Tuesday, October 29, 2013

halloween watch: films with a good amount of cheese

I think some of the best horror films are the really cheesy ones, almost, ones that make you laugh at the ludicrous nature of it all, or are just meant to be funny, and these are some of those..

The Nightmare before Christmas 
I've had multiple discussions with friends about whether this is a a halloween film or a christmas film - in my head, it goes with halloween so perfectly, I don't see another place for it. I love the songs, and I think everyone knows it, but it deserves a mention. 

Cabin in the Woods 
I think this is supposed to be in the actual horror challenge, but the end few scenes border on such hilarity for me, it has to be in here. Post-watching, I would go and look up some of the monsters. 

Get your girlfriends together and watch this - and enjoy how hilarious it is. It's based on the premise of vagina dentata.. teeth in the vagina. I like the idea of it being an empowering women thing, but the concept is actually just hilarious, so you might as well enjoy it, it has a dark humour and I think it's a little bit underrated.

Shaun of the Dead 
Everyone loves a zombie film, and I think this is one of the best that doesn't take itself too seriously (because lets face it, zombies aren't serious). 

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Just because. I really want to dress up and go see it somewhere. I know a few people that haven't seen this yet and I really do wonder why. 

Honorable mention: Coraline. It's a kids film about an girl who discovers her 'other' family who is trying to lure her away and sews buttons on their eyes. It's not as scary a film as the book - the book is written by Neil Gaiman and genuinely terrified me when I read it a few years back (I wasn't even a kid!).

Monday, October 28, 2013

halloween watch: ~*~ WITCHES ~*~

I'm not one for halloween, really. I don't dress up, I don't got to parties, I don't use it as an excuse to get crazy drunk: I know, I'm so cool. One thing I do really love though, is good (or bad) scary films and TV shows. So leading up to Halloween I'm going to show you some of your favourite scary of Halloween-themed movies and ask you to share with me your favourite! First up: witches.

Practical Magic 
I don't know where I start - the beautiful house, the children, the dreamy nature of it - everything everything I love rolled into one witchy film. There is a lot of humour in it, but at the same time isn't a comedy - the highlight are the aunts. 

The Craft 
Teenage girls with witchy powers - set in a private school world in the 90's in California - chaos ensues.. One of my favourite films, ever! I love the whole witchy-vibe that was in the 90's, and this film perfectly epitomises it. 

The Wickerman (1973 version!) 
Whilst not necessarily witches, there is something witchy about the matriarchal Summerisle, and I like the quality of the film that reminds me of Picnic at Hanging Rock, or something similar. It's creepy and hilarious in equal measures, and I sort of what to live there. 

Charmed & Sabrina the Teenage Witch (the halloween specials for Sabrina in particular) 
I grew up on these two TV shows, which probably explains a lot about me, but they're so similar so I thought I would merge them. Like The Craft, but less dark and less violent, mostly, Charmed and Sabrina are staples in my life, cheesy to the nth degree, hilarious and full of some awesome outfits: if you haven't watched either, youtube it! 

American Horror Story: Coven 
I've tried the other series of AHS, and neither of them have captured my attention like Coven has - something about the teenage witches in New Orleans makes me want to keep watching, they make a cool group and I love it so far. 

Honourable mention: The Witches of Eastwick. Sarandon! Cher! Pfieffer! Jack Nicholson! It's campy and bad but oh so good. And Cher!

This is the first in a series, so keep an eye out for the others, and please leave a comment to let me know whether you have any others to add to my list!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

secret gardens

I don't know if you know - but The Secret Garden is my all-time, hands down, favourite film. I was given the book as a child, which I love, but then I was given a video tape of the 1993 film when I was five or six.. I watched the tape until it wore out. A few years back my mum found the DVD on Amazon for a couple of pounds and it has been my go-to favourite film ever since. It is one of those films I will never tire of, it is stunning in its cinematography and score and it never fails to make me feel better. At this time of year, when everything is starting to turn and I feel the brunt of my depression creeping back in, I think it makes me feel better to think about, as cheesy as that sounds. So here, have some screengrabs from it, because I find it so pretty.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I've wanted to make my own candles for a little while - my mum bought some soya wax the other week and let me make some candles. Soya wax is good because you can melt it in a Pyrex jar in the microwave; no messing about on the stove: perfect. I've posted about candles you can make in old jelly moulds before and have always wanted to try it, but the price of 'vintage Jello moulds' is ridiculous! Then I came across these metal tart tins in my local cheapy-cheap shop (£1.50 for six) and thought they would be perfect.. They look super adorable, and I added some fragrance that I had bought from the same website as the wax and they're lovely. All you have to do is fill your container with the unmelted wax (to know how much to melt), put it in a microwavable container and melt for 30 second blasts, stirring in between. When done, make sure you have the wick held in place with some string, a peg, etc, and pour in the wax. Leave to set and bingo, some lovely little candles. Just a tip, you use a lot more wax than you think, so buy more than necessary!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

best animal books ever

I've had a slew of good, accidental, finds in charity shops recently - particularly in unexpected shops. I came across these beautiful French animal books. They're a mixture between a children's story and animal facts, but they have the most beautiful images - they're reproduced from lithographs (a method of printing), which makes for really lovely textures and use of line, they look like they're been freshly coloured in. They're the kind of books I would want to give to my child (if I didn't despise kids!), and they remind me of a books by Pat Hutchins that I adored as a kid (Silver Christmas Tree, Rosie's Walk), and my childhood in general. Unfortunately they're a bit ruined in places by some stupid kids scribbles - which makes me a bit sad, and they're a bit ruined down the spines which I hope to repair.. All in all though, they're gorgeous little books and looking through them alone makes me ridiculously happy. There are a few more pictures below so take a look!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

autumn colours

Not much to say today, just a few snaps of my dads beautiful Japanese Acers in my garden this week - they're lovely trees all year round, but in Autumn they are truly things of beauty. He has a few that are yet to turn colour, you can see them in the background, and are still green so when they go I'll be sure to take some more photos. I want to go for a walk around some local woods and try and get some more photographs this week coming; I really love this time of year!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

review; people who eat darkness

People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief and a Journey Into Japan's Shadows, Richard Lloyd Parry

The other day I was in town with my mum scouring charity shops and came across a really good find - a book I've had my eye on since I popped in my Wishlist on my Amazon back in May 2013. It cost me a single hard-earned pound, saving me a good amount, too. Just to preface the review; I am well aware these kind of books aren't everyones cup of tea, but I have a strange interest in true crime fiction, that started when I read In Cold Blood back in sixth-form. I have a few books on criminal psychology and 'interview with serial-killer' style books, and whilst I understand how they can be problematic in glorifying the killer, not the victim, I found that this book did the opposite; honouring the victim, in a way.

People Who Eat Darkness: Love, Grief, and a Journey Into Japan's Shadows is so intriguing to me because Japan is a culture that is completely alien to me. It is very intensely researched, written by a journalist who investigated the case when it occurred when he lived in Tokyo, drawing from a huge archive of interviews with the family and friends and police that were involved with the case. It is the story of a British girl called Lucie Blackman who disappeared in 2000 from Tokyo, whose body was later found in a cave at the seaside. The case is something that I remember vaguely from my childhood, one of those things that was always hastily turned off by my mother, like that of Milly Dowler, whose body was discovered in my local woods: seen but never spoken about.

The book is well written, unfolding throughout a series of interview transcripts, with Lucie's father, sister, other friends, but told in such a way that it feels like fiction. The most interesting aspect was the view of the Japanese police force, which is alarming at best, and the way that they dealt with the case. I urge you to read it to find out the facts behind the case, because I have devoured the book in a matter of days, it's that engaging.

The most compelling reason for encouraging you to read this book, though, is the overwhelming humanity and sadness of it. I know I have the ability to completely separate my emotions from cases like these, but the  amount of depth and insight into her life and family at the beginning of the book made finding out what happened to her really intense and I actually got very sad and emotional reading it. 

I'll say again; I really do recommend this book with caution: it is quite graphic and sexual and definitely not for anyone unprepared or under eighteen, probably. That said, I think its a very interesting read, if a little hard at times.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

black rose bargains

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a snap of these - but I wanted to introduce you to my beautiful new coffee set..! A complete bargain at £30 for six coffee cups and saucers, the beautiful coffee-pot and a little milk jug and a sugar bowl to go with it.
At work on Sunday, I was stuck in traffic outside a particular charity shop (not telling where, it's a secret!) and I glanced up and saw this in the window - coming back past it later in the shift I took a second look and realised that I wanted it - so I went back the day after and bought it. They're in perfect condition, ie, never been used before. The pattern is Royal Albert Masquerade - my mum has a Royal Albert tea set (that Country Roses one that was very popular) and I like knowing we both have a set.. I don't know, they're going to be put away in a cabinet for a bit until I have somewhere to display them. 
I'm super excited to use them, I want to have people over for tea or coffee now to use them! Have you picked up any bargains like mine of late? I also got myself a beautiful new camel trench coat but I'll save that for another time.. 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

tweeness, triteness and tat

I often face an ongoing battle in myself - something that really probably shouldn't bother me but it does. That is the battle against tweeness - against that very American style way that has permeated blogs that decorates the celebration of seasons and holidays. I think there is something cloying about perfectly styled Pinterest set-ups that as bloggers we try and emulate.

I am excited about Autumn, Fall, if you will, and so I decided to look this up on Pinterest, trying to find a picture for a previous post. I'm faced with an array of scattered orange maple leaves, of pumpkins precariously posed, apple pies and scented candles and hot chocolate. I can cast a net and find a thousand over-Photoshopped photos of orange tree-lined avenues. Something in it strikes a chord in me and I get torn - torn between thinking this is so tweet, an American presence that has invaded our blogs and magazines and TV-shows..

But then I stop, and I look at the images and just tell myself to shut up sometimes, stepping aside from my persona as a 'fine artist', as someone who can be a snob, I admit! At university we were drummed into with the idea that anything slightly twee was awful and we should hate it because it isn't somehow real or gritty… I know that was because our tutor was a hideous man, though, and I look at this images with a different light, today, because I don't really see the harm in celebrating something that is genuinely beautiful, the changing seasons and nature. I don't see the harm in celebrating the love of hot chocolate, or bonfires, or toffee apples, of cinnamon scented candles.

I lived with a girl at university who was so vehemently against anything like this - against things that weren't striving to be cool or unique and my god, it just seems like too much had work to deny yourself enjoyment - and more to the point, who are you to judge people that enjoy these things? I'm not sure if there is a point to this post - maybe this is just a change in my mind, but I don't want to have a similar, awful, contrived personality that I grew to hate - I want to be honest about things that I like and not feel the need to hide them. 

Does anyone even understand what I'm on about? Haha, oh well.

Friday, October 04, 2013

autumn mornings


It is one of those just autumn days today that reminds me of everything, and nothing quite specific at the same time. As I lay in bed trying to will myself to get up this morning, I peeked through the curtains to look at the sky - a wide expanse of grey greeted me. A band of yellowish light on the horizon, and the slightest touch of white where the clouds were thinnest. Opening my window the noise of the magpie greets me and then the air hits my face. It is that fresh, coolness that reminds me of the first chilly walk to school or a warm wind on a cool day. The air smells damp with the promise of rain and there is just enough wind to move the leaves that have gathered in small heaps around our front door. Whilst there is nothing specific that reminds me of anything, there is just something that tells me that autumn has officially started, that winter is rolling in on us at pace, that I need to find thick sweaters and warm clothes. Maybe I am feeling prophetic this morning - or maybe I am just more awake than I usually am at 7.30AM - but it feels like something is changing, that there will be good news, shortly.