I love shopping, eating and watching films. Bring them all together and you basically get the most perfect day ever. That is exactly what I did one very windy Sunday!
Especially with Halloween just around the corner, this was the perfect time to have a spooky themed day out with my wee mother (who is also a fan of this time of the year).
Now, this is where I lose my blogging credibility (if I had any to begin with), I honestly didn't know what HomeSense was. Sure I had seen many a blogger share their amazing HomeSense finds on Twitter but I was living in the dark for too long.
Turns out HomeSense is part of the TK Maxx family and you know I LOVE TKMaxx quite a lot. Armed with a £25 voucher, I had two choices - buy sensible homeware for my flat or get all the Halloween stuff that I probably don't need.
You know exactly what I did....
The fact that a lot of the Halloween range was on sale made this an even better shopping trip. Instead of leaving with just a couple of cool things I had a basket full of them!
I did pick up two gorgeous candles which are a sensible purchase, a spooky bowl which will be perfect for popcorn when I watch horror movies, cupcake toppers for when I make cupcakes (which I did use FYI), a witchy mug for potions or you know, cups of coffee and four creepy shot glasses. I probably didn't need them but they looked so darn cute!
Honestly, I could've gone even more ridiculous with my purchases - seriously if you get chance pop along to HomeSense and look at their amazing Halloween themed snow globes. There was one that reminded me of The Sedlec Ossuary which was all kinds of awesome.
Now, of course, there are more shops than just HomeSense in Fort Kinnaird and obviously, we made sure to check them out. We even managed to pick up some awesome bargains in Primark - I am talking about glitter boots, everyone! The best boots you will ever see for £3. Be still my cold heart.
After all that shopping you need something to eat. Shopping may seem like nothing but it can be quite an exercise. I've actually never been to Chiquito before so I was quite excited to get tucked into some tacos and churros.
Sadly though my trip to the Mexican themed bar and grill was no fiesta. I will say they did have two fairly large parties in at the time and I understand that service levels can sometimes drop when that happens but I was left feeling more like a nuisance than anything else.
We alas had to wait 15 mins to just get our drink order taken and even we those cocktails, which were delicious by the way, arrived we still weren't asked what we would like to eat. Don't get me wrong I love my cocktails but a girl has to eat!
Since we had tickets booked for the cinema, I came to the realisation that a starter was off the menu due to time, so we finally ordered just mains with the idea of getting a dessert. Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long for our mains to come out. Steak fajitas for the mother and pulled pork tacos for myself.
Now, this is where Chiquitos wins back my love. Those pulled pork tacos were incredible, seriously they were mouth watering and flavourful as hell. Word on the street is that my mum loved her fajitas too (and by that I mean she, you know, told me).
After stuffing myself with tacos and downing a Pina Colada, I was ready for churros and a Margarita but alas only one of those things happened. Yes, I got my delicious classic Margarita on the rocks cocktail but I didn't get to sample the delicious chocolatey taste of churros. Unfortunately. we ended up waiting for too long once again and time finally caught up with us.
Saying that it is busy is a fairly okay excuse for a slow service but it is not an excuse for bad service. I'm not saying anyone was outwardly rude but we did feel that it was very cold. From the lack of greeting from our server when he dumped down a can of popcorn on our table to his standoffish attitude when we told him we couldn't order dessert now due to not having time. It all felt a little odd and was not a great introduction to Chiquito.
Though our dinner ended up being ever so slightly disappointing we weren't going to let it get in the way of the rest of our evening. The Odeon at Fort Kinnaird is fairly new to the shopping complex and I knew from a past visit that it's a really lovely cinema. It's not the biggest building but that totally works for me especially when it means not having to walk for ages just to nip to the bathrooms before a film!
We picked up our tickets from the really friendly duty manager who also made sure we had some snacks ready for our film, because you can't go to the cinema without a big tub of popcorn, and off we went to sit in our "premier" seats aka the best seats ever.
Onto the film itself, The Ritual is an adaption of Adam Nevill's 2011 horror novel. I will admit I had never heard of the book before but did do a little spoiler free research ahead of the film. The premise is a group of old uni pals go for a hiking trip in Sweden and things go pretty bad obviously.
Starring Rafe Spall (who I always enjoy) and directed by David Bruckner (The Signal & a segment in V/H/S), the film is a pretty good watch. Don't get me wrong it's not a total groundbreaking masterpiece but it is a darn good horror film that stands out from the array of jump scares and torture porn that we have to put up (*cough Jigsaw *cough*).
What stood out for me most with this film was the cinematography. As I've said the film didn't feature many jump scares, if any actually. Instead, the film focused on building tension with lingering shots of the forest which set up an uneasy tone throughout.
The story of a bunch of friends getting lost in the woods is hardly new in the world of horror and thought The Ritual didn't bring anything new, it was still a strong story that had me hooked from beginning to end.
However, I am still kinda baffled by what on earth was going on at the end. It was all kinds of strange which could've been amazing but it also felt very anti-climatic which was a damn shame since overall I really enjoyed the film.
It was the perfect way to end a Halloweeny day and brought the mood back up after that slight dinner blip.
Massive thank you to Hummingbird Communications and Fort Kinnaird for my spooktastic day. With Fort Kinnaird welcoming a whole range of new names to the complex soon, I can't wait to visit again soon!
Lastly, can we all take a second to admire my pumpkin spice cupcakes which I decorated with my HomeSense kit:
Till the next time!
*Hummingbird provided me with a voucher for HomeSense, a meal at Chiquito and tickets to Odean Cinema for the purpose of this post. All opinions stated are my own