Friday, 20 February 2015

Seven good films for a romantic night in

Finding a decent romantic comedy to watch on a night in can prove tricky. Most aren't my cup of tea - Love Actually made me cringe and I could never really relate to Bridget Jones. But there are a few romantic films that aren't overly schmaltzy or cliched. Here are seven great comedy romances to watch with your other half (or best friend... or pet dog) that don't suck.

1. Manhattan 
Woody Allen's classic from 1979 stars Allen as a divorced writer who's dating Muriel, a student when he starts to fall for another woman. The opening scene, featuring 'Rhapsody in Blue' is a perfect love letter to New York.

2. Say Anything
Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is a high school student who falls for high achiever Diane. 

Contains the classic scene with the boombox and the perfect line, "I gave her my heart and she gave me... a pen." Poor Lloyd.

3. The Graduate
The Graduate stars Dustin Hoffmann, a graduate (ahem) who gets seduced by his parent's friend, Mrs Robinson. Though made in the late 60s the humour in the film hasn't dated, and the ending makes me cry happy tears!

4. Before Sunrise
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke play Jesse and Celine, two twenty-somethings who get chatting whilst inter-railing around Europe. They decide to spend a day exploring Vienna together, walking and talking about life and love. This film spawned two sequels, but the first still holds my heart.

5. When Harry Met Sally
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star as high school friends who share a car trip from Chicago to New York before parting ways. They bump into each other again 12 years on and their friendship develops into something more. A great script by Nora Ephron, including the famous scene at Katz's Deli.

6. Overboard
I wanted to include a Goldie Hawn film in this list as she is a queen of comedy romance, and Tom's suggestion was Overboard! Hawn plays a wealthy lady who gets amnesia after being knocked overboard on her yacht. Her carpenter, played by real life partner Kurt Russell, tricks her into thinking she's his wife so she can play mother to his crazy kids!

7. The Wedding Singer
Adam Sandler plays a wedding singer who falls for waitress Drew Barrymore. One of those rare 'good' Adam Sandler movies, with a great 80s soundtrack. Steve Buscemi also steals the show halfway through in a drunken speech at his brother's wedding.

What are your favourite comedy romances? Or are you more of an action movie fan?!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Life, Lately

Posts may be a bit sporadic over the next few weeks as Tom and I have *finally* had a completion date for the house we are buying. Hurrah! It took the best of six months but moving day is just a few weeks away so we've been busy packing up boxes (with me getting rather distracted, finding old memories at the bottom of drawers... 'look, an actual tape!' 'I'd forgotten all about this!' etc).

We've also been having a proper sort of things we don't need and bundling down to the charity shop whenever we can. We've even cleared out our huge bookcase (above), which we will really miss! It'll be strange to leave the Convent but I'm excited to have a whole house and garden of our own.

Apart from packing I've been...

Watching Transparent and really enjoying it as the series progresses. Also enjoying Catastrophe on Channel 4, Community & Better Call Saul on Netflix. And the Gilmore Girls.
Listening to old Kenickie songs I'd forgotten about. 
Making the most of still living in town and meeting friends for Sunday breakfasts
Looking forward to Pancake Day tomorrow!
Pinning house inspiration like crazy.

PS As things slow down on here you can also find me on Instagram

Friday, 6 February 2015

Film Friday: No Manifesto - a film about the Manic Street Preachers

Plot This week I went to see a new documentary about the Manics, directed by fan Elizabeth Marcus, who appeared afterwards for a Q&A. The film features fan interviews that stretch over a ten year period, then features the band themselves during 2005-7.
Guest appearances If you were an early Manics fan perhaps you were in this film?! Other than that the band Rush show up and are mentioned quite a bit!
Fun facts One of my favourite moments was discovering drummer Sean Moore is an avid gun collector and finds target practise 'relaxing'.. hmm!
Overall This is a really warmly made film that shows the band at their most human. Although I'm not an obsessive Manics fan (Nirvana and Blur were my favourites growing up!) I do like their early material and it was fun to hear from their fans who are amongst the most devoted I know of (one man in the audience said he'd seen the band live 87 times!). 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lovely links

Teenage bedrooms on screen (i could look through this Tumblr for hours!) via AV Club

Frances McDormand on aging via A Cup of Jo

DIY Valentine's Mini Zine via Design Sponge (I made a similar thing for Tom a couple of years ago!)

The Month of Love: Why it's important to love yourself via the brilliant Seeds & Stitches

This crochet Cat bus by Becky Garratt makes me smile

Janet's planning a Big Blog Clothes Swap and there's still time to join!

This Pokemon Cafe  via Kitsune-Kun may be one more reason for me to visit Japan.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Film Friday: Wild

Plot Wild is the true story of Cheryl Strayed's journey across the US Pacific Crest Trail which stretches from the border of Mexico right up to Canada. Along the way she encounters creepy men, snow, extreme heat and a strange fox but it's nothing compared to what she went through before she began the journey.
Guest appearances Reese Witherspoon has now received an Oscar nomination for her role as Cheryl and Laura Dern is fantastic as her mother. Gaby Hoffman (Girls, Transparent) pops up as Cheryl's friend.
Fun facts Witherspoon dropped out of Big Eyes to do the movie.
Overall I really enjoyed Wild, there are a lot of flashbacks to sad moments in Cheryl's life so I was rooting for her all the way - but that backpack she set off with was way too big! I also enjoyed the soundtrack with Simon & Garfunkel and the Shangri Las.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

On conquering small fears

I have always been a shy person. My social anxieties were at their worst in secondary school when I'd sometimes go whole days without speaking to anyone (unless I had to) and would blush bright red when picked on in class. At college I was even nicknamed 'silent Laura'. But by the time I left home and started university I finally began to find my feet and open up more to new people.

Over the years my shyness has waned and I've realised that most people feel shy, they're just good at hiding it!

One thing that still gives me the fear though is speaking in front of large groups of people. So last month when I was asked to run a workshop on social media for a group of ten I began feeling a little out of my depth. What if I couldn't get through it? What if the group found it boring?! But I knew I shouldn't say no to something that could improve my skills so I agreed to it and did some preparation in the weeks leading up.

And it really wasn't so bad! The group were all lovely and although I was nervous, I got through it (tip: bring biscuits, they definitely help the learning process!). I even got an email the next day from some of them thanking me for running the session. Hurray!

The second (slightly smaller) scary thing I had on my list this week was trying out contact lenses. The first time I tried it, things didn't go so well. I had bumped into an ex boyfriend just before my appointment and was feeling a little on edge, so when the assistant attempted to put the contact into my eye I couldn't cope, and burst into tears! Almost ten years on I decided to give it another go, and this morning I actually put in the lenses all by myself, I was pretty chuffed.

In this TED talk, Dr Ivan Joseph talks about methods of boosting confidence. His first tip is to persist with things that seem scary. Anything that takes you out of your comfort zone will inevitably make you nervous but the more we put ourselves in those situations, the easier we find them. Tom is always telling me the same thing, that if something scares you, you should do it more! And he's right. Even if it's a small achievement it's still something to be proud of. 

Do you ever lack confidence, which then stops you from trying something new? Or have you recently tried something outside your comfort zone? 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Film Friday: Fruitvale Station

Plot: Fruitvale Station is based on true events that occurred on New Year's Eve 2008 when 22 year old Oscar Grant was tragically shot by a police officer after riding the subway home after celebrating the New Year with friends in San Francisco.
Guest appearances: Oscar is played brilliantly by Michael B Jordan, who some may recognise from series 1 of The Wire. Octavia Spencer plays his mother.
Watch this if you're a fan of... Boyz N the Hood, Do the Right Thing which also expose police brutality.
Overall: Fruitvale Station was an excellent film which builds to a distressing climax, which is very hard to take in.