Monday, 30 July 2012

Movie Monday: Where The Wild Things Are

For this weeks film I have chosen Spike Jonze's adaptation of the popular children's book 'Where The Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak.  In case you haven't read the book, the story is about a little boy Max who is unhappy with his life in the real world so runs away, creating a world of his own with beautiful scenery and strange creatures. Max makes himself King of this world and with the help of the creatures attempts to create a paradise where none of the problems of the real world exist. However through the dialogue and interactions with his new friends we see that this is not so easy.

The music makes the film for me - perhaps because some of it is by Arcade Fire (my favourite band). However the set, costumes and cinematography also perfectly capture the simplicity and freedom of childhood. I like that as an audience we remain unsure whether the whole of Max's experience is real or imagined - as this helps to give the story a magical touch.

A great film for both children and adults - it will make you long for an adventure!

"Inside all of us... is a wild thing!"

Friday, 27 July 2012

Note to self...

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember what you have now was once among the things you only hoped for" - Epicurus

Illustration:  1990 Anais Nin - Ferenc Pinter

Monday, 23 July 2012

Movie Monday: An Education

I thought I would try to do a post each Monday featuring one of my favourite films, and to start with I chose 'An Education' starring Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina and Peter Sarsgaard.  
The film is based on the real life account of author Lynn Barber, and tells the coming-of-age story of a young girl in the 1960's whose dull and predictable suburban life is transformed by the arrival of a playboy twice her age. It is a tale about the blindness of love, the bitterness of yours dreams not quite living up to your expectations and about the desperation for a different life that's a little bit different.

When I introduced this film to my friends, I was surprised that they were not able to enjoy it as they found Carey Mulligan's character Jenny to be arrogant and irritating. It is true that for a 16 year old she is confident, but I think Mulligan portrays perfectly how at that age self confidence is often just a front, and as the film develops we see that really she is vulnerable and afraid of what life holds for her.

I love the film, and think it truly deserved the Oscar nomination and BAFTAS that it won. As I mentioned, Carey Mulligan is excellent as Jenny and Alfred Molina is also hilarious as her Father. Watch and enjoy :) 

"Well I'm going to be French and I'm going to Paris and smoke and wear black!"

Morning Wisdom

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Reflective Walk

Today I heard some sad news that the hospital where I received treatment as an inpatient for a year is shutting down due to a lack of funding. On an evening walk I reflected on my time there and thought in particular how the level of kindness and warmth shown to me by all the staff members were unlike anything I have ever encountered at other treatment centres since. Their friendly approach and dedication to the job was so admirable - I really felt throughout my time there that the staff were genuinely 100% interested and committed to helping me recover, and that they weren't just there because they were being paid to be - which sadly is the case with a lot of the staff at other hospitals. 

Although following my discharge from the hospital, I was re admitted to other hospitals on several occasions - I will never, ever consider my time there to be a waste. I learnt so much from the staff and other patients, and I know for certain that some of the progress I have made over the last few years is a result of the help and support given to me there. 

It is with a heavy heart that on Monday I will be facing my 5th admission. Right now it is difficult to feel positive as it is so hard to imagine or believe that I will ever be able to make a full recovery. However with the love and support of my family and friends (and their belief in me) I hope that I will continue to make progress to the point that this illness will have less of a hold over me and I will be able to manage it better.

This blog post is a little more melancholy and personal than usual and perhaps is not much of an interest to anyone else so sorry if that is the case! To finish with here are some photographs that I took on my walk which really helped to lift my spirits and appreciate the little things like a sunny evening, a cute cat and pretty flowers.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Latitude Fesitval

Sorry for the absence - just got back from spending an amazing weekend away at Latitude Festival in Suffolk. The festival setting (a farm with a lake and woodland) was absolutely beautiful and there was so much to see and do! The line up this year included the majority of my favourite bands and I can't even begin to describe how spectacular and moving some of the performances were. There are some seriously talented musicians out there and for me it really highlighted how completely unbeatable live performances are - especially when shared with good friends and other fans.

The weather wasn't the best (what else can you expect in this country?!) and inevitably things got very muddy!  However although there were showers on and off - for the most part it remained dry and it definitely could have been a lot worse!

Below are some photos of my favourite performers and features of the festival - some of these are taken from the official Latitude website and some of them are my own.

Bat for Lashes - Photo taken by Pooneh Ghana

Bon Iver - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

Elbow - Photo taken by Andy Sheppard

The Lake - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

The Lake Stage - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

Rufus Wainwright - Photo taken by Marc Sethi

Pink and blue sheep!

'Film Postboxes' - These were amazing little post boxes that came in various forms and could be found attached to many trees in the Faraway Forest. Inside them tiny film shorts were projected - often out of the windows of miniature toy cars!

A beautiful acrobatic/ballet performance. The dancer was attached large tethered balloon that changed colours as it floated in the sky over the lake. Truly spellbinding.

The good deed tree. Festival goers wrote down good deeds that they or others had done throughout the festival and hung them in red berry/baubles in the tree!

Latitude was my first proper festival experience and it really was a positive one. Luckily I came pretty well prepared as some of my friends who I went with have been to many festivals! However here are my top tips!

1. Bring wellies! Seriously - at an English festival it is unlikely you will survive without them even if it is a summer festival. The mud was unbelievable - I witnessed several people lose shoes/boots in it and a very upset little boy who was submerged up to his knees! 

2. Expect to spend a fair bit of money on drink and food - bring with you what you can but be aware that you may not be allowed to take cans or bottles into the arenas that have not been purchased on the site. We all became pro's at smuggling drink in passed the attendants who would search bags etc at the arena gates.

3. At the beginning of each day note down the times and places of all the performances you want to see. You don't want to miss anything due to lack of organisation!

4. Prepare a fancy dress outfit! Some people go all out at festivals. There are some crazy outfits and hats you can buy but its good to have something that no one else is wearing. Face paint is easy to pack as well as lots of glitter! I would say though don't bring clothes that you would be really disappointed if they got ruined... 

5. Baby wipes and anti bacterial hand wash!! Lots of it! 

6. Arrange a good meeting place and time in case you get split up from friends. If you have a mobile phone great - but there is not always a signal and batteries will quickly run out. It's also pretty hard to hear your phone ringing at a music festival...

I will most likely do more posts featuring my favourite songs from the festival with some background information on the artists so watch this space. Including a weekly music feature is something I hope to get going regularly on this blog soon! :)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Tea Party Invitations

This August my Grandparents it will be both my Grandma's 90th birthday and their 60th wedding anniversary  which is certainly worth a celebration! They have decided to invite friends and neighbours to an afternoon tea , and I offered to make the invitations for them. Here is the final design I came up with:

I chose sweetpeas as these were the flowers at their wedding and in my Grandma's bouquet. The little teacup is detachable so that invited guests can simply fill it out and return it to my Grandparents - and can then keep the invitation as a reminder of the date and time. Overall I feel pleased with the finished product, I would have liked the writing so be a little more elaborate and decorative, but as the majority of the invited guests will be elderly, I felt it needed to be clear and easy to read.

Happy Birthday Grandma and congratulations on your 60th Wedding anniversary!  

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Isobel's birthday card

A birthday card I created using  a mix of watercolours and collage for my Sister's partner's daughter. They have a lovely border collie mix called Poppy who I have drawn in a birthday hat! As I was taking the photographs, my cat Betty got jealous that she wasn't the centre of attention as usual so she decided to get in on the act...

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Mint Humbugs

Today marks 2 years since my Grandad passed away. He had a talent for writing funny poems, a song for every occasion and he always had a mint humbug in his pocket! We miss you Grandad!