Saturday, 31 December 2011

Be All That You Can Be

We're on the cusp of another new year and I haven't made any resolutions, I think they may come tomorrow.   Resolutions are for the most resolute, those who will keep them.  For me - I find its best not to make promises one may not be able to keep.  I know, I know.  My philosophy this year? It's new years eve - if you're not one for resolutions, make a wish and don't tell anyone...

I want to wish everyone the very best for 2012.  Peace, happiness, love and all that good stuff.  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and read my musings, I absolutely adore every one of you... okay, maybe not the lurkers down the back in raincoats.  Still, though...a pleasure, my friends.  I lift my champagne flute to you, ahem... a toast!

Make a wish...
Here's to being all that you can be in 2012! 

Photocredits via tumblr

Monday, 19 December 2011

Festive Jollies and Frothy Concoctions

Another drink darling?  Well, why not? It is Christmas after all!  I will be honest though, this festive season, dear friends - I have been particularly well-behaved, less swinging from chandeliers, less killing myself to attend every single invite that falls through the letterbox and surprisingly, I really do feel better for it.  Finally, mother dearest - I've grown-up.  

Well, I'd like to think I'm wiser but I am reminded constantly that this contrary to reality.  However, if we delve deeper - what the devil is reality anyway?  In another parallel universe, I confess that I have in fact, preferred washing my hair to hanging out in dimly-lit bordellos listening to folk bemoan the state of the Euro, their partner's shopping habits and small family pets with uncontrollable urges.  Not necessarily in that order.  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas parties but I'm learning that being selective can be good for your own sanity.  Less vampire eyes, skin more perky in the morning...  

Anyhow, enough waffle - if you've been angelic thus far, or indeed, recovering from the giddiness of some serious shopping sprees, I 'm guessing that you just may be in need of a pick-me-up.  Kick-off your heels, slide back into that sofa and relax.  So many fabulous folks have covered off the wonderful Christmas gift ideas, therefore, my offering to your festive spirit?  Why, cocktails, of course.  I know, I know - don't worry - I've got your back.  Pull out that cocktail shaker, dust off the ice-pick and roll up those sleeves.  Here's my helpful guide on what to serve, when and to whom.

1. Sweet sherry in a dainty glass, this one is for those delightful elderly aunts and demure Grandmas.  Pour liberally...better yet, leave the bottle next to the old dears.

2.  Hot Spiced Cinnamon Cider, usually the prelude to something stronger... so serve the night before, in front of fire, whilst waiting for the Big Guy to arrive.

3.  Christmas Punch, no-one ever knows what ingredients go into the punch bowl but the results are always worth the stirring and adjusting.  Always spike lovingly and serve to the late-arriving cousins who clearly did not make it home last night... Don't worry, they'll barely notice.

4.  Sticky sweet sparkling wine, usually German, mostly Italian - one for my mother and the potty-mouthed elderly ladies... oh, theres a few in my family tree.  Yes, someone will have sore heads in the morning but still...

5.  Baileys Mistletoe, creamy cocktail with splash of mint - best served to yummy mummies returning to the booze cabinet... wait, can I say that?

6.  Peach Schnapps, one to chase away the cold whilst waiting for midnight mass to start...sipped discreetly from hip-flask.  Um, no I've never done that... it's just an idea, ahem.

7.  Classic Martini - with lashing of olives.  For your kindred spirits, the older siblings who will likely be puffing on cigars with you at the end of the evening.

8.  Champagne, well chilled! Don't forget - plenty of enthusiastic toasts!  Just do it!

9.  Virgin Mary on Boxing Day... add lashings of tabasco and serve on a breakfast tray with a dose of Berocca - a truly winning combination that your family and friends will thank you for it! Be warned, though - if you serve this, they may be back next year.

photocredits via tumblr

PS: And anyone asking for a beer?  Send directly to the naughty mat underneath the Christmas tree or better yet, seat them at the children's table for lunch.  Oh, yes I will.

A/N:  Hello Lovelies, this has been an incredibly busy year.  I hope everyone is well and enjoying the festive season.  I've actually managed to tick a few gifts off my list this weekend and a few more lunches and dinners this week will see me through to Friday.  I will be taking a blogging holiday until mid-January with a plan to focus on my writing projects and if I'm lucky - absorb several books from my ever increasing reading pile. I will be flitting around in the ether no doubt!  Wishing you and your loved ones, a very jolly christmas!   Bottoms up Lovelies!  *clink clink*   - Talei xox

Monday, 12 December 2011

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: Broken Headboards and Feathers

Let me break it down for you, by now - we have all heard, inhaled, read, assimilated Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga, right?  Great, so this review will be succinct and yes, a little frivolous.  Anyone seeking a serious review should go straight to 'google' now.   I'm going to by-pass the usual fluffy build up on the plot because we know -it's about a slightly twisted love triangle between a young girl called Bella,  the incredibly striking Edward Cullen, who just happens to be a 117 year old Vampire, and the extremely buff werewolf, Jacob Black.  Following the saga thus far, you will have read Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse - yes?  If you've jumped headfirst into Breaking Dawn Part 1 - you are in deep trouble and just like a game of snakes and ladders - I suggest you slide down the ladder, to the start and endure all preceding movies, like the rest of us.

Breaking Dawn is the final instalment of the Twilight Saga, and it was an elephant of a book to read - and indeed lug around in my handbag.  I'm sorry?  It was in big print and easy to read?  Oh.  I had a hardback and I think the sheer weight of it justifies the splitting of the film into two parts.  Was it greed or need by Summit Entertainment?  Who knows, but the first few minutes of BD - Part 1 had me shifting uncomfortably - did we really need to see Bella turn off the light and go to bed? Hell no!  Luckily, my bag of peanut M&M's provided the required sugar hit and things improved from the honeymoon scene on Isle Esme.

What I enjoyed about this movie?

  • They actually GOT married - hurrah! Finally, we can all get some sleep.
  • An exotic island getaway, broken headboards and feathers galore!  YES.  
  • Jacob's wardrobe budget must have been increased - a low count of ripped t shirts in this one.
  • Bella's Wedding dress was quite delightful - a Caroline Herrera design - now available for any discerning Bella Brides out there... as is her engagement ring, music, bedroom furniture... 
  • Charlie Swan - aka Bella's father, played by Billy Burke, totally THE man.  I heart him, yes I do.
  • The comedy between the old school friends (i.e the non vampires)
  • The spooky cleaning lady from Isle Esme...she should have her own side drama.
  • Seth, the cute little werewolf with a conscience - so sweet and naive but still... Boo Boo Stewart rocks!
  • Chemistry within the twi-love-triangle, I felt it... it was there, almost tangible, ahem...
  • The little Volturi kicker at the end of the credits...

What I found a little disturbing?

  • The Wig collection - and yes, I do like the odd wig and powdered historical drama - but this is Twilight!
  • Rosalie's wig in particular irked me, luckily the mole on her face is equally distracting so it balanced out.
  • Bella's Mum, sorry I mean Mom, I have no other reason - I just find the character, er grating.
  • Carlisle's make-up... yes, I know, he's a Vampire but really, powder much?
  • Jacob's wardrobe - I mean come on, you build us up to see his powerful abs in New Moon and Eclipse...and then you put him back in clothes for Breaking Dawn?  *pouts* 
  • The rather jolted acting of several sub-characters...Alice, Rosalie, Jasper...maybe it was the lighting or the editing, I don't know- were they just too good at playing frozen Vampires?
Overall, yes - there was plenty of cheese throughout the film but for all the kitsch dream sequences in this one, its still essentially a love story, right?  I gave it a 3/4 bag of peanut M&M's - if you're already part of the gazillion plus fan-base - you're going to see it anyway.  Captive audience indeed.  I'm hoping for a bloody big battle in the final of the movies.  BRING IT. 

Photocredit via tumblr

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Taxi to Bethnal Green and Early Childhood

"The world of reality has it's limits; the world of imagination is boundless" 
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss philosopher, 1712-1778

Interior of the V&A Early Childhood Museum
Heading into East London usually starts with a few drinks, a suggestion of the best curry house in the city and somewhere in between it involves a ride in a black London taxi.  Not so this crisp autumnal morning, though we did hail your quintessential Essex old-boy cabbie, full of witty banter and anecdotes, easily encouraged with the occasional nod and carefully inserted sighs of "Oh... I had no idea?!"  Lovely chap, really.  As he drove, my attention focused on the streets outside, glass towers turned into housing estates, brown brick facades, flashes of green and asian shopfronts; we entered the bleakness known locally as Bethnal Green, only it wasn't bleak - it was pretty damn vibrant.  Scribe Junior barely noticed, he sat - furrowed brow, completely immersed in his 'Where's Wally' book,  scanning his favourite page - a particularly sinister scene containing gazillion images of Vampires and Rockstar types who resembled members of Kiss.  Yes, I'm not sure that means either. 

Old-Essex-boy insisted on pulling up directly outside our final destination - The V&A's Museum of Early Childhood, a wonderful Grade II listed building which housed the original museum opened by the Prince of Wales back in 1872.  See - stick with me, I know things... okay, that was courtesy of Wikipedia.  And, no, no - not that Charlie.  Anyhow, its an impressive building where you will uncover that most wonderful collection of toys, lovingly donated, bought together for the enjoyment of children - and you know, the odd parent or two.  It's a great place to wander through at your own place, or at break neck speed with Scribe Junior - we spent time with the interactive games on the ground floor before heading for the GIANT Robot and Dolls houses on the mezzanine level.  Oh, and we played Snakes and Ladders, sans the dice.  Trust me, imagination is a wild thing and this place encourages full use of the grey matter.

If you are ever in London and have a couple of hours up your sleeve - hail a cab, grab the tube, or a bumpy bus ride and head over to Bethnal Green, this museum is quite delightful, its completely free, though a small donation is encouraged, ahem.  And don't worry, you don't need a child at your side to visit, even big people are welcome!  Just remember to share, okay?

Photocredit via yours truly (myself)


Monday, 5 December 2011

Love Not Hate

Do you remember how hard life was as a young teenager?  You were no longer a child, not quite an adult, stuck in limbo, waiting to grow those beautiful wings and well, make a break for freedom from your parents house.  I remember school - my friends, uncontrollable laughter, comradery, the anxiety of exams, sport days, school balls, the sheer will of watching the clock at the front of the science lab.  And I remember the tears.  No-one makes it through school without tears.  Myself, I moved between groups all the time, it was easy for me, I didn't stick with just one clique.  Lord knows why but no-one ever judged me for that.  I just did it and I still do it.

The sad thing is that, there were kids who seemed to be constantly 'picked-on' but in my days, bullying was not a word we used.  It was either 'teasing' or 'making fun' of someone.  In hindsight, teachers and parents dressed it up, sanitised it so much that in the end it sounded like an unfortunate sneeze on the eve of a debutantes ball.  To name it correctly - is to acknowledge it's existence.  Bullying was an ugly form of behaviour and god forbid that it actually existed.  But exist, it did, I remember one girls tears after being teased about her family; I remember another being taunted about being a redhead, freckle-faced and yes, she was fat, that didn't go unnoticed. And I remember someone actually peeing their pants at school, only to be further ridiculed.  Children can be naive, yes they can be cruel with their honesty - but it's when they unwittingly unleash a pack mentality, that they are at their most lethal.  Goodness knows, we all like to 'fit'; no-one likes to stand out or be picked on.  Well, most of us, right?

As I watched Jonah Mowry's video, tears streamed down my face, it was one of the most gut-heart-soul-wrenching recordings I've viewed in recent times. Yes, I'm an emotional girl sometimes but his simple message is so poignant.  'He has a million reasons to be here' - just like everyone else on this planet.  'Love not Hate' is the message.  When I see this video, I wonder how many kids from my school went home and felt exactly as Jonah did here.  And I hear you - what can anyone do about these kids who bully?  Well, here's the other thing, its a learned behaviour, kids aren't born that way - they assimilate, they take on values of those around them.  If you hate, they hate; if you love, they love.  It's simple really, yes?   And now I'll step down off my soap box.  I just had to get that off my chest.

Jonah Mowry's video via youtube

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Reflections: Five Faces Of Silly

Hush...did you hear?  December has arrived.  Finally.  Christmas jingles, sparkly lights, orange boxes, pretty ribbons, shopping sprees...however did we survive the eleven months prior without such colour and cheer?  Actually, the festive season has been with us for much of this year.  By my not-so-whimsical-scientific-approximation, since Summer when Harrods and Selfridges threw open their Christmas department floors.  Oh yes, even back then.  What's that about markets and trading and the world gone mad?  If you were clever, like my neighbour down the street, you'd have left your decorations hanging up from last year.  I have never seen the old guy but his fairy lights come on at night, every night, 365 days of the year.  Anyhow, 22 days and counting, bring on the duck, puddings and wine!

Here's five reflections of what's important to me over this silly season. Gucci, LV, Dior... ahem,  yes those - but I'm much more than that!  Here's what I love about the wintry month of Christmas.

1.  Family, love them dearly!  Miss them when they're not around, wish them away when they are...wait am I thinking aloud?  Love them really!

2.  Friends, see above...

3.  Frivolity, yes - this is an order! We must have jolly good fun - life is about living and December's Child, in my books is all about fun.  She's about celebrating the essence of love and life and oh... I may combust right now - buckets of frivolous fluff to you!  There's a reason it's called the silly season, yes?

4.  Fabulous food and fine champagne.  Indeed, it's the month from the entire year that you can indulge your guilty pleasures.  Chocolates, bubbly, cheese... let your senses go wild with the culinary treats.  And do pull on your boots and walk it off at the park later!

5.  Christmas eve, the fire is lit, all is quiet... that is by far, my favourite moment in this season.  Quiet anticipation, excitement of what's to come and a peaceful evening before the god-forsaken family them really.

Photocredit via tumblr

A/N:  Do let me know what you love about December.  I could add at least ten more but you know, then it wouldn't be five for Friday - and yes, I know its Saturday but someone went out last night.. Ahem. This weekend entails a little shopping, relaxing and manuscript revisions.  And lists - I am making lists of everything I need to do before the new year! Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!
T xox