Happy hump-day lovelies! We’re just as excited about two four-day weeks as you are (even though there’s no such thing as a bank holiday when you’re self-employed!), so here’s our roundup of how you might want to fill some of that downtime. And we’d love to know how you’ll be doing too, so feel free to share!
With 4 Oscars in the bag including Best Director for Guillermo del Torro and Best Picture, ‘The Shape of Water’ is top of my list of films to see next. ‘Set in Baltimore in 1962, the plot follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who falls in love with a captured humanoid-amphibian creature.’ (Wiki). Having seen the trailer a number of times, this dream-like film look so emotionally absorbing I can barely wait to see it. Plus, it scored 92% on rotten tomatoes (my go-to film guide), which is rather darn good! Have you seen it? Let me know what you think…
Hunted. Series 3, episodes 1-6. Channel 4. I hadn’t seen the previous two series and was unfamiliar with the format of this show, but found myself drawn in when my husband and daughter were watching the first episode of the new series. Basically, nine British civilians or ‘fugitives’ as they’re called, from all walks of life, are on the run from the ‘Hunters’ – a group of 30 expert ‘hackers and trackers’. They have to evade capture for 25 days and the prize is £100,000 cash. I love that it prompted conversations with my children and husband about what we would do in that situationHaving lost hours of my life to multiple episode box sets in the past, I was quite relieved to see that this was only 6 episodes (I was quickly hooked). It is fast paced and keeps you wondering what’s happening right to the very end – and the end is pretty emotional…I won’t divulge anymore! It’s available on 4 on demand.
Educated – By Tara Westover. I’m only about a third of the way though this book at present, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. ‘Educated’ is a biographical memoir. It tells Tara’s story of growing up in an unconventional family who live according to their own rules. She does not attend school and has no birth certificate or medical records and lives under the cloud of daily uncertainty about her future and a violent brother. She does however decide to educate herself and ultimately ends up at Harvard and Cambridge Universities. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the book and I’ll keep you posted, but so far, I’d definitely recommend. According to Amy Chua, author of ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ – ‘Breath-taking, heart-wrenching, inspirational – I’ve never read anything like this…Westover is one of the most gifted writers that I’ve read in a very long time’.
The end of January saw the death of ‘The Fall’ frontman Mark E Smith, prompting me to return to some of the albums/songs that were the soundtrack to my youth. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me The Fall left a legacy of lyrical poetry and music that politically and socially continues to challenge. If you’re not familiar and open to listening to something different, I’d recommend the album ‘I am Kurious Oranj’.
Due to the realities of motherhood, work and crazy weather, I have done very little in the way of travel in recent weeks. I am however back and forth between Kendal and Ingleton (about an hours round trip) as we have decided to sell our home (in Kendal) and move to a quieter village at the foot of Ingleborough (one of Yorkshire’s beautiful 3 peaks). As a family we spend a lot of time in Ingleton and the surrounding areas, partly due to the fact that my husband is a voluntary member of the Cave Rescue Organisation that are based locally and partly because the peace and beauty of this part of the world are such a draw for us that we eventually decided it was time to take the plunge and be in the place where our hearts belong. Just need to sell our house now…
It was our 9th wedding anniversary last week and in a last minute attempt to do something to mark the celebration (ahead of next years milestone ten year vow renewal I’m planning but have yet to mention to my husband *cough* hope he’s reading this *cough*), we decided to take the girls to the cinema in the evening so I finally got to watch The Greatest Showman. LOVED IT. As did both my children. The soundtrack has found it’s way to our Spotify account and is being played daily on repeat, which is great, because we got to see our daughter sing ‘A Million Dreams’ only two weeks ago with her choir, when they supported The Barricade Boys at an evening performance at The Grand Opera House in York. I cried, lots. An excellent family, feel-good movie.
I was really struggling with season 7 of Homeland – a drama I usually relish on a Sunday evening once the children are tucked up in bed. Homeland was such a brilliant, brilliant drama in it’s first few seasons when Brody was around, but up until Sunday evening, season 7 has massively lacked that ‘sit on the edge of your seat’ style addiction and honestly, half the time I haven’t really had a clue what’s been going on. I’ve been turning on the subtitles to assist and help me decipher half of the incomprehensible dialogue between the characters. Just me? But then last Sunday’s episode dropped and all of a sudden, the thrill is back.
Claire Danes blows me away with her portrayal of an individual suffering the chronic and debilitating affects of bipolar disorder. Her on-screen performance is always exceptional – but never moreso than when she’s in full on ‘Carrie zone’ – when her heightened instinctiveness leads her down dangerous paths requiring her to manipulate all those around her and put herself in the grave danger for pursuit of the truth. Homeland is back. I can’t wait for the next episode this Sunday.
I just finished listening to the audio version of the book Why I am No Longer Taking To White People About Race, by Reni-Eddo Lodge. I really want to understand the debate around white privilege – it’s a sensitive issue, but an important one for me to have a good understanding of, I believe, given we are publishing features like this, and this. This book is a fascinating, disturbing, unsettling but completely essential read. The author has really done her research and unearthed some most uncomfortable truths – truths she openly admits to having no idea about herself, prior to making an effort to educate herself. If you are interested in diversity and feminism and intersectionality (especially if you don’t understand what the latter means – and by the way, you’d not be alone if that’s you), then I highly recommend this book.
Jumping ahead to the ‘visiting’ section here, but I’ve just returned from London and during my time there I got talking to bridal fashion designer Charlie Brear, who for years, has been exemplary when it comes to diversity in model choice for her bridal fashion campaigns and catwalks shows (because, where are all the women of colour in wedding media? I’m still asking this question 5 years after publishing this piece on Love My Dress!). Charlie is best buddies with June Sarpong who has just had her own book, Diversify, published – through which she puts a spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. I’ll be reading that next.
The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Back to back baby. I adore it, so uplifting and joyous and dance worthy. My youngest daughter Leanora is quite obsessed with it.
I’ve just returned from a long weekend in London where I was in attendance for Bridal Fashion Week with my husband (also business partner and Creative Director for Love My Dress). You can see what I was up to via the highlighted stories on @lovemydress on Instagram. I also got to meet one of my business/designer heroines, Jenny Packham, who hosted the most charming afternoon tea (well actually it was more like evening tea!) at The Ritz, to debut her new collection. We got a great room deal at Shoreditch House which was very central for our needs. I love staying at Soho House hotels – the way they tailor their hotels to support people working in the creative industries with fabulous food/work spaces is utterly perfect for me.
Next stop for us will be Spain next month for Barcelona bridal fashion week, where we will be guests of Jesus Peiro and Pronovias. Apart from that, I still have not booked a family holiday this year and am wondering if we’ll end up getting anywhere at all at this late stage? Someone tell me I’m not alone in this predicament. Please? ……..Anyone?
Having recently seen Black Panther and fallen head-over-heels in woman crush with Danai Gurira, I’m looking forward to more of the same from the new Tomb Raider reebot. I was never a fan of the computer game or the original films ( I don’t really get the appeal of Angeline Jolie), but I do love me some Indian Jones-style action, and this has it in spades. I’m also hoping that it does a more convincing job of passing the Bechdel Test than Black Panther did; somewhat disappointing for a film that features such brilliant female characters. Let’s hope Lara steps up to the plate.
I’ve just discovered Casual on Amazon Prime, and managed to binge the first two seasons during a recent bout of the lurgy. The show follows the dating ups and downs of a single mother who has moved in with her brother following the break up of her marriage. Their dysfunctional relationship, and his job as the creator of a famous dating up provide plenty of awkward, toe curling scenes. But there are also some very touching and honest moments, that give the show real heart. I’m pacing myself with seasons three so that I don’t get to the end too quickly.
Coming To My Senses: The Making Of A Counterculture Cook. Alice Waters. A food hero to many and considering the impact she’s had on the way we eat now, it’s surprising that more people haven’t heard of Alice Waters. The founder of one of America’s most influential restaurants (and the home of the best chocolate cake EVER), Waters is credited with bringing the farm-to-table food movement to the US and, by extension, to us. I’ve only just started it, but I’m already loving her writing style – as relaxed and intimate as the food she is famed for.
I think I may be the last person on the internet to fall in love with First Aid Kit. But boy, have I fallen hard. Sorrowful melodies and folk harmonies that occasionally cross the country line (I’m obsessed with the track Emmylou, from their 2012 album, The Lion’s Roar), they will be featuring heavily in my summer playlists, and I fully expect to spend many an hour lying underneath the magnolia tree in the garden drinking tumblers of Garrick Club Punch and dozing off while they serenade me.
After a work trip to Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago, where I saw a lot of a meeting room and my hotel room and little else, and weeks in London sandwiched either side, I’m really looking forward to staying put for 2 weeks. My house will be full of friends and God-children over Easter, and there will be lots of fish & chips, chocolate hunts, baking with the kids and early morning movie watching. I’m hoping to be a tourist in my own town and visit Agatha Christie’s home, Greenway. I grew up on the river bank opposite the estate, years before the house was opened to the public, so I’m looking forward to finally making the pilgrimage. As a life-long Christie fan, I’ll be geeking out all over the place!