My Top 10 Chick Flick Picks

I love chick flicks. If you don’t, I suggest you look away now, because this post is dedicated to my favourite cheesy rom-coms with their cliched declarations of love and predictable boy-gets-the-girl endings.

I’ve seen plenty of click flicks in my time and I also have a habit of re-watching my favourites over and over until I know each line from memory. When I’m sick in bed I like nothing better than to curl up with a cup of tea and watch a girl meet a boy and fall in love against the odds. Either that or have a Downton Abbey marathon, but I’ll leave that for another post…

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 favourite chick flicks!

Note: All these movies have happy endings šŸ™‚

#10 – The Vow (2012)

Inspired by true events, this movie has it all – romance, gorgeous lead actors, comic moments and plenty more moving ones. After Paige (Rachel McAdams) is injured in a car accident she wakes from a coma to find she cannot remember the last few years of her life – including her relationship and marriage to Leo (Channing Tatum). As Leo struggles with his wife not knowing who he is, Paige struggles with being married to a stranger and her life not looking at all like she expected it to. Leo works to rekindle their romance and help Paige regain her memory, but it’s not plain sailing. But that is why we love chick flicks – if it was all easy and straightforward it would be a very boring movie!

#9 – While You Were Sleeping (1995)

I promise this is the last movie on my list that involves people in comas!!

This loveable rom-com is considered one of the films that launched Sandra Bullock into stardom, and it’s not hard to see why! She makes her character, Lucy, seem like a real, genuine, kind person – even though she pretends to be a stranger’s fiance and lies to his family! Lucy’s life seems to be a lonely one. She works as a fare token collector at a Chicago train station, but her life turns around when falls in love at first sight with Peter Callahan (played by Peter Gallagher), even though they’ve never actually spoken. When Peter accidentally falls into the train tracks on Christmas Day, Lucy rushes to his rescue and saves his life. When she accompanies him to the hospital there is a misunderstanding and a nurse introduces Lucy to Peter’s family – as his fiance. Lucy panics and doesn’t know how to tell them the truth, but then once she gets to know the family it gets even harder. Especially when she meets Peter’s brother Jack… The supporting cast in this movie are fantastic – especially Glynis Johns playing Peter’s grandmother – and watching the gorgeous Sandra Bullock help her character navigate a tangled web brings this movie to life.

Honourable Mentions: If you enjoy Sandra Bullock in chick flicks roles, I can highly recommend 2002’s Two Weeks Notice (co-starring Hugh Grant) and The Proposal (made in 2009 with Ryan Reynolds). Bullock has a real talent for making eccentric characters believable and likeable.

#8 – Love Actually (2003)

If you haven’t seen Love Actually in the last 13 years, you’ve probably been living under a rock. With a stellar cast, this movie follows ten different stories which intertwine as the movie progresses.Ā There’s weddings, breakups, new romances, inconvenient romances and everything in between. My favourite parts of the film include Hugh Grant’s dance scene, the Claudia Schiffer moment, and the whole plotline of 8 year old Sam who has fallen in love for the first time. Set in the lead-up to Christmas this is one of my favourite holiday movies, but I’m happy to watch it any time of year. I also love the ending of this film –Ā never failing to make me smile, this is definitely a feel-good film!

Honourable Mention: This format of ensemble cast and multiple intertwining plot lines was reused in the American rom-com Valentines Day (2010). I only watched that film because Taylor Swift was in it, but found it to be enjoyable enough to watch again. If you like these ensemble films you might enjoy Valentines Day too, although I reckon Love Actually is far superior.

#7 – The Holiday (2006)

I’m just going to come right out and say it – this is one of my all time favourite movies. It’s full of everything I love and I’ve watched it too many times to count. Watching this movie is like wrapping yourself in your favourite warm blanket. I know how it all ends, but a little part of me still wants to see how it all turns out. And just when I thought I couldn’t love it any more, I watch the trailer and discover they used a song by The Corrs as the ‘trailer theme song’. I’m well and truly sold now… Anyway, this movie is about finding love when you least expect it. Two women (both recently single) switch houses for the Christmas holidays. Amanda (Cameron Diaz) lives in LA and IrisĀ (Kate Winslet) lives in the English countryside. We watch them adjust to different countries and houses, and then we watch as they each meet a new man. There isĀ sub-plot of IrisĀ developing a friendship with Amanda’s elderly neighbour, a retired screenwriter, and he gets all the best lines of the film. There’s lots of laughs and plenty of heart, so it’s no wonder this is my favourite Christmas film.

#6 – Letters to Juliet (2010)

When I first saw the trailer for this I knew it was going to be my kind of movie. Mainly because the ‘trailer theme song’ was Love Story by Taylor Swift. But when I saw the movie I was blown away by how charming the story is. When aspiring journalist Sophie (the gorgeous Amanda Seyfried) travels to Verona with her fiance for a ‘pre-wedding honeymoon’, she discovers the place where the heartbroken leave letters for Shakespeare’s heroine, Juliet, and the women who answer them as ‘the secretaries of Juliet’. Sophie finds a letter from 1957 hidden in the wall and is so touched by its contents she decides to write back to the woman who wrote it all those years ago. Within the week the now elderly Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) arrives in Verona with her handsome but irritable grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan). Charlie and Sophie take an instant dislike to each other, but the lovely Claire and her story get under Sophie’s skin. So much so that when Claire announces she has come to find her childhood sweetheart, Lorenzo, (that she wrote to Juliet about 50 years before) Sophie decides to tag along and starts writing about their journey. There are happy endings all round, after a few bumps along the way for everybody, and by the end of the movie Sophie has found out what really matters in her life. This film has gorgeous scenery, being almost entirely filmed in Italy, combined with a great soundtrack of Italian music and Colbie Caillat pop numbers – what’s not to love?!

#5 – 27 Dresses (2008)

What would a chick flick list be without Katherine Heigl? There are several of her films that I love (see Honourable Mentions) but this is by far my favourite. The story of Jane (Heigl), the perpetual bridesmaid who never sees her own dreams fulfilled, and how her life changes course when her younger sister gets engaged to Jane’s boss – who Jane is secretly in love with. Jane also meets Kevin (James Marsden), the sexy but cynical guy who is not at all what she had in mind. Things are complicated by the fact that Kevin is actually a journalist, who writes the wedding vow column that Jane is a big fan of – is he actually a cynic who “spins romantic crap” for girls like Jane? Or is all his cynicism about marriage just a smoke screen to protect a sensitive heart? You can probably work that one out for yourself but the movie is well worth watching to find out.

Honourable Mentions: Other Heigl chick flicks that are worth the watch include The Ugly Truth (2009) and Life As We Know It (2010). There is also Killers (2010), which has the romantic elements of a chick flick but plenty of action (fast car chases and people shooting at each other) to keep male audience members happy too.

#4 – My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Including this film on my list seemed particularly appropriate as My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was released earlier this year. I haven’t actually seen it yet, but I doubt it could be better than the original! The first movie started asĀ Nia Vardalos’s one-woman show, until one night Rita Wilson was in the audience and she convinced her husband, none other than Tom Hanks, to see it…and the rest is history! This delightful movie follows the story of Toula (Vardalos) who shocks herĀ large Greek family by dating handsome teacher, Ian (John Corbett), who is decidedly un-Greek. This is a story that proves love can conquer all, with lots of wonderful characters to meet along the way.

Honourable Mention: I love Nia Vardalos and if you enjoy her in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ll no doubt also enjoy her in My Life In Ruins (2009), in which another set of delightful characters help the main character find her way back to herself.

#3 – Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

What’s not to love about this movie? The three leads are wonderfully dynamic together and the script is clever and funny throughout. Hugh Grant’s role as Daniel Cleaver, the guy who doesn’t get the girl, is just as entertaining as his others, and you’ve got to chuckle about the use of the name Darcy used in connection with Colin Firth! Renee Zellweger is charming as Bridget, the slightly off the rails 30-something, who is desperately seeking love. This is another film that shows us it’s not always about love at first sight, but that love is out there for all of us. Except maybe Daniel Cleaver…

#2 – Sleepless In Seattle (1993)

We’re really getting into the good stuff now! I absolutely adore this movie (hence why it comes in at number 2) and I never get tired of wondering whether Annie (Meg Ryan) and Sam (Tom Hanks) will ever finally get their act together and meet each other properly!! The 1990’s saw the revival of the romantic comedy, after spending a few decades out of fashion (the last burst of rom coms being the pairing of Doris Day and Rock Hudson in the 1950s and 60s), and Sleepless certainly picks up the momentum of the chick flick train. This story of two people who have never met, but are destined to, is full of wonderful cinematic moments – alternatively humorous and touching. Ryan is adorable in this role, and Hanks is constantly charming – watch out for his hilarious Cary Grant impersonation! And the few minutes they actually share the screen for are magic.

Honourable Mentions: For another paring of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks (one where they actually appear on screen together for more than 10 seconds) is You’ve Got Mail (1998), (which might take some of you younger viewers a while to catch on to…) and there’s plenty more Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally (1989) which co-stars Billy Crystal.

Bonus Honourable Mention: Check out An Affair to Remember (1957), which is the movie Annie watches during Sleepless In Seattle. It’s a wonderful film, and is a nice introduction to the movies of that era if you’re not familiar with them. Keep an eye out on this blog too over the next little while, as I’m planning to post my favourite movies from the 1950s and 60s!


#1 – Notting Hill (1999)

And, last but not least, my favourite chick flick of all time – Notting Hill. The wonderful pairing of Hugh Grant as William Thacker, the owner of an unsuccessful travel book shop, and Julia Roberts as Anna Scott, the most successful actress in the world. Their worlds couldn’t be further apart, but with the magic of film these two worlds come together. Combine the great chemistry between Grant and Roberts, and the delightful supporting cast of Will Thacker’s friends (including a much younger Hugh Bonneville), with the charming setting of London’s Notting Hill – and this movie practically sparkles. Here’s a heads up for you Notting Hill fanatics – if you didn’t already know, the infamous ‘house with the blue door’ does actually exist although its door has since been painted black for camouflage purposes. Google it if you’re going to be in London and go hunting! Apart from blue doors, this movie has so many wonderful moments it’s difficult to pick a favourite. But I don’t think you can really go past the “a girl standing in front of a boy” scene!

Honourable Mentions:Ā I am yet to see a Hugh Grant movie I didn’t like. However another particular favourite of mine is Music & Lyrics (2007), which will be of particular interest to any fellow songwriters out there! Julia Roberts is also ridiculously gorgeous in Pretty Woman (1990), which was her breakout role.


Well, folks, that about sums it up! Do we all have warm fuzzy feelings now? Do we believe in true love? Good. Excellent šŸ™‚

Did I miss your favourite chick flick?Ā Head on down to the comments and tell us what it is and why you love it!

Stay tuned for my next post about movies from the 1950s and 60s!








10 Years On – Why I Still Write Songs

I’m only a month away from my 23rd birthday and it hasn’t escaped my attention that I’ve been writing songs for ten years. The first proper song I wrote was when my beloved cat died the day before my 13th birthday.

That might sound slightly strange or morbid to someone who’s never thought about songwriting before, but to me it made (and still makes) perfect sense.

Songwriting – real songwriting – is about emotion. It’s about expressing how you feel at any given moment in your life. I hear pop songs on the radio that are all about being out in the club and seeing a hot girl…and yes, I suppose in a strange alternative universe, that is some kind of emotion. But for me a song has to have soul. It has to be able to breathe on its own. And most of the pop ‘songs’ that have been released in the last five years lack that entirely. Some other time I’ll go into some contemporary artists that break this trend and write brilliant music.

As a child I was always singing and making up my own songs, but I didn’t start seriously writing songs until I was 13. My 13th birthday to be exact. The day before I turned 13 my cat passed away and I took it hard. She’d been a member of our family longer than I had and I struggled to imagine my life without her around. That evening I sat at the piano and starting expressing everything I was feeling. Over the next few days I wrote a couple of songs for Sylvi (all of which were terrible, by the way) and from there I started writing about different things.Ā And I haven’t stopped since.

Ten years have passed and I know my songwriting skills have improved a lot in that time!! I don’t write songs about dead pets anymore for a start šŸ˜› But I always say that the best thing you can do as a writer of any sort is to write about what you know. And what you feel.

Over the years I have written about everything that moved me – from love lost and love found, to the history of slavery (which I got very worked up about at 14!). I’ve written songs with titles like ‘On My Way’, ‘Lighthouse’, ‘We’re All The Same Inside’ (a very early one there!), ‘Look Me In The Eye’ and ‘Fooling Myself’ – just to name a few!Ā I’ve lost track of how many songs I’ve written in total, but frankly that’s become rather unimportant. I don’t write music for fame or money or just to fill ring-binders with pages. I write because it gives me satisfaction.

Often I’ll be in a situation where I can’t say the things I want to say, so I write about them instead. I can write a song as if I was singing it to a particular person…I get to say everything I wish I could say to their face, without the words ever seeing the light of day.

Writing also helps me (to quote Don Henley) to get down to the heart of the matter. It’s not unusual for me to start writing about a certain situation I’m in, a break up for example, and suddenly words come out of my mouth that I wasn’t expecting. I’ll hear them and think “Okay, wow, I didn’t know I felt that way, but yes! That’s exactly how I feel!!”. The process of writing and singing helps to unlock things in my subconscious that I hadn’t been able to access up to that moment.

During my teens I used to think music was my calling in life. That my destiny was to become a famous singer-songwriter and play my songs to vast stadiums. I used to stand in my room and pretend the hillside out my window was an arena šŸ˜› Things are different now I’m older. I don’t feel that need for fame that I thought I felt at 15. Lesson one: just because you love something more than anything else when you’re a teen doesn’t mean it’s your calling in life!! Songwriting became a part of my identity as I grew up, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. But I realised that success isn’t always measured by how many people know the words to your songs. Success is measured by how much YOU love what you do. And how much joy and satisfaction you get from it. Even if what you do never leaves your bedroom.

So why do I write songs?

Because I love it. Because it is part of who I am. Because it helps me through my life.

And that’s pretty cool šŸ™‚

If you’d like to listen to some of my songs, I have a few uploaded to SoundCloud here:Ā (the audio quality on most is not great, as I’ve never managed to invest in decent recording equipment).Ā And if you have a particular favourite, please feel free to comment with it here! I write for myself but it’s always a nice bonus when others enjoy my music too šŸ™‚

Movie Review: Operation Petticoat


If you expecting me to only be reviewing recent films on this blog, you were mistaken! I love old films, often more than recent releases, andĀ Operation Petticoat is no exception!

With the superstar pairing of Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, this 1959 box-office hit is certainly not short on laughs. Set in 1941, during WWII, the film tells the story of Commander Matt Sherman (Grant), whose submarine, USSĀ Sea Tiger, is damaged during an enemy air raid in the Pacific. Sherman is determined to get theĀ Sea Tiger back in shape, but supplies are limited and he initially struggles to see a way forward. Enter Lieutenant Nick Holden (Curtis), who joined the navy to get a rich wife, and his talent for scavenging (and stealing) enables the crew to get the materials they need to get theĀ Seat TigerĀ afloat again.

The fun increases ten-fold when Holden convinces a reluctant Sherman that the sub should evacuate five gorgeous US navy nurses from an island under siege. The crew struggle to concentrate on their duties with attractive women around, while the nurses have to deal with cramped living quarters and finding a place to hang their laundry!Ā Romance blooms too as Holden is attracted to one of the nurses but struggles with the idea of marrying her, while another nurse has a series of clumsy and awkward moments with Commander Sherman.

As the sub heads for the safety of Darwin the laughs continue – my favourite moments include the repainting of theĀ Sea Tiger,Ā the time Sherman tries to fire a torpedo at an enemy ship but one of the nurses accidentally hits the firing button, and the amusing way the crew alert a ship there are women on board…

The issues that arise between the male and female members aboard theĀ Sea TigerĀ enable Cary Grant to show off his talent for comedic timing. The sets for the inside of the sub are wonderfully fake, and it’s enjoyable to watch the actors manoeuvre in small spaces. The script is quick and clever – the writers were nominated for the 1959 Academy Award for Best Story & Screenplay – and, while it’s not your typical war movie, it has a lot of heart and the dynamics between the actors make it well worth the watch.

If you go into this film expecting a realistic portrayalĀ of WWII you will probably be disappointed – althoughĀ several events in the story are inspired by true ones – but if you suspend reality and just enjoy the ride you’ll have a good time.

I love laughs and happy endings so this film ticksĀ the boxes for me.
Go and check it out sometime – I promise it’s good fun! šŸ™‚