Sunday, 28 March 2010

Mini Hauls

I popped into town and picked up a few various things the other day. Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure :)

Emma Bridgewater Photo Album £3.99 WHSmith Sale
I had to buy this photo album as it was in the sale down from £7.99. I hate how nobody prints off photographs anymore. There's something about holding a photograph in your hand that I like :)

Elle Magazine with Elle's Best High Street Buys Spring/Summer
Now I don't normally buy Elle. When I buy magazines I tend to buy either really trashy ones like Heat or maybe Glamour or Cosmopolitan, but I've been thinking about Spring fashion lately and this was a perfect purchase for that purpose (try saying that quickly).
It also had a really good article about sexism by Lucy Mangan, who writes for The Guardian. Definitely thought provoking. We might have moved on from the days when women couldn't even dream of holding down the same type of jobs as men, but sexism is still around, albeit in a different guise. Heck, I even went to a house viewing and was told by the agency guy before entering that 'it had a great kitchen, which the girls will love'. I'm sorry, but excuse me? All of a sudden I found myself stood by the sink with an apron on, elbow deep in dishes, waiting for my darling husband to come home from work.
But perhaps more worrying is the fact that there's only a 7% conviction rate for rape. How scary is that? So that even if you're brave enough to report a rape there's only a 7% chance that they'll get caught and convicted.
Anyway, I think I'll definitely be purchasing Elle again it had a good balance between fashion and interesting articles.

Moleskin Notebook £14.99
Gasp. That was a lot of money for a notebook, but it's so lovely. Slightly pretentious but I'm sure I'll survive. The brand has a lovely history and the paper is lovely to write on.

Floral Washbag £2.50 Boots
I'm a sucker for anything floral. I love a good Cath Kidston rip off. I do own some of the genuine stuff, but things like this are a good substitute especially at that price!

Exfoliator Gloves £2.00 Boots
Perfect for my back, which has become quite blemish prone recently. Need to get it into shape for all of the lovely Spring clothes I have planned!

Ipod Touch
Ok, I can't bear to write down how much this cost. Not because it was expensive, but because I really shouldn't have bought it. I previously owned a pink iPod nano 2nd gen and wanted to update, so I had been lurking around eBay for a while but most of them were going for like £130 anyway, which isn't that much of a difference from the RRP. So I went into the Apple shop, handed over my old nano and got 10% off the price of this lovely iPod Touch. I'd like to pretend that I have an iPhone, and apparently there's an app for that. haha.

This weekend I've started watching Mad Men. Someone suggested that I should watch it and now I'm hooked. It's already on series 3 so I had to dig around on the internet and stream it from online. It's basically just about a group of men who work for an advertising company in America, but then it mainly focuses on the lead guy Don and his wife. I love the fashion of 50s/60s America :)

Hope everyone's having a good weekend anyway. It's nice and sunny :)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

DVD Review - The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees
based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd

*I haven't read the novel, so this review is based purely on the film.

Carrying on with my American south theme this film is set in 1960s South Carolina.

Wikipedia Plot Summary -
This is the tale of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning), a 14-year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother Deborah Owens. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father T-Ray, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters — August (Queen Latifah), May and June (Alicia Keys) — Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping and develops a romance with her new friend Zach . She learns about female power as the Boatwright sisters show her their black Mary, her mother's past and much more.

Dakota Fanning puts in a stunning performance as usual. She is by far the best child actress in my opinion. Here's hoping that she won't go down the usual child-actor route...

Anyway, I did enjoy this film, but at times felt that the plot struggled between being about the Boatwright sisters and their bees, and Lily Owens's search for her dead mother's past. The tension that's created in the opening scenes continuously dwindles to the very end where we end up sunk into a honeyed lull of 'everything's going to be ok now'. I guess I don't like happy endings that much.

Good, but not a must-see
3 and a half stars out of 5


Monday, 15 March 2010

Book Review - The Well and the Mine

The Well and the Mine - Gin Phillips

'After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time. But I kept hearing that splash.'

This book was lent to me by my friend Kate, who thought that it was something I would like. And she was right, I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down and although its not that long (just shy of 300 pages) and I'm a quick reader, I finished it in 2 days, which is always testament to a good book :)

It's set in the 1930s in a small mining town in Alabama and follows the story of a family who find a dead baby in their well. Ok, that sounds a bit gruesome and depressing, but along the way we get to see a portrait of a strong loving family emerge fighting against the Depression. The characters are very vivid and in each chapter the narrative switches between them so we get to see the main events of the story retold from lots of different points of view. Some of the language that Phillips uses to describe things from a child's point of view is pretty great as well. Simple, but hits the nail right on the head.

If you liked To Kill a Mockingbird then you'll definitely enjoy The Mine and the Well as they both deal with some of the same issues and themes. For some reason there's something about the Depression in America that I like to read about, hence why my favourite book is The Grapes of Wrath. So, if you're like me and enjoy a book about 'the best and worst of human nature', family unity, childhood and growing up then you'll like this one too :)

Also, how lovely is the cover? I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I love the tarnished silver spoon against the hard grain of the wood.

4 out of 5 stars

And if that didn't persuade you it also won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize!


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