Hello everyone and a blessed Sunday to you all! 🙏 I hope this post finds you all well and that you had a merry Christmas. 🌟 I apologise that three weeks have passed since my last Sunday Reflection, and so I have a lot to explain and share with you about what we’ve been doing, reading, and watching over that time.
I started the month, having not long returned to work after my Chronic Sinusitis, to find myself thrown into the busy and exciting run up to the end of the school term and Christmas! Planning fun festive activities, crafts and treats for at school; whilst similarly socialising, decorating the house, and buying and wrapping gifts in my own time. 🛍
Unlike last year, my school managed to stay open to the very end of the term, so we could do all our lovely plans, if a little moderated. Plus in the first few days of the holiday, I was also able to spend time on the south coast, at a beautiful Victorian hotel, seeing family and delivering presents. 🎁 Then yesterday, I spent a lovely, quiet Christmas day with my dad and grandad.
However, why haven’t I been blogging or visiting your blogs I hear you cry?! Well on top of all that wonderful busyness and then getting a rotten cold, the final nail in the coffin of my online plans was my laptop dying! 💻 My dad is working on fixing it now and I am borrowing his!
At the beginning of the month, I finished off my ongoing Nonfiction November read of the biography, The Gilded Lily: The Life and Loves of the Fabulous Lillie Langtry by Ernest Dudley (1958), which was an interesting, if not the most engagingly written, look into the glamorous and often scandalous life of the famed beauty and actress. 🎭
Since then, my reading has sadly and seriously slowed down, however when I have had the chance I have been escaping into The Game by Laurie R. King (2004), the seventh Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes mystery, which has whisked me away to the warmth and colour of India on the trail of Rudyard Kipling’s famous spy Kimball O’Hara. 🔎
Also, on my Kindle, I have been dipping in and out of the non-fiction, History of the Christian Church in the First Century by Edward Burton (2012), which is so far proving an easy and concise look into the life of the disciples and early converts immediately after Jesus’ death. Which, in turn, has inspired me to pick my physical Bible back up to read the letters of St Paul to the Corinthians. ✝
Finally, here are the new books that I found under my Christmas tree: Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge (2018), Celtic Daily Prayer: Book One by the Northumbria Community (2015), How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman (2012), and the gorgeous illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay. 😊
First, a little incongruous to my other viewing, I finished off the Netflix docuseries The Sons of Sam: Descent into Darkness (2021), about the journalist Maury Terry’s investigation and conviction that serial killer David Berkowitz did not act alone, which I had left over from my autumn crime spree viewing.
After that I was able to kick off my festive viewing with Netflix’s brand-new holiday film, A Castle for Christmas (2021), starring Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes, as an author fleeing scandal to the home of a grumpy Scottish lord. A light and easy watch in a gorgeous setting, but it was just a little too cheesy and not enough chemistry for me. 🏰
Thankfully, next I watched the romantic-comedy with a twist, Last Christmas (2019), which I absolutely adored! This is a funny, heart-warming tale written by Emma Thompson and starring Emilia Clark as the self-destructive shop elf Kate, who gains a new perspective on life after meeting the mysterious Tom. Warning: you will need tissues! 💔
Also, in the last week of term, I worked my way through the ten-episode, American mystery-thriller, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (2021), based on Dan Brown’s 2009 novel, which stars Ashley Zukerman as a young Robert Langdon as he tries to solve a number of deadly puzzles when his mentor goes missing. I will bring a full review to you soon.
While the next film I checked out was the critically acclaimed, American crime drama, The Irishman (2019) made by the legendary Martin Scorsese and starring… well every big name from gangster film lore you can think of! This epic, 3+ hour saga is a fictionalized account of the Bufalino crime family, which ends with the 1975 disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.
Next, on my seaside visit, I snuggled up in my queen-sized bed to watch the romantic period-drama, Howards End (1992), one of the famous Merchant Ivory productions based on E.M. Forster’s work. That beautifully retells the lives of the bohemian Schlegel sisters, Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter, in Edwardian England. I will be writing a full review of this too. 💍
Once home, my dad brought me back to the present with the satirical science-fiction film, Don’t Look Up (2021), with an all-star cast including Leonard DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, which is a funny but brutal look at how the modern media, politicians and celebrity influencers would act with an impending end-of-world disaster. 🌎
Finally, on Christmas day itself, after our large turkey roast lunch, we settled down to watch another of Netflix’s holiday offerings: the romantic-comedy, Holidate (2020), in front of the fire. A good, easy, fun watch about two hopeless singletons acting as each others dates for the holidays to get their pushy families and friends off their backs. 💝
Later on Christmas day we worked our way through the three-part BBC drama, The Salisbury Poisonings (2020), about the Novichok poisonings of the former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the decontamination crisis it caused in England in 2018; which is now available on Netflix. Not that festive I know, but so gripping! 🧪
And finally, finally, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without comforting re-watches of Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Elf (2003), Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Grinch (2000), Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), The Holiday (2006), Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
Phew! For now, that’s all folks! Where ever you are in the world, I hope you and your loved ones are well: staying healthy and happy. God bless and bye for now! 👋
Now let me know what you have been doing, reading and watching in the comments below. Or please leave a link to your own Sunday post. I love to chat with you all!