Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Violets for my (faux) Fur

Funny to think that, not so very long ago, parts of the UK were covered in snow. It seems that within 2 weeks Spring has decided to surge forth and has told the cold weather to jog on. 

And rightly so. 

Although being a vocal and avid fan of Winter -  I am ready for new life and greenery.

However, during the recent cold snap, I did manage to bag myself a new coat thus:

Thanks to out of town charideeee shops and a sale they were having, this wondrous wool and angora coat with removable faux fur collar cost me a whopping...

Wait for it.....

£2.99. Yep. 299 pence.

It was so cold that day, it made my face actually hurt.

I tried it on, ripped the price tag off and wore it straight out of the shop.

With so much money saved, I treated myself to a lovely hand made felt brooch to brighten it up a bit. I found a great stall at the Market Harborough Vintage fair  and nabbed this loveliness from a company called Small Beans.

I have neither the skill nor patience to make such things. I like to *think* I have - but -  I ain't.

I adore the fact that the collar of this coat is removable, so that when it is not all that cold, I still have a nice long coat to wear.

 As you can see from the amount of chins I am displaying, I tried to nestle into the faux furryness.

And it was goooooooooooood.

Monday, 20 February 2012

The Postmistress - by Sarah Blake - review

It is 1940, and bombs fall nightly on London. In the thick of the chaos is young American radio reporter Frankie Bard. She huddles close to terrified strangers in underground shelters, and later broadcasts stories about survivors in rubble-strewn streets. But for her listeners, the war is far from home. Listening to Frankie are Iris James, a Cape Cod postmistress, and Emma Fitch, a doctor's wife. Iris hears the winds stirring and knows that soon the letters she delivers will bear messages of hope or tragedy. Emma is desperate for news of London, where her husband is working - she counts the days until his return. But one night in London the fates of all three women entwine when Frankie finds a letter - a letter she vows to deliver...
I had spotted this in numerous charity shops over recent months and wondered why there were so many copies out there to be had on the cheap. Ahhh -  a TV book club type affair. A sure fire way to fill the second-hand book shelves with plenty of the same novel.

It took me a while to break the back of this novel. It could have been the fact that I started it on Boxing Day during what became a very long and tedious journey to see family. Or, it could have been that there was a lot going on at the beginning and I found myself continually flicking back to confirm to myself who was who.

But – once I had, I became quickly attached to the characters of the book. I feel that Sarah Blake created the atmosphere’s within the narrative very well -  I really felt, at points, like I was watching a film, such was the description. I did start to wonder half way through why it was titled The Postmistress, when it seemed to me that a lot of the plot focused on other characters. But, I paid this little heed as I was carried off by it all. I could not put it down. I wanted to race to the conclusion.

When it finally arrived, I have to say I felt a little empty. Now. I shall be honest, as I always try to be. I started to wonder what the point of the novel actually was. As I finished the final chapter, I found myself pondering the great writing, the yarn spinning, the character formation and the journey they had all been on. But, there was something that failed to add up for me.

Thankfully -  there is an explanation at the back of the book by the author. Which made my alarm bells go off. If you have to explain to readers what the story is about and what you wanted to convey -  then that leaves the reader questioning why it was not just clearer in the novel? Surely? I like to think that I am of average intelligence. Had the angle been in there -  I would have spotted it. But, by the last page I was frowning. Not good.

All that said -  I did enjoy this book. I liked the facts within it and the inspiration for the book in the first place. All of which is contained within the authors closing words.

Despite this, if you spy it nfor a 3rd of the RRP, like I did, then I still think it worth the time.

A halfway 5/10

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

For the Love of Tea

Today being St. Hearts & Flowers Day - I have decided to declare my love for my kitchen. 

In all it's relative smallness, it is the one of the places that I am, at times, my most creative. And of late, I have been paying it a lot more attention. Namely in the way of sprucing it up a tad and giving it a lick of paint and a bit of reorganisation. 

It is the first place we walk into when we come home from the grind, or the jumble sale. After we have said hello to the pushkas (or shooed them out of the way.. ahem) we reach for the kettle to make a nice cuppa.

I love tea. Really, I do. Be it builders, Earl Grey or herbal -  I love it. With this in mind I decided to have a butchers on Etsy (aka The Money Snatcher) to see what I could find to add to my general kitchen /  cup of splosh  lurve.

This is what I found.....

Tea - Printed on a Vintage Dictionary Page 8X10
buy from here

Blue "Tea for Two" print poster
buy from here

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world
buy from here

Tea print - Make Tea, Not War - distressed grey taupe background -  modern original print - 8x10
buy from here

Tea Lover I Heart Earl Grey Tea Graphic Art Print
buy from here

A4 Tea Quote Print - Yellow
buy from here

Victorian teapot Purple Tea Time No 2 of 4 Tea Pot Vintage Art Print Antique book Print Vintage Dictionary Art Prints
buy from here

Tea, vintage, typography, print, Imaginary Tea Voyage, 8" x 10" Giclee Print, from Original Illustration
buy from here

UnMounted Hare and Rabbit's Nutty Tea Party
buy from here

tea and hope 5x7 archival art print
buy from here

And lastly my favourite... 
because it makes me think of The Beard (and his soup strainer)

A Man Without A Mustache Is Like A Cup Of Tea Without Sugar, Art Print, 8 x 10
buy from here (i did!)

A few of these have made it to my favourites.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Birdsong - BBC adaptation - review

I shall never forget the massive WHOOOOT! I let out when I saw this advertised on TV for the first time one Sunday evening. I think I even shushed The Beard in rather a rude fashion so that I could give it my full attention.

It was the WW1 snippets of said advert that had grabbed my eye. I had to know what it was.

Once I knew it was a BBC adaptation of Birdsong, I realised I had to read it before it aired. Why I set myself these challenges is beyond me, but I did it in under 10 days -  which is a record for me - and reviewed it here

I sat down and waited, with baited breath....

First off, it was beautifully shot. The costume was stunning and the locations vibrant and realistic. It was all pretty much as I had imagined it to be when I read the novel.

I already knew that I would not be bothered by the love story. I know some of you adored it, but I could not stomach it in the novel -  and on screen was no different. In fact, I found it more annoying, because any suspense from the novel was swallowed up on screen by longing looks and tinkly piano music.

It was the Great War parts of the adaptation, which I had fallen in love with in the book, that I wanted to see portrayed on screen. And for me they didn't disappoint. I think a lot of effort was put into the script to make it as true to the book as possible -  but invariably, there were parts that failed to translate.

Sadly they were the parts of the novel that make a connection to the reader. So -  the important bits.

Like character development  -  and the way in which a relationship grows. I was gripped in the book by the turn of events that cemented Wraysford and Firebrace as friends. For me, pretty much all of this was either omitted from the script -  or not given enough time for the viewer to grasp.

I felt it was the same with the flash back moments. I do not feel that enough attention to the fact the protagonist was now in the middle of a war in the very same countryside in which he fell in love was conveyed at all. For me, this was one of the most poignant parts of the whole novel. Just like his relationship with Isabelle, so to has the landscape been mangled and destroyed.

This could have been easily solved by, oh, I dunno, a quick word "Ameins" on the screen -  so the viewer could realise where he was and how it had changed.

I tried to watch this with an open mind, and not compare it to book too much, which I found a little impossible. So -  I had to enlist the help of The Beard and ask for his opinion, so I can judge this properly.

He felt that it was slow and failed to really hold him. He began to care a little about the characters -  but it didn't move him all that much. He also bored of the mumbling. And the simpering looks. And I would have to agree. I tried to weigh up how much of my feelings about it were being swayed by the fact that I knew the story, which left me frowning.

I think that, had this been made in three 90 minute shows, then a lot more of the book could have been scripted. Especially the 1970's parts, which for me, make it all the more relative to today for people looking back and wanting to know more.

I worry that such a mixed portrayal could turn people off of wanting to read the novel at all -  and potentially learning anything more about the Great War it's self. Which, for those of you that know me, makes me twitch a little and reach for my soap-box.

But. But, but, but. I could be very wrong on that score. And I hope I am.

Please, tell me what you thought of it? I would love to know...

So, the score?


*sad face*

(all images from courtesy of BBC)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Pink 'n' Green - outfit post

Now. Sometimes, just sometimes, I do feel as though I am over co-ordinated.


 Yes, I know. Some of you may be thinking that there is, in fact, no such thing, as over co-ordination. I often do too

I was raised to be thinking ".. now.. what would go with these shoes.. how can I bring out the blue in that top.. what to put in ones hair.." As you can see from the above, this was  instilled in me at a young age. Under that coat (which I would quite like now, in grown up size) is a dress that matches the wellies. So there was little hope of me being a clash-fashion kinda gal.

Everything about this outfit is based on the colours in the shirt. The greens and pinks. So, I have green rose earrings  -  adding to the floral theme. And then the pink of my headscarf. Which is where I believe I went a step too far? My hair needed covering that day -  trust me. And I like to wear a headscarf on a work day.

This is one of my go to skirtings -  and steal from a charity shop sometime hence. For a suitably megre amount. The shoes are via eBay and smell of leathery goodness.

I am thinking I coulda, shoulda, woulda gone for a nice pink lippy and nail polish to match -  but I don't actually own any. I feel that my red gob and talons have become a little of a habit. Maybe a nice retro pink is in order?

The shirt that created the outfit is from Matalan a very, very, long time ago. It has nearly been relegated to the charity pile on more than one occasion, but I know now that it is a keeper.

Do you ever feel like you are just too colour co-ordinated?


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