Thursday, 30 May 2013

Try, try again

My friends say I'm somewhat of a pedant when it comes to language - grammar etc. I agree, especially over the use of the apostrophe and when we appropriate foreign languages for use in this country. If we must, we must get it right. The latest error/misprint being found on a canvas at Next. I did refrain from speaking to anyone in the store about it and simply emailed instead. If you want to check it out for yourselves, it's the Eiffel Tower canvas!

'Counter' assistance

So, I bought another lot of YSL BB cream today - fab stuff - highly recommend it. The counter assistant in House of Fraser was attentive but not overbearing, and commented on how the product would suit me without having to use foundation over the top as I had no skin imperfections. Walking away from the store, having made my purchase, I said to my friend how jolly nice that was, selling me the one product, saying how good my skin was, and not trying to flog me more products on top as not 5 minutes before, the assistant on another counter had told me how awful my skin was and that I needed at least 3 of their products to cover my imperfections! Shan't be calling at THAT counter again, but have found a best friend in YSL.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Much a duel about Belsay

Belsay has been rocking the Regency period displaying costumes worn by the stars in various Austen productions. They're lovely. The attention to detail is amazing, for something that might only be glimpsed for seconds on screen. What was also interesting was just how tiny these costumes are. The dress Gwyneth Paltrow wore when she played the eponymous 'Emma'; we all know how slender she is, but I was under the impression that our Gwynnie was quite a tall lass - this dress indicates otherwise! Or this purple number (pictured) worn by Dame Judi Dench. Tiny! Costumes available to view til end of August 2013. Out front on the lawn, spectators were able to see performances of Regency dance and both pistol and sword duels. And all in the glorious warm sunshine - er, this is a British Bank Holiday weekend isn't it?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Daisy Wilts in Aussie Sun

I saw The Great Gatsby this week. A big fan of the book, not of Leo, I'd been waiting for this since last year when its release was delayed due to technical problems and then to avoid a clash with Django Unchained, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The critics at Cannes fairly panned it, the BBC reporting that Fitzgerald's "delicate prose" had been obliterated and overwhelmed by Australian director Baz Luhrmann's gaudy spectacle. (Thursday 16th May 2013) I disagree. Yes, some aspects changed, but they usually do between page and screen; Nick's appearance in the hospital being advised to write down his experiences, so traumatised is he by the events of summer 1922, and the subsequent flashback/forward scenes; the downplaying of the relationship between Nick and Jordan Baker - exquisitely played by Elizabeth Debicki, to name but a couple. The party scenes, with the swirling aerial shots, trapeze artists, fan dancers and the music. Nevermind that it's modern music: Beyoncé, Lana del Rey, Florence and the Machine; none of it seems out of place. What does seem out of place is Carey Mulligan as Daisy. I thought in the first scene in which she appears, "Yes, she's going to nail this!", but unfortunately she lost pace, sparkle and became wooden, bland and certainly not the sort of girl Gatsby would spend 5years obsessing about. Leo does a much better job than I expected; assured in the beginning; anxious and nervous at the prospect of meeting Daisy again and then finally desperate at the realisation that one cannot simply erase time, that the idealised perfection is not perfect. Full of metaphors, the film gives a snapshot of the age of Jazz, Art Deco and the corruption of The American Dream. Watch out for Isla Fisher - a show-stealer as Myrtle.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Better late

The past two nights in Newcastle and Gateshead have seen The Late Shows taking place - venues normally closed, opening late til 11pm, entry free to all. It was a fantastic opportunity to take a peek inside places I'd not usually frequent due to exorbitant prices or through lack of time etc. First up was Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children's Books in Ouseburn. I've resisted going before - the prices are astronomical, and as an adult sans enfant, I felt I didn't have enough of a reason. This year however, they're hosting an Enid Blyton exhibition which I really wanted to see, remembering The Famous Five, The Magic Faraway Tree and Noddy. It's an impressive building and I loved the exhibition, spending a few minutes talking to a member of staff about the modern printings of the books and how the publishers have thought it necessary (unnecessarily in my view) to change certain things for the modern reader. Next up was 36 Lime Street, just next door, home of creatives a-plenty, in particular Jim Edwards whose paintings of Newcastle and the environs will look lovely on my wall, and the fantastic glasswork of Zoe. I also got my very first glow stick here! Sheltered life! Moving on to St. Nicholas' Cathedral back in the heart of Newcastle. The exterior of this building gives little clue as to the marvellous interior. The carving of stone, wood and marble, the stained glass... I confess I had a moment. It's beautiful. Last, but certainly in no way least, the Lit and Phil. Just down from the station, this public library is one of the town's best kept secrets. Last night it was a little over-crowded to be appreciated fully (shame) but it is open to all. You need only be a member to take books out,and I'm told OWNE have had the odd night there too! Looking forward to next year's Late Shows already.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Monk's all white!

Thus far I haven't been able to write a food review without complaint. This marks a first. The White Monk Tea Room is currently the only place in Blanchland to eat since the Lord Crewe is closed for refurb. Popped in while dodging showers on a stroll around the village. Great service, attentive but not overbearing, lovely soup, thick hot and seasoned, and proper home-made scones and jam. All washed down with thick rich coffee. Just what I needed to warm up before nipping across the road to check out the local church. Worth a look; for such a small building, the interior is really exquisite, carved wooden ceiling, enormous organ, and small internal chamber, all with intricate carving and moldings. Then the sun came out.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Light Touch

I don't know about anyone else, but I hate shopping for foundation. No sooner do I find one I like than it gets discontinued (Clarins Souffle de Teint) and the 'replacement' is never quite right. One of the main problems I have is that I'm very fair, coupled with cool (read very pink, not a hint of yellow) undertones, with a tendency to dryness, does not an easy buying task make! Nor am I fond of the overly-made-up look. I still want to look like me, not some plastic or wax version, so it was with a little trepidation that I sat down at the Lancome counter to try their Teint Visionnaire, when the assistant looked like a marionette. More is not always more, and I really don't like assistants who feel they have to advertise EVERY product in the range on their own face. Unfortunately, while the colour match seemed adequate, the consistency of the product was thick, coverage heavy, and that was even without the concealer that comes with every pot (the concealer, I was told, is too heavy to use around the eyes, thus necessitating the purchase of another product). I wore it out, peered into a mirror a couple of hours later to a waxy unnatural appearance, heavy and artificial. I shan't be buying any. I've been using YSL Teint Touche Eclat, it's never going to hide every imperfection, but it's light, softening of the imperfections, a great colour and I still look like me.