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We’ve been looking at the new Autumn-Winter range from Fox & Ivy – Tesco’s own luxury brand of homewares and soft furnishings. They challenged us to pick the key ingredients for Family Movie Night from the range; knowing how perfectly our outdoor cinema was thanks to them, I didn’t bat an eyelid and headed straight to my local Tesco Extra…
See, there are just a few key ingredients for a truly successful movie night – and it’s not actually about the film. Get the details right, and even the teens will come settle down for a couple of hours.
No big gimmicky themes – we simply wanted to update the room a little, bring some cosy welcoming warmth as we hunker down into the colder months. Our living room has large french doors, and from May to September it’s open to the garden all day long. Come the winter we want to shut out the tall windows onto the grey damp weather, and escape into the warmth that comes with good times and being together.
Set the Scene – the Ingredients for Family Movie Night
I know. Of course you can ‘just bung a film on’. And of course that’s okay, and it happens all the time. We’re big film nerds, and we find the teens drift in and out, staying if the movie takes their fancy.
But take a little time, make a small effort, and all of a sudden it feels like an event.
You’ve gone from just ‘watching a film’ to ‘it’s Movie Night!‘.
It’s almost ridiculous – but when you’re valuing every second you share with your elusive teens, making an effort to surprise them with fun stuff pays big dividends. Small changes in an ordinary room they walk into every day can create an audible “Ooooh!” when you get it right.
So what are the Ingredients for Family Movie Night? Obviously you need a warm and tidy basic scene – clear up, vacuum and dust. Light the fire (if you have one – I’ll admit all winter evenings are infinitely cosier since we saved up enough for the woodburner, but the old cheap gas fire did a decent job), and pull the curtains (even in summer you need to pull the curtains and create a dark room for movie night, right?).
And then we added a few extra touches…
Okay, this one was a bit of a splash of budget – at £18 it’s not a bank breaker, but it is a considered purchase. But it is BEAUTIFUL, and looks three times that price. It’s chenille backed, and the birds design is hand painted and then embroidered. I love it, and it has pride of place in the room, creating an eye-catching splash of warm colour in an armchair. You don’t want loads; just one as a statement with some plain scatter cushions works beautifully (Fox & Ivy’s simple soft silver cushions, just £4, set it off like a charm).
Okay, take a guess at how much that rabbit cushion is. Another £18 cushion? £24? No. Try £6.
It’s adorable – the first thing they all saw as they came in the room, they fought over who sat with it, and they have all demanded it move to their own rooms (it’s not going anywhere, I love the way he looks in the grey tartan wingback armchair!)
Oh that ridiculous little rabbit lamp. It’s so so silly. And yet… he’s just rather adorable, sitting there all neat and quietly elegant with a splash of gold in his ears. We call him Bigwig, and despite the husband stating quite categorically he’s so awful he wouldn’t be given house room, yet he stays. Dear little Bigwig – for a talking point of a ceramic rabbit table lamp, he’s a snip at just £16.
(the mug’s another dream buy – It’s Fox & Ivy’s Pink Feather Mug, it’s ridiculously glamorous (there’s a blue version too) and it’s just £5. The gold lifts it – a perfect little Christmas Gift to tuck away, every teenager who sees it wants one. Especially the boys.)
oh, and by the way? Turn the lights off once the film starts. Dark rooms only, please – and ban all phones of course!
Ooohhh, the throws. Absolute key ingredients for Family Movie Night. We still have a pile of them from the summer and the outdoor cinema, but we couldn’t resist adding one more – the ownership of the ochre super soft throw is SO hotly contested, that we’ve added the new season silver version. Honestly a TOTAL bargain at £5, these rugs are big enough for a decent sofa snuggle, and so so soft. I defy you not to stroke it every time you pass. FIVE POUNDS people.
In all, we spent £45, and we’ve refreshed our living space with some eye-catching seasonal details we all love. Switching up a few small items is the easiest way to refresh an entire room – all we’ve done is add a couple of feature cushions, a new softly lit lamp with a little character, and an extra soft rug.
And the teens walked in, ooh-ed & exclaimed aloud and asked when we’d fancied the place up before bagging their favourite seats, demanding a hot chocolate, trading popcorn bowls and comfortably settling down to spend some time with us.
Okay, this one’s a bit of a toughie! With younger kids it’s easy to be a dictatorship and simply tell them what’s showing. But with teens you’ll need to risk an hour-long debate before you can find a compromise everyone wants to watch. But do listen to their suggestions – they generally know what’s good in new releases, and if you expect them to be open to watching an 80s classic, then you need to be open to watching something they suggest too.
We have a mix of ages, so for years it’s been tricky to get the teens keen to watch the latest Disney with the youngest – but this year she turned 12, and we’re finally open to a whole new range. At the weekend we introduced her to 17 Again (remember it? It’s still bloody brilliant – though I thought it was quite new – and all the horrors, it’s ten years old!), and she roared and squirmed through the whole thing, as did her older brothers.
We also supplied popcorn two ways (salt or butterscotch – see the recipe for the crunchy butterscotch popcorn we make here) , and provided ‘proper’ hot chocolate complete with squirty cream and chocolate shavings.
The result? We spent less than we would on just one family cinema trip. And in return we had four hours unadulterated family time – they stayed for the movie, for a chat, and then requested a round of stupid JackBox party games too. Best night in ages – and to top it off, they requested we did it all again next week. Happy mumma.
FIND IT AT TESCO…
To find out where you can purchase any of the Autumn/Winter 2019 products featured in these pages, check Tesco here
Some of the smaller products are available online with your grocery shopping, and the rest can be found in selected Superstores and Extras, subject to availability.