Christmas Gift Idea: The Novella Nostalgia Series

If you are looking for an unusual gift for a fan of classic movies, the Novella Nostalgia series may just be the answer. Penned by the author Tony Drury, this fabulous series of books link modern storytelling to some of the most iconic movies of all time. Inspired characters, classic scenes and the familiarity of those classic films, but modern scenario’s make these the ideal present for someone who still loves the romance of turning a page rather than just scrolling up.

There are three books in the Novella Nostalgia series so far, with a further two planned. The first was ‘Lunch With Harry’ which is inspired by the wonderful Audrey Hepburn movie, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. The action is moved to modern day London, and Hamleys is the meeting place for the two leads, Dr Ella Van Houten, who just happened to be imagining that she was Audrey’s Holly Golighty character, and Harry, who Ella meets when she accidentally steps on his foot outside the world famous toy shop.

Tiffanys have launched a perfume this Autumn, so I think this combination could be a lovely, personal gift for someone who is a fan of Audrey, a fan of Tony Drury and a fan of ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Tiffany Tiffany & Co. Eau De Parfum
From £52 Click to visit House of Fraser

The beauty of the stories is that fans of the film will recognise the references which bring a warm smile to the reader. Another fabulous point about these books is that they are small, perfect for reading on the morning commute by train or bus, and not too big to take up a lot of room in your handbag or rucksack.

Click to buy from Amazon

The second book in the series takes a completely different tone as it is based on the great Courtroom drama 12 Angry Men, a film that has also become a very successful stage show in recent years. Twelve Troubled Jurors changes the premise from one where the 11 jurors think the defendant guilty, with one wavering, to one where the jury are convinced of the innocence of the accused, but maybe for reasons that have less to do with the trial and more to do with wanting to be dismissed. The action also moves again to the UK and it is a riveting read that you could certainly enjoy once the turkey is finished on Christmas Day.

Click to buy from Amazon

The latest book in the series is very timely, considering that a live touring version is in theatres next year. ‘Forever on Thursdays’ is a new version of the beautiful, tear jerking love story Brief Encounter, the 1945 tale of unrequited passion starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Once again the action is updated to the present day but the romance is still lovely, and if you know someone who is a fan of the film, then this book, combined with tickets for the play (showing at the Birmingham Rep Theatre), could be a real winner.

Click to buy on Amazon

Brief Encounter
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Click here for Ticket Information



Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the New Alexandra Theatre

It is an iconic book that became an iconic movie classic. Now ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ has been turned into a play that opened at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre this week, with pop starlet Pixie Lott stepping into the not inconsiderable shoes of Audrey Hepburn to play Holly Golightly. But fans of the Hollywood movie version may be surprised with the differences in the story, and, if you require a pre-requisite Hollywood happy ending, this may not be the show for you.


Fred (not his real name but we never actually find out what it is.) is an aspiring, but down on his luck writer, living in an apartment block with an assortment of kooky neighbours. Chief amongst these is the beautiful, effervescent Holly Golightly, a charming party-girl with a lot of secrets in her past. Holly has one aim in life, to be rich beyond belief, pursuing the odious Randy Trawler as a means to this end. But love has a way of getting in the way, and as Holly and Fred bond over their similar situations, it seems that maybe money isn’t everything. But as the past and present collide, Holly is forced to make choices that will change all of their lives forever.

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly and Naomi Cranston as Mag in Breakfast at Tiffany's (Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly and Naomi Cranston as Mag in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

This version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an altogether darker proposition than the Hollywood film, closer to the source material of the Truman Capote novel. There is no room for the Patricia Neal character, Fred’s trysts for money are with men, and you get the distinct impression that he is at least bisexual. Sex and pregnancy before marriage are all part of the story, and the action is transferred to World War 2 era New York, rather than the early 60s of the film. This makes the play interesting to compare to the saccherine Hollywood love story.

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly (centre) and the cast of Breakfast at Tiffany's Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly (centre) and the cast of Breakfast at Tiffany’s Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

As Holly, Pixie Lott is an engaging, elegant presence – a little shrill and shouty at times, but with a graceful poise that makes her Holly very watchable. Her singing voice is strong and powerful and fills the theatre when she sings Moon River. You feel that her Holly is a stronger, harder person than Audrey’s version – more suited to the darker edges of the story, but it does mean that Lott as Holly is sometimes cold and hard to love.

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes (5)

Pixie Lott as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes (5)

On the other hand I was really impressed with Matt Barber, who made Fred, warm and adorable. He narrates the play and pretty much holds the whole thing together with wit and charm. One of my fave scenes is when he has a drink with Doc – Holly’s abandoned husband. The scene is soft and charming and gives the play heart.

Matt Barber as Fred in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Matt Barber as Fred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes

The costumes, sets of New York and the apartment block, and the use of newspaper reports to move the action along are great, and I loved the supporting characters Mag and Rusty. But ultimately, as someone who loves the romance and charm of the movie, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is just a little dark for me.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s New Alexandra Theatre

Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23rd April 2016

Click here for ticket information

Everything You Need To Host a Movie Night

The one thing I love more than a night out is a night in. A real night in, with no social media, no work, no glancing at or Amazon, I mean a night in with food, drink, pamper treats and a great girlie movie. The last girls night in that I enjoyed was with my mom, we had Prosecco, Chinese food, heaps of chocolate, and a double bill of Legally Blonde and  Bridesmaids in the DVD player. But just what constitutes the perfect girls movie night in?

Enjoying a girls night in.

Enjoying a girls night in.

Step this way and I will tell you what I love to do to unwind with the girls.

1. Choose your perfect films. For a girls night in you need some classic chick flick movies, films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Grease, Dirty Dancing, The Devil Wears Prada, or anything with Sandra Bullock or Reese Witherspoon. But for the ultimate girlie movie night, it will have to be Sex in the City – the first movie. It has it all, tears, laughter and shoes. Make it even more memorable by watching it on a super large screen 4k TV the nearest thing to Cinema in your own home.

Sex and the City

2. Choose your food. A great Chinese takeaway is my favourite, King Prawn Curry with fried rice is my meal of choice. But sometimes it is also lovely to raid the supermarket nibble aisles for peanuts, doritos, Percy Pigs, Pringles, literally any finger foods and nibbles that can be put in bowls and munched, continously throughout the evening.

3. Drinks. You are not leaving the house, you are not driving anywhere, so you can enjoy a stress free, guilt free drink. I love  sweet Vermouth, so long Martini’s with lots of ice would be my favourite choice now it is no longer Pimms season (my other fave). As the nights turn chillier, you could opt for a Bailey’s hot chocolate with lots of frothy cream.


4. Pamper. It’s movie night, you’ve got your pj’s on, so why not enjoy some pampering treats? Put on a deep cleansing mask like Kiehls Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Mask, and chill out while it does its job. You could also enjoy a manicure or pedicure, taking the opportunity to try out new products or techniques.

How would you spend your perfect movie night?