Friday, 28 June 2013

Film Friday: Before Midnight

I've been looking forward to the third film in the Before.. series for a while now. In case you aren't familiar with the films, it all began with Before Sunrise. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meet in a train and decide to spend a day walking around Vienna and getting to know each other a little more. After 24 hours they have to part ways but promise to meet up a year later. The second film, Before Sunset was made ten years after the first, as the couple enter their 30s, and Before Midnight now sees them coping with life together in their 40s.

Without wanting to give too much away, things are of course much different to when they were younger, and now the couple struggle with family pressures. Delpy's character in Before Midnight reminded me a lot of her character in 2 Days in Paris and I felt she was a bit harder to warm to. Before Midnight is definitely worth seeing if you're a fan of the previous films, although I still love the first one the most.

PS Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st, but you can also follow this blog via BlogLovin or Feedly - and I am also on Twitter. Hit me up. Lx

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Happiness in Magazines

When I was a teenager I often dreamed of creating my own magazine and sharing the things I loved most with the world. I think in a way writing a blog has helped fulfill some of that dream for me! I've read magazines ever since I was a child and before that I read comics. I looked forward to Thursdays, when my Dad would bring me home a copy of The Beano to pore through. I was even a proud member of their fan-club. As I got a bit older I started buying teen magazines which then turned into music magazines and today I sway towards the art and craft variety.

I can no longer stand buying most women's mags, obsessed as they are with body weight, diets and celebrity heartbreak (particularly Glamour - for some reason the last copy I read wound me up so much that I decided to never buy it again). Luckily some great alternatives have cropped up, as well as some good online magazines - though I do still prefer their paper predecessors. Looking back through the old magazines I've saved often brings back lots of memories from that time. So here is a history of my favourite magazines throughout the years. I'd love to know yours too.

1. Shout!
When I was at primary school me and my friends often used to buy Shout! It was the sort of magazine that focused on 'cute' boys, pets and had a free lipgloss on the cover.

2. Fast Forward
Fast Forward was a BBC-made magazine which I used to love. This was around the time that I was very into PJ and Duncan and I remember writing to the letters page, which published my question asking them just when will I be able to purchase the first single by the brilliant Byker Grove pop stars?!

3. J17
Just Seventeen changed to J17 around the time I started buying it. At the time the writers working on it seemed cool and quite sarcastic, and I remember it was through them I first heard about Kenickie (hurrah!) For a while they gave away free copies of the Diary of a Crush books by Sarra Manning which entertained me and quite a few friends at the time. I have saved some old copies of J17, and still find it fun to rifle through its pages, in the hope of stumbling upon that one exciting interview with the elusive & moody Jared Leto.

4. Melody Maker
In the late nineties Melody Maker and its rival the NME changed to a magazine format, and although the NME is still around today, poor Melody Maker didn't have the same fate.

5. Select
Select was another music magazine I enjoyed reading, a monthly format instead of weekly. Again, I enjoy looking back through old copies to read interviews with Justine Frischmann and Courtney Love and remember old bands I used to listen to.

6. Young Miss 
I remembered this one last week when I was in Berlin. When I was at college studying German, my friend Sarah used to bring me back copies of Young Miss magazine from Germany, and I used to try and read through them to practice my language skills. I'm not sure if they still make it, but the magazine was in fact really good, and better than most young women's magazines I'd read in this country.

6. The Face
When I was in my late teens I started buying The Face magazine. Sure it was pretentious, but to an aspiring graphic designer, the layout and typefaces were very appealing! And it often featured some cool personalities - and the occasional nudity! Shock. Not long after I started buying it, the magazine went bust but I still enjoy looking through my old copies when I go back home.

7. Bust
Bust is a great American magazine, which a feminist slant, that I used to subscibe to. However I noticed in recent years it was getting thinner so was reluctant to keep buying it.

8. Frankie
Frankie is a lovely Aussie mag, about crafts, music and other things, and I wish it was available here. Several kind penpals sent me a copy over the years but it's not often easy to get without paying extortionate prices.

9. Oh Comely
Unfortunately my subscription to Oh Comely has just come to an end, but I always enjoy reading through this magazine, which centres around art, photography, music, creativeness and is very inspiring, and refreshing not to read a magazine centred around relationships and celebrity.

10. The Guardian Weekend
Erm, does this hint at a descent into middle age? Anyway I do enjoy reading the Weekend magazine, and although it's just a supplement the articles are often very interesting (and I always like a nosy at the blind date page!)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

To Berlin and back

Last week I took Tom on a 'secret' birthday trip to Berlin! It was quite hard not to mention where we were going, and several friends and family knew but all managed to keep schtum about the location. However when I said we'd need to get some euros for our trip Tom managed to guess the location, but no matter! We had a great few days there regardless, and I arranged for another surprise as Tom's friends turned up there to meet us. I'd secretly arranged to meet them at the Kotbusser U Bahn stop, but they were 40 minutes late so it was hard to keep Tom distracted for that time! I think I looked rather suspicious as I kept looking round and checking my phone. In the end I told him there was a photobooth nearby so we went looking for it and when we emerged from taking our photos his friends appeared. Tom looked so baffled, it was great!

Berlin was so different in the sunshine, as my first visit had been in the bitter cold winter. It's a perfect city for cycling so I was sad we didn't have time to hop on a bike, but we did do a LOT of walking and it was wonderful to explore Kreuzberg where we were staying, and stroll through the huge Tiergarten in the centre of town. We also narrowly missed seeing President Obama, who was doing a speech at the Brandenberg Gate the day we flew home. I can't wait to return to Berlin and explore the city more.

 Bears are everywhere in this city...

 And watch out for the sparrows who are very tame indeed


Friday, 21 June 2013

Film Friday: Silver Linings Playbook

I'm now back from a brilliant short break in Berlin - will post up about it soon. (And I'm gradually adjusting back to the British summertime!)

This week I watched Silver Linings Playbook, a film which earned its star Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar earlier this year. Bradley Cooper plays Pat, who has recently been let out of a mental hospital after a violent outburst. He is still hung up on his wife, who has put him under a restraining order.

I wasn't quite convinced about the portrayal of mental illness in the film, as Pat seemed to suffer more from rage and anger than depression, and I struggled to warm to Bradley Cooper. However I decided to stick at it and enjoyed the film more as it went on, as Cooper's character met Lawrence's and they bonded over a bowl of cereal in a diner. Robert de Niro was also good as Cooper's father, who is addicted to betting on football games and attempts to use his son as a lucky charm.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Film Friday: Sleepwalk with Me

I first heard about this film via the podcast This American Life, as its host Ira Glass wrote the screenplay, and the director and star of the film Mike Birbiglia also appears on the show from time to time too.

Sleepwalk with Me tells the story of 30-something bartender Matt who has decided to follow his dream and  try his luck at becoming a stand-up comedian. He is at a crossroads in his relationship with his girlfriend who is keen to get married. Add to this the fact that Matt suffers from extreme bouts of sleepwalking - which causes him at one point to hurl himself through a window. I really enjoyed this film, and would certainly recommend you search it out (and watch out for Ira's cameo, as well as a cameo from 'Ray' from Girls.)

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Four moments in June

June 2010 | Tom & Ollie (both celebrating their birthday today) fight it out in the garden

June 2011 - We went on a sailing trip for Tom's birthday

June 2012 - We all went to stay in a log cabin in Shropshire (and had a jolly good time despite the rain)

June 2013 - Tom got accosted by the police whilst dressed as a ghost... just an average day then.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Just a minute | June

Wow, so it's June already! The year is going crazily fast. This week it's Tom's birthday and we are off on a 'secret' trip this weekend to celebrate. Will share more on our return! The picture above was taken on Saturday when Tom decided to dress up as a ghost at an event I was working at called the Hemlock Happening. It amused me! Other than that the month so far has consisted of...

Watching | Breaking Bad (season 1, we are quite far behind most people!), Girls (just finished the second season, it got quite disturbing in parts but I did really enjoy it), Louis CK

Listening | to lots of Paul McCartney. Ahem. I got quite a few old records for my birthday which was great and was somehow given two McCartney solo albums and a Wings single... there's some pretty weird but great songs!

Drawing | My comic about turning 30.. i just need to finish the conclusion (whatever it will be...)

Reading | The books in the post below!

Buying | tickets to see Deerhoof here soon

Choosing | A new camera after my beloved (and pretty much new) Fujifilm X10 suddenly stopped working. Luckily I had it insured when I bought it from (the now defunct) Jessops so I have a voucher to replace it. Always get insurance people!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Summer Reading | 3 good books

Here's a few good books I have enjoyed lately..

1. Relish by Lucy Knisley
I was looking forward to reading Knisely's latest graphic novel, after discovering her work through French Milk, a travel diary of the trip she took to Paris with her mother. Relish focuses on one of my true loves; food. Lucy talks about snippets of her life and their connection to what was cooking, and even includes a few illustrated recipes for everything from cookies to sushi. Definitely a good book for any food lovers out there.

2. Wonder by RJ Palacio
This was recommended to me by Janet, and I really enjoyed it. I actually had a little trouble finding it in Waterstones, as I didn't realise it was hidden upstairs amongst the teen fiction. Wonder is a story about a young boy called August with a disfigured face, and his first experiences at middle school. Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different character which makes for an interesting read, though August was by far my favourite.

3. Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle
Having read his previous book all about North Korea, I was keen to read Delisle's tales about living in the mysterious country of Burma. Guy Delisle is a graphic novelist and animator who lived in Burma for a year while his wife was working there for a charitable NGO. It's an interesting and often funny travelogue about a country where newspapers are routinely censored and nothing is quite as it seems.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Film Friday | Winona Forever

This week I only half-watched a film, the brilliant Mermaids, which stars one of my favourite actresses of the 90s, Winona Ryder. This made me wonder why her film work seems to have dried up a bit in recent years - perhaps it's because she always played the adolescent, coming-of-age role so perfectly, and it's hard to recreate that innocence as an adult?

Here are my top 5 'Winona Forever' films...

1. Edward Scissorhands
Johnny + Winona made the perfect couple. Still my favourite Tim Burton film.

2. How to Make an American Quilt
I do love this film. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend giving it a watch. Winona plays a girl who's having relationship problems so goes to stay with her grandma  in the countryside where she tries to get her master's thesis finished. While working on a quilt together, her grandma and her friends tell her stories about their past loves.

3. Beetlejuice
I only watched this film for the first time last year! I think I may have found Beetlejuice a bit scary as a kid?! But it is pretty ace.. I feel the need to watch it again soon.

4. Girl, Interrupted
I've not watched this in years, but remember really enjoying it - the book it's based on is also very good.

5. Mermaids
The scene where they dance round the kitchen. In this film Winona reminds me a little of Angela from My So-Called Life, partly when we hear her inner monologue. Cher, Winona and Christina Ricci, what more could you ask for?!

Happy weekend! x

Monday, 3 June 2013

A photo an hour - Sunday

 10am-11am Wake up to a sunny day

 11am - 12noon I make a veggie fry-up (the night before was spent at a beer festival in Ruddington so this is very welcome!) and we watch old episodes of Fawlty Towers

 12noon - 1pm We plan out a trip to Bunny Woods to have a picnic

1pm- 2pm Tom practises some tunes

 2pm - 3pm We pick up our friend Lorna and head off to find the perfect field for a picnic..

 ...probably not this one!

3pm - 4pm We eat our picnic and meet this friendly chap..

 4pm - 5pm Being in the countryside is grrrreat!

 5pm - 6pm We head home and get ready for dinner

7pm - 8pm Our friends in Forest Fields make a delicious sushi meal for us (including feta for vegetarians, which actually worked pretty well!)
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