Honest reviews, regular hauls and all things beauty.

Wednesday 31 January 2024

My January favourites roundup: film, tv and beauty...


Parfums De Marly Valaya Review, January 2024 loves

We did it! We made it through the first month of the year! I have to say that I didn't really find it to drag and I busied myself with a massive declutter, which took weeks because I took one section at a time and was really ruthless! I also found time for plenty of good films and tv and I want to share those with you today, along with my beauty standouts!

Film: One Life (cinema): As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I couldn't wait to see it! It's based on a true story and I remember seeing the clip from That's Life going viral in the last few years, and at the time I was so in awe of this man and what he did so I was really looking forward to the film. Anthony Hopkins plays the older version of Nicholas Winton, with Johnny Flynn playing the younger version. The film is based on the story of how Nicholas Winton (with friends and his brilliant mother) helped Jewish children escape from Prague to safety in England with visas and families who are willing to take them in. It was no mean feat and required huge dedication and determination as they didn't know how long they had before the nazis took over Prague. The film goes between what happened at the time and then Mr. Winton many years later when he was tidying his house and came across the paperwork (of course, he had never forgotten the children). He took the information to his local newspaper who weren't interested, he then considers donating it to the Holocaust museum but feels that the story of the plight of the children should be heard and known. It somehow ends up with the staff on the show of That's Life, and Mr Winton is invited to the studio where he meets one of the survivors, he is then invited back and the audience is asked if any of them were helped by Mr Winton and he is brought to tears when he turns around and sees every single person stand up. It is a very heartwarming story from something so horrible but the sad thing is that people are still being displaced over 80 years after he helped these children. 

Good Grief (Netflix): This film gives an insight into grief from the perspective of someone who realises that all was not what he thought it was and it also shows how grief can affect friendships and that everyone has issues in their life. It begins with a Christmas party where everyone is happy and tells the host how it's so obvious how much their husband adores them, it quickly goes into the tragic scene and the aftermath is the grief, realisations, and how important friendships and communication are. It's worth watching while it's on Netflix.

The Holdovers (cinema): Oh I loved this film so much! It's based at a private boarding school in 1970 and each year, a teacher must stay over the Christmas holidays to supervise those who can't go home for various reasons. The teacher chosen is rigid and cantankerous and he treats the holidays like term time. There are initially five 'holdovers' however the father of one arrives on his helicopter to take his son home a few days before Christmas and (with permission from the families), also takes three other students, leaving one behind whose parents can't be reached. There is also a member of the catering staff there whose son died that year so she didn't mind volunteering to stay. Once the other four students leave, the rules go by the wayside and the lady who lost her child tells the teacher that every child deserves a happy holiday season. He decides to get a Christmas tree and give them gifts (books from a stash he had but it's the thought that counts, right?!) and they have a beautiful meal together. The student then asks if they could do something fun over the next few days, like go ice-skating or to Boston. Initially the teacher says no but he soon relents and says it can be classified as a field trip. The cook decides to spend the few days with her sister and that leaves the teacher and student to have some fun. I don't want to say too much but so much unfolds about their personal lives and the student sees his teacher as human after all and the teacher realises that the student isn't just a trouble maker and has a back story too. It's funny, heart warming and definitely worthy of the two Oscar nominations for the lead actor and actress. Go see it if you can!

All Of Us Strangers (cinema): Wow, this one got me in my soul. It features two main characters, one of whom is a writer (Andrew Scott) and is trying to write about his late parents who died in a car accident when he was twelve. The other main character (Paul Mescal) lives in the same building as him and invites him to his apartment for a drink but it's obvious that he'd like more than that.  The writer, Adam, decides to go back to the house he grew up in and he sees his parents there, (played by Jamie Bell and Clare Foy), he is so happy to see them and have conversations with them, some of them tough. Because he's so elated at having spoken to his parents, he decides to take Harry up on his offer of a drink and they embark on an intense relationship. They decide to go clubbing and take ketamine, which is a very bad idea because Adam who is already imagining conversations with his parents, imagines that he wakes in his childhood home on Christmas Day. It's difficult to depict how much this film touches you because for most of us, we can only imagine what losing both parents at such a young age is like and trying to process it, even years later, plus I don't want to give too much away.  Harry helps Adam realise that his parents are dead and that he must say goodbye and let them go. He does this with a closing conversation and then has another realisation, which I'm not revealing as it will spoil the whole film. I came out of the cinema and felt like it would take some time to process it all. It's not one that will leave you crying but I can't imagine that it wouldn't touch you.

Maestro (Netflix): Another film with Oscar nominations for both lead actors. This is based on Leonard Bernstein's (a composer and conductor) life and ultimately his marriage to Felicia Montealegre. It was a complicated relationship because Felicia went into it knowing that Leonard was bisexual but there's no doubting that there was great love and affection between them. They had three children together and Felicia's main concern was that Leonard be discreet in his extra-marital activities. They were known for throwing lavish parties and generally lived a good life, and were the "IT couple" of the time, but his sexuality eventually began to take its toll on Felicia. Around this time, she was diagnosed with cancer and Leonard dedicated his life to caring for her until her death.  Their love was very strong and obvious for the viewer to witness. At the end of the film, there is a clip of Bernstein conducting and it really gave justice to Bradley Cooper's performance - he had him to a tee. Bradley Cooper also directed the film with both Martin Scorcese and Stephen Spielberg as some of the producers. Even if you don't know much of Berstein's work (West Side Story, for example), it's well worth a watch.

TV: Based On A True Story (Sky): This was a quirky comedy thriller, which sounds bizarre I know! It stars Kaley Cuoco who is a pregnant real estate agent, obsessed with true crime podcasts, married to a former tennis player whose claim to fame is that he once beat Andre Agassi.  Their friends are a lot wealthier that they are and Kaley's character decides to start a podcast about a serial killer in their area to try to earn some extra money. What she doesn't realise (initially) is that the plumber they hire to do a job in their home is the actual serial killer so when he gets involved, the podcast and their lives get a lot more interesting and dramatic! It's quirky, it's funny and a bit mad but we really enjoyed it and are looking forward to season two!

Loudermilk (Netflix): This may not be for everyone but we liked the dry/dark humour. It's based on Sam Loudermilk who is a former music critic and a recovering alcoholic, who hosts meetings for fellow recovering addicts.  He's not your regular counsellor and can be quite harsh in his assessment of the group members' problems and isn't afraid to say so. He also isn't someone who has a great life, he lives with his (unbeknownst to him, drunk) sponsor and carries enormous guilt for a crash that happened when he was drunk driving and his ex-wife lost a limb. The priest who runs the church where they hold their meetings tells him that he has to get the daughter of a (generous) parishioner sober and clean, so he has that to contend with too as she ends up living with him and his roommate.  Obviously there are storylines involving the people who come to the meeting and over the three series, you get to know them pretty well. I found the first half of the second series not to be as entertaining as the rest but it's worth sticking with it as overall, it's funny and easy to watch.

Beauty: I already shared my current beauty loves in this post, however there are two more to add!

Parfums De Marly Valaya Eau De Parfum: This was one of my Christmas gifts from my husband and I had a feeling I'd love it as I adore Delina from the brand, which he bought me back in the summer. This is an expensive perfume brand so it won't be for everyone but I can say, hand on heart, that I always, always receive compliments when I wear these and am often asked to write the names down. They last really well on the skin and the bottles are so pretty! Valaya is both floral and musky, but also manages to be both fresh and warm too, so it really is a fragrance of contrasts.  It contains notes of orange blossom, lily of the valley,  bergamot, peach, vetiver, musk and vanilla, among others. They blend so well to create a unique scent - I've never smelled anything like it before. It's fresh upon spraying but dries down to a warm, comforting scent. Smell it if you can get to a counter!

Rose & Caramel Purity Excel 60 Second Fake Tan Remover: I can't remember which YouTuber recommended this but I bought it because it sounded different from most tan removers and exfoliators. It's quite creamy in texture and you apply to skin, focusing on areas of stubborn tan, leave for 60 second and then use exfoliating gloves to massage the product into the skin and, miraculously, it works! I find that if I use a cheaper brand of tan, the colour can quite often be great but they tend to cling to elbows, knees ankles etc, so this product is the answer to that! I wouldn't use it as a regular body exfoliator as it isn't "scrubby" enough, however it just melts stubborn tan away. I know this might be an unusual product to have in a January loves post as most people wear tan in summer but I apply it all year round on a weekly basis!

How was your January? Did the year get off to a good start?

Thanks for reading!

All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used. 


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