24 Aug 2010

INCEPTION

The other day my fiance and I went to see Inception. I didn't know what it was about or anything but I fancied a trip to the cinema! Before I went, a friend who had already seen the film gave me two pieces of advice:

1. Don't need the toilet or you will miss something important, everything  in that film is important.
2. CONCENTRATE!

So I went along, wondering all the time if I was in a sensible enough mood to deal with the brain power this film would require of me. Here's a summary by Warner Bros:

"Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming."
 
Without ruining it, I will tell you that Inception is a fabulous film with a fabulous cast. I would describe it as The Matrix meets What Dreams May Come. A very clever concept indeed, and you need to wonder how such a weird and wonderful idea would begin in director, Christopher Nolan's mind. Leonardo DiCaprio is, as always, incredible. I'm just pleased that the wider public are seeing him for the talent he is, rather than just being a pretty face. Inception also stars Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page and Britain's very own Tom Hardy to name just a few of the well known cast members.

Take a few hours to yourself to see it before it leaves the cinema, it's definitely one to make time for!

23 Aug 2010

New Voices in Food!

The first thing that struck me about Alice's Cook Book was the gorgeous cover work on the book. This alone was enough to make me want to see what this book had to offer and having read about Alice, it's very representative of her personality and great loves - cooking and camping! The book has images that will make you salivate and rushing to get cooking them up.





I was excited by the culinary adventure this book was offering for a multitude of different reasons. One because I noticed it was part of the 'New Voices In Food' series and to be quite honest, I've been waiting for something a little different. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE cookery books, but nothing will spark my interest more than new talent and Alice Hart did not disappoint.

The book is set out into sections so that when you're looking for something for breakfast or picnic food ideas, you know exactly where to look. The layout is easy to read, the recipes are easy to understand and the tone of the book is warm and friendly...exactly how I'd expect Alice to be!

I recently attempted the brownie recipe (page 182) and they went down a storm. They can be made in the time people might take to go and choose a Sara Lee out of the freezer in the supermarket and taste one hundred percent more tasty! Alice even suggests the use of other chocolate types if you're not a dark chocolate kind of group which for people who aren't very confident in trying to change an element of a recipe is a godsend. As someone who went through Home Economics in the '90's when restaurant design was deemed more important than survival skills, this book was great and not complicated to use at all. Good honest, easy-to-follow recipes for people like me in their 20's/30's who weren't given the option to learn a life skill at school. Having said that, her recipes would be great for anyone of any age as they are fuss free and delicious!

This book is definitely one everyone should have in their kitchen cupboard for impressive but easy ideas!

20 Aug 2010

The Waiting Room

In any other circumstances, the words 'The Waiting Room' would make me shudder and think of bad and uncomfortable things. But in the sense of this fabulous restaurant, quite the opposite is true. In fact, it's one of my most favourite places to be in the world, and definitely my most favourite eating place!

I've been eating at The Waiting Room since I was 15 (so roughly 11 years) and we went for my vegetarian friend's 16th so she would have more than one option to choose from on a menu. From that night in June 1999, I was HOOKED. The dishes are amazing, the portions are generous and the service is friendly and prompt. If you're a meat eater like me, don't let the fact that it's a vegetarian restaurant put you off. You won't even notice.



The front part as you can see, is welcoming and homely and the decor is very eclectic. There is also a back area which is a conservatory which you can dine in and where events are set. Sundays usually are the setting for 'Waiting For Sunday' which features lots of different arts and music acts.

I could wax lyrical for hours about the merits of this place but I won't as the website can tell you much more. There are recipes and pictures and lots of lovely things there to further your interest. But take my word for it, you will not regret it if you do take the time to visit.

P.S. The Ice Cream and Butterscotch is to die for!

19 Aug 2010

A-Levels - a true story.

I hope that for those of you receiving A-Level results today, it has been a positive day for you. If it hasn't, I promise it's not the end of the world. How do I know that? My results were RUBBISH.

Firstly, here's a bit of background. I was a good student at school and came out of my comprehensive school with a decent set of grades. However this was not the case the next couple of years as boys and parties became the dominating feature in my life and I got a bit carried away. Needless to say, I came out with a U, N, E and E. As you might have noticed, it spells UNEE (like Uni) but I thought I wasn't going to get a place there thanks to my mini disaster.

Moral: Although in a perfect world we would all get top marks, it's not a massive deal if we don't. I was offered a place at my local uni, Teesside University (which is a great uni AND Times Higher Education - University of the Year) doing a different course to the once I'd applied for but a place there nonetheless.

My route ended up being: HND Social Sciences and BSc Criminology. I squished them both into 4 years and ended up with a 2:1! So I feel I'm living proof that A-Levels are not the be-all-and-end-all.

17 Aug 2010

Ojon Tunu Elastik Flexible Finishing Hairspray

I'm a bit of a lover of QVC and not long ago, I purchased some items from the brand Ojon. Here's a little bit of history...

 "10 years ago Denis Simioni, a Canadian advertising executive, set off for the Honduran rainforest to find the Tawira tribe known as "the people of beautiful hair"™ and their secret ingredient, Ojon® oil, derived from the nut of the Ojon® tree."

So already it sounds amazing right? I was keen to see if it lived up to the great write up provided on the website and what I'd heard from the QVC presenter.

I'm pleased to say I was chuffed to bits with the few items I've tried which came as a bundle. My favourite item was the hairspray (which I've struggled to find on their own site but is readily available to buy from QVC at this time).



This product smells chocolately, but not overpoweringly so, which I was pleased about because you want everybody to be bowled over by your hair style, not the smell of the product emanating from it! And there was very little residue! I've always been an Elnett girl as I thought that was the best on the market but I think I've just been converted! I had my hair up in a beehive style for an occasion the other day and used this product throughout. From reinforcing the backcombing to misting over the finished 'do' it was brilliant and even when I had to brush it out a million times after making mistakes, it didn't make my hair lank or overloaded with stickyness. See my finished style below!





Buy the duo here for just £18.00 (exc P&P). It won't be long before I'm back for more!

12 Aug 2010

Prettyful Things and that ain't no lie!

If there's one thing certain to make me mad it is someone calling something 'vintage' and then me finding it's a Topshop dress from about 5 minutes ago or something like that. Last year I attended a 'Vintage Fair' not far from where I live and I was appalled to find that about 70 percent of the stalls there were charity shop fodder. The other 30 percent were vintage inspired brand new clothes (which were admittedly very lovely) and only one stall was the genuine article. Grrrrr.

Now, as someone who loves genuine vintage but can't afford the price tag most of the time, I have been pleased to find a great range of vintage inspired clothing and accessories on the high-street. The only problem is that everyone has them. At the aforementioned vintage fair, I came across two companies that stuck in my head. One was Prettyful Things which retails vintage inspired fashion, accessories and other lovely bits and bobs and the other was Suzanne Porter who was a talented young designer who makes vintage style clothing.

Here are some examples of their wares...

Lizzie dress at Prettyful Things.


Suzanne Porter Boutique.

Prettyful Things retails fashion and accessories from a mixture of unusual brands and independent designers so you know you won't just blend in with everyone else. From more established brands like Emily and Fin and This Charming Girl, to up-and-coming designers like Samantha Jane Wray and Wonderland Boutique. Check it out now!

Suzanne Porter makes bespoke items from your measurements for perfect fitting fashion. Her prices are super reasonable for a bespoke service that you could pay hundreds for if she was based in London.

I spoke with both of these budding entrepreneurs and you can see they are so passionate about their businesses.

So Ladies and Gents, I urge you to support the quality business people out there (and to be wary and not to get mugged by people selling the clothes of yesterday rather than yesteryear). As I've just demonstrated, you can have great quality, brand new clothes, that are a break from the norm (and the high street!)

11 Aug 2010

Sexy back not sexy ban.

This morning I have heard people discussing how pop stars and their videos are too sexy and that it's offensive to children.

Well excuse me, but as an adult, I don't want my television censored just because people are poor parents. I mean, it's not as though Lady Gaga is turning up, knocking at the door and gyrating in their child's face. Nope siree. They are letting their kids watch this stuff. How about you don't let you children watch these videos and take a bit of responsibilty for once instead of ruining things for the rest of us.


RANT OVER.

To Ugg or not to Ugg...?

Uggs have quite honestly always been something I struggle with. Well the classic ones anyways.They look so practical and comfortable and are admittedly very versatile, but I’ve always been someone who prefers something more unusual on my feet and I can’t help but feel like I’m surrounded by Ugg clones a lot of the time. That’s why thus far, I’ve held back on the craze...oh...and besides that I’m skint!

Yet, everybody I know has them and loves them, and I’ve gotta admit they do look really good whether it be with a denim mini or jeans. I even bought some cheapy similar ones a few winters ago when I was at uni just to pull on when I rolled out of bed every morning but they were nothing like the quality of the real ugg, plus when I put them on I felt like I was wearing imitation Uggs which is EXACTLY what I was doing. Shameful.

However, I believe I’ve found a compromise...namely the Ugg Smithfields. They look more like regular boots but with the Ugg quality and comfort factor. Just need my birthday money at the end of the week and I’ll be heading straight to the checkout! I'm smitten with these Smithfields, and for those unsure of losing their 'Ugg virginity' just yet, I'm sure you'll be persuaded after you have seen these!