a little but my mum reminded me a few years ago and it all came back to me. I remember having a Sleeping Beauty towel (which may still be in our garage somewhere) and I had an Aurora doll, in the pink dress, although I’m firmly Team Blue, and think I may have been as a child as well. Aurora may have been replaced as my favourite princess (oh hey, Rapunzel) but I’ll always remember this.

101 Dalmatians

Animal lover from the start, those spotty pups were particular favourites of mine, and I even had 101 Dalmatian wall stickers all over my bedroom walls and door – in fact, the ones on my door stayed there right up until I redecorated in 2009.

Esmeralda

I loved The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a child, and I had a playset that had the festival tent and various other props, as well as an Esmeralda doll which I adored. Of course at that age I had no idea about some of the darker aspects of the story, I just thought Esmeralda was the best.

Meeko

I seem to recall Pocahontas being a favourite of both mine and my sister’s, but the love affair with Meeko was all mine. I remember being so incredibly excited meeting him in what I’m guessing must have been Wilderness Lodge, where this iconic photo was taken after I pretty much rugby tackled him to the ground.

To this day I have such a strong attachment to this little raccoon.

Pluto

We did a lot of Disney trips when I was little, and although thinking back on it, it would possibly be construed as animal abuse, every time I met Pluto I had to pull on his big red tongue. He never seemed to mind though!

Hercules (but mainly Meg)

A truly iconic film of my childhood, if you ask me. I wasn’t so interested in Herc himself, but I loved Pegasus and Meg, even if I didn’t appreciate her sass as a kid. Does anyone else remember the Disney Channel Hercules series? I remember being so upset that Meg wasn’t in it!

And of course there’s not a single photo of me and Mickey where I’m not grinning my little dimples off! Are there any characters you remember strongly from your childhood?

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The Bits of Love Actually No One Talks About

Despite being a true lover of Christmas, I’m not really one for Christmas films, with the one exception of Love Actually. It’s festive, it’s feel good and it’s full of famous people, and I challenge anyone to not enjoy even just a tiny part of it.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan

And while the movie is packed with lovely moments, romance in the air and Christmas is all around us (and so the feeling grows), there are details of the film that never seem to come up in conversation when you chat about how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel.

Harry is a scumbag, and Mia is the worst

She openly comes onto a married man, and while he plays the innocent and bewildered part, he acts on something that he knows is wrong, breaking the heart of his wife who does nothing to deserve such behaviour. Get in the bin.

Liam Neeson is cool with his stepson being gay

When Sam tells his stepdad that his troubles in life are due to him being in love, Daniel asks ‘and what does she – he – feel about you?’. Sure, Sam is in love with a girl, but the question is still open.

How Sarah has to cope with the stress of a loved one suffering from mental illness

We all cringe at the sound of that Nokia 3310 ringtone, and we all wish that she will get the guy she’s been secretly in love with forever, yet everyone seems to overlook the fact that she is going through so much with her brother, and in caring for him she loses out on such a big part of her own life. Not all heroes wear capes.

How inappropriate is it to tell your best friends WIFE that you’re in love with her

If he had really wanted a chance, he would have grown a pair and told her before they were even engaged, let alone married. But sure, show up on the doorstep, get her to lie about who’s there and make some ridiculous gesture that actually makes you look like a tosser, that’s cool too.

The abuse of power and sexual harassment of the president

This is more relevant this year than ever. Natalie is put in a position that no woman should ever be put in, and not only does she feel awful for it straight away, she does actually lose her job over it. I do, however, appreciate that Hugh Grant makes a point of calling out the president for being a bully, but that’s just not quite enough.

Why are a bunch of primary schools having their Christmas show on Christmas Eve?

If my school had told me we’d have to give up Christmas Eve-evening for a production involving lobsters, I’d be pretty mad.

Do you have any Love Actually pet peeves?

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My Favourite Movies of 2017

2017 is drawing to a close, and while I feel like this has all happened very suddenly, a whole year has gone by since the last time every other conversation you have contains the question ‘where has this year gone?’.

As always, its been a year of box office hits, record setting, rising stars and red carpets as more movies have hit the big screen – some raved about, some not so much! – but there have been a number of stand of films that I feel like I haven’t had enough of an opportunity to rave about, so here goes..

Baywatch

Yes, we all knew this film was going to be a bit of a joke, but that didn’t stop me from loving it. It was funny, the cast was brilliant and despite the storyline being totally ridiculous, I was still rooting for the Baywatch team the whole way through.

Going In Style

I feel like this movie didn’t get much attention at all despite a stellar line up including Micheal Caine and Morgan Freeman. The storyline was unique, and although it was all in the interest of fun it did highlight some issues facing the older generation and I’m really glad we went to see this.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Finally the Pirates franchise is back where it should be. I was starting to lose faith after the last movie, but Disney have clawed their way back to the level these films should be at, and better yet we’ve got Orlando Bloom back!

Wonder Woman

I always proclaim that I’m a Marvel > DC kinda gal, but I really loved this film. The cinematography alone blew me away but I also thought that it had a great plot, a great cast and Gal Gadot is a true star in my eyes.

Beauty and the Beast

I know this film had Disney fans feeling all kinds of mixed things but I thought the movie was great. It was so true to the original animated film but also had so much more than that, without drawing away from the main story.

Murder on the Orient Express

When I saw this film announced, I was excited but I also had my doubts. For starters, I didn’t know how turning a well known plot into a big screen film was going to turn out, and I also questioned Kenneth Branagh as Poirot. Well its safe to say that I don’t have those doubts anymore. It was perfect; an absolute star studded cast, with Branagh playing the lead like it was made for him and although its a story I know the ending to I would see this again and again and again.

And we’re not even done with the year! I’ve got my Star Wars: The Last Jedi ticket booked for Thursday, I’ve yet to see Thor Ragnarok and also coming soon is Pitch Perfect 3 and The Greatest Showman, both of which are films I can’t wait to watch. What were your favourite new releases this year?

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Bringing the Movies Home*

We all know that going to the cinema these days is not exactly cheap. Chances are, you’re paying about £10 for your ticket alone, and then comes the popcorn craving, which of course means you’re gonna need the biggest drink they’ve got going, and suddenly you’re £20+ down. Ouch.

And sure, going to the cinema is the only way (legally!) to see the latest and greatest movies making their way to the screen, but personally I much prefer to be curled up on my own sofa when it comes to enjoying cinematic greatness. Luckily for us, technology is moving forward every day, and our TV screens are only getting bigger and better; first it was HD, now it’s 4K and OLED, and as I’m just about old enough to remember TVs being as deep as they were wide, screens like this Panasonic 4K Oled TV just blow my mind with how thin they are now, while still being packed with all these amazing features!

As a fan of a good movie marathon, over the years I’ve learned a lot about how you can make home seem like the cinema, just without saying goodbye to your bank balance in the process..

Get yourself cosy

I’ve always wondered why cinemas aren’t a lot more comfortable. For me, a blanket is a must, and I’ll probably be in my pyjamas, but you can do whatever you like – you could even build a movie den with duvets and cushions!

Have all your snacks at the ready

Cinema popcorn might cost a small fortune but at home you can make it for a fraction of the price, plus you can get more creative! Whatever snacks you get, be sure to have everything sorted before you hit play so you don’t have to pause the movie magic when you get peckish.

Limit the tech

There’s nothing worse than that person in the row in front at the movies who checks their Snapchat midway through the film, so if you can turn off your tech at the cinema, why not at home too?

Consider having a break

If you’re running a back to back marathon, don’t forget to allow time for toilet breaks or meals between films, especially if you’re trying to squeeze in a lot of films!

Set the mood

Turn the lights down, pull the curtains and shut out any distractions; this is your movie time.

Make the most of new technology

As I mentioned earlier, the tech behind making and watching movies has improved dramatically over even just the last few years, and if you have the tech, use it! I’m talking surround sound/sound bars for the ultimate sound experience, HD and Bluray for the ultimate visual experience, even 3D in some cases!

What do you do to have the ultimate movie night?

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*This post is a paid collaboration. All views are my own

My Disney Sequel Challenge: Part 1

So last month I introduced my Disney Sequel Challenge, where I decided it was time for me to work my way through the sequels to Disney’s animated classics. Long story short, I’ve watched the first five movies from my list, and here’s what I thought!

Bambi II

To be honest, this was the film I was least excited to watch, simply because I haven’t watched Bambi in a long time and I’ve always thought it to be a little sad, but I actually really liked this! Following the death of his mother, Bambi is now under the care of his father, who has to learn to be a good father while also taking care of the forest, and Bambi has to learn how to follow in his fathers footsteps, while getting over the loss of his mother. It’s a very sweet sorta coming of age type tale, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie! I had expected it to be set further in the future but it actually continues on from where the original film leaves off, and rather than jumping straight into the traditional ‘prince and princess have children’ thing, the story actually followed the tales of Cinderella adapting to palace life and finding her own way to be royal. I also love how the story was told by the mice and the fairy godmother and included parts of their stories too!

Cinderella III: A Twist In Time

Again, this movie was set just a year down the line from the original, but rather than a continuation of the story, this one twisted the original story into an almost not-so-happy ending for Cinderella. While the first sequel was quite good, I felt this was one too many, and was almost too predictable in terms of storyline. It did feature a lot more musical numbers that the second film, and I enjoyed that, but I’m in no rush to watch this one again.

Peter Pan: Return to Neverland

So this was a classic next generation sequel, featuring Wendy as a mother of two, and set during World War II. Its almost the reverse of the original tale; Wendy’s daughter Jane is too busy having to grow up, and doesn’t want to believe in Peter Pan anymore. Controversially, Peter Pan isn’t one of my top Disney films, so the sequel wasn’t that exciting for me, but I did like the historical setting and accuracy, plus the ending had me in tears..

Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventures

Another classic next gen sequel – Lady and Tramp’s son feels out of place as a house dog and longs to be a street dog, despite having no knowledge of his father’s past. This was another one that was just a tad too predictable, but it had a lot of songs and cute pups – albeit animated – so it wasn’t all bad!

So that’s the first five down, and I’m enjoying being able to watch my favourite Disney characters without knowing exactly what’s going to happen! Next month I’ll be tackling the next five, so stay tuned!

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My Disney Sequel Challenge

I’m gonna go and admit something controversial: I haven’t seen every Disney movie.

Sure, when it comes to the animated classics, I’m all over those films, but would you believe that I’ve hardly watched any of the sequels? If its not counted in the official list of classics, then I’ve never really been interested. I’ve never seen the princesses with their children, or anyone returning to Neverland; in fact I think its only the Lion King and Lilo and Stitch sequels that I have watched!

So I’ve decided to set myself a little challenge and make a little blog series out of it: Lottie Watches Sequels. Every week I’m going to try and watch 4 sequels to classic Disney movies – in order of when the original film was released – and each month I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings on them! If you’ve wondered about them yourself, this is the list I’ve compiled:

  • Bambi II
  • Cinderella II: Dreams Come True
  • Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
  • Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
  • Lady and the Tramp II: Scamps Adventures
  • 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure
  • The Jungle Book 2
  • The Fox and the Hound 2
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
  • Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World
  • Aladdin and the King of Thieves
  • Aladdin: Return of Jafar
  • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
  • Mulan II
  • Tarzan II
  • Kronk’s New Groove
  • Atlantis: Milo’s Return
  • Brother Bear 2

I’m pretty excited to get started on these! While I’ve never really been interested in them before, I’m excited to meet some new characters and see some of my favourite stories continue, plus I’d love to see if the whole ‘sequels are never as good as the original’ rule also applies to Disney films. Stay tuned, folks!

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What Wonder Woman Wears

First up, I just want to prefix this post with a little disclaimer: I am a strictly Marvel > DC kinda gal, so I apologise up front if I say anything that isn’t accurate to the greater DC world, but Wonder Woman is the first DC movie I’ve watched in probably about 5 years or so! Also, there’s no spoilers here!

So I went to see Wonder Woman at the weekend; despite being a Marvel fan through and through, I actually thought the trailer looked pretty good, and while I’d rather chew off my leg than watch anything Batman or Superman related, I was pretty open to some kick ass girl power.

Seeing it over a week after its release date, of course I saw an initial response throughout social media, and to be honest, a lot of these tweets and posts were of very little interest to me as they discussed the plot and rated (or slated!) the film overall. What did keep catching my eye, however, were the people discussing the outfit that teenage boys reading comic books have dreamt about since 1942.

‘How anti-feminist’, ‘Why is she fighting in such a skimpy outfit’, ‘This is a step back for strong female characters’. SHUT. UP.

I’m gonna spell something out for all the people missing the point on feminism: women can wear whatever the hell they like. Does it matter what she’s wearing, if she’s inspiring a whole new generation of girls to become superheros?

I, in fact, loved that the Amazons wore what they wore. It displayed their fierceness, it showed how their bodies were strong and toned, not just skinny, and these are ideals that are so much more important for both children and women.

Would it make any difference if she was in a turtleneck and mom jeans? You’d probably find people complaining that she was too covered up and wasn’t allowed to express herself.

She saved lives. She stood up for herself. She made a difference. She had a heart and a conscience and a brain. Her outfit makes absolutely no difference in her achieving any of these results.

On another level, let’s talk about how this is the first major superhero movie to be directed by a woman. Patty Jenkins smashed it. Also, can we talk about how Gal Gadot was PREGNANT during part of the filming for this movie? I mean, if that isn’t totally incredible then what is?

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