Had a wander through the British Museum
*Unfortunately often swarming with foreign tour groups so avoid peak times!
Had a wander through the British Museum
Great for a rainy day. I suggest the Americas and Pacific Rooms.
*Unfortunately often swarming with foreign tour groups so avoid peak times!
Stocked up on Stationery
The new school year is upon us! I've stocked up on pens, paper and folders. Also, how cool are these revision tags I bought?
Visited the Southbank
Ate in Temple Bar
I highly recommend Elephant and Castle in Temple Bar for a great lunch. I had their cheeseburger and ordered a jug of limeade for the table.
Shopped in the South City Market (and Dundrum)
I bagged myself some nice arty photographs in the market as well as a Ghostbusters tee in Penneys! :p
Can't decide what to watch from Netflix's huge film library?
I've compiled some of the best films I've found on UK Netflix from high school romp 'Clueless' to the Francis Ford Coppola Classic 'The Godfather.' I've shared my take on them as well as the basic premise of the movie. I've recently become a bit of a film buff so I've been doing a good few film-related posts. I suppose my blog will just go where ever my interests go! As you may have noticed most of these films are from the last century (make that the last millenium) mainly because 'they don't make them like they used to.' (Apologies for the cliché and sounding really really old). Those who know me know that 80s films in particular have always been very dear to me.
*Best: meaning both my personal preference and their general acclaim and reception.
For the aesthete: The Royal Tenenbaums
A tale of the dysfunctional Tenenbaum family - an insensitive father and his three child prodigy children (Margot- a playwright, Chas - a finance genius and Richie - a tennis prodigy) all dissatisfied with their adult lives. 'The Royal Tenenbaums' is undoubtedly a very stylish film and I must praise Wes Anderson's gorgeous visuals, production design and costuming (how great is prepster Gwynnie's wardrobe). However, I liked small details and little touches (e.g. I loved the bit when they cut to Margot's closet and it was just rows of the same loafers and Lacoste tennis dresses) somewhat more than the main narrative.
For the Coming-of-age film lover/ spontaneous adventurer: Stand by Me
I was surprised just how much I enjoyed 'Stand by Me.' The concept of a film about four twelve year old boys searching for a dead body didn't seem thoroughly inviting. However, I thought it was a great and amusing film with a notable performance from the late River Phoenix in his first major film role who really holds the film together. The film also has Goonies actor, Corey Feldman and 24's Kiefer Sutherland (with the most awful peroxide blonde hair). This 1986 coming-of-age classic is based upon a Stephen King novella called 'The Body' which features in the same book of short stories as 'The Shawshank Redemption.' (And it's directed by Rob Reiner, the excellent director of 'The Princess Bride').
For Classic Films Buff: The Godfather
Francis Ford Coppola's mafia movie follows the the Corleone crime family under the patriach Vito Corleone and the subsequent rise of his son as heir to the family business. The film is a classic - the kind of film you have to see before you die. It is rather unsavoury and violent but an interesting insight into the New York mafia and has possibly the best quotes ever.
For the Brat-Pack Fanatic: Pretty in Pink
I found 'Pretty in Pink' surprising charming. Unlike the awful 'Sixteen Candles' , It's a sweet high school film about Andie, the thrifty (she makes her own clothes) and naive working class girl played by Molly Ringwald. Conflict arises when she falls for Blane, the popular rich kid. After reading this Hadley Freeman article, (she is amazing because she has an 80s film blog and is everything I want to be - she is a features writer in fashion, film as well as pop culture, feminism etc) I've realised how great the character of Andie is.
For the Wacky Comedy Lover: Ghostbusters
Celebrating it's 30th anniversary this year, Ghostbusters is the ultimate family comedy. The film follows three wacky psychologists who together set up a 'ghost-busting' business removing supernatural beings who lurk around New York City. It has animpeccable theme song as well as great appearances from a super glamorous Sigourney Weaver, the amazing Rick Moranis (will anyone back me up in thinking that Rick looks exactly like Michael Gove in this film) as well as the three protagonists, Bill Murray, the late Harold Ramis and Dan Ackroyd (as well as a certain appearance from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man...).
For the fun-loving: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' is an innocent and amusing romp. The loved-by-all highschooler, Ferris Bueller joins up with best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane for a fun day out and about in Chicago because why bother with school? It's John Hughes' 'love-letter' to his native Chicago equipped with a 'Home Alone'-esque baddie trying to foil Ferris' plan (Rooney's failed attempts to break into the house, being attacked by dogs and Ferris' clever schemes are such precursors to 90's John Hughes 'Home Alone' films). And this film has a big singing and dancing number in it. Bonus.
For the 'Shaun of the Dead' aficionado: Zombieland
'Zombieland' is America's answer to 'Shaun of the Dead.' That being said, this statement is completely paradoxical because Shaun of the Dead is so quintessentially British. Nonetheless, Zombieland is a decent zombie comedy starring Woody Harrelson as the 'the Redneck,' Jesse Eisenberg as the geeky and socially inept role he always plays, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin as they embark on a road trip across the zombie infested Southwest. There's also a great cameo from Bill Murray as himself.
For the Nostalgic noughties child: Toy Story 3
Although it is the arguably the weakest (only slightly) of the trilogy (my favourite is definitely the second), 'Toy Story 3' is still a great film and ultimate tear-jerker because Andy finally grows up. What does that mean for Woody, Buzz and crew?
For the compulsive 'Mean Girls' quoter/ tartan two-piece connoisseur: Clueless
I'll admit I was a little disappointed by 'Clueless.' Yes, it's super quotable 'you try driving in platforms,' but the I found the story a bit silly. Loosely based on Jane Austen's 'Emma,' it follows 90s materialist Valley Girl Cher on her quest to be selfless. On the other hand, I highly advise watching it for it's fashion - Cher has a whole lot of excellent tartan two -pieces.
MY FAVOURITE(S): Stand by Me/ Ghostbusters (because the 80s were the best film decade).
Have you seen any of these films? What's your favourite? Do any of these films appeal to you? Have any recommendations from netflix or generally? I'd love to know!
Since I'm making a trip to Ireland this week (to see the fam), I decided to put together a little packing guide for travelling to the Emerald Isle in regards to sartorial decisions as well as bag essentials:
With a forecast of rain this week, I'm packing my raincoat, my new dungarees, my relaxed fit jeans, a few tees and a few jumpers which I'll mix and match. I also have my trusty (and slightly beaten up) converse (i'll probably bring a pair of boots too) and my Phillip Lim for Target Crossbody Bag*(snatched for about £20, BARGAIN).
*Thanks Auntie Mary for staying up until Midnight to order it for me from the States. :D
I suggest: A spacious crossbody, comfortable trainers/ankle boots, lots of layers, a humble raincoat (rain ponchos are crimes against humanity(unless used ironically)) and a good pair of jeans.
From top left: Sweets, W.B. Yeats Poetry, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, iphone + earphones, sushi iphone stand, wallet and euros, hand sanitiser, moisturiser, scrunchie, camera lens, notebook and pen and umbrella.
Travel basics like phones, wallets, toiletries, snacks are necessary for any trip and may be useful for the journey to kill time. Books and magazines are also great when you're waiting around. You can't visit Ireland and not immerse yourself in its heritage and culture. I suggest you visit with Yeats and Joyce by your side. Pack them in your bag and read away. I'm bringing my new 'blogging notebook' with me but I recommend bringing any notebook for ideas and inspirations. A camera is a must. Ireland is the most photogenic country ever from Dublin streets to the idyllic and vast countryside. I think it's because its so green. Everything is just so photo-worthy! Pack a camera be snap happy. And last but not least, bring an umbrella. You never know when it might start raining!
A few weeks ago I saw this interesting post from the blog, Cider with Rosie in which she blogged her week in numbers. Here's my own impromptu version:
8:00am -- The time I woke up for my results on Thursday (as well as the earliest I've woken up all Summer).
£4.50 -- The price I paid for my personalised ice cream in the Magnum pop up shop in Selfridges (expensive but a nice post-results treat).
3 -- The number of toppings on my Magnum (they were biscuit crumble, brownie crumble and silver balls).
7 -- episodes of Frasier I've watched this week.
1/3 -- the amount of Brideshead Revisited I've read.
1986 -- The year 'Stand by Me,' my latest Netflix pick was made.
6 -- How old my little cousin has turned this week. They grow up so fast!
£5 - The price of my yard ticket at the Globe Theatre where I saw Antony and Cleopatra.
1 and a 1/2 -- The numbers of hours before the play my brother insisted we get there.
1 -- day tidying my room and sorting through all my GCSE notes.
6 -- The number of items I picked up on my Oxford Street shopping trip.
100% -- My relief and happiness over my results!
These are some pictures from the last month (not necessarily this week) I thought I'd share:
My view from the train to Edinburgh, Magnums at Selfridges, inside of Kua Aina burger restaurant, Vietnamese food (!), my latest purchases including dungarees (yay) and a new school bag, me at the Malevich exhibit at the Tate Modern rocking my raincoat, the V&A (my fav museum) and the outside steps scattered with inspiring quotes.
Thanks Rosie for the post idea!
Production design plays such an important role in a film determining the setting as well as the vibe and aesthetic, characters etc. I've decided to highlight some of the films with gorgeous, elaborate and interesting sets and design starting with the Indie rom-com (500) Days of Summer.
I've always got the impression that making sushi is a very intricate and elaborate process and must be left to the pros. Really, simple maki sushi is quite easy to make. Here's a simple guide for any curious newbie (I'm only a newbie myself).
I suggest buying the Saitaku Sushi kit if you're a novice because it gives you pretty much everything you need as well as the necessary rolling mat. If you can't get the kit all you need is:
Cook the sushi rice by boiling it for 17 minutes in its plastic bag. Then, remove rice from the bag and then mix in the rice vinegar.
Lay out a sheet of seaweed and give it a thin layer of rice. (Not too much or else your roll will pretty much explode) Add any topping you so desire probably best placed nearer the end so you can roll it easier.
I suggest cucumber, sesame seeds, crab meat seafood sticks or smoked salmon fillings. I wouldn't recommend raw fish unless you're a sushi pro and you have a reliable sushi fish supplier.
Then roll up tightly using the mat. Dap with water where the seaweed meets to get the roll together. I recommend to then chill the sushi for a short while in the fridge (warm sushi isn't very nice). From there you can cut up the roll into thin slices (with regular sized seaweed sheet you'll probably get 6-8 slices)
Serve with soy sauce.
In 2002, Richard Linklater conceived a 12 year long project, which would charter the development of Mason as he navigated through childhood from the ages of 6 to 18. Described by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian as a 'bildingsroman for modern American cinema,' we meet Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as a six year old living in Suburban Texas with his older sister (the director's daughter Lorelei Linklater) and single mother (Patricia Arquette). His Bohemian musician father (Ethan Hawke) visits sporadically. Over the next twelve years come new neighbourhoods, new friends and new step-dads. We catch a glimpse of camping holidays, family dinners as well as milestones such as birthdays and graduations as Mason grows into a kid who some how manages to be both conscientious and in a world of his own.
Where Boyhood resonates me is how the timeline of the film parallels my own childhood. Although Mason is a few years older than me, his noughties childhood is still a source of nostalgia. The film launches you back to 2002 to see the decade which has just passed happen all over again: an ode to Harry Potter, the kids playing Wii sports, the 2008 Presidential Election and the ever-evolving soundtrack (who remembers Soulja Boy?) There are even funny moments like 2007 Mason and his father speculating the likelihood of further Star Wars films (something we now know is in the works). And more recently, near the end of the film, an astute 18 year old Mason declares that he doesn't want to live his whole life looking at screens. This recent phenomenon is also an ever growing issue. Are we all too obsessed with technology? Ar we too 'in touch' with the world?
The film is very impressive achievement: the acting is excellent and and it's well written and directed. There's been talk about the lead being disappointing but I think he gave a convincing performance. It's the best recent film I've seen in a while. Boyhood paints an intimate and realistic portrayal of contemporary American family life. No 'creative license' is used to over-dramatise it. And It so perfectly captures the last decade. In 100 years, I imagine it will be a perfect historical source of public attitudes, customs and what everyday life was really like from 2002 to 2014 in the US. Despite its rooting in this time period, it is a lot more than that. It is has a universal appeal. Everyone grows up.
I highly recommend trying to catch it in cinemas because it's already been out for a month.
Have you seen Boyhood? What are your thoughts on it?
Dungarees, mod and retro sporty
I really need to invest in a good pair of dungarees. They are all-purpose, comfortable and really quite effortless. You can just throw on any shirt underneath and put on any shoes - converse, flats, ankle boots and an outfit is complete. I'm deliberating whether I should buy an ordinary blue denim pair like this topshop pair or a black pair. I have a natural inclination to pick a black pair of dungarees (black is always a safer colour) yet I don't know if I should therefore go with blue. Alexa proves that blue can work and I can wear dark shirts underneath with blue. Oh decisions.
At the same time I'm also feeling that I'm ever so slightly turning to the Mod persuasion given my fondness for a-line skirts and pointy bow flats. Maybe this is also thanks to Alexa again with her self-proclaimed 'ripping off Jane Birkin' style.
I've been eyeing these Dunlop green trainers for a while now and I do like the retro vibe. I am also short of basic tees for just casual-ness and as PE (urghh) basics next year so I found just some simple graphic tees as well as one that has green piping and kind of resembles the trainers. I know this satin backpack is impractical but I think it's still cool. As a school bag it would get so battered and gross. But it's still nice.
What are your Autumn must-buys?
Here's a few things I've picked up these few weeks reading wise as well as some clothes for sixth form. I don't really like the word 'haul' so I suppose these are my latest 'findings.'
I often buy Vogue sporadically throughout the year because it is pricey and sometimes the issues are a bit thin, however I often buy the September issue given that it is always the biggest and claims to be the 'bestest.' However, September also means that there is an absolutely ridiculous amount of ads. I've had a brief glance through all ready and I didn't reach any editorials for about 100 pages. I suppose thats just how it is. The magazine boasts the largest September issue ever with tonnes of style as well as an article with the Marc Jacobs design team.
I've also been reading Porter magazine, a new magazine launched early this year which although the hefty price tag at £5 and luxurious and socialite Net-a-Porter connotations, feels almost more accessible than Vogue. While Vogue is almost exclusively dictates fashion, Porter has more of a lifestyle inclination such as 80s teen queen Molly Ringwald's take on what makes a modern-day heroine to whether the world is ready for a female US president, namely Hillary Clinton. It's clear that this magazine is very much for the modern woman and they even describe their reader as the 'stylish, intelligent woman of now.' Each issue, (there are 6 a year) features short conversations with a handful of notable actresses, musicians and designers of what they have on their coffee table to the golden rules by which they live.
It's almost odd that with the decline of print publishing, Porter has entered the scene. However, it is probably just a clever brand extension which fully showcases their products and is ideal for the well-endowed Net-a-porter shoppers who are willing to cough up a fiver. Furthermore, the magazine does make an effort to encourage digital purchases of the magazine.
I also purchased the Newstatesman in order to tune myself into current affairs for A-level politics this September. It has a good few articles especially about the cabinet reshuffle which I am sure will be discussed in lessons.
It's not all that clear in the photograph but I also bought a navy bomber jacket when I was in Spain which was on sale! I bought it in Stradivarius, the sister brand of Zara which is arriving in the UK in the next year. I can only describe it as kind of like Bershka meets Pull and Bear (two fellow Spanish chains) - that being the general vibe I got. It is not as 'sophisticated' as Zara and somewhat younger.
After a lifetime in skinnies I decided it was finally time to try a new type of jeans. This asos pair is semi-mom jeans. Mom jeans are generally quite heavy and rough and these are more cottony. They are also not quite as baggy as some which would completely swamp me. I got them when they were on sale (which they no longer are!?) and hopefully they will be a faithful pair.
I'm also reading a book about social anthropology part of the popular 'Very short Introduction' series of books. They are really good and compact being only a 'short introduction' to the field.
I also made my first trip to the shop Monki on Carnaby Street. I bought some basics for school next year such as t-shirts as well as this cute sushi phone case which was only £6. I had been looking for a nice case for ages but they were all so expensive around £20 so this was an obvious choice.
While around Carnaby Street, I also popped into a Hawaiian cafe called Kua Aina. I have a soft spot for Hawaiian marinated chicken but when I got there I was more in the mood for a burger. It was delicious to the point that my mum and I are still dreaming about it. I'm surprised its not that well known among the capital's thriving burger-lovin' population. It's a must!
So I finally made the deep dish chocolate chip cookie I found on the food blog, Pinch of Yum and I cannot express my gratitude for sharing this recipe! I highly recommend! It was very tasty and made a great birthday cake/pie/giant cookie for myself last week.
The finished creation. Maybe not quite the deceptively perfect pinterest vision but still successful.
Yes, I did lick the remaining cookie dough off the spoon.
I chose to add a layer of melted chocolate rather than caramel mentioned in the recipe and it was spilling out from the sides like lava from a volcano. Maybe I went a bit overboard with the chocolate.
It was definitely nice and cakey which was thus an appropriate birthday dessert. Next time I think I'll leave it in a bit less so its more gooey and doughy (is that a word?).