Monday, 28 November 2011

Pippa Middleton's £400k Book Party

My dear Mr Penguin,

I am writing to let you know that I too can throw a party! Great big fantabulous event-type-parties? Tick.  Intimate dinner parties at home.  Tick.  Tick.  The most funnest kids party on the block?  Tick.  Private party in dimly-lit-whispered-about-only-restaurants?  Tick. And I'm pretty wicked when it comes to entertaining guests.  Hint: Always keep your guests wineglasses topped up.  That way, they will provide much of the entertainment themselves.  I can create swans out of paper napkins, I am well-versed with the tricks of down lighting, decorating cupcakes and making ones own Christmas wreath from handpicked holly and mistletoe!  And I can shop till I drop, I have shiny brown hair - and yes, I'll answer to Princess.  And I write, godamnit, I write - I love writing, it's a passion for me.  *weeps, spills blood onto keyboard* 

So how do I feel about Pippa Middleton reportedly agreeing to an offer of £400k with yourselves?  Well now, I'd love to say I'm torn - but I'm not really.  Let's face it - Miss P has an enormous following, thanks in part to media attention - and yes, that little fact that she's Prince Williams sister-in-law.  What?  Oh yes, the arse -apparently, its quite delectable, much prettier than mine.

But let's keep focus here, the truth is, a lot of publishers wanted that deal and it went to the highest bidder.  Miss P can throw parties, she is after all an event planner so yes, qualified in that matter.  A party for £400k?   I suspect, a lot of people on this humble planet could do that, blindfolded - for half the cost.  Pardon?  Oh, right...their name is not Middleton.  Well, my dear Penguin, I'm not sure who will turn out to look like a total arse when the party planners book is finally released in time for Christmas next year - but I'm raising my Tiffany champagne flute and saying - jolly good for her!  After all, if we were all in her LK Bennett shoes right now, we'd be signing on the bottom line, yes?


Team Pippa, all the way!


PS:  If you need a writer for future party events - do feel free to contact me.
PPS:  For the record, I don't own a pair of LK Bennetts and I'm proud of that.
PPPS:  I am just as undateable as her though.

A/N:  So lovelies, tell me - how do you really feel about Pippa's book deal?  Yah, nay or dare I say, yawn?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Friday's Fabulous Five To Unwind

It has been a particularly insane week - and it's almost the end of November.  Um, yes, yes it is.  Is anyone else chasing their own tail?  Please say yes, otherwise, I'll have to curl up in the foetal position tonight and worry that I'm different... and... oh, sorry.  Anyhow, back to crazy Friday, I've been pondering ways to relax, in style.  Here's my fabulous five for today:

1.  Pamper me baby, pamper me real good... and I mean it.  Take yourself off to a spa, close the door on the rest of the world for a while, slip into a lovely robe and let someone else take care of you.  Massage anyone?  Um, yes please.  This is my plan for Sunday (wish me luck)

2.  Shopping - this can be a team sport, or as an individual.  I find it's helpful to bribe a BFF into coming along, as Confucius say 'many hands make light work' which translates to 'more shopping bags for you.'  Just remember to feed and water your BFF during the expedition, and let them rest now and, whilst you're trying on your umpteenth pair of Louboutins.

3.  Music makes the people come together...yeah... thanks Madge.  Yes it does, and karaoke is an old favourite of mine.  No giggling down the back.  I do, you know.  And my latest headset  makes the most wonderful prop for those essential 'Britney Spears' moments.  I recommend it.  You know, when no-ones watching.  Oh baby, baby indeed.  

4.  Get thee a friend who can cook - or better still - grab several BFFs and head out for supper-dinner-lunch-brunch.  Pick a place, somewhere fab and just like, do it?

5.  Recline in Style.  Possibly my own personal favourite.  Find a darkly-lit room, add a little ambience with your favourite candles, place cocktail glass on table, arrange self ever-so-elegantly on the sofa - reach for remote - and exhale...  Perfect positioning for napping, which essentially is the ultimate way to rejuvenate.   Tell me, how do you unwind after a busy week?  

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Poem: One Sweet Kiss

It was raining that day as I rushed from the train,
Your chocolate mocha eyes glanced my way,
You turned away too soon but I knew, 
My heart had already noticed you too.

And I watched as you walked through the crowds,
A sea of faces, A facade that fades
And all that remained unwavering was,
Your searching smile, Your charming style
I held my breath 

It was sunny that last day we met,
Under the trees, A cool sea breeze,
You didn't say goodbye and I could have wept 
As your soft red lips touched mine
 I knew as you did, that this would be 
Our one sweet kiss

Photocredits via tumblr

One Sweet Kiss © T.Loto All rights reserved.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Book Review: Room

Room is the size of a small shed and home to a young woman and her five year old son, Jack - the narrator of this story.  Through Jack's story, we learn that 'Ma' was abducted when she was 19 years old and Jack is the son whom she bore as a result of being raped by her kidnapper.

I have to be honest, I put off reading this book because the subject matter is so taboo.  We hear stories of abductions in the news, of young children being kept in cellars and it's bone-chillingly awful stuff because its real.  This is the first piece of fiction I've come across that was inspired by such a cruel reality but the narration is incredibly innocent that you forget about who Jack's father is and the circumstances that bought him into this world.  The focus is on Jack and Ma's relationship and their rehabilitation back into society.

It's a tale of a son's love for his mother, it's a reflection on parenting and the natural instinct to protect your own.  Ma has tried to protect Jack from the reality of Room and the random nightly visits of her kidnapper, old Nick.  Each day, Ma and Jack make up games, watch TV and these daily rituals give them a sense of purpose; some days though Ma is 'gone', she doesn't move from her bed and Jack is left to fend for himself on days like that.  And the language of the book is unique, Jack draws you into his world - you begin to recognise a pattern - objects are given names, there's Rug, Table, Meltedy Spoon and Plant - and you feel the childlike connection that Jack has with each of these.  In the first part of the book, the major conflict is dealt with early, Ma hatches a plan for them both to escape and we are taken outside of Room into a world which provides challenges to both Ma and Jack.  

What I liked about this story? It tackled a taboo subject, it is unique and Jack's narration is lovely.  What I found difficult?  The latter part of the story seems to fall away from the first part, for me it was a little jilted.  What I loved about it?  The ending is bittersweet, but oh so good.  If you don't cry at that stage, I will be surprised!  This story is cleverly written, it will make you laugh, give your heartstrings a mighty old tug, and tears will be splattered across pages but it's very good read.  I definitely recommend it - just keep a box of tissues handy.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Express Yourself In Black'n'White

Postcards with an edge
Yesterday, I ventured into London's National Portrait Gallery to view the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize for 2011.  Ignoring the shuffling old man in beige overcoat who seemed to be lurking at my side for most of the afternoon, I think for the princely sum of £2, yes that was the entrance fee, it was well worth the visit.  Did I mention the wannabe-model-lookalike and her stage mother who also lingered longer than necessary in front every single portrait I wanted to view?  The sheer cheek of some folks...what do you mean it's a public gallery?  Oh... I see.  Moving right along...

I love photography, like writing, -it's another creative medium to build stories, paint colourful landscapes and whole other worlds.   To escape, or indeed, or run away from.  Portraits are so personal though, the expressions of the subjects captured for all eternity.  I'll be honest, I wasn't enamoured with this year's prize-winning portrait, which incidentally is a young girl holding a guinea pig.  For me, though, there were several incredible images of people from gritty backgrounds which easily provided inspiration for characters and stories.  Oh yes, I left with at least two ideas under my peacoat.

My favourites?  I was drawn to the Malega, the Ethiopian boy photographed by Mario Marina, something about his expression really haunted me.  Masayo Ito's portrait of a Japanese family in a cemetery took me back to Tokyo; Maja Daniel's identical twins 'Monette and Mady' bought a smile to my lips - elderly sisters living in Paris,  who still wear synchronised outfits and their hair? Bright red.  Quirky always does it for me.  If you live in the city or are visiting London soon, you should pop along for a browse.  And afterwards, do check out perhaps the best view in the gallery on level three - afternoon tea at the bar with a stunning rooftop vista of London?  A perfect sunday.

London's rooftops, perhaps the best view in the gallery

Friday, 11 November 2011

Will The Real Miss Jones Please Stand Up?

Last week, London was alight, outraged, and dare I say, amused with the spectacular rant of a certain lady journalist. In case you missed her column, jump here - beware, you will either collapse in disgust or die of laughter.  Let me know what your thoughts...too much information or not? She certainly provoked an abundance of reactions, extreme in themselves.

I'm not a prude but my eyebrows were raised, momentarily. Do we share too much of ourselves online in the public arena? And when we get down to the root of things, is what you share - really you or a figment of the person that you want people to think you are?  I try to keep my musings to writing and topics that inspire me.  But let's be honest, if you're writing and networking online, you do cultivate friendships - its human nature.  People want to know you as a person, right?  Behind all those avatars and profiles are living breathing individuals - people, real people - and networking is about making connections between people not pixels.  You successfully connect or not.  It's not a popularity contest...wait, no, maybe... who knows, sometimes?  

Shocking opening lines, provocative clothing, rocking badass tattoos -all attention grabbing in their own way, non? At the end of the day, whatever her motivation, Ms Jones' cringe-worthy confessional rocked our world for a day, for better or worse, the lady caused a stir and were we not entertained?  I certainly was, exceedingly so. And I was inspired -not like that, but by knowing that I do not wish to become that old lady with the cat.  That is a promise. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to throw out all my Bridget Jones underpants -clearly, they are not controversial enough. From now on, it's commando...well, except for Sundays.

A/N:  Hello Lovelies, it's been another busy one in London but as one of my favourite great-aunts used to say "if I don't get up to walk everyday, I'm scared that one day I might never be able to."  Take what you will from that gem, I guess as long as we're moving, we're alive, right?  This weekend, though, I'm hoping for a little relaxation, writing and an art show.  Nothing too strenuous.  What's on your diary?  Talei xox  

Monday, 7 November 2011

Throw Me A Line, Draw Me In...

You know when you pick-up a book, read through the opening chapter and precede to carry it around the bookstore whilst browsing other titles?  You really liked the opening lines, it had a voice, it spoke to you - and yet, you choose to ignore it, unceremoniously tossing it on the '3 for 2' bargain table, opting for another book instead.  Don't feel sorry for it because it actually wins out.  Several days later, those opening lines are still etched in your subconscious and your inner muse is shaking her head at you.  "Why the devil didn't you buy the book?!" she taunts, unsympathetically.  "Why didn't you make me?" you reply, tartly.  Wait...I'm having a conversation with myself?  

Of course, you can't remember the title but that line - it was something about nuns and why you will never see a photograph of a nun while she is alive because they only allow themselves to be photographed when they are dead.  Something to do with vanity. You see what happens when you ignore the muse?  It gets you in the end.  Desperate to find the book, I unashamedly googled "Dead Nuns + Photo + opening line of novels."  Yes, I did.   Alas, it turned up zilch on the Nun story but I did find 100 Best First Lines via i love english literature  and, The Best 100 Opening Lines From Books via  - do check them out.  Here's a few that may bring a smile to your face.  

"Where's Papa going with that axe?"  - Charlottes Web, E.B White.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.

"Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself" - Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins." Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

"I will not drink more than fourteen alcohol units per week" - Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Felding.

"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu" Waiting, Ha Jin.

"It was a dark and stormy night...."  Paul Clifford, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton  (sorry couldn't resist this one)

A/N:  Lesson learnt, I promise never to turn up my nose at memorable lines.  And if anyone knows of the book which fits my 'nuns +photo' google search criteria, please let me know - I'll be eternally grateful. * Deep sigh*   Talei xox


Friday, 4 November 2011

Book Review: David Nicholls' One day

I confess, I bought this novel at the start of the year but I didn't actually read it until recently and I admit with all the hype surrounding it and the movie - I had high expectations.  The main protagonists are Emma and Dexter, two graduating students who although they have known each other at a distance - actually get it together on their last night at university in Edinburgh and after an awkward 'morning after' - they part company to start their brave new lives in the big bold world.  Dexter strikes out across the globe; Emma moves to London; both hold down an assortment of jobs throughout the book.  We follow their lives as they unfold - on St Swithin's Day, every year, over the course of twenty years.  It's a wonderful concept for a book, right?

David Nicholl's weaves a great story, its a hefty read at just over 400 pages but once you settle into Emma and Dexter's lives, you may wish it were longer.  As I ploughed through each chapter I found myself willing them on, wondering if they would ever get it together again and of the two characters I found myself drawn to Dexter.  What I liked about this book?  I loved the dialogue, the humour and yes, even the 'emotional bits' that moved me to tears.  I particularly enjoyed the setting too - although there are a few small scenes in Europe, the majority of the story is set in London and all the characters are believable, it felt like, well, they could be anyone living down the street from me.  What I didn't like so much? Well, lets just say there's a bittersweet moment...towards the end and leave it at that.

Overall, it's a wonderful story about two souls who loved each other, their relationships with other people and with each other.  It's a great reminder that despite the ups and downs, life does indeed go on and thats the thing about this story - it keeps moving, its fluid, just like real life.  I haven't watched the film yet but I definitely recommend the book, well-written and entertaining!