you’ve got mail

Once in a while you get an email that just puts the biggest smile on your face and a bounce in your step for the whole day. When I received a message from Hayley – a friend whom I met when we worked together at our very first jobs at a sports shop – it did just that. Hayley had read my post ‘at home with bluebellgray’ and had been inspired to colour code her bookshelf (she’s a girl after my own heart) and sent me a picture of the result. It’s such a simple concept, but it turns the display of books into a real feature. By the way, loving the fact that David Beckham’s biography stands out!
If you come across anything on {what you fancy} that inspires you, let me know through email, Facebook or Twitter, so that I can post more of the same. And, I gotta tell you… it absolutely makes my day.

Thank you so much, Hayley 🙂

a rose by any other name

So, it’s upon us. It’s February, it’s a Monday, and it’s that day (and I bet you any money that it’s rainy and windy outside too, cos then it would be my least favourite combination of factors ever). But in an attempt to power on through to the 15th, I found the following recipe on Mowielicious, which yes, contains roses and oddly the word ‘potato’, but it also contains doughnuts that look suspiciously like glazed Krispy Kremes. However, they are homemade, and they look amazing. Nothing says “I love you” like a delicious mountain of treats (btw – are you thinking what I’m thinking, that it would make a fantastic alternative to a wedding cake?):

{image via mowielicious}
Before I go, I’d like to share some alternative V-Day messages that I found whilst online browsing, that are infinitely better than the ones Hallmark churn out:

{it had me at ‘moustache’}

{Mr Darcy… today, tomorrow, always}

{at least you couldn’t complain about mixed messages}

{I don’t think we need to elaborate}

{the hearts are romantic, the sentiment… is not}

{you’d hope so, wouldn’t you}

{let’s not push it}

my day

I don’t know who “Leah” is, but she makes a very good point (apart from the fact ‘mon’ means ‘my’ not ‘mine’, but we’ll paper over the cracks)! So if you’re struggling with beginning-of-the-week blues, turn it around by taking ownership… Monday is yours, and therefore you can choose exactly the kind of day you want to make it. It’s as easy as that.

{image via patterson maker}

black swan: the verdict

When my friend asked me if I fancied seeing Black Swan, I had visions of the following: a struggling ballerina (who maybe lives on the wrong side of town) has to nurture her inner talent in order to perform a final dance that raises lots of money to save the community centre, whilst romancing an easy-on-the-eye male lead and perhaps having some kind of make-over (like taking off her glasses or letting her hair down) in the process. It became apparent within about 20 seconds that this was no ‘Step Up 2: The Streets’.

To summarise (without giving the game away), Natalie Portman plays Nina, a shakily timid yet gifted ballerina who wins the lead role in Swan Lake, in which she is required to play both the sweet, virginal White Swan and the evil, seductive Black Swan. The wonderfully French choreographer, Thomas Leroy (played by Vincent Cassel, who is one string of onions away from being Hercule Poirot), swaggers his way through the film, taking full advantage of the power he holds over the wannabe prima ballerinas… even creepily calling the out-of-favour Beth (played vividly by Winona Ryder – all that time off ‘shopping’ clearly did her acting prowess the world of good) his “little princess”. Which made you instantly want to take a shower to rid you of the sleaze. Anyway, his aim is to coax the concealed femme fatale out of Nina, so that she can shine as much in the Black Swan badass role as in the White.
After a couple of, shall we say, European suggestions, from the fey tyrant, Leroy (as in, ‘the King’… oohh, that’s what that’s about…), the breakthrough, or indeed breakdown, for Nina comes when she is befriended by the vivacious and free-spirited Lily (played by Mila Kunis), who fascinates the former with her lack of apparent inhibitions. Tattoos? Check. Recreational drugs? Check. Staying out past curfew to infuriate Nina’s already unstable mother? Check. Activities that will excite the male audience? Uncomfortable check. However, Nina soon fears that Lily is after her starring role, and so begins the rapid (compared to this film, Nemesis at Alton Towers is achingly slow) decline of her mental state. Which was never very solid in the first place.
I’ve never been one for horror/psychological thrillers, but this one’s a humdinger – director Aronofsky really pulled out all the stops with Black Swan. Even when there is some pretty ballet dancing on screen, you have a sense that any second something creepy and unexpected is going to happen. Remember that music in Jaws that gives you advanced warning that the scary bit is about to go down? Well, imagine that music playing for the entire film. Seriously, there’s no respite. Just as you think you can breathe again, Portman snarls, her eyes turn red and you’re back on the edge of your seat (I should have asked for half my money back, I never used the whole thing).
As for the cast, Portman is 100% deserving of the accolade that she is currently receiving. She certainly embraces every aspect of the role, from her shockingly fragile ballerina frame to the range of emotion that changes in her face every second. Her eyes in particular are mesmerising. This is no run-of-the-mill, two-dimensional Hollywood actress… she is astounding. The rest of the cast, too, compliment her performance, especially Kunis, who I’ve been fond of ever since Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
So, what have we got here? There are so many underlying themes it’s enough to give you whiplash – perfectionism, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, rebellion, competitiveness, coming of age, sexual predatory behaviour, hatred of your mother, mental illness… to name but a few. The film feels like it’s been shot with a hand-held camera, making the picture grainy, jerky and claustrophobic; with lots of behind-shoulder shots (I don’t know what the professionals call this… I call it ‘irritating’). There are hallucinations abound, intensified all the more by the score, which is like Tchaikovsky on acid. The music was so loud that I feared for my ear drums (if only it had the same affect on my eye-sight… that, I could have done without). Gore, too, is dished out by the bucket-load, with lots of bloody toes and crunching bones for your enjoyment (which I’m guessing is a metaphor for concealed pain behind the beauty. Oh, I totally get this whole symbolism malarkey).
In a nutshell, did I enjoy it? No… no, I can’t say that I did (enjoyment for me means playing with puppies or picnics at the beach, not hiding behind my hands in a seat that cost £14). Was it an astonishing piece of cinema that I’d watch again in the safety of my home? Abso-swanning-lutely.
Btw – if you have seen it, and you’ve been trying to return to your happy place ever since, please take a look at this. Carrey, also a genius:

on the same page

Some email forwards are just not funny and you’re embarrassed for the person who passed it on (maybe they were promised 10 years of bad luck or death or something if they didn’t). But some are so brilliantly spot on that you suddenly feel like despite any fighting or unrest that may go on in this country (ok, so we’re not war-torn, but there’s the occasional scuffle), that everybody is in fact on the same page… in our generation at least. And suddenly the world is a nicer place. This is one of them:

– More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

– There’s nothing worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

– I don’t understand the purpose of the line, “I don’t need to drink to have fun.” Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they’ve invented the lighter?

– Have you ever been walking down the street and realised that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the pavement.

– Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the “people you may know” feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

– There is a great need for sarcasm font.

– Sometimes, I’ll watch a film that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.

– I think everyone has a film that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I’ll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone’s laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I’m still the only one who really, really gets it.

– How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

– I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

– LOL has gone from meaning, “laugh out loud” to “I’m not witty enough to come up with something clever to say”.

– I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

– How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear what they said?

– I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire queue of cars teams up to prevent someone from cutting in at the front.

– Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using ‘as in’ examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss’s last name to a lawyer and said “Yes that’s G as in…(10 second lapse)…ummm…Goonies”

– What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

– While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks Mario Kart.

– MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my village.

– Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

– I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

– Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

– I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least a little bit tired.

– Why don’t interrogators ply suspects with alcohol? You reveal all your secrets when you’re drunk.

– Bad decisions make good stories.

– Whenever I’m Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Nintendo Game Boy that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don’t mind if I do!

– Is it just me or do secondary school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

– Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem…

– Slow walkers should be fined.

– You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything else productive for the rest of the day.

– There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

– I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

– “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this ever.

– I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

– I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

– When I meet a new guy, I’m terrified of mentioning something he hasn’t already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

– I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it’s on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

– Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

– It really annoys me when I want to read a story on BBC News and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

– I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

– Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the g-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I bet everyone can find and push the Snooze button from a metre away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time…

– I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There’s so much pressure. ‘I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren’t watching this. It’s only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?’
Any of these strike a chord?! Happy Friday everyone.