Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Ladykillers (Play)

The Ladykillers is back in the West End from 29th June at the charming Vaudeville Theatre and I had the pleasure of seeing the show on Monday night. The play is Graham Linehan's (Father Ted, The IT Crowd) adaptation  of the classic Ealing Comedy, about a little old lady with an active imagination, who unwittingly takes in a band of criminals, who claim to be musicians needing a space to rehearse, but are actually plotting their next robbery.
Cast - The Ladykillers, picture from Londoneer
With familiar faces like Ralf Little (The Royle Family) and Simon Day (The Fast Show) cast in the motley crew of wrong-doers, and with Angela Thorne's innocent sweet old lady and her constant interruptions to the rehearsals, the play is a very, very silly, madcap adventure, with a very, very impressive set by Michael Taylor.

Go, see, I implore you not to laugh your socks off. Tickets start at £20.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Sleeper - Emily Barr (Review)

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Emily Barr's latest book, The Sleeper to review, so even though I have a thirty-book high pile at home, this book got fast-tracked to the top of the pile for immediate consumption.

From the back of the book, "Everyone thinks she has a happy life in Cornwall, married to the devoted Sam, but in fact she is desperately bored. When she is offered a new job that involves commuting to London by sleeper train, she meets Guy and starts an illicit affair. But then Lara vanishes from the night train without a trace. Only her friend Iris disbelieves the official version of events, and sets out to find her. For Iris, it is the start of a voyage that will take her further than she's ever travelled and on to a trail of old crimes and dark secrets. For Lara, it is the end of a journey that started a long time ago. A journey she must finish, before it destroys her..."

It's so hard to write about a book without giving away to much of the plot. The main characters are Lara, the one who disappears, and Iris, an acquaintance who tasks herself with finding Lara. Lara is a bored woman who lives with her sweet but dull husband, drowning in debt after failed IVF attempts. Iris is someone she barely knows and wants to get to know better but seems to always push other people away. When Lara disappears, it transpires that both women have pretty big secrets that they want to keep but that are inevitably all going to come out.

I really rated this book, like all of Emily's so far. I love Emily Barr. She is like, my favourite. Her books are great psychological thrillers, always containing a slightly messed up character who you can totally relate to, with so many twists and turns in the plot it's impossible to see what's coming next. I've now read all but two of her books, but they are firmly on my to-read list, because they are just so easy to read yet not at all chick-litty.

Emily was a journalist, but hankering for other things, she asked her boss if she could go backpacking and write a column on her travels. When they surprisingly said yes, she went off, and ended up with an idea for her first book, Backpack. Now she has written 12, and they're all brilliant. Nearly all of Emily's books have at least a portion that is set somewhere else, like Italy, France, Spain, Cuba and a few recently have been set partly in Cornwall, it's no surprise to find out that's where she lives. The Sleeper has an overseas section too, although you'll have to wait and see where.

The Sleeper is on sale from 4th July, RRP £7.99 but available from Foyles at £6.07. I recommend it highly. A great read for your commute, or if you're off on your travels, your sunlounger (I am jealous).

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Look of Love

I've had a bit of a blog hiatus for the last couple of weeks...I was ill, then was out every night for a week and a half, it's been lovely catching up with friends and family, but tonight, a night in front of the sofa after a long day at Earl's Court with work, I finally have some downtime! Last night, we went to see The Look of Love which was fantastic, and inspired me to finally update my blog!

The film stars Steve Coogan, Tamsin Egerton and Anna Friel and is about the life of Paul Raymond, who was Britain's richest man, who is an "erotic entrepreneur" but absolutely not a pornographer, so he says..... The women are gorgeous, Anna Friel as Jean Raymond, Paul's long-suffering wife, Tamsin Egerton as his lover and Imogen Poots as his daughter.

I've only seen Egerton in St Trinian's before, and dismissed her as a bratty teen actress and didn't think I'd be seeing much of her again, but in this film she is incredible as well as beautiful. Anna Friel is stunning and glamourous as always (I love Pushing Daisies!), and Imogen Poots is gorgeous and tragic all at the same time. There are tonnes of other famous faces, Simon Bird, Stephen Fry (he who gets a gazillion retweets no matter how inane his 140-character rambling), Sarah Solemani and Shirley Henderson to name but a few.
Imogen Poots

Anna Friel

Tamsin Egerton

Queen Dusty
There is a LOT of sex, and a lot of boobies in this film, but despite the content and theme, it's actually all pretty tasteful. The styling is also brilliant, from the show costumes, minimal as they are to the outfits that Friel and Egerton strut around in, I am truly seventies-inspired now, with the Dusty Springfield filled soundtrack going on and on in my head!

As an aside, holiday countdown: 10 days til i fly to MELBOURNE!!! I saw Royal Brunei Airlines poster for the London - Melbourne route earlier on the tube and nearly died of excitement, in no time at all I am going to be On That Flight. EEEEEEEEK!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tired of London...As if

Spring has sprung, the sun is out, I am as happy as can be! Yesterday I had an absolutely lovely, lovely day with one of my besties, Laurel. After a leisurely start to the day with the boy, and a trip to the post office to post my latest book swaps and get him some Euros for his trip to Belgium, I headed over to Liverpool Street to meet lovely Laurel and check out Judy's at Spitalfields to check out the wares. We didn't buy anything on this occasion but did grab an amazing peanut butter cupcake from Betty-Lou's Bakery which we devoured between us, simply stunning! The next Judy's at Spitalfields is 4th May.
Pillow fight in Trafalgar Square

We got the tube to Temple and had a coffee, before heading to the National Gallery via Trafalgar Square where there was a massive flash-mob pillow fight going on! Much fun to behold. We soaked up some culture in the National Gallery, we'd never been before, I didn't know how the stunning it is inside with its glorious ceilings, we got told off for trying to take photos, but here's a snippet from Flickr....check it out!

We wandered up to the Japan Centre, then checked out Paxton and Whitfield on Jermyn Street, one of the oldest cheese shops in London, which is incredible. We then spent a good hour in Waterstones on Picadilly ogling the fiction, art, travel and craft books.

The main reasons for getting together this fine weekend were to go to Judy's, and then to go to the Clueless Quote-Along at Prince Charles Cinema, so we grabbed our tickets before enjoying a Cafe Rouge dinner complete with vino. There's currently a deal on O2 Priority Moments to get one main meal and a second for £1, so we took advantage of this, I had their Poulet Breton and Laurel the Aubergine Gratin, delicious! On the subject of the O2, there's also a deal to get a free bag of Percy Pigs in Marks and Spencers, just buy showing them a code, get them before they're gone!

After more wine at LVPO (happy hour 5-9!) we headed to the cinema, full of excitement for the film. We met two other like-minded ladies who kindly took this photo of us (below), and Laurel and Jess took part in the competition they had at the start, where Laurel came away with Stranger Than Fiction on DVD. The film was amazing, if you're a Clueless fan (and who isn't?!) I would highly recommend going along to the next one on 31st May, so much fun! Next on the list is Anchorman.
Today I checked out Capital Car Boot in Pimlico, it was a lovely day for it. I didn't buy anything, but I would go back. It's £1 entry and there's a decent split between traders and people genuinely clearing out their homes, so while nothing to catch my eye this time, there were plenty of bargains to be had. It was such a nice day so I wandered around and ended up at the Southbank where I text my boss to tell her how aaazing Clueless was, and she invited me around for a cuppa as she only lives down the road. We ended up going straight back out for a spot of brunch at Ev's nearby which was incredible. We both had a eggs with feta, soooo tasty, it comes with a coffee and delicious bread so was a snip at £4.95, highly recommended.
Eggs at Ev's
It's so easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut in life and falling into the trap of going to work, spending the evenings at home and wasting weekends away. Now that it's summertime (sort of) I am determined to make the most of the extra hours sunlight, and being in London. We talked a lot yesterday about all the things we wanted to do this summer, like go to Burger and Lobster, check out the Museum of Childhood, go on a boat trip along the Thames, spend an afternoon in the bookshops of Charing Cross Road, head to Kew Gardens and Richmond... What's on your to-do list this summer?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

See, Dance, Laugh, Buy.

My working week has been fairly meh. We are currently making a small number of redundancies, and working in HR, I get to do all the fun stuff. My boss has it a lot worse, poor mite as she's the one delivering the nasty messages, I'm just the one preparing the paperwork and holding everything else together. Whilst my job is safe (as one of the lowest paid members of the organisation, getting rid of me is hardly going to save them much money), it is still a depressing time, everyone else in the company is aware of what's going on, but they don't know who is involved. But we are not here to talk about work, we're here to talk about nice things. Here's what I've been doing this week.

Slathering: Dr Organic Manuka Honey Handcream (available from Holland and Barrett) all over my mitts. This weather is playing havoc with my skin health, espcecially the ever exposed hands. This hand cream is non-greasy, which means I can slather it on at bedtime and pick up a book without getting the pages all greasy. It smells delightful and feels like it is intensely nourishing my hands, they look instantly better moments after application. I am becoming a bit like my mother, who applies hand cream at every opportunity (i.e. at traffic lights) but I live in fear of grotty old lady hands. I have a small tube of the cream but it's lasting me forever, so it's super good value at £5.69 for 125ml.

Buying: I bought a lovely turquoise jumper in the H&M sale the other day for £10, great for the spring months as it's not too thick, and will be great for work or play, worn with black or blue jeans, or my lovely Next black peplum pencil skirt for office days. I might even try adding a bit of bling with my Talullah Tu necklace and earring combo.

I also picked up another four Wallpaper guides for Antwerp, Athens, Marseille and Warsaw. I can't resist them, especially when they are reduced to 99p in The Book Warehouse in Islington. I totally forgot when I bought them that I had a picture of my collection on my phone, so I ended up with 2 copies of Athens, so one has already been regifted to a charity shop. On Saturday I ended up in another branch on Southampton Row, picking up Prague, Venice and Madrid too!

Laughing: On Tuesday night I went to the Laugh Out London comedy night at the gorgeous Old Queen's Head in Islington, which was brilliant. Comedians included Suzi Ruffell, who we had bought the tickets to see after seeing her perform at the Stand Up To Sexism night at the Harold Pinter Theatre last year. We also go to see Tom Rosenthal (him off Friday Night Dinner), Australian Claudia O'Doherty's hilarious Lighthouse Keeper character, completely mental and random Holly Burn and American comic Rich Fulcher, who were all brilliant, sending us home with sore faces from all the giggling. The comperes kept things going and got the audience involved, with prizes (we got an Easter Egg) and a bizarre school assembly rendition of Lord of the Dance which I've now had in my head for days, but all in all a bargain at £5.50 in advance. The next Laugh Out London night is on April 5th at the Camden Head and is only £3 a ticket! On April 15th is Laugh Out London's second birthday at The Old Queen's Head, with Tony Law and Stuart Lee - it's currently sold out but they are trying to add more seats - Go, See, Guffaw.

Ogling: On Wednesday, my buddy Laurel got tickets for Burn The Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre and so I accompanied her to that. I wasn't sure what to expect, knowing that it involved Strictly Come Dancing folk Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff, I thought it might be a bit cheesy, in the same set-up as the show which I generally don't watch on TV. It was not. It was a spectacular show, perfectly timed and choreographed dance after dance, seriously sexy and upbeat with amazing costumes. Several times we gasped at the sheer bendiness of the dancers, and left the show vowing to take up dancing again (I did ballet, modern and tap as a kid). Definitely recommended. I'm off to find my legwarmers and get on down to Pineapple Studios...

Making: On the subject of Laurel, she's got herself involved in the White Stuff's Crafternoons, teaching some of their workshops taking place in stores this week. Crafternoons are free to take part in and most materials are provided (you may be asked to supply a needle and thread of your own), so sign up fast before places go, in Brighton, Islignton, Nottingham, Horsham, Belfast, Marlow, Beaconsfield, Newbury, Truro and Wilmslow! You can also check out the White Stuff's tip for hosting your own!

Sniffling: This weekend I've picked up a bad cold, but my mother-in-law-to-be is visiting, so we've been showing her the sights, here's a pretty picture of St Paul's Cathedral for you. Yesterday we went to the Tate Modern, and today, we're off to British'll find me by a trail of snotty tissues.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Too many books, too little time...

I am in love with books. I can't stop buying them, collecting them, hoarding them. I reckon if I stopped working tomorrow due some unimaginable windfall, I'd still not be able to get through all the books I want to read/pore over in my lifetime. 

Fictionwise, I don't really buy books, I swap them. ReadItSwapIt is a great site, where you can list all of your books, then swap them with other users. They can request from your list and you see if there's anything they have that you want, and vice verse. Then you post them to each other, which means effectively new books for around £2.20 a piece. Brilliant! I've got a little obsessed with the site, I've had to ban myself from trawling it, although I do have certain books on my wishlist, so if they come up I get an email notification and I can pop onto the site and request them. Here's my list of books available for swapping. My current pile of books to read looks like this:
It's quite daunting, and yet I keep going to Foyles and making mental lists of the ones I want next. I can't stop myself. I also have so many beautiful craft, travel and recipe books, and combined with the fiance who collects comics, we have built up quite a collection. They are all stored, double stacked along with DVDs and games in our IKEA storage unit - you'll see that the left hand side is pretty much his side!

We currently flat-share, and will be for another year and a halfish until he finishes uni then we get married and set up a home again - when we lived in Sheffield we were living together as a couple for 5 years in much larger properties than London rents will allow, so it's been really hard to go back to living with other people, especially when that other person is really minimalist and doesn't understand why we like having so much stuff! When she moves in with her boyfriend is May, another friend is moving in who loves books as much as I do, so I am looking forward to not feeling guilty about owning stuff.

When we are settled and married, and of course rich, I look forward to having our books proudly displayed like this:
Design Milk

The latest in my collection, on my mind and on my wishlist are in the travel category.I am going to Paris this week for my birthday, which I am really looking forward to, I've not been to Paris as an adult so I can't wait.  I am also going to Melbourne in May! I am going with my mum and we booked it last week, we're going for 2 weeks to see my sister who is living there for a year. I am so excited to be going to the Actual Other Side of the World and to see my little sister for the first time since July last year!

Yesterday I trawled every charity shop between Archway and Covent Garden for travel books for these destination. I finally had some luck in the British Heart Foundation shop where I got this Lonely Planet guide to Melbourne for just £1, it's the 2002 edition, but the geography remains the same, and my sister can fill us in on the latest places to eat and shop. On the Paris front I admitted defeat in the charity shops and bought a mini guide by Lonely Planet from Foyles. I also have pictured above some books I got last Christmas, Markets of Paris, and Paris Made By Hand. I probably won't take these two with me as they'll weigh me down but I'm going to pore over them until our trip.

I also have a little obsession with the Wallpaper Travel Guides by Phaidon. I love that they come in different colours and can't stop buying them whenever I see them, even if I have no plans to go to that country any time soon! Gaps I have in my collection for places I have actually been to are Tallinn (I don't think they have one yet), Beijing and Shanghai, and now Melbourne, if I don't acquire it in the next couple of months! Here's my collection so far.

We also spent a large amount of time yesterday in the enormous Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road, where they have a stunning selection of books. I found this beauty: 36 Hours: USA & Canada, West Coast, produced by The New York Times which is a now firm feature on my wishlist as we are hoping to do a road trip for our honeymoon next Summer.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

My Week: Hair and Handbags

  • The Walking Dead. Love it so much. 
  • Siro-A's amazing show at Leicester Square Theatre, highly recommended. It's fairly short, but witty and awe-inspiringly well-choreographed. Book here. Sample it here. Click here quickly and you can get free tickets for this afternoon.
  • At Strada with Tesco vouchers (see post here). 2 mains, 2 desserts, one bottle of wine - £20 vouchers = £30, bargain.
  • A very naughty 2am KFC. Haven't done that for months. Was it worth it? I expect not!
  • Tonight: The Londoner's fish tacos, if I can just drag myself to the shop sometime in the next 8 hours to get some coriander and limes! Looking forward to it already, the recipe looks straightforward and foolproof.
  • A few weeks back I got an email telling me I'd won a Redken Smooth Locks Treatment at my local Supercuts. I had to have my hair tested to see if it was strong enough to take the treatment (and not over-processed). Supercuts is a walk-in salon, so I had to take my chances in terms of timing. I needed to stay in to try and get Beyonce tickets online at 9:30 but after they sold out in something like 10 minutes (which is a whole other rant) I hotfooted it down to Holloway Road and luckily the salon wasn't busy. First Wendy washed my hair with the Smooth Locks shampoo then applied the activator which is a very strong smelling substance indeed, not vomit-inducing but not pleasant either. The activator stayed on for 12 minutes before being rinsed out thoroughly (no unpleasant odour remained) and then the smooth sealer was put in before my hair was blowdried to perfection. The treatment is heat activated so blow-drying is an essential part. The results were great, I am blessed with having straight, manageable hair anyway, but it feels deliciously soft and light and looks really healthy, even after a night's sleep. The treatment which costs from £30 should last up to ten washes, longer if used with the Smooth Locks shampoo and conditioner. Here are the results:

  • I also picked up a mystery parcel from my local sorting office. Turns out I had won some Talullah Tu jewellery in a competition with Love it Magazine. It'll look great worn like the model with a strapless dress, or will dress up a plain t-shirt and jeans.

  • I went to the Orla Kiely sample sale in Clapham on Saturday (don't be jealous, I told you about it). I queued for about 25 minutes in the cold but boy was it worth it. I went with a particular bag in mind, which I'd seen in Mitsukoshi. but at £255 couldn't justify it (see my post here). That particular bag wasn't there, but this one was and I snapped it up at a much more palatable £120, it's an early birthday present to myself. It's a larger bag, but I like to have a big handbag anyway for notebooks, cameras etc, and it's a much more classic bag that will last me for years. It will actually probably be a good size for my upcoming one-nighter in Paris. Owning it makes me feel quite excited and nervous! This is the most I've ever spent on a bag and I know it's modest compared to some, but it's worth £345 according to this ebay listing (which has some much better pictures). I am going to take really good care of it, promise, I've already sprayed it with protective spray!

  • I also snapped up an Olive and Orange top for just £5. It's a simple top black/grey stripy long sleeved top (I've tried taking a picture but it's coming out all crazy, I can never get thin stripes to photograph well), one that will be great for all purposes, I can dress it up for work or dress it down for cosy weekends. Olive and Orange is Orla Kiely's diffusion brand which seems to have disappeared. The website is down, they haven't posted anything on Facebook or Twitter for a long time, and my online searching isn't bringing up any real results. Can anyone in the know shed any light on this for me?
  • While I was queuing to get into the sale, I got chatting to some ladies who'd travelled from Manchester to be there! They said that they'd heard about it through the Orla Kiely mailing list, but that usually the sale was held at Old Truman Brewery and that sometimes they hear about it through the venue before OK's own site, so I'm not taking any chances, I'm signing up for both newsletters and Sample Sales London, just to be on the safe side!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Speaking Words of Wisdom, Let It Be....

Last night I went to see Let It Be at the Savoy Theatre. I got tickets for the event through ShowFilmFirst, where I often get tickets for previews of shows and films. I went with two good friends, and we got fantastic 3rd row seats.I didn't know what to expect as I didn't know much about it, but the impression I got was that it would be a musical, like Mamma Mia or We Will Rock You, with Beatles songs built into a plot.The show started with a few songs from the earlier part of the Beatles' career, and after 4 songs I realised it wasn't a musical after all. There were several scene changes, taking us from the beginnings at the Cavern Club, through to the Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road eras but it was more of a heavily invested tribute act than a musical!

Although it wasn't what I was expected, I really enjoyed the show. The band were fantastic, and were so far into character it was easy to lose track of time and start to believe you were actually watching the Fab Four themselves (Reuven Gershon was the spit of John Lennon!).  The scenery and costumes were also spot on, especially Sgt. Pepper's, and the performance overall was great, and the whole eclectic audience looked like they were really enjoying themselves, you could see the nostalgia in the older crowd's eyes. Although I am not a Beatles mega-fan, I've always liked their music and the spirit of the whole thing was fantastic so I had a great time.
Photograph by Laurel Waldron

Let It Be opened at the Savoy Theatre on Friday 1st February after its run at the Prince of Wales Theatre, you can book tickets here, prices range from £26 to £76. Or you can book through Get Into London Theatre for as little as £15, a great gift for a Beatles-loving parent or relative!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Bites and Bags

January is finally over. It always feels like the longest month, but now that it's finished, it feels like not long at all until Spring and then best of all, Summer. I hate the winter months, I detest having to wrap up like a sausage roll, with the cold inevitably getting in anyway. I hate that after Christmas, there just feels like there's no damn reason for it to be this cold. I hate being constantly hunched up from trying to keep warm against the bitterness of it all. In summer time I feel much more relaxed, my shoulders are less tense, I don't have to wear so much makeup. Last summer was a bit of a wash-out, but I am looking forward to this year's, I have high hopes for some real heat.

This Saturday my mum came to visit and I showed her the delights of North London. She was raised in South London and has been in Kent for most of her adult life so had never spent any time in the north of the capital. It was her birthday last weekend, so I took her to Ottolenghi for lunch, which was incredible. There was a bit of a queue, we met at about 11 at Angel and headed straight there for lunch as had seen the queue on the way past earlier on. We queued for about 20 minutes before we could be seated, and then were treated to an incredible feast. The lunch special comprised one main item with 2 or 3 salads at about £13 or £16 respectively. We went for the 3 option, so that we could sample as much as possible.I opted for the mushroom quiche with the famous broccoli (which I'd been curious about since I read Stella Newman's mention), Jerusalem artichokes and butternut squash, while mum had the beef with aubergine, maftoul and red cabbage and we each tried each others. Everything was sublime. All of it. We didn't have a drink, or any dessert as the meal was so filling, and surprisingly reasonable at the £16 each mentioned above. You can see the lunch menu here.

I'd advise turning up fairly early, while the queue moved fairly quickly on this occasion it can apparently get really busy later on. They were still serving breakfast alongside lunch, which also looked amazing. It was a lovely dining experience, and I'm popping all of the cookbooks on my wishlist so that one day I can achieve such culinary delights in my own home.
Those famous salads on display

We spent the rest of the day mooching around Islington and had a lovely time with only a small drama when I left one of my bags in Costa and had to run halfway along Upper Street to retrieve it. I got this New Look  jumper dress from the Cancer Research UK store for a princely £5.95. I debated whether it was too Christmassy (the Christmas jumper trend got quite ridiculous this year, with people seemingly chosing to spend their hard-earned on the ugliest things they could find), but decided that it was just Christmassy enough and if I had to endure another month or two of this cold, I might as well have a reminder of the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Mum and I went to M&S, which is a place I rarely shop but recently have been finding more and more appealing. This time, the items that caught my attention were this bag and scarf.

Marks and Spencers
Orla Kiely
Whilst I was running along Upper Street, the strap of my blue leather satchel broke again which will have to be repaired. I love bags thought have managed to be quite disciplined in recent years and keep the stash to a minimum, but at the moment I have two bags that I can only use the hand strap on until I get them repaired, and I really am a shoulder-strap kinda gal. I've decided that if I get a bonus this month (it's the end of our financial year, but it's not been the best year so looks unlikely), I am going to treat myself to this Orla Kiely Caramel Mocha stunner. If I don't get my bonus, I'll settle for repairing my existing ones and console myself with the M&S number!

This week I've had the pleasure of going to a preview of a new comedy phenomenon, The Comedy Store: Raw and Uncut which is basically a series of Comedy Store stand-up shows, recorded and played in cinemas across the country from this month. I particularly enjoyed the performances of Addy Van der Borgh and Louis Ramey (who is a filthy, filthy man!), and will be seeking out more of their work. The whole experience of watching a stand-up show in a cinema was odd but not unpleasant, at times I nearly clapped and cheered alongside the crowd onscreen but managed to stop myself just in time!

I've just got back from seeing Hitchcock at the cinema, another preview screening. I really enjoyed the film, Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren were both fantastic, even Scarlett Johannsson was pretty good as Janet Leigh (but that bloody D&G advert makes me want to stab myself in the ear). It's made me want to watch ALL of Hitchcock's movies and learn a bit more about him and Alma. It's in cinemas nationwide from 8th February. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Winter Pampering

I have had an underlying feeling of general GROT for the last week or so, not surprising with the weather we've had and the fact that all my colleagues have been ill recently, it was only a matter of time really. I felt super yucky on the bus home yesterday, and woke up this morning feeling naff, so decided to allow myself to get better and call in sick. Naturally by the afternoon I felt much better and got that hideous guilty feeling that perhaps I should have gone to work after all. That always happens, but I knew this morning that if I went in, I wouldn't have lasted the day.

This afternoon I had a little pamper to try and feel a bit more human. I got some Soap and Glory goodies for Christmas, including The Daily Smooth body butter and Scrub, Actually body scrub and Girligo body mist, which I slathered and sprayed, in the appropriate order. I really like Soap and Glory products, they smell delightful, work really well and are really good value. They are nearly always on offer in Boots, they're 3for2 at the moment (GO!).

I've also been trying to be better at moisturising. I received some gorgeous Elemis day and night creams for Christmas so I've been using them as religiously as I can remember to. Elemis products are pricier at around £40, but even after using for a short time, I can see why, my skin is silky baby soft at a time of year when it should by rights be feeling much crustier!

Pampering wouldn't be pampering without a big fluffy robe to do it in. Another Christmas gift for me, I was well and truly spoilt this year! My last robe was a fleece one, a Christmas gift about 12 years ago so I was long overdue a new one, and I found this one in Debenhams and directly my mum promptly to it. It's so soft, and makes me feel relaxed and cosy within seconds of putting it on.

Lovely Fluffy goodness
I've had a fairly busy old time recently, work has been manic with various team members being off and the weekend passed in a blur as usual. Here's what I've been doing:

Watching: Green Wing (old school hilarity), Breaking Bad (stunningly gripping, or grippingly stunning, I haven't decided), Movie 43 (odd. Very odd).

Listening: More Les Mis and showtunes courtesy of Elaine Paige - yesterday I had EPOS to thank for the fact that I had Hakuna Matata in my head ALL day.

Eating: An indulgent day on Saturday, I ate in Food for Thought which is an amazing vegetarian cafe/restaurant in Covent Garden, I've been going there for over 10 years, fantastically filling and healthy food. I also ate an amazing pork and chorizo burger at The Calf in Clapham on Saturday night. There might have even been a naughty cake in Le Pain Quotidien in between, but who can resist a chocolate fondant slice? Sunday, even naughtier, I popped to my good friend Laurel's who treated me to some amazing cake which she's entering into a competition. I'd post a picture but I don't want to compromise her chances of winning (and to my mind, she's got a blimmin' good chance)!
Food for Thought
Buying: Payday this month could not have come quickly enough. I treated myself to a case for my tablet which is on it's way from Hong Kong, as below, in my favourite shade of blue. Once it comes I might even be brave enough to leave the house with my tablet. 
Super kitsch tablet case
Laughing: This Tumblr is hilarious and combines two of my favourite things, Les Mis and Mean Girls

Losing: My efforts in walking, WeightWatching (apart from this weekend, ahem) and abstaining from booze have culminated in me losing 11lb as at last Wednesday. I'm weighing in this Friday to get the final end of Dryathlon result so I can pester my colleagues to sponsor me pound for pound!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Les Miserables and other epic tales...

I went to the cinema yesterday to see Les Miserables. It was AMAZING. I saw the stage show a couple of years ago with my family for my mum's 60th birthday, and at the time I didn't know much about it, so found it fairly tricky to follow the story. The film was incredible. Lengthy, but incredible. I went with a good friend who is a lover of musicals, she wept all the way through, and I shed a good few tears too, it's an epic and beautiful story. Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks were stunning, Eddie Redmayne delicious, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter hilarious, and Hugh Jackman fantastic. A real tear-jerker.

 Loved every second and have been listening to the songs since, as well as looking at everything Les Mis I can find online. This Clothbound Classics edition of the book has gone straight on my wishlist. I've been listening to Elaine Paige on Sunday this afternoon and looking up cheap theatre tickets online. I've even found this tumblr, with musical inspired outfits!

Whilst obsessing about the film, I came across the news that The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet is being made into a movie. This is a book I got for Christmas the year before last and still haven't got round to reading. Why? It's completely gorgeous and feels like a special treat, which I haven't got round to allowing myself to enjoy yet. But this snowy Sunday feels like the right time to start.

Now Elaine's finished, I am off to start my fiction feast and listen to more showtunes....Bugsy Malone, Annie and Chicago perhaps....

Monday, 14 January 2013

Information is Beautiful

On a Christmas shopping trip in Stanfords I spotted this book and gasped with delight, and my boyfriend, being incredibly perceptive, bought it for me for Christmas. I love infographics, what's not to love about data presented in a visually appealing way? Or as David McCandless says in the intro, "miscellaneous facts and ideas, interconntected visually. A visual miscellaneum. A series of experiments in making information approachabe and beautiful."

Information is Beautiful is an incredible website, where the images printed in the book are hosted, and is funded by the sale of posters, prints and books. This is one of my favourites so far, taken from the site (click on the caption link to view it large-scale  on it's own site). The book I am devouring slowly. It's too special to gobble up in one go. 
I have a Pinterest board for infographics here, though it doesn't look like I've updated it for a while.

Going beyond getting me this incredible book, my boyfriend then went one better. He made me my very own infographic-inspired print, which made for a very emotional Boxing Day when we swapped gifts! He designed the whole thing then had it printed A2 size and framed, very thoughtful and touching. This image of it barely does it justice, it's stunning.

I hope to use the top section, with the places we've been, for our wedding invitations. I am imagining the same reproduced in whatever colour scheme we go for, with an extra place marked, for the venue we decide on (hopefully in a few weeks time when we've done some more visiting).