Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Just weighed myself - Arghh!!!

Well then, that was a great Christmas. Have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have eaten, drunk and generally consumed anything and everything I wanted to. I said to myself not to worry about it - that I could always do some extra exercise post Christmas and it would be fine.

I squeezed into my jeans until Friday, then I had to give it up. They were just ridiculously uncomfortable, and the resulting bulge around the waist band wasn't going to be hidden by any loose fitting clothes! They call it a spare tyre for a reason you know!

So it's been leggings and joggers since then, and I am already fed up of them as you are kind of limited what you can wear with them. In addition, some are thinner material than others, and no-one wants to see my knickers outlined for all to see with my somewhat widened derrière!

Today I decided to face the music - the final weigh in of 2013 if you will. It wasn't good - and I knew it wouldn't be. 8 pounds heavier! So I make this my resolution (there will be others, but this is the first and the most important one) - that next year, 2014, is the year I reach my weight goal and maintain it, but in addition, that I will be fitter and toned this year.

Food and drink is great. Being overweight is horrible. I can't fit in most of the clothes in my wardrobe and I refuse to buy more clothes just so that I can go out drinking and eating! Its a vicious circle, and it stops here for good. Bye bye fat clothes - I will not be seeing you again (once I don't have to wear you of course). Hello clothes in my wardrobe that I either A - haven't worn for a while because I can't, and B - those clothes I haven't worn yet that hang there making me feel guilty because I have never got to my goal! 2014 here I come!! Get ready world!

New Year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve and inevitably, you find yourself looking back over the previous years, the highs, the lows. The things we have done, the places seen, the experiences had.

Unfortunately, its also the time to start thinking about those New Year's Resolutions, as usually for me, its a case of I want to be thinner, richer, happier - things I never quite manage throughout the year - or at least not all at the same time, and with lesser and greater degrees of success!!

Right now I am contemplating how to celebrate the occasion of NYE. If we go out, it's madly expensive this night, as everyone seems to hike up their prices - entrance fees, tickets, taxi fares! If we go local, it's walking distance but its pot luck what sort of atmosphere it might be. Sometimes, local is best as its packed and fun. Sometimes though its like tumbleweed blowing through an abandoned township!!

Then there is always staying in. We have done this before, and had a take away, watched a film. It's quite nice.

One thing that they all have in common is that when the clock strikes 12, its all a bit of an anti-climax really. You do the obligatory Auld Lang Syne, then that's that for another year. For me, it is quite exciting facing the unknown prospect of a whole new year ahead, but its bitter sweet as it's a year of your life that's ended and you can never go back, whether it was good or bad.

I think the staying in option is most appealing to me, but we shall have to see what the other half wants to do!

What are your plans for this evening?


Monday, 30 December 2013

my god these pictures are amazing and haunting

check out these mesmerising pictures for a walk down the timeline of the past and abandoned

http://distractify.com/culture/arts/the-most-spec


Yay - Dirty Dancing is on!!

Just home and what do I find is on TV right now? Dirty Dancing!!!!

Its on Five - get it on and indulge in a bit of Patrick and Jennifer aka Johnny and Baby magic! :)

Happy by Pharell Williams - My record of the week

I am so loving this song - it's such a funky little number and will take you through the post Christmas blues and into New Year with ease.

Plus, the video is fab. The song is on the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2 (G's current favourite - mine too if I'm honest!) and features a dancing minion!! Now, for those of you not familiar with a Minion or indeed Dispicable Me, a minion is a yellow thing that works for Grew. Except they are turned purple in Despicable me 2 - they go back to yellow when squirted with jam!!

A feel good number, and great for the gym too! Happy New Years listening x

Oz the Great and Powerful - MOVIE REVIEW

As a child, I was a massive fan of the Wizard of Oz, and even played a part in our dance school show of the same name. I also absolutely loved (and still do) Return to Oz. There is just something amazing about the whole story and the famous quotes it spawned, such as "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore"!

When I saw a remake was afoot, I was both excited but also a bit worried in case it ruined it for me. The casting went some ways towards reassuring me mind you, as some great stars have been cast in this.

Lets start with the witches - there are three. This particular Oz variation is set well before Dorothy sets a ruby slippered foot in Oz, focusing instead on the wizard and the witches. So, the first witch, the good one, is Glinda, played by Michelle Williams (Dawson's Creek - big fan). The bad witch is Evanora, played by Rachel Weisz (the mummy and wife of Bond!). The good witch turned bad is Theodora, played by Mila Kunis (Ted, girlfriend of Ashton Kutcher), and is the one who ends up the infamous green pointy chinned witch!

James Franco (127 Hours - eek) played the lead Oz - Oscar Diggs. In my humble opinion, he is fab! The supporting characters and actors make this a real trip down memory lane if you are a fan of the original adaptations such as myself, and you can't help wondering if a remake of Dorothy is following on from this as it does appear to be setting the scene for such.

It starts in black and white, or sepia if you prefer to be specific. I wasn't expecting this and at first thought there was something up with the recording or my TV, then common sense kicked in and I realised it was done for effect. The colour - very bright, very vivid - kicks in when Oz lands in Oz, and to my untrained eye, I think its also for effect in homage to the technicolour of the original.

I also think that Michelle Williams part in Kansas hinted that she was going to become a "Gale" by marriage - Dorothy's mum perhaps? Seems a bit too much of a coincidence to me! Lots more hints of the future story when he reaches Oz in so much as the building of scarecrows (the scarecrow?), scaring off a lion (the cowardly lion?) and the whole point being that Oz was not a real wizard at all - remember the curtain scene in the original?

All in all, if you haven't seen the previous one its probably still going to entertain you. It's bright, exciting, the characters are fab - I particularly loved the little China Girl. If you are a fan already, it really doesn't disappoint and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I was little, I demanded plaits like Dorothy be braided into my hair - now whilst I think I am a little past pulling that style off these days, I did feel that same enthralling excitement (mind you, I also demanded Princess Leia side buns back in the day!).

This to me is everything that a family friendly film should be, and with a great big dose of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. Go on, indulge yourself - just don't expect Shrek humour or innuendo - it's really not that sort of film!!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The House Feels so empty and quiet after Christmas :(

Christmas Day was opening presents (me and the man), then up to my parents for dinner, along with his dad. We stayed over Christmas night having consumed lots of festive spirit and it was a lovely day!

Boxing Day, he picked up little G for dinner, and we did a second round of presents - most exciting watching G open hers! She had an unexpected big present and was amazed! We also had Christmas dinner #2.

Boxing night we came back home with G, and had lovely cheese and crackers for tea, as we were all stuffed still from dinner. More Christmas spirit consumed too!

On Friday, the boys arrived. This is his eldest Stephen, 22, his girlfriend and their new baby. Then his middle boy - James, 20 and his girlfriend. Then his youngest boy Thomas, 18. Plus their dog! Plus G who was already with us. We invited my parents over and his dad for a house full! Cue much noise, banter and general stuff all over the place. Luckily we have sofa beds and just about enough sitting and sleeping space, but even then catering for everyone was an experience!!

Thank goodness we have a big cooker, as trying to cater for all those tums was no mean feat - the kitchen got very warm and we were running around keeping everyone fed and watered. The boys and partners and G stayed over Friday night, then decided to stay Saturday night too.

This meant sterilising baby bottles, a mad rush to the supermarket for more nappies and baby stuff as it wasn't planned to stay a second night. The washing machine was on the go what seemed to be constantly, not to mention the shower and the dishwasher!

Saturday night we made the sensible decision to go out for tea - much wiser choice. We came back and once again the house was full of life and noise.

And then today, late this afternoon, they were gone. G is still here with us, but the boys, the girlfriends, the baby and the dog have all gone back home. It's a strange feeling - the house feels so empty and quiet. It never felt empty and quiet before they came, but both us are feeling emotional now. It's been exhausting but lovely having them here. It will be a long while before they are all here together again, as they are all grown up now with their own lives, so it was one to make the most of. I now most definitely have the post Christmas blues a little and am tired beyond words, but I have enjoyed it. Sure glad its only once a year mind!


A Christmas Cold - every year!!!

It is Sunday. The festivities now seem far away, and New Year is approaching. Resolutions are being planned, the first tentative steps taken to get into the health kick have begun. This morning I awoke with a sore throat and sounding like some sort of dial up phone line (i.e. deep husky voice) and a distinctly sniffly nose!

Last year, I spent most of Christmas Day coughing and sneezing, and Boxing Day last year was a total write off as I was in bed for 7pm so laid up was I. This year, I have felt fine and dandy, and hoped I had avoided the Christmas cold.

Sadly, this appears not to be destined as here we go again!! thankfully having a red nose at this time of year is quite in keeping with the old red nose reindeer - Rudolf with his nose so bright! Not so much Rudolf more my shiny nose so bright!!

I rarely get colds is the ironic part. I never get coughs all through the year I am fit and healthy (well healthy anyway), yet every Christmas it gets me. I don't know why it is. Whether it's the over indulgence that saps my immune system, or if its being around family, kids etc.. I just don't know why its only ever at Christmas, but let me say this Santa - next year, do not bring me a cold for Christmas - you can keep it next year!!

First gym session post Christmas - will power commenced for 2014!!

Christmas is all about family, presents, and of course - over indulgence! This year was no different in that regards - by yesterday I could no longer wear my jeans - far too tight and uncomfortable!

Thankfully, in a wilful and uncharacteristic act of self discipline, I had booked a PT session for 3.30pm. That said, some part of my brain clearly dismissed that notion by seemingly having an endless appetite the night before for all manner of bad for you but lovely food, not to mention several glasses of vino!!

So with something resembling a tornado in my head this morning, I awoke in the knowledge that I had to face such a physical challenge whilst extremely hanging! A daunting prospect at the best of times, it was none the better for the over consumption for sure.

So the time arrived and I forced myself to the gym. On arrival, my PT was there - smiling and jovial as ever. Well why not? He is after all the one inflicting the torture!! I explained that I was not ill, was not injured, just bloated and over indulged, so he promised a hard session.

The man is nothing if not honest to the point of painful! He assured me that whilst I may be post Christmas and that I may have gained weight, and that yes, my body would tire a little easier due to the small break in training (not been since last Thursday!!), but that he would push me, and hard!

I have to say it hurt. I have to say that I felt every damn calorie consumed over the past few days. I also have to say that things were moving that I swear did not before! There was more of me, and it was not pretty. It has served to make me all the more determined that 2014 will be my year.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Over indulgence - tonight it's on us!

So Christmas Day is done, and Boxing Day is over. I'm not sure there is a name for today (other than Friday) but tonight it is us doing the entertaining. That is when everyone arrives, which at the moment is looking uncertain!

Last night we didn't feel much like eating at all, so tonight seemed the better plan. So we have been to Iceland (other frozen food shops are of course available!) and stocked up on the following frozen items for finger food:


  • mozzarella melts
  • chicken goujons
  • turkey roast (should have been chicken!)
  • onion bhaji's
  • chicken poppers
  • garlic bread
  • mini pizza's
  • vegatable samosa's
  • spring rolls
  • sandwich platter
  • 75 mini desserts
We also have a selection of pate, cheese, crackers, crisps, olives, pickles, nuts, cheddars and mini scotch eggs, as well as goodness knows how much chocolate!!

Whilst I do like my food, and I do enjoy a glass of wine, I am actually, already, reaching saturation point! In addition my waist band is feeling somewhat more uncomfortable than it was before christmas!

The other half's grown up boys should be arriving momentarily. The journey is approx 1 hour 20 minutes to reach us, and originally they were setting off at 1pm. Then it was 3pm. Then it was 3.30pm. It is now 5.30pm and no word of if or when they have commenced their journey. 

All in all, today is becoming quite stressful!! Isn't family wonderful!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

364 sleeps 'til Christmas!

So did you know it's 364 sleeps until Christmas? Yes that's correct, and it will be upon us before we know it!!

Several New Year's Resolutions to be made and broken, several diets to go on, several attempts to sort my finances, eat better, dress better. But that number - 364 - that's a lot of days. Surely long enough to succeed this time?

My Christmas has been lovely indeed. Good company, lovely food. Next year however, it is my turn to do Christmas Dinner - OMG!!! going to start planning immediately!!


Oh dear - G's had sprouts!!

Christmas Dinner and all the trimmings on Christmas Day with her mum. With sprouts. Followed by an assortments of rich foods, chocolates etc.. Christmas Dinner and all the trimmings again on Boxing Day with us. Including sprouts.

As is the case for many people, clearly the sprouts have resulted in some unintended consequences, and by this, I mean flatulence. Not the silent and deadly type - no. These are true blasts of the horn, but are toxic!

What doesn't help of course, is that each time I find myself absolutely crying with laughter!! We now have windows open and candles burning to avoid being gassed and still it continues.

Note to self - no sprouts for G next year!!!

Lucky Girl - Happy Boxing Day!

Well I can honestly say I have been well and truly spoilt this year.

tickets to go and see Robbie Williams, a spa break at Hoar Cross Hall, converse (blue), riding boots, perfume, swarovski jewellery, earrings, bracelet, coffee machine, kitchen grill. chocolates, underwear, a new onesie and pjs!!

Am so chuffed!! Am also very stuffed with lovely food and drink right now - Happy Boxing Day!!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Not a white Christmas

So its not exactly a white christmas eh?To be honest, having just seen the news, this year, I am more than grateful for power. That means daft christmas films, christmas dinner and silly songs.

got to spare a thought for those in the south that are flooded and without power this year. Those silly family arguments should make us all feel glad this year!

Twas the night before Christmas

So it's Christmas Eve!!!! Let me hear you say how excited you are?

Got to say the TV is one disappointment however. No corrie, no Christmas classics. Have just got home from a lovely tea (who wants to cook on xmas eve?) and what are we watching you ask? That's correct - Die Hard 2.

Yes, it's set at Christmas, and yes, its a great film. But Christmas Eve? Really? Where is A Wonderful Life? Where is Santa Claus the Movie? Even Beyond the Poseidon which seemed to always always be on the TV when I was but a kid myself!

So not exactly the Christmas Eve of dreams, but never the less, it is nice to know everything is done and I can sit back and enjoy Bruce. :)

Monday, 23 December 2013

kids clothes - who makes up these sizes?

So we have decided to get G some clothes for Christmas - she won't be impressed of course - clothes really are not her thing. however, needs must.

So G is 8 and a half, and yes, tall for her age, but seriously? Age 8 clothes would be plainly ridiculous. She is in size 4-5 shoes (thats ladies size folks and I am a mere 5 and a half myself!). In clothes, she is clearly in age 12-13 years, or a ladies size 8 or 10!

discussing this issue at work, it seems the majority of children outgrow their own age range so why do these companies persist in being so specific? I mean parents are all shapes and sizes, so surely it stands to reason that children will be too?

I was taller than all my class mates at primary school, having had a sudden growth spurt between the ages of 9 and 10 years old. I started high school and suddenly everyone else grew and my height barely changed. These days I'm a fairly average standard height of just a few mm shy of 5 foot 6. not short. not tall.

G's mum is taller than me, so it stands to reason she will also be taller than me in the future. But my point is if she is already in age 12-13, then what happens when she is aged 12-13? Are these sizes for real or what?

Most perplexing and what makes it even harder for the tired shopper is to try and work out the difference between shops. For instance, a size 12-13 in Next will we know fit her. However, comparing this to a top in New Look aged 12 - 13 and you can clearly see the Next top is much bigger.

If any of these items actually fit her it will be a Christmas miracle I swear. I would never have believed it was so difficult for parents to cloth their offspring had I not been witness to this myself this year!!

Presents all wrapped, food shopping done - what will I do now on Xmas Eve?

So it is Christmas Eve Eve. The seemingly endless list of things to be done before the big day is actually complete!

Presents bought - tick

Presents wrapped - tick

Nervous breakdown over missing presents - tick

Missing presents issue resolved - tick

Cards written - tick

Cards delivered / posted - tick

Big Christmas shopping order placed - tick

Big Christmas shopping order delivered - tick

Presents nicely placed under the tree - tick

Christmas booze stocked - tick

Christmas Day and Boxing Day family arrangements made - tick

Which leaves me with Christmas Eve and nothing to do! Normally, Christmas Eve is a stressful occasion - wrapping into the night, whilst consuming wine - result being some deteriorating quality of wrappings, skew whiff bows and ribbons, and the obligatory parcel with no label i.e. no clue who it was for or indeed what it contained. Usually I realise I have forgotten something, someone or worse!

Christmas can also be emotional in the not festive capacity. Sometimes it can feel a little melancholy, a little lonely. This year I can also cross that one off - I had my scrooge mode a few weeks back!!

Usually Christmas is ridiculously expensive with lots of unplanned extra activity making a serious dent in the old bank balance. This year, whilst of course I have spent pennies, I have in the main been quite restrained in my purchasing by actually planning ahead! Doing the grocery shop online resulted in actually buying what I intended to instead of being mesmerised by the displays and buying enough to last until November next year!

That is not to say I have been frugal - no sir. I have indulged with the best of them. What I haven't done is over buy with gimmicks or silliness. I have bought quality not quantity. I mean in all seriousness, there is only so much one family can eat, even at Christmas!!!

So now the question is what on earth do I do tomorrow? could it be - gasp - that I may actually get to cuddle up with my other half and watch a great movie together? Or possibly look at next year's summer holiday? Goodness - we could even go out for tea!! This is a whole new world of possibility!! How fabulous! :)


Sunday, 22 December 2013

I want a dancing Shetland Pony please Santa

So tonight, I am excited, worn out, stressed about losing 2, yes 2 presents!! Still 2 more days of work to endure, and in the throws of writing a list of what I still need to do.

Sort of watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but in a distracted manner. Waiting until 10.30pm on the dot to treat myself to a glass of the old Pinot. Wondering how on earth I will get everything done.

Up pops the Three ad. That one with the fabulous Shetland Pony strutting and dancing to I think Fleetwood Mac. Immediately mood lifted. Therefore, I would now like to formally request to Santa that I have a Shetland Pony in my stocking this year - one that can dance!!

Thankyou :)

Missing Christmas Presents

The last Sunday before the big day,  and all manner of things to do beckoned. I woke up and immediately started my tasks. First job - strip the beds down. Something I do frequently anyway, but its always nice to have fresh clean linen for Christmas Eve.

Job one down - tick. Only another hundred to go! Merrily onwards I went, singing away, enjoying the feeling of job done, accomplishment and the lovely looks and smells of the house when its sparkling.

Last job of the day - present wrapping. This is usually a task I leave until Christmas Eve, and is usually accompanied by a glass of wine or two and therefore some rather wonky wrappings and bows! Feeling quite happy to be actually getting this done 2 whole days before Christmas Eve, I was getting stuck in.

Until that is, I reached into the Boots bag for my mum and dad's presents. Some of the items were in there. To my horror, 2 were not. One was Eau Dynamiste Body Lotion which is £28. The other was Obsession for men which was £29.50. So almost £60 worth of presents adrift, I then mounted a hunt for them.

I checked the bottom of the wardrobe (where the presents have been stashed since purchase) - not there. I checked the boot of my car. Not there either. I checked under the seats just in case. You guessed it - not there. I had checked everywhere and nothing. I looked at the receipt, to make sure I had actually bought them and yes, there they were. The bag was intact, no holes or tears. But the presents were and are still missing.

I now have the prospect of battling to find replacements 2 days before Christmas, and with the dismal knowledge that I have wasted £60. Maybe the girl on the counter didn't bag them but I think it unlikely I wil get any acceptance of that so I guess I have to stump up again. I had a little bit of a melt down over this, and the present wrapping came to a resounding halt. Hopefully tomorrow, I will feel festive again and will wrap the remaining items, including the 2 I have to buy again!!!

In the grand scheme of things, its not that big a deal, but it has really upset me!! If it was just an item for me, I would shrug it off. It's because they were for my parents and because it really isn't fair!!

Next year, I am checking the bags before I leave the shop!!!! Bah humbug I say today!!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Cake Giant!!

My goodness - my uncle is great at baking, and it's nothing unusual. But check out this year's Christmas cake in the making!! It's huge!!


This monster is currently being decorated - marzipan, icing and of course santas and snowmen!!

Here it is being diced and sliced ready for being mini cakes (personally, I would have just kept it as one enormous cake, but sharing is important I suppose!)




The Odd Life of Timothy Green - Film Review

I stumbled upon this film, having heard nothing about it - no adverts, trailers - nothing. Its quite a new film - 2012, and stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton.

It starts with the couple being told that they can not have children of their own. You know from the very start that this is going to be emotional, but rather than being a maudlin weepy, its a beautiful tale of hope and joy and the bonds between families.

Distraught, the couple console one another by dreaming up how their child would have been. They write it down, acting out how amazing that child would be and who that child would be. They then place it in a box, and they bury it along with their hopes.

That night, a ferocious rain storm batters the house,and they are startled to find a ten year old boy covered in mud in their home. He announces his name is Timothy Green. They also notice that the box is smashed open and there is a muddy hole. Oddly, they notice Timothy has leaves growing on his legs - gorgeous healthy green ones. They slowly realise that he is their child, the one they created on paper and buried.

Timothy becomes part of the family, and makes friend with a girl who he grows close to. He doesn't tell his parents that his leaves are starting to fall, but continues to fulfil their hopes. The relationships between the family are delicately interwoven and this is a moving film with Timothy at the centre.

He gives his parents an idea for a new type of pencil, in the hopes of keeping the business going in tough times. A sneaky colleage however tries to steal the idea, and only then does the story of Timothy and his leaves become out in the open.

Timothy then has to tell his parents that his leaves have fallen and that he will have to leave them very soon. Understandably upset, Timothy leaves them. They have learned that mistakes will be made, and that the beauty is to learn from then.

They relay their tale to the adoption agency, who initially, understandably, is unconvinced. When their time is up, she allows them to finish their tale despite this. So moving is the tale, and Garner is such a lovely actress, that they are rewarded in the end when they are approved and given a little girl to parent.

Yes, this film is typical Disney in that it is very emotional, a little cloying at times, and probably won't appeal to everyone. But for me, it was perfect watching for a Sunday afternoon and made me more than a little bit warm and fuzzy at the end. Definitely worth a watch if you are the emotional type such as me.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Won't wear tights!!!!

So today started off as a usual Thursday morning. G doesn't like sleeping, and last night was no different to usual. This morning, she was as grouchy as usual when woken up.

The usual grumblings followed about how tired she was, and the usual lecture from her dad about not growing if she doesn't get enough sleep, not being alert at school and so on.

Today however, there were just 2 school days left so we did think she might be a little festive at the thought. Clearly not, as she was in fact getting grumpier by the second!

Cue much dawdling about trying to get out of getting up. Finally she emerged, and proceeded to mess about in the bathroom much to her dad's delight. By this point, they were late. By this time usually they had already left for the school run. She wasn't even dressed.

Today was a non uniform day, so usually this is a good thing. Not this morning it wasn't! She has a lovely tartan skirt, and a black top, which goes fab with opaque black tights. This morning, the tights were a definite no. For some reason they are now too tight, despite fitting perfectly well with no issues previously - and the same pair!

I clapped eyes on G as she descended from her room with the foulest frown upon her face wearing the top and skirt and fluffy ankle socks! To say it looked ridiculous was an understatement to say the least.

We tried to explain it looked daft, we tried to explain how cold it was for bare legs. This was met with pouting and sulking, and then tears. Her dad, always the soft touch, gave in. Next was the boots. Three quarter length black boots. With bare legs. On the coldest day of winter thus far. In a class of kids who at the best of times can be quite boisterous in their banter. But there was no appeasing her this morning.

I drove to work and left them to it, and as I passed hoards of kids on route, I noted not a one of them in bare legs - it was bitterly cold this morning. She must have been freezing, but one thing is for sure, when she makes her mind up there is no bending her.

For me, having to mind my comments with being the step-mom it was highly amusing if not a little frustrating watching the tantrum. G is 8. Not even close to a teenager, and yet for all the world this morning, it was 8 going on 15. A glimpse of the future showed itself today, and amusement aside, I fear a rocky road in years to come is ahead of us!!

At least there is no school next week! :)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

My Best Christmas Songs old and new

So it's less than a week to go until Christmas is here. I am getting into the swing of things now - finally. Christmas lunches scoffed (yum), fair amount of festive spirit already consumed! Lots of Christmas films watched, but now is the time to crank up the stereo with some belting Christmas tunes.

Christmas songs should elicit emotion - sad, happy, fun - here is my own mix for this year's celebrations and remembrances.

These are my own personal top 10 favourites:

Number 10 - Bing and David Bowie, Little Drummer Boy. Parum-pa-pum-pum, me and my drum. Fab for being the backing singer to.

Number 9 - Santa Baby - both versions are great - Eartha Kitt and the newer by Kylie. Both good for rocking sexy santa this year.

Number 8 - Step Into Christmas - Elton John. Upbeat festive fun - ideal when you have some energy - not straight after lunch

Number 7 - Stop the Cavalry - Jona Lewie - this is in here because it's my favourite from when I was a kid myself - lots of memories

Number 6 - I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard. I'm not sure I could cope with Christmas every day, but I love this song.

Number 5 - Do They Know Its Christmas - Band Aid. The original one is by far the best - who can resist doing the "bono" bit in the middle?

Number 4 - All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey. Not a Mariah fan as a rule, but it is off Love Actually, which is one of my favourite films, and another to belt out.

Number 3 - The power of Love - Gabrielle Aplin. Great original song, but this on the John Lewis ad last year was haunting and I love it.

Number 2 - Somewhere only We Know - Lily Allen. I promise I'm not on commission for John Lewis, but they have done it again this year with yet another amazing original song being re-done by a fresh new artist with tingling effect. A classic in the making and a great return by Lily, who sounds beautiful on this.

Number 1 - The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - Faitytale of New York. Always my number 1 regardless how many new ones arrive on the scene. Can you believe this was 1987?? The best ever Christmas song.

Noone ever agrees on which songs are great, which are annoying, and which want to make you bop around like you have had too much sugar, but one thing is for sure - you will hear them a lot so just enjoy. It's Christmas!! What's your top song?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Elf for the first time, Arthur Christmas - twice, 3 versions of A Christmas Carol!

So I am finally getting into the festive spirit. Been a bit of a slow burner this year in the getting excited aspects. The decorations went up after much frustration over magically working/not working after an hour putting them up!!

The present buying is underway and the shopping for food and drink is at least planned.

So, to the Christmas films. First up, I watched Elf for the first - yes, for the first time. How I managed this, I am not sure but I loved it. I actually laughed out loud several times!

Onto 3 versions of A Christmas Carol. First up - Albert Finneys version and by far the best. That followed with the newer version in an animated style voiced by Jim Carey. Then the real classic one with Alastair Sim. That one is actually scary at times - especially Marley!

Then onto Arthur Christmas which I hadnt seen. G wasn't with us, so I had to sit through that one not once but twice in close succession!!

Now I am in the Festive Mood!!! Happy Christmas!!! :)

He will be coming this time next week!!

So 8 more sleeps until the big day. This time next week Santa will be loading up his sleigh, bringing lots of toys and goodies on his way.

Reindeers will fly, mince pies will be left for Santa and a glass of milk, and of course a carrot for Rudolph!

In all seriousness, I have just about started my shopping for this year, and have to brace myself for the madness of getting those last bits this week.

I just tried to book a shopping delivery - not a chance. Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda have nothing after this Friday, so that's that scuppered, which also means the joy of supermarket shopping is to be had between now and the day.

Excited - yes I am. Will I be glad when all the prep is done? Oh boy will I. Note to self - next year, start earlier!! 8 sleeps to go!!! :)

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Happy Day - Hotel Chocolat Christmas Wreath for me!

Oh how happy am I right now? Checking my emails, and out of the blue I get one to say I have won a Hotel Chocolat Christmas Wreath!! 450g worth of lovely sweet chocolate heaven!!

Must work very very very hard now before Christmas to ensure I can scoff it guilt free. It says great to slice and share with family and friends. Hmm - not so sure i will be sharing this loveliness - will see how much festive spirit I am in or I consume!!

Check this out:
Photo: The Festive Wreath Large

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Wrecking Ball live lounge by London Grammar - amazing

Driving home this evening, I popped on Radio One. It was Greg James, who is fab anyway, and he was raving on about a live lounge session. I was only half listening, but I heard him say to turn it up as it was something special.

Ordinarily I'm not really a big fan of the live lounge, as some of the covers they do can be a bit out of tune, a bit cringy. I was driving though, so I just kept listening.

I do like London Grammar and the vocals of the lead singer are haunting and powerful, but I really wasn't sure what they would do with Wrecking Ball - Miley's screaming noise of a song which I do not like at all.

As soon as it kicked in, it made me tingle. Her voice is amazing anyway, but live - wow. Her voice also 100% suits the song. You may be a Miley fan, and I'm not saying she is terrible, I just don't like her voice on this song. London Grammar though, this song was meant for them to sing. Perfect. I didn't want it to end, it was so beautiful. Get this downloaded if you can - this is totally amazing. I'm off now to hunt it down myself, as I just want to listen to it over and over again. Stunning.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Holiday booked - here's to a Merry Christmas and a Slim New Year!

Well it's not even Christmas (well not quite) and the other half has decided its time to start thinking of sunshine.

So with such in mind, cue hours of trawling holidays (him not me) and hours of trawling new clothes to wear on said holiday (me not him!)

Finally, we have settled on Maspalomas in Gran Canaria. Now I havent been to Gran Canaria before, but I have been to Lanzarote and to Fuerta Ventura, so I think I know what to expect from the weather at least - warm I hope!

So now I really do need to watch the old calorie intake over this Festive season. Have already signed up for 10 more PT sessions, but if I am going to be bikini ready in spring (that's when we go) I had better keep myself in check.

I have already got a few lovely items that would be great to get slim into - I just hope thats enough to stop me piling on the pounds this Christmas. That's not to say that I am entirely forgoing the celebrations of course - just actually having days in between when I am not competing in my own personal Olympic gold effort in consume all in site!

Here's to a Merry Christmas and a Happy (slim ) New Year this time! Hopefully Santa will add something lovely for me too! What are you hoping for this year?

Monday, 9 December 2013

Wilkinson - Afterglow - my record of the week

This song has really got stuck in my head like it's on constant loop! I had never heard of Wilkinson, and it was by chance that I caught this mid-song the first time I heard it.

I thought it sounded a little bit like Adele at first, but on second listen, maybe not so much! That said, the melodic voice (Becky hill) on this does make you feel very mellow. The term afterglow is perfect for this catchy track which is surprisingly bassy for a mainstream chart entry. You would expect this sort of thing in a club or city bar, but it fantastic for the gym or for listening to (loudly) in the car.

Download this one straight away, as its a stayer. I can see this remaining on my playlist long after it leaves the charts. Do beware though that this will stick in your head for days. Definetely recommended. Enjoy ;)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Trafford Centre, yo Sushi and G

Today we went to the Trafford Centre. Little G has never been. How exciting!!!

Parked on the outside part for a change - we usually park under ground and then spend joyous hours trying to find the exit.

Enter through Debenhams - cue G - wow! We headed for the fantastic fountain that sprays water high up into the air. We found said fountain, but after a few nervous moments worrying that we had perhaps built this up far too much, finally, the water stopped running in the prelude to the main event - and woosh - up into the air it went. Little G's face was fantastic - oh wow she exclaimed!!

After that point, the rest, was not going to match this! Well, until we reached Yo Sushi. I am not a sushi aficionado. Actually I have never tried it. G was insistent. So eventually, after queuing for half an hour to even sit, and it being after 2pm and I was hungry, I thought well why not.

The dishes had some sort of colour code, which indicated price. This was of no consequence to me - I was worried at even the thought of it, so decided from the offset that I would just try to have what I could tolerate. I first tried Edamame beans. Quite lovely actually.

Next, was chicken gyoza - chicken dumplings. Ooh that was lush, but very small. The dishes are small!!

G persuaded me to try actual sushi, so I opted for the cucumber version. On first taste, not for me. I relented under pressure and tried some more. I have to say, I now love it!!!

We have just got home, and G is buoyant - I have tried Sushi = one off my bucket list at any rate!!!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Personal Training survived, now for wine x

Tonight was Personal Training night. For the first time, I was A - looking forward to it, and B - I actually enjoyed it.

I can't quite figure out what was so different this evening. The scales have dropped a bit, so that can only help, but more than that I felt stronger. I felt that even though it hurt and burned, that I knew I could do it. 

Boy he pushed me hard tonight though. Everything from ab work, to running, cross trainer - that darned step box again, squats, lunges. But I felt fitter and there wasn't as much moving when it shouldn't! 

So home I came after what felt like the world's loveliest shower! Oh, and cue an actual compliment - 2 ladies in the changing room said "oh you are one of those that looks good when you leave like you havent worked when you have". How others always see you differently! I see a somewhat puffy looking heffalump when I look in the mirror. 

So homeward bound, I decided I had earned my large glass of Pinot (or two). Well, all things in moderation eh? I can't be good all of the time - where is the fun in that!! 


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Sail by AWOLnation - I'm slightly obsessed - definite song of the week

I heard this being introduced on the radio last week, and listened to it in passing - background noise if you will. Immediately I was struck by how familiar it sounded.

Later that day it was on the radio again when I hopped into the car. This time I dedicated my ears to it and listened properly. It was immediate and powerful and I now as a result cannot stop listening to it.

It's quite an old song apparently, being first released 3 years ago, which is a bit odd but there you go. The familiarity I found is in part explained by its prolific use in TV ads, trailers etc.. but none I can pin down as the source I recognise.

None of which matters, because it is fabulous anyway. I have now downloaded it, and am constantly listening to it at the gym, and keep walking around making the noises off it - when you hear it you might imagine how bonkers I might sound trying to imitate it!

If you like quirky songs, that are a bit electro pop this is one for you. Just try not to get as obsessed as I am. Or do. It's not like its a bad thing.

If you like it, pop me a comment to say so - I'm sure it can't just be me!

Monday, 2 December 2013

It's just a box - yeah right!!!

So it's a step box. You know the one, plastic Reebok step box, with feet that you can raise the height with. Nothing scary about that right?

So now imagine 2 step boxes. Both with feet on to raise the height. Scared yet?

Finally, imagine both boxes stacked upon one another. Trembling with fear? Right?

No, of course you are not. I wasn't. Not one tiny bit. So on with the workout I went - lots of weights, interval training, squats and lunges. Some core work to give my legs a break for a precious few moments. 

Then began the horror. First, I had to step onto the two boxes with my right foot, and believe me it was quite a step to manage. I am not short - I am a mm or 2 shy of 5 foot 6, so at least average height. I then had to take the foot which was on the floor off the ground, balance on my right foot with my leg thigh and knee raised and stay there for a couple of seconds. Then back down and repeat. For 20 reps!! Then the left leg. 

Balancing was the first problem. Whilst in reality the step is not actually that high, and I am not even remotely scared of heights, it felt high to be wobbling around on one leg attempting balance. I finally mastered it, then had to change legs - cue lots of wobbling about trying to master it on my left leg. 

This was bad, but the worse was yet to come. 

I had to place my foot on the step as I had to raise my knee - as before. However, this time you had to fully step up onto the double step then step down again alternating legs. On round 1 I had a metal frame to supposedly guide me - by guide me read hang onto for dear life!!

On round 2 he moved the steps away from the frame and pushed it up to the wall. Nothing to grip or hang on to. I managed 4 step ups before the burning started. As I was getting more and more hot, more and more sweaty and most importantly more and more frustrated at how damn hard it was, he was explaining that I needed to push my heels down. Apparently, I was going up on my toes and ball of my foot, which was putting the pressure on my thighs instead of my hamstrings and buttocks. 

The only way I could accomplish this feat was to stomp my foot like someone trying to put a fire out - actually that's closer to the truth than I intended such was the burning fire in my legs and derrière! I managed the minute, albeit slowly and with no elegance whatsoever. 

I was allowed a short recovery rest throughout which I glared at the step boxes. I was looking right at the thing and could not work out why it was so hard to just stand on and off a box!!! It's just a box!!!

Then the final set was required. This time fatigue had clearly settled into my lower half, and at a pathetic one step up on each leg I faltered. The burning began immediately. I began to kind of paw at the wall before me, grappling to heave myself up onto the box. Once up I just wanted to lean on the wall and cry!! I had to step down and up again. This time I was so close to crying that the most ridiculous sounds were being emitted from me without any conscious awareness that it was in fact me making those sounds. 

It's not without utter embarrassment that I share this with you. I must have been a site to behold. I am very pale as a rule - not at this point I wasn't. I could see the colour in my arms and legs - that colour was crimson red. I could feel the sweat running down my back and neck. My arms had a sheen which I have never managed to produce in previous exercise attempts. But I cared not one bit. All I was focused upon was that blue wall before me. As I heaved myself on and off that damned box I made all sorts of promises to myself. 

I promised that I would remember this pain each time I was tempted to ever again allow myself to pile on so much weight and eat cheese. I promised that I would be a better person if I could just survive. Every time I felt I had to stop - and that was pretty much the constant emotion - I promised myself that if I could just keep going it would be worth it. I would love to say it helped. It didn't. It was the longest minute of my life. 

Never again will that little plastic box ever be the same again!! 


Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Diet

So I am approaching week 4 of my new life style plan. I have now lost 12lbs, had 8 PT sessions, and am now focusing more on a balanced diet.

I am more inclined towards vegetarian foods, although I am not a vegetarian (I was for many many years), but I do enjoy chicken, lean mince etc.. and find I am healthier when I balance what I am eating.

I've become aware that I feel more energetic and overall more healthy on days where for instance I don't overload on the carbs in the evening, and where I snack a little. So this week I have been experimenting with what foods do to me. These are my findings so far, and from this I am now going to devise my own food plan to fit in with my fitness and training sessions. Hopefully, this will increase the results I am seeing and move my weight loss forward. So this week, these are the meals I have had, with low fat snacks in between - cereal bars, WW sweet snacks etc..

Breakfast (on workdays) - Special K with lots of fresh blueberries and strawberries and skimmed milk.
Breakfast (weekend) - Toast with marmite, or scrambled egg on toast

Lunch (weekdays) - Chicken salad sandwich / egg mayo / good for you wrap - 2 rounds. Low fat crisps or snack such as special K crisps, or rice snacks like snack a jacks, or sainsburys own. Weight Watchers soup.
Lunch (weekend) - Low fat subway or homemade subway style sandwich. Soup or coffee. Low fat snack.

Dinner (weekdays) - Quorn fillets, with home made spicy salsa and tortilla wraps and Mediterranean veg.
                              - Quorn mince chilli with jacket potato and side salad
                              - Homemade cottage pie and broccolli
                              - Baked beans and jacket potato
                              - Cous cous, quorn family roast, carrots, peas and broccoli.
Dinner (weekend)   - Chicken breast, corn on the cob, jacket potato
                              - Pasta and homemade sauce

The pasta really filled me up, but the next day I was bloated. That said, I found I had more energy at the gym. My conclusion is that pasta is great for energy, but eating it at night is the wrong time. I need to have pasta at lunch if I am going to have it.

The spicy quorn and tortilla was good, but it needed the veg to fill me up. Will do more veg next time, as I was still a little hungry after eating it, and felt hungry the next morning.

The cottage pie was a good choice for a dark cold evening, but sat heavily on my stomach. I did eat quite late though - about 8.30pm so I now know to have that on a night when I can eat earlier.

Jacket potato's are a great choice. Still carbs, but I didnt get the bloating and it filled me up. The cous cous and quorn roast was lovely, but the scales shot up the next day and I felt it sat heavily. Too much stodge i think. Will skip the cous cous next time, and stick to the veg, maybe with gravy for a chicken dinner style option.

All in all, I found that bread - for instance in the morning at weekends doesnt keep me full as long as cereal and fruit. Carbs need to be eaten earlier in the day, but they are needed so I am not going to cut them out. The time of meals is also important. Hopefully, now I have focused a little more on how my body reacts to the food rather than being fixated on the calories I can try and balance my meals to give me the energy to work out without making me feel tired, hungry and sluggish.

I will see if it makes a difference this week. I'm all for trying new things to get where I want to be. You never know, it may even make the training easier and I am all for that!!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

This week's homework - the broken collarbone story

So little G had homework to do last night. This week she had been given a picture and the task was to write a story to match the picture. This picture was of an x-ray of a broken bone. It appeared to be the collarbone which was damaged, so we explored the possibilities of how this might occur.

The first idea put forward by my partner was that a little boy tried to kick the football and missed. When I questioned just exactly how swinging a booted foot at a leather ball might actually break your collarbone he fell silent, clearly feeling a little snubbed. Little G suggested that someone had fallen off a horse. This was a better idea, but I felt that perhaps it might do more than just break your collarbone to tumble from a horse, and we couldn't think of a story for that one other than "the girl fell off the horse".

An ad came on then for some fizzy drink of some sort which featured a skate boarder - ta-da! An accident falling over trying to skateboard! Little G was impressed with this and proceeded to write her story. Little did we know how many words would have to be looked up and spelled out to accomplish this. Also, having never actually broken any bones, I had no idea as to how you actually treat a broken collarbone!! I also am now aware that the collarbone is known as the clavicle. So now I know don't I.

I am now also in the knowledge that the clavicle is the most commonly broken bone in the human body. Clearly, you can't put it in a sling, but you apparently have to sling the arm to take the pressure of it whilst it heals. Seemingly, there isn't actually much that can be done - it just takes time. This made for a difficult ending to the story - it kind of built up the drama to the accident, then A&E, then - well, nothing really!!

I don't remember having such things to write about at 8 1/2 years old but clearly time has moved on since my day! I remember drawing birds (feathered types) and describing the colour of their eggs. Quite possibly why I didn't know the correct name for the collarbone. If this is primary school, goodness knows what is ahead of us in a couple of years when it's time for high school. To think that before I became the step mom I actually thought I was fairly intelligent!




Tuesday, 26 November 2013

My Road to Slim - PT session 7 under my belt

So last night I completed Personal Training Session number 7. The sessions now I am getting stronger are getting harder in terms of the weights and resistance. Whilst I can tell I am getting fitter, each session leaves me looking like a mad red heffalump!!

Having said that, I am finding that my body is starting to change. It feels different and it is starting to be noticeable, particularly my waist which is reappearing having been in disguise for some months now. Its like i have been wearing a fat suit, but now that suit looks like its been shrunk in the wash. Its still there, but its definitely shrunk a bit!

In my infinite wisdom I have made the decision to continue after my block of 10 sessions is complete. given that Christmas is looming I feel I need to motivate myself, to avoid the usual sitting down with the box of quality street realising all that is left is the wrappers, and about a stone heavier as a result!

I have come to the idea that it would be very nice indeed to actually be able to fit in some of nice clothes (usually this is only for those first few days on holiday) instead of trying to squeeze myself into some hideous looking assembly of garments to try and cover up the expanse of my derrière! Maybe, just maybe, I might actually look somewhere approaching good this year!

So far I have lost 10lbs. Its not shifting as fast as I had hoped, but I do wonder if some of that is because I am also toning up. My legs and arms are definitely firmer, although some way to go yet of course. After the first session, I genuinely thought both legs were somehow damaged, as trying to walk was a real issue. My thighs burned for several days. Now, whilst it still hurts and aches, its nothing compared to the days after that first session. You don't realise what your body is able to do until you push it to its limits.

I feel quite proud of what I can now do, after just 7 sessions. So, 3 more to go, then I have booked a block of 10 to follow that. Lets see what this body can do and maybe, just maybe, it might possibly get to where I have tried and failed to get it to for the last 20 years.

I am 37. Certainly age is going to be against me at some point, but I am still young enough to really push hard. I feel inspired and determined at the moment. I just hope my will power holds!!

Weight loss so far: 10lbs.
Weight to reach goal: 42lb. (3 stone)

Monday, 25 November 2013

World War Z - My Movie Reviews

Prepare for an adrenaline packed roller coaster of a film. Reminiscent of 28 days later, the Z here is for Zombies. That said, with Brad Pitt at the helm putting some A-list Hollywood style into the mix, this is a stand out in this particular genre.

The opening scenes are nothing short of full on scary. Even though I have seen a number of these kind of films this one is quite plausible. You could actually imagine this happening. I thought it had a really clever storyline, the effects were brilliant, and the "camouflage" not quite solution I thought was absolute genius.

In particular, I loved the way the story jumped countries, with plane crashes, high speed chases through winding streets, and brill special effects. I liked how it didn't have a silly Hollywood ending, which whilst I won't spoil it for you, does leave it kind of hanging out there for you to imagine what could follow.

I was impressed with this one more than some others of this kind, but if you don't like zombies steer clear!! Brad is cool as ever, although there are a few moments where he keeps surviving where you do start to question if that would actually happen, but lets face it, he is Brad Pitt. No Zombie is ever going to be allowed to kill him off half way through the plot! There has also never been a worse moment to receive a phone call!!

If you want a serious toned, but good entertainment nevertheless film to watch, then go for it. If you are more the clever slick thriller type, then its probably not for you!! I enjoyed it, and I give it a 7 out of 10, purely for the entertainment factor. Enjoy! x

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Santa is real!!

So G is 8 1/2. Still fully believing in Santa. We have had the list, and the usual discussions around Santa watching to make sure kids are being good, or else its a piece of coal for you!!

But this year, I've started to get an inkling that she is at least starting to question the details if not Santa himself. So far, we have been asked how Santa gets to all the houses. Then, and this was a tough one to answer, how does he get down the chimneys when everyone has electric or gas fires - wont he get burnt!! Then there is - why did the Santa I saw at Bridgemere look so different to the one in the Shopping Centre?

I'm not sure how many years the idea of Santa has left, but one thing is for sure, we are certainly going to make sure we enjoy it while it lasts.

And for the record - Santa is real!! I still leave a mince pie and a sherry out. Well, who wants to act like a grown up all the time. So don't forget the carrot for rudolph this year. x

Personal Training = mean

6th PT session done. 4 more to go. What do i do?Yes, sign up for 10 more!!! How to describe it - imagine the meanest SOB you have ever met - then imagine paying said SOB to hurt you!! I have never in my life made so many almost but not quite sobs whilst trying to do just 5 more reps!!! However, clothes looser, scales dropping and it feels A-mazing when the fabulous words "that's it" are said!!!! mana from heaven. that said, every. part. of. me. burns!!!!

However, the results speak for themselves:

Weight loss since 4th Nov = 10lbs!!!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Exercise and Anxiety - what is going on??

For the last 2 1/2 weeks I have been having Personal Training Sessions. Hard yes, but no problems breathing. For the last month or two I have had a great deal of stress in my life, but no problems breathing.
I am losing weight, I am eating healthily, getting plenty of sleep and even staying off the wine.

4 days ago, I suddenly started to have a little bit of difficulty getting a deep breath. It was evening, I had been for a long walk out in the fresh air earlier that day, I wasn't upset, wasn't stressed, certainly wasn't anxious. At least I didn't think I was at any rate.

I stretched myself and got my breath, but by that point all I could think about was my breathing. My chest got tighter and tighter and it got harder to breath. I became aware that I was for some reason holding my breath a little, so I focused on not doing that. It made absolutely no difference. I started to watch a film, took my focus off the breathing, and it seemed to sort itself out, but left me wanting to yawn a lot.

That was Sunday evening. Monday I got up and I felt fine, breathing fine, not anxious, nothing. I got to work and it started again, mild this time granted, but it was getting worse. People started to comment, asking if I was tired - I think they mistook my breathing hard for yawning. It was more of a desperate gasp for air. Like my lungs just wouldn't expand enough.

trying to focus on something else, eventually it worked. I went to the gym, completed my fifth PT session, and was fine. I got home, and off I went again - constantly fidgeting to get in a position where I could get that lovely lung full of air. My partner gave me some of his essential oil lavender, and that seemed to do the trick for a while, until it wore off, so I had to keep dabbing it.

Last night was the worst by far. I started to get quite distressed, so I googled it, as you do! Turns out that it seems to indeed be anxiety related. I just do not understand it. I can exercise with no difficulty at all, but cannot sit in my own home without gasping for breath.

I don't feel anxious. If anything I have less stress than in previous weeks so why now? I am finding that if I try not to think about it and combine breathing out sharply to empty my lungs, then holding my breath and then slowly breathing back in, that it seems to unlock the tightness, but it is short lived and comes back.

I am getting really frustrated and confused by it. There cannot be anything wrong with my lungs - I can run and workout at high levels of exertion with no problems. So why is my armchair becoming my nemesis? I am sure that it is nothing at all to worry about, but the more you try to tell yourself to relax, the more you are in fact thinking about it and off the cycle goes again!!

Is this anxiety?? What on earth do I do if it is? How do you treat anxiety when you are not in fact anxious?? Puzzled much!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - My Movie Reviews

This film is a couple of years old now - 2011 I believe. For some reason, I have never watched it. I do this sometimes - when a film has a little too much hype it puts me off watching it as so many times they can be overrated. This was not the case with this remake with Daniel Craig as male lead and the formerly unknown Rooney Mara as female lead.

I haven't read the Stieg Larsson books (they are now on my to read list) so I had no idea what to expect from this. From the very beginning I was hooked. Mara plays the lead Lisbeth so convincingly that you forget that she is an actor and are genuinely absorbed into her portrayal of the troubled, definitely not quite the full shilling, but also utterly and completely the herione of the piece. Craig, by comparison, is actually a bit of wimp in this - far removed from his Bond persona. 

The opening dialogue from Mara gives you a hint of the fearsome intellect hiding beneath her harsh and distant demeanor, but is nothing compared to the way her character weaves through the plot, compelling you to will her on. The point in the film when she is betrayed by someone who should be there to help her, but who abuses her makes for difficult watching. However the pay back is one of the best I have ever seen in a movie. Not ridiculously gruesome as can often be the case, just clever and to be honest, you do find yourself thinking well deserved. 

At no point does the plot waver - it doesnt miss a beat, keeps you gripped to the very end. Even the final scene leaves you wanting more and not wanting this brilliant film to end. So it is just as well that there are follow ups to keep you going!! 

I definetely recommend this one if you are a fan of pyschological thrillers, or even if you arent, as the acting is absolutely top notch. Some well established names add class and credibility - Christoper Plummer (yes, him off the Sound of Music), Joely Richardson (Nip, Tuck), Geraldine James (yes, Bitty!!) amongst others. 

I give this 9 1/2 out of ten. Why the 1/2 point off full marks? Because I didn't want it to end like it did, albeit though the ending does leave you wanting to know where it goes next an wanting more!!! 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

8lbs lost already!!

Well I am one happy bunny today. 2 weeks, 4 PT sessions = 8lbs lost! My clothes fit better, my skin looks clearer - all in all the sessions are clearly paying off.

Friday's session consisted of leg and core work again. Abs, leg press, on and off the stepper, lunges, lunges with belgian bag. The difficult ones were sitting fully down on the step, with feet either side and standing fully up using just your thighs, then squatting back to sitting.

Another difficult one - side plank rotation. I need to practice this one, as I was entirely lacking in grace!! Start with a side plank, hold, roll into front plank and straight into side plank on the other side and hold. Then back again. And again. 10 in total!! I struggled with that one.

Interval training and sprints on the stepper. Interval training and sprints on the rower. Just for the fun of it, a plank with a belgian bag my back!!! Followed by the rope.

I burn in every muscle in my body. I ache, I have never felt anything so bad yet so wonderful in my life. Bad because it burns and aches. Wonderful because I can see and feel the difference it is already making to my body.

You must have a certain disposition to be a personal trainer - one that likes to inflict pain!! But he knows what he is doing by god and the difference already is making me all the more determined. Long way to go, but I've made a dent, and what matters is how much better I feel.

8lbs in 12 days. Yay!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Exercise over - time for Notting Hill!!

So, its the 14th November. I am slightly lighter, definitely starting to look less bloated and my third, yes that's right, my third PT session under my belt. Good feeling.

Had a very tasty homecooked dinner consisting of quorn mince, spiced with garlic, chilli flakes, ginger and soy sauce, wrapped in warm tortilla wraps. Very nice, very healthy.

Now that's the sensible stuff over and done with onto feet up and watching a film. This evening I have chanced upon Notting Hill. My gosh its fab. I had totally forgotten what an absolute gem of a film this is. Am already on the brink of tears in anticipation!!!

Maybe its the endorphins from the exercise!! Probably not - cant be just me can it?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tonight's homework - "how to" using bossy and imperative verbs no less!!

So tonight, little G's homework was a "how to do" task. She's 8. The task was to pick something that you could describe in step by step with pictures.

We chose to do pasta with sauce. Cue much discussion over how much pasta, how much water, how big the pan, what sort of bowl! Who would have thought it took so much preparation?

We then got onto the diagram - she had a great idea - to draw the pasta as it fell into the pan. Easier said than done.

Next up was whether it should be bullet points, numbered points or paragraphs? Decision made - numbered points. Then we had the required spelling for the ingredients - I don't recall every trying to spell Passata. (I know have learned that it is 2 ss's and one t!) along with spices including coriander, garlic and basil.

I am now aware that the verbs we were required to use, as G informed me knowingly, were firstly - "bossy verbs" and secondly "imperative verbs". So now I know!

I wonder what I will learn from next week's homework?? :)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Life of Pi - My MOVIE Reviews

I have just watched the Life of Pi for the very first time. What am amazing film!

Lets start at the beginning - the tale of a small boy, eyes wide with the wonders of the world. He meets a tiger called Richard Parker! Some mix up of the names, but what a fantastic name for a huge powerful Bengal tiger. The beast is majestic from the very start.

He meets a girl, and his heart is broken when his family must leave India for Canada, taking with them their zoo animals. A ferocious storm batters the ship, leaving Pi stranded on a lifeboat with a zebra. The zebra having fallen on to the boat, breaking its leg.

Enter an orang-utan and a hyena, followed shortly after by the arrival of Richard Parker. I won't spoil it by saying what happens then, but suffice to say, only Pi and Richard remain to the end.

Stunning visual beauty and amazing that 2 main characters and a boat can make you feel such emotion. This film made me sob, though I cannot entirely describe why that is.

The ending is very clever indeed, and I love that final scene where it is the true story that sits best, as fantastic as it is. Utterly brilliant, 100% recommended. 10 out 10. Go watch it, get hankies at the ready if you are an emotional type such as I.

The (hard) road to slim - 12th Nov - doing it for me!!

Well, today was not a successful day for the road to being slim. Didn't make it to the gym, and having weighed myself, no movement on the scales either. Can't really say that I am all that surprised, as I did give in and have a few cheeky glasses of wine at the weekend.

I keep asking myself why I just cannot stay on track? I keep giving myself a real hard time about it. So today, I am making a commitment to myself instead of to the scales. I am making a promise to look after me for me, not for anyone else.

I think that has been the main stumbling block for me, as I am sure it is for so many of us. I was too focused on trying to lose weight and look good for the benefit of other people, because they saw fit to comment and I wanted to seek their approval.

Well, today, I have realised - it is just not going to motivate me until I make what I want the goal, not trying to please other people. So this is the beginning - again.

So I say to each of you out there trying to lose weight, get fit - ask yourself - are you doing it for you?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Being a step mum - such a complicated bond

I have toyed with how to put this for some time but really, there is no way to put it - being a step mom is hard. As a parent, there is an automatic, un-conditional love. This is not so when you are not the parent. When you first meet your partner's child, you are from that second onwards under scrutiny. You have to build that bond out of nowhere, and try to find your place in the hierarchy.

I have no experience with children. I don't have brothers and sisters myself, and have no children of my own. At first, I naively thought it would be fun, which it is at times. But I under-estimated the complexity of the situation.

Not only are you under scrutiny by your step-child, you are also judged and tested by the extended family - the ex-partner who must trust you without knowing you properly to be guardian to their child.

When relationships break down, its important that the children are made to feel valued by both parents, which in our case is beyond doubt. The issue for me is this- what role do I have in her life?

When it comes to discipline, there have been occasions - not many thankfully - when I have stepped in to say "no" or to say what needs to be said. Unfortunately, whilst this is accepted when it comes from the parent, it's so much different when it comes from me. In our case, the stance now is that when it comes to laying down the boundaries of behaviour, and enforcing those boundaries - such as putting toys away after playing is done - that is beyond my role. It is much easier, and much less likely to result in friction to leave it to the parent. Easier in regards to the volatility of the situation, but not easy emotionally. It's like an invisible wall is ever-present through which I can see, but not reach through.

Unless you find yourself in this situation, it is hard to comprehend just how hard it is. I consider myself to be her friend now, but it has taken several years to build. And it is a fragile link. It takes care and attention, and it waxes and wanes. I am determined to be an important person in her life, but it is so hard when as a parent that link is so robust, yet for me requires so much careful navigation.

I keep asking myself - does this ever get any easier?


Saturday, 9 November 2013

bloglovin

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The road to slim - 9th Nov

Well, PT session number 2 under my belt. I went along last night for my session, with legs that were still achy, still a bit painful to touch, and I was expecting to not be up to doing much at all. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived.

To my dismay, he immediately stated that we were doing more leg work, and that we needed to build up my strength. More squats with belgian bag, but with some floor work in between - he had me do a plank (bad) with a belgian bag on my back (very bad!).

Next, raised step box, and I had to step on lift my outer leg and push a weighted ball up at the same time. Then repeat on the other leg. Following this, I had to step on and off the box, with feet on it then to either side, again with a weighted gym ball, and to squat over the box.

Then it was cardio time. Fast walk, with sprints on an incline started the interval training on the treadmill. Next, was the cross trainer, with slow jogs, then fast sprints on a higher level. I thought it was over, but alas, more was to come.

Abs next. Full sit ups and various crunches, as unfortunately, one thing I have strength in is my abs. He soon realised this, and pushed me even harder. Almost over, I gave it my all.

The final challenge - squats and rows with the ropes. Basically holding the handles on the ropes, you squat to the floor tensing the ropes, then pull yourself up with them, so it works your full body. 15 of those and I could feel everything burn. But it was over and I survived.

The most surprising thing was that my legs actually felt better after than they did before - the pain went. They ached, but no pain. Today, I can feel the burn as they say, but still no pain.

But by far the best point was when I got on the scales this morning. A whopping 5lb drop since Monday. Not even a week! Thats a dent in the target already - am very pleased!!

Weight loss total - 5lbs
Start Date: 4.11.13
Goal - 3 1/2 stone or 49lbs.
Pounds to lose = 44lbs

My MOVIE REVIEWS - 2012

I have just watched the movie 2012. Now with these sort of films, you do, to a degree, have to suspend your disbelief. John Cusack stars, and is very good, but the tenuous link that weaves him into the plot is poor.

However, putting that aside, the film isnt half bad. The plot basically is the end of the world as we know it. The earth's shell is moving, and the North and South poles are shifting. The visual effects are amazing - quite scary at times. The inevitable love story is a bit naf and predictable, but its really not what this film is about.

This is a pure and unadulterated disaster movie. Throw in some stunning locations for the primary plot and you have a very enjoyable film all in all. Watching roads rip open, buildings falling, planes flying through ash clouds - all very exciting!!

Not one for those expecting deep thought provoking life questions about why we are here, but if you just want a fun film, this is for you. I give it a 6 out of 10, mainly for the effects and Cusack. Woody Harrelson's wacky cameo is also quite amusing.

My MOVIE REVIEWS - WANTED

Oh what joy! After a rare evening out, I come home to discover this, one of my most favourite movies is playing. James McAvoy plays the part of a totally downtrodden, under the thumb bum. His girlfriend is going with his supposed best mate.

His boss is a super-sized bitch, with awful died red hair. He types away, playing the role, whilst in wilful denial of his situation. He is the nerd, the office joke.

But I digress. Before that, "my Ireland" off of Braveheart takes roof jumping to the extreme. Kicking off from the elevator he leaps across the skyline only to find himself on X marks the spot!

Cue McAvoy being tracked down by the almost unbelievable perfection of Angelina Jolie. Like her, loath her, she is beautiful and also very very convincing in her part here!

Whilst in reality, smacking someone in the face with a keyboard is not an action I condone, it makes a great scene for the underdog!

This film is not a classic. The acting is not great. It is not an oscar worthy performance. What it is, is a reminder that we do not have to be bullied. That we can say "shut the hell up, you have one tenuous iota of power". And we can walk out. We can and we will be the makers of our own destiny.

The film deviates from this, by making the fraternity the be all and end all. however, the defining and for me the best part is when McAvoy realises that he has a choice. We have a choice. Regardless.

I rarely give a 10 but i make an exception here. 10 out of 10. I love this!!!
























































































































Thursday, 7 November 2013

get your self a christmas tree!

http://www.hayesgardenworld.co.uk/960/make-some-noise-for-charity-christmas-giveaway

The road to slim - my progress - sore legs!

Thursday 7th Nov 2013

The stiffness in my thighs finally abated enough today to dare some exercise. That in mind, it was with some concern over whether or not my thighs would actually allow me to do much when I managed to get myself to the gym!

The front of both thighs has been somewhat painful to the touch since Monday's PT session, but that is because I am unfit and out of condition. That is something that I aim to resolve - and fast!

So, I did a little walking, a little gentle jogging and do you know what? Once I had finished - 300 cals burned on cardio, and lots of sets of ab work, my legs are actually moving more easily and are hurting less. Result!

If I can just get through this first unpleasantness then I am sure a few weeks from now that this won't seem as bad when it's just a memory.

For those of you out there that are already fit and toned, then I am sure you must have gone through this. For those of you contemplating it - do not let me put you off! Weight and body image is an ongoing battle, but it is one I am determined to win!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The road to slim - my progress

So today is Wednesday 6th November. Pounds lost = none. Not even a sign of movement. Can I feel the benefit? Not really. Can I tell I had my first PT session? You betcha!!

Stairs are the main issue for my very stiff, very sore legs and derrière! My muscles have clearly never been worked properly but boy oh boy they have now!

On the plus side, the aches are exactly the places where I want to tone and lose inches so that shows its targeted the correct areas on my body. I however have zero patience, and as I have decided to commit to this, I want the weight off by, oh let me see - yesterday??!!

In all honesty, I know there is a long hard road ahead of me, and that this will be a challenge. The plan is to do a light session tomorrow in order to loosen my muscles a little, then the next PT session is on Friday.

So no doubt I will then spend the weekend in the same situation as currently - aching! Just in time to start again on Monday.

As to the diet side I still have improvements to make there. My meals are now under control in terms of portion size, I just need to eat more fruit and veg (any would be an improvement) and also to cut down on the snacking. The problem there is I am just so darn peckish. This is to be expected, given I have spent the last two months eating everything and anything in sight. It's just hard work keeping the cravings for lovely food at bay and reminding myself of all the beautiful clothes hanging in my wardrobe that I cannot fit into currently. Easier said than done.

If anyone out there has any tips on how to deal with sore muscles, please let me know!


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Day 1 - my road to slim

Monday 4th November 2013.

I have decided that I want to lose some weight but also to be healthy and toned. I have booked a personal trainer for 10 sessions to start with - 2 sessions per week. First training session and day 1 of my long journey to get my body how I want it (or as close as I can actually manage!).

I want to lose approximately 3 stone - 3 1/2 stone, so this was always going to be hard. The first session went like this:

Squats
Lunges
Squats with belgian bag
Free weights
Plank
Plank balanced on a ball
Squats with straps
Body weight pulls with straps
Treadmill - incline fast walk
Interval training on cross trainer
Interval training on stair master
Step up balance with free weights

1 hour in total. I had no idea that working with weights and doings these kind of exercises made you puff and pant more than cardio on the machines - which we also did! Made my legs and thighs shake at the time. Almost fell over as my legs were a bit wobbly when I came off the treadmill. Today I have aches in my thighs like you would not believe, but to be fair I was warned it would make me ache! Graceful I was not as I walked to the changing room after the session!! My legs felt like bambi on ice!

I weighed myself at the beginning of the day, but am going to try not to keep jumping on the scales and will try to have some will power and weigh myself just once per week.

Diet wise, I have so far just cut down, but I know that I need to begin to look at what I am eating to balance my diet and also make sure my portion sizes are under control.

If anyone has passed this point where its all uphill ahead then please feel free to pass on your experiences.

Also if anyone knows any great tips for how to make my thighs hurt less, please pass then on!!

All said, I woke up this morning feeling yes, sore and achy, but also a little less bloated and a lot more positive.

Weight loss total - 0lbs
Start Date: 4.11.13
Goal - 3 1/2 stone or 49lbs.
Pounds to lose = 49lbs

Sunday, 3 November 2013

My MOVIE REVIEWS - BASIC INSTINCT

When I saw this classic was on last night, it occurred to me that whilst A) - I have seen it before and B) I have seen it more than once - that it had been quite some years since I last watched it from start to finish, and I was started to realised the film is now over 20 years old - 1992!!

From the start, I was hooked into this gripping thriller. I had forgotten how stunning Sharon Stone is, and how chiselled Michael Douglas was and what a great combination they make. The clever plot still twists and turns, and is none the worse for knowing they are coming. The ending is still a puzzle - was it her, or was it not? That final shot of the ice pick leaves you guessing.

I would definitely recommend a revisit to this beautifully shot, erotic thriller as it is one of the best of its kind. I thought it was great then, and if anything, compared with some of the more recent attempts in this field, I think I hold it even higher in ranking. I can't actually think of anything negative to say about this film at all so i give this one a well deserved 9 1/2 out of 10.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

OOH, AAH - Fireworks

So tonight I went off to a bonfire and fireworks display over at Shugborough Hall. Have never been to Shugborough - I will definitely go back in the day time to explore the grounds, as in the dark we wound our way down a beautiful tree lined road to the venue, which must be magnificent by day.

There was a fair, but it was so cold and blustery, it really wasn't the conditions for me to go on an adrenaline rush! No, I settled for a hotdog then hustled on over to the unlit fire to wait the lighting.

The pile was huge - pallets, and various wooden items, with a guy perched on the top. At 7pm the crowds had gathered, the wind was howling and the smell of paraffin was in the air as the torches were lit and the fire took hold. Watching the building flames turn from thick smoke to plumes of golden fire, it was like watching some mythical beast. The wind carried the sparks high into the trees, and there were some oohs as they danced perilously close to the firework cache!

Wrapped in a warm coat, scarf and hat, the cold still chilled me to my bones, so as we stood, we developed a sort of stomp to keep the cold from our frozen fingers and toes. The fire had begun to burn down the huge pyre when the fireworks should have begun at 7.30pm. It was gone ten to eight when they kicked in, but by golly it was worth it!

They were majestic. The huge bangers half deafening, but beautiful, and even the smaller ones looked pretty as they rose as they were seen through the branches of a leafy tree at the lower level. Gorgeous colours an spectacular display. When stood in the near gale force wind still giving it the expected ooh, aah as the chill crept into my bones, you know its a good event.

What mystifies me though is the sense of irony us Brits hold - only here would the catching of the person who tried to blow up our own parliament be celebrated by what? Yes thats right - setting fire to a load of gunpowder, known as fireworks!!!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Winter officially here - I have a cold!!!

So, its the 1st November. Halloween is over. Much fun it was too. Literally the second that November dawns, I just know the arrival of winter is here as I have a snuffly nose and the most annoying type of cough!!!

No pain- no sore throat, no fever. Nothing to suggest to anyone that there is anything at all the matter with me. Hence - sympathy quota? None. Big fat 0%. So, work day as normal. Home, chores, out for tea and the second my food arrives my cough kicks in!! Cue much at first concerned, and second worried glances from fellow dinners as my tickly irritating coughing fit just would not let up!! Pinot quaffed - still coughing.

Back home - no cough. Not even a clearing of the throat. Until I have just lay down for a moment!! Why is it that a cough waits for 1- an audience, and 2 - for you to try to rest!!!

Can someone please explain why a cough appears to have a master plan!!???

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

My Halloween MOVIES - ORPHAN

This film really bothered me - isn't that what a scary film should do? This film is so spooky and sinister, all the more so because of the great parts the kids play. From the main character Esther and her scheming, to the mute daughter Max, who is so cute but yet so convincing, to the son who is also great. It the kids that make this good instead of so much mediocre in this genre.

The adults are slightly less great - the father in particular is a little wooden, but it doesn't distract from the horror / psychological drama. I really enjoyed the bond that first develops with Esther and her new family and then dramatically unravels into something desperate, sad but terrifying.

Definitely a good one for the spookiness of Halloween, I give this 6 1/2 out of ten.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

My MOVIE REVIEW - HIDE AWAY

Not a film to watch if you are troubled or feeling low as this really is a thought provoking journey from despair into solitude crossing into depression territory. It made me think of Leaving Las Vegas.

Josh Lucas plays the lead character, but far from the usual suave flamboyant roles he usually plays here he is humble, and full of remorse and regret. If you can imagine what it would feel like to have been the cause of the death of a loved one, then this film will tug at you. Pivotal is the way Lucas looks like the man he is playing - every inch the imploded ego. 

This film is a slow burner, and does seem long, but compared to much less worthy comparisons, i still reckon this is great. A bit more background to the lead and a little more of the future he builds would make this amazing. So all in all, i give this a 6 out of 10. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

My Halloween MOVIE REVIEWS - SLEEPY HOLLOW

This is one of my all time favourite spooky films. Not horror, just spooky. Its a supernatural tale, set against a stunningly eerie backdrop of intertwined trees, mist and gloom. Its based the old legend of Sleepy Hollow and the story weaves its way through a small town where virtually everyone has a connection.

The story begins with a beheading at the hands of the headless horseman, played by the always frightful Christopher Walken! Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane brings the perfect nerdy yet steadfast element to this olde world sinister tale. The developing emotional contact when Crane meets Katrina Van Tassel beings some depth, and makes you care where the axe may fall next.

Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson bring integrity to the tale, as they play Baltus Van Tassel and deceiptful Lady Van Tassel.  What I love most about this film is the visual dark beauty - now the norm with a Tim Burton flick, but mostly I love the way the tale twists and turns to its quite shocking ending.

This is a great one for Halloween spookiness without preventing you from sleeping! I give this a ghoulish 7 our of 10.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

MOVIE REVIEW - COMPULSION

Intriguing film this and I was not sure what to expect. The trailer was Heather Graham wearing a lovely fitted kind of 1950's style dress - the filming done in a very colourful stylistic manner. So I gave it a go. Graham is superb and portrays her character with flare and charisma, but clearly as someone who is slowly deteriorating as her Obsessive Compulsion to buy love through food takes full hold. Her clothes are stunning and she plays the role well. One part in particular reminds me of a classic scene in the War of the Roses where Kathleen Turner purrs "woof" to Michael Douglas implying the dog is the dinner. Not so subtle here!!

Enter Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity from Matrix) as equally disturbed neighbour of Graham. Dressed as a frumpy has been you would barely expect the relationship that develops between the 2 main characters as they find a bond within their obsessions. Graham fearful of rejection attempts to feed her neighbour to bring her out of herself. Moss somehow allows this, although the connection is not fully explored and does leave you pondering somewhat.

Kevin Dillon and Joe Mategna provide good support, and the ending is Hitchcock-esque and you are left to imagine. Not the greatest script as the story has some holes, but in terms of visual appeal it doesn't disappoint. Heather Graham has a figure that men will lust for and women will want to emulate. I personally want the wardrobe she has in this film!!! All in all, worth a watch but not a classic. I give this 5 out of 10 purely for Graham's and the visual glamour.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My MOVIEW REVIEWS - Consenting Adults

Well what a hidden gem this turned out to be. It came out in 1992 but for whatever reason I missed this one. The write up seemed interesting so I gave it a go. Kevin Spacey is superb here. Funny at first, then turning sinister - a role he plays to perfection. Kevin Kline as the straight guy - no humour - again  an inspired casting. The tale starts off as one of middle America suburbia, with hints of wife swapping, but nothing out of the ordinary. But events take an unexpected turn and the tale quickly unravels into something dark and disturbing. The age of this film doesnt really affect the watching, except for the odd reminder of life before we all had mobile or cell phones as they say in the states. Well worth a watch if you havent seen it before, and well worth a re-watch if you have. I give this a 7 1/2 out of 10.

Monday, 21 October 2013

My Halloween MOVIE REVIEWS - SALEM's LOT

This is a classic and packed full of scares and jumpy bits. Mr Barlow is the ultimate scare but the Glicks tap tapping on the window is the single most scary scene ever. Not so much while watching but you just wait until the next time a branch taps on your bedroom window in the night! Vampires and gothic horror at its best. This is another one penned by Stephen King and is a great adaptation of the book. James Mason plays the sinister Straker, partner of Mr Barlow. Their spooky home The Marston House sets the perfect tone for this spooky tale. For Halloween spookiness this takes some beating as even with the age of this film - 1979 - it's still one of my favourites. 9 1/2 out of ten.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

My MOVIE REVIEWS - FLIGHT

I watched this not really knowing what to expect. I thought it was going to be another disaster movie. It starts that way but quickly becomes all about one of the pilots played by the always excellent Denzel Washington. As pilot he manages to avoid over 100 passengers being killed by dramatically rolling the plane in free fall. However there are a small number of fatalities and the ensuing investigation is one of the most fascinating I have watched. Don Cheadle and John Goodman are also brilliant and overall this is a great gritty film. It isn't spoiled by a predictable Hollywood ending. I give this 9 out of 10. It's that good.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

My Halloween MOVIE REVIEWS - DRAG ME TO HELL

Quite a new film - 2009, which for horror genre can often mean that effects and gore overtake the story. Not here. This is genuinely scary and will have you jump in your seat! The main character, Christine is a brilliant choice and is convincing as someone being driven to despair to avoid the curse laid upon her. Not your usual horror film as it has a really good story and doesn't deviate with over the top effects. Its just scary and actually that's what horror is supposed to be in my opinion! Packed with spooky stuff - old gypsy, demons and curses you cant go far wrong if you want a good scare. I give this an 8 out of 10. Well worth a watch and the ending is totally unexpected!!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Pinot Grigio - the perfect wine! CHEERS!

Well its been a week and a half this week!! Ups, downs, mainly downs - frustrations, stress and anxiety. Pinot Grigio is a lovely wine to sip at and just goes down like bliss with it being such  a light new wine. My favourite at present is Ogio, but surprisingly the cheapest bottle at Aldi is actually a lot better than some of the £15-£20 per bottle types i have tried in the past!!! I would recommend it and it is only £3.79!!! Cant grumble at that and given what a week it has been, I will be having more than a glass! CHEERS!!!

MOVIE REVIEW - Jack Reacher

So I watched this with a little caution given the fuss that has been made over Tom Cruise playing the part when the books depicted someone with an entirely different physique. That said, as I am not an aficionado of said books it was perhaps more easy for me to just enjoy the superior storyline without the cloud over the main lead. Cruise is convincingly without guilt here and whilst we all know is somewhat shorter than many Hollywood hard men is very good at playing the part of the trained killer/tough guy. The lead female is quite wooden however, Rosamund Pike is not known for her thespian attributes and is badly cast here.

That said, it doesnt distract from the pace and flow of this gritty thriller and in my humble opinion is one of the better book to film adaptations. Well worth a watch - the sinister creepy bad guy is great, the story is great, all bar Pike the casting is great and Cruise is to be honest at his best in this. 8 1/2 out of 10 i give this.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

My Halloween MOVIEW REVIEWs - JEEPERS CREEPERS

This is one of my favourite scary films. It's makes you jump, is tense, creepy and a great watch for Halloween! Just enough ghoulish factor to appeal to horror fans but with a bit of tongue in cheek dialogue that keeps it pacy and entertaining. Justin Long is convincing as a teenage dufus, with his sister being the smart one. Throw in long American roads and creepy locations - the abandoned church with its gruesome decoration and you have the making of a classic. Released in 2001 this hasnt dated at all and is still great. Even after you know the twists and turns when that old song cranks up "Jeepers, Creepers, where'd you get those peepers" you cant help but want to run - or at least hide behind a cushion!! I give this a 7 1/2 out of 10.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

My Halloween MOVIEW REVIEWs - CARRIE

So its approaching Halloween. I've decided to start reviewing my most scary movies beginning with this classic Stephen King adaptation. I remember watching this for the first time, and though it's clearly an old film - 1976 can you believe, the scares still shock. The portrayal by Sissy Spacek of a young girl - Carrie - growing up with no-one to tell her about life as a woman is so convincing. You feel the emotions with her, and its painful at times and despite knowing all is not going to end well you cant help rooting for a different outcome for her. A young John Travolta here is not the hero of the piece. They say revenge is sweet. There is nothing sweet about the revenge played out here. Well worth a watch this October - rarely do books adapt to screen as well as here. Be prepared to jump!! 9 out of 10 for this one.