Winter Favourites 2015
6th February 2015
Hello there! Winter is arguably one of my preferred seasons (it’s definitely in my top 4, anyway) so today I’m going to celebrate its superiority with my favourite eight items. As always I’m going to have to apologise for my painfully inconsistent upload schedule... however I have actually been preparing loads of new blog posts following a severe writer’s block. If you have any suggestions or requests for me then I’d encourage you to make your way to the bottom of this page and use the conveniently-placed comments box.
I've been doing this every season since The Jack Experience began so you probably know the drill by now. Take the final sip of your hot chocolate, pull off your tacky snowman jumper, scoff the last Quality Street (unless it’s the gross coconut one) and let’s begin.
1. The Theory of Everything; out of this world
Recently I took a trip to the cinema to see the film which everyone seems to be talking about, and I was not disappointed. The Theory of Everything is, with pun absolutely intended, out of this world.
Eddie Redmayne is the star of the show, portraying the mute distress of physician Stephen Hawking so superbly that it is easy to forget that he is not the iconic man himself. The story is told delicately and respectably; no tricks are needed. Very much a biopic love-story between Stephen and his wife Jane, this is a film which deserves every praise it has been given – which, incidentally, is a lot.
2. Sam Smith // In The Lonely Hour
I recently rekindled my love for Sam Smith’s debut album; one of the best of 2014. With powerful lyrics and a killer voice, I feel that Smith can do no wrong with his offering. It’s not often to find an LP of which every track could be a successful single, with Sam’s newly found global status totally deserved.
Currently representing us Brits worldwide, Sam Smith seems to be a genuinely nice guy. If I had just a small fraction of his talent I would be completely and utterly content. My personal favourite album-tracks include Leave Your Lover, Like I Can, Not In That Way and I’ve Told You Now.
3. Do They Know It's Threadbare? *
As I’m sure you know, Christmas jumpers are my favourite novelty item… like ever. The whole point of winter is ultimately just to countdown to Christmas and New Year – so what better way to do this than with an advent jumper??????? (There is nothing better)
When I was sent this jumper by the lovely folk at Threadbare I was filled with happiness (and mince pies) and couldn’t wait to wear it. This was my Christmas Day jumper of choice, and a super comfortable and high-quality one at that. There's even a flashing snowman (with LED lights, not a stripper snowman) behind day 24. I was the life of the party.
4. Duolingo - muy bien!
It may seem a little unusual to be featuring an educational application in my Winter Favourites, but I couldn’t miss this out.
I’ve studied Spanish at school for five years now, and yet I still feel linguistically incompetent. I decided to start again by scratch after discovering Duolingo; a language learning miracle worker. This makes developing language skills extremely easy, with a very smooth and well-structured interface. With loads of available languages, this is a must-have for those who fancy a 2015 challenge. Have you got Duolingo too? Add me: jackbenedwards (I only have 2 friends)
5. Jack Whitehall DVD... “the pantomime of shame”
Scientifically proven (?) King of Comedy, Jack Whitehall returns with a hilarious new live tour. Live from Wembley, Jack delivers his anecdotes ostentatiously and with admirable conviction; you can tell he loves what he does. One of my favourite comedians, he is fabulously British and ridiculously funny.
I’ve watched this DVD over and over without tiring of it, best served on a day when you need a little cheer up. The atmosphere is electric and Jack's energy is contagious. I cannot recommend this enough, except to those who find themselves easily offended (because, oh Lord, you will be).
6. Winter Playlist
Besides the traditionally cheesy and sickeningly-jolly Christmas music, I’ve been listening to a lot of new music this season. Half Moon Run, Years & Years, Jessie Ware and Electric Guest have filled my playlists, alongside the new EP from Bastille. Of course, James Bay has been a personal favourite as of recent times; a brilliant singer-songwriter tipped to be the big star of 2015. His Stealing Cars and Hold Back The River have been on repeat non-stop.
If you have Spotify, then I'd like to recommend their 'One Week One Playlist' - this is how I discover fantastic new artists and songs.
7. My Sentence Book Reviews
Wonder // R. J. Palacio – Eye-opening, powerful, easy-read, page-turner, brutally wreaking emotional havoc.
Ayoade on Ayoade // Richard Ayoade – Hilariously self-deprecating, emotionally draining in the best way possible and absolutely fantastic.
Educating Rita // Willy Russell – An iconic, clever and wholly powerful journey of self-discovery
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves // Karen Joy Fowler – Brilliant plot twists, irresistibly charming, surreptitiously smart.
8. boohoo.com FIT *
So after months of practically inhaling food such as roast dinners, Ferrero Roche and Christmas puddings, I feel as though I may need to get fit again. However simply finding the idea of fitness appealing is a whole different playing field to actually putting effort in.
Wearing nice fitness gear weirdly motivates me more to attempt this, so I was filled with delight when I received some products from the brand new fitness range at boohoo.com. This is a brand I absolutely adore and they've completely hit the nail on the head with their sleek designs. With my super stylish and comfortable new gear, I can't wait to get fit again.
* Products with an asterisk next to the title were sent to me by the companies in question, free of charge. It is important to me that you, as a reader, are aware of this, though I can assure you that all opinions are 100% my own. I will only ever include pieces of which I genuinely enjoy and would recommend. Thank you. *
And there you have it, thanks for reading! Just as a cheeky self-promo reminder, if you scroll down to the bottom of this webpage then you'll find the box to subscribe to my newsletter where you'll be told whenever I publish something new. Alternatively if e-mail ain't your thang, you can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @jackbenedwards, Facebook, Tumblr or even add me on Snapchat where I go by the username of jack_edwardss.
Please leave a comment telling me what else you'd like to see me blog about (or what I can improve) and tell me what your favourite items have been this Winter. Have a lovely day and, until next time, goodbye!
By Jack Edwards