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A Quiet Passion 🎬 a movie review

I have always felt an emotional closeness to Emily Dickinson. Ever since living and studying in Amherst, and visiting the Dickinson Homestead, where the great poet spent her whole life.

Amherst is a beautifully quaint New England town outside Boston. It is home to some great educational establishments such as Amherst College and The University  of Massachusetts. It was in UMASS Amherst I studied for my Masters degree and where I discovered Emily Dickinson’s poetry & wanted to find out more about her life.

So I was very excited to watch A Quiet Passion, a movie about the life of the great poet herself.

The Movie –


A Quiet Passion is a 2016 biographical film directed and written by Terence Davies about the life of U.S poet Emily Dickinson. 

The film stars Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive poet. It co-stars Emma Bell as young Dickinson, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff and Keith Carradine.

Verdict –

If I could have produced and directed a movie about Emily Dickinson I do not think it would be any different to A Quiet Passion. It is like stepping back in time to Amherst in the 1800s. To a time when no televisions existed, there was no wifi, there wasnt even a radio to pass the time. 

The Dickinson family was one of privilege and they lived in a comfortable house in a pretty town. But the control over the family by Mr & Mrs Dickinson can be felt throughout the whole movie.


Time was passed playing the piano, cooking, gardening, and for Emily writing was her forte. She shared the beautiful homestead withher beloved sister Vinnie and handsome brother Austin, and her stern father & invalid mother, who hardly ever left her upstairs room. 

Life was not easy for Emily, who remained unmarried until her dying day at the age of 55. She felt a huge sense of loyalty towards her father & mother which prevented her & her siblings from leaving home. Her brother Austin even as a grown married man chose to live right next door to the homestead. Vinnie & Emily never left home.

The movie is a masterpiece in that it shows the good with the bad. Its shows the pain Emily felt, battling her demons and her illnesses.

A Quiet Passion is a movie all writers, lovers of poetry need to watch. It is depressing at times. I had to switch it off twice, but came back again.


Cynthia Nixon is the perfect Emily.

Unmissable.

Available on dvd now.

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❤️🏡 What makes my house a home? ❤️🏡

Anyone who knows me, be it my wonderful friends or my lovely family, will know how much I adore my home. For me a home has always been a haven, a place for friends and family to come together and enjoy time together.


So when I came across this wonderful assignment set by Furnish Your Home, to answer the simple question, “What makes your house a home” I just had to enter, as I feel so strongly on the subject.

What makes my house a home?

I am a stay at home mummy, and have been for the past 10 years. My eldest son is going to be 10 this year, so over the past decade I have given all my energy and channelled all my love into making my house a home for my children and family.


The house we now live in has been our home for the past five years, prior to that we were lucky enough to live in central London in a much smaller apartment which we rented, but that too was an apartment filled with love and enjoyment.

“Homemaking”

I have always believed that ‘homemaking’ is a talent you are born with. Of course it can be learnt, but I am lucky enough to come from a family who have always given importance to where they live.

Freshly baked cakes 

The smell of freshly baked cakes can transform your house into a home. I read recently that estate agents wishing to sell houses do just that! Fill the house with yummy smells of cakes & coffee to make it more homely. And in turn make it more attractive. 


You don’t need a huge mansion to make a home, someone who is a homemaker can transform a tiny studio into a cosy haven to relax in and unwind, with a few accessories.

When we were growing up my mother was our homemaker. Our childhood home was always filled with smells of freshly cooked meals, the sofas were always soft and fluffy enticing you to sit in them and enjoy your surroundings. Our home was always the home friends wanted to come over to after school or at the weekends because they always knew there would be a comfortable atmosphere and delicious home cooked food on hand.

Sunday roasts 

In my home today I am the homemaker. One of my biggest joys is preparing our Sunday roasts. It is normally just the four of us – my darling husband, my two boys and me. But when we are lucky enough to have friends or family visiting I love cooking for everyone, nothing gives me more pleasure than having a huge roast dinner around our dining table. More the merrier.

We just recently extended our living room, and now we are lucky enough to have a huge dining table that seats up to eight. Every Sunday I ensure the table is set immaculately, and the delicious scent of roast beef or lamb fills the whole home, roast potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire puddings. What makes me happiest is watching the ones I love enjoy the dinner I prepared.

Fresh flowers, blankets & candles

Other ways in which I create a home are with the accessories. Candles, blankets, flowers, soft comfy sofas and photographs in pretty frames of the ones we love.

What more could life be about but enjoying your surrounding and making the most of life.

Beautiful china 

I love collecting china of different colours, sizes and full of beauty. I love going to antique makets in search of vintage cups, plates & bowls to add to my homes homliness. Just last month in Amsterdam my mother & I bought some lovely antique soup bowls for just one euro each. 

I find eating & drinking from china with a story so much more interesting. 

So if you are looking for inspiration to make your house more homely head over to Furnish Your Home for some great furniture & ideas –

https://www.furnishyourhome.co.uk

The scariest movie ever! 🎬 The Shining 😲

As it is the scariest day of the year tomorrow & we are embracing all things spooky and eerie, I wanted to tell you all about the movie I find the scariest.

My mother is an avid horror movie enthusiast, and it takes a lot to actually scare her. So over the years we have watched a lot of scary movies.

But there is one movie which still gives me the creeps till this day.

The Movie –


Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block.

 He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. 


As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

Verdict –

It is veryyyyy scaryyyy! Based on the novel The Shining by the king of scary books himself Stephen King, the movie was filmed by the great Stanley Kubrick.


What makes this movie so spooky is that it is so real. The music, the setting, the amazing acting all comes together to make the screen come alive. Its as if you are actually there in this remote mountain top hotel, without anyone except this axe wielding maniac is on the lose.

I dont think I will ever forget the final scene where Jack is chasing his son Danny through a frozen hedge maze knee high in snow.

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, where The Shining was filmed, still exists to this day. I read in the news recently that the hotel is actually haunted! 


So if you are looking to really get into the halloween spirit tomorrow why not watch The Shining…. 🎃👻☠️

The perfect gift for the whole family to enjoy! 💙 Anki Overdrive 🏎🏎🏎🏎🏎

Buying gifts – be it for Christmas or birthdays, does get more difficult as the kids get older. They aren’t really into toys anymore. And the smart tablets seem to be all they want to play with.

What I have decided to do this year is buy the boys one good gift instead of half a dozen mediocre gifts, which are normally just glanced at and put to one side.

Amongst my circle of friends the concencess seems to be pretty much the same. One good gift that will be cherished and used over and over again, an investment if you like. 

Finding something pre teen boys or girls will cherish and reuse is easier said than done.

But this amazing game created by the geniuses at Anki is sure to keep the kids, and the parents captivated for hours on end.

The Product –


What makes Anki Overdrive the world’s most intelligent battle racing system? Tech so advanced, it feels like the future.

Each Supercar is a self-aware robot, driven by powerful artificial intelligence (A.I.) and equipped with deadly strategy. 


Whatever track you build, they’ll learn it. 

Wherever you drive, they’ll hunt you down. 

The better you play, the better they become. 

Whether you battle A.I. opponents or friends, your tactical options are unlimited. And with continuous software updates, the gameplay always stays fresh. 

Customize weapons. Swap out cars. Build new tracks. 

It’s easy to pick up, and nearly impossible to put down.

Verdict –

My boys love cars, and the top game when playing with their cars is racing them. We’ve had a whole selection of racing car sets in the past; all of which have been tedious, heavy and down right impossible to put together, use and store. 

Anki Overdrive has taken the car racing game to a completely new level. It has done for the car racing game, whay Apple did for the ordinary mobile phone. It has taken it to the future.

So what advantages does Anki Overdrive offer?

  • The track the cars race on are super light, so very easy to store and put away.
  • The track pieces click together with magnets attached to the track pieces. This makes the whole racing track super simple to set up. My younger son who is 7 set up different track formations all by himself. 

  • The racing cars are like mini robots. They sync in with your smart phone or tablet as soon as you download the free Anki Overdrive app.
  • The races you can choose from are endless. From racing each other, to racing the computers own racers. 

My boys and I can rarely find games we can enjoy together, apart from board games which I tend to enjoy more than they do.


But Anki Overdrive ignighted my inner competitive streak and I was more than willing to race those cars with my boys! 


So if you are looking for that one gift to enjoy as a family this half term, Christmas or a special birthday treat look no further!

Anki Overdrive is a perfect all rounder! Watch this super cool demonstration –

https://youtu.be/ogFMTpMqevQ
Available to purchase on Amazon uk, Argos, Tesco & other large toy shops & stores Nationwide! Or on the Anki website –

https://www.anki.com/en-gb/

Paris can Wait 💙🎬 a movie review 

As you all know I have a huge crush on Paris! So anything – a book, a movie – with the word in it’s title captures my attention straight away.

I was on board the domestic flight from Istanbul to Antalya the other day when this lovely movie caught my attention.

Diane Lane, Alex Baldwin & Paris…what more could anyone ask for.

The Movie –


Anne (Diane Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Married to a successful but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband’s business associate (Arnaud Viard). What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance, reawakening Anne’s senses and giving her a new lust for life.


Verdict –

This is one of those movies that transports you away to beautiful locations with good food, drink and company.

Diane Lane is so lovely as Anne, a beautifully dressed elegant lady. Arnaud Viard plays a charming french gentleman.

There trip from Cannes to Paris takes us to the most wonderful dreamy locations. 

A fun movie. I didnt manage to watch it to the end as the flight was only 45 minutes long, so if yoy have seen it dont tell me what happens. Im looking forward to seeing it again when Im back home.

I believe it is due to be released in the UK in November 2017

Perfectly original gifts for Men @ Men’s Society 💙🎁

It is so difficult to buy gifts for men. Have you all experienced that too? When buying for my darling husband, brother and father I have to keep searching to find the perfect gift.

I think it’s primarily difficult because men tend to keep the things they would like as gifts to themselves. Whereas us ladies make hints about the things we would like to be given.

So when searching for the ideal Christmas gifts for my male family members I came across this super cute company that has a huge selection of fun and quirky gifts just for men.

The Story behind the Gifts  –

The founders of the ‘Men’s Society’ are Hugo & Bella, and here is their story –

“It was 2008. I was living in London doing a very sensible corporate job. When Bella walked into the office and changed the game forever. A girl can do that to a guy. 

Like most relationships in their early stages there was a fair bit of showing off, trying to outdo each other with little gifts. Only Bella was annoyingly good at it.

These gifts ranged from persuading the pizza guy to write ‘get well soon Hottie’ onto the box when I was too ill to leave my flat, a custom made bright yellow umbrella – to stand out against a sea of black ones – to the perfect little grooming kit to accompany a surprise weekend away to Berlin; Bella always nailed it.  Which got us thinking… and in 2012 Men’s Society was born and we put Bella’s gifting skills into action full time.

Like a lot of businesses, ours was founded and created at the kitchen table. Ambitions were dreamt around it, ideas sketched on it and product made at it. The business has grown (along with our family) and we now work with some of the top retailers in the world but we still make everything by hand, in Britain and we’re super proud of that. Although we may have out grown our original table, we still hold the same dreams, drive and attention to detail that we had at that kitchen table all those years ago.”

The Men’s Society offers a huge selection of super cool gifts men will love!

I got the ‘Weekender Wash Kit’ which is such a cool idea! For the man on the go, this must go with him. True explorers pack light. This kit is the perfect size for tucking in his bag while he explores the world – or just visits a friend for the weekend.The products in this kit comply with current hand-luggage regulations on aircraft. It’s the perfect little tin filled with 50ml of the essentials – Shampoo, Body Cleanser, Face Wash and Face Cream. What more could your modern traveller need or want.

Verdict –


If you are looking for the most original gifts for the men or women in your lives this year, look no further. The Men’s Society website will offer you a huge array of quirky original gifts.

Perfect for birthday and Christmas!

Find out more below. Order online. They also have a great selection available at John Lewis!

https://www.menssociety.com

 

 

Treat your skin to some tender loving care ❤️ with Skin Aspirations 

As we grow older why is it that our hopes and desires change?

I guess its all part of the cycle called life and  we just have to embrace it.

Lets take our skin for example, who else feels that after the age of forty we need to pay extra special care when cleansing, toning & moisturising? I definately do. Im lucky to be blessed with good skin genes from my darling mother, but even so the fine lines have become more visible.

So I have decided to take more care, not just cleanse, tone & moisture, but go for regular facial treatments with the professionals.

Japanese Face Massage @ Skin Aspirations in Draycott Avenue, London


Japanese Face Massage aims to rejuvenate the face, preventing and reducing the impact of the ageing process. It visibly improves the appearance of the skin, provides brightness and a more uniform tone, reduces eye bags, prevents and reduces wrinkles. Japanese Face Massage is also known as the “facelift without surgery.”

The combination of energising, delicate and sensitive techniques, applied in a subtle, quick and rhythmic way, induces deep relaxation effect. After a Japanese Face Massage session, you will feel rested, relaxed, with a clear mind, just as after a restful sleep. Therefore this massage is considered a very effective technique to reduce stress.

Both men and women of all ages can benefit from Japanese Face Massage.

Verdict –

If anyone is wanting to give me a gift that will guarentee happiness inside & out, this is it!

I cannot begin to describe the utter state of nirvana I was in during and after my treatment.

Based in a beautiful part of central London, between South Kensington & Kings Road, Skin Aspirations is based in a top floor room of a typical London town house. As soon as you arrive you feel relaxed, Simona is the owner and therapist, and all I can say is that she has an extremely calming presence and she has magical hands!


The treatment lasted 1 hour, starting with a foot & leg rub, Simona slowly worked her magic into my tired skin. The Japanese facial aims to work your skin with small massage movements to ensure the skin cells are awoken and brought to life.


Simona used a gel based massage cream as oils are too slippery and do not allow the hands to work properly.


What I loved most about this facial is that you get the therapist’s 100% attention throughout the whole treatment. It is not like other facials where a cleansing treatment is applied, then a mask put on, then the therapist leaves you for 15mins. Simona’s magical hands massaged all parts of my face and neck for a full 1hour.

I must admit I fell into a deep sleep at one point through my treatment, a much needed winters rest. But at the end of my massage my skin felt fresh, taut amd rejuvenated. Something no cream alone can do. Now I fully understand why Japanese ladies have such great skin! Its all in the massage technique, how you put on the cream.

So all I can say is if you want to treat the lady, or gentleman, in your life to something extra special this Christmas get her a Japanese Facial with Simona @ Skin Aspirations! Believe me you will make them very, very happy indeed!

Simona is kindly offering my readers a special discount to her wonderful treatment.

Simply quote “Japan” & you will get 25% off the Japanese face massage if you book a treatment before 25 Dec 2017. 

Find out more on the Skin Aspirations website below, to make a booking call or email Simona on –

Phone: 07473242110

E-mail: hello@skinaspirations.co.uk

https://www.skinaspirations.co.uk/treatments?tab=tab-Japanese-Facial-Massage

My not so Perfect Life 😃 by Sophie Kinsella 📚 a book review

The world we live in is a serious place right now, so many upsetting things happening around the world. Its not always easy to switch off, unwind and just laugh.

So this week Im bringing you a book which will have you laughing out loud.

There are some authors who have a great way with words, that can explain a scenario in such a way that its soooo funny! Sophie Kinsella is this author, I just find her books so much fun. Light hearted with a great storyline.

The Book –


Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. 

OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. 
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they? 
Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. 
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams – or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman who has everything – actually have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. 
And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway? 

Verdict –

The book had me in laughing fits from the first chapter! 

I loved the Shopaholic series by Sophie so much Ive probably reread them a hundred times. Well this book is just as good!

It will lift your spirits and make the world a better place!

Available on Amazon & at all bookshops now!

💙 Optrex Actimist 💙 say goodbye to dry & irritated eyes!

I am a huge fan of sprays! Not only are they quick and effective, I just feel so refreshed after the spray hits my face and I can just enjoy the benefits.

I use a variety of beauty sprays to refresh my skin, but I feel our eyes need just as much care and attention.

Especially for us mothers on the go, these little sprays can be a lifesaver.

We’re all susceptible to dry, irritated feeling eyes. One of the main causes is our modern lifestyles – staring at a computer screen, driving long distances, air conditioning and central heating are all culprits. Contact lens wearers and older people (particularly women) are also prone to having dry eyes.

The nation is glued to screens – but what does this mean for our eyes?

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in our lives, with British adults spending approximately eight hours a day looking at screens. Whether it’s typing on a computer at work, keeping up-to-date with friends on a smartphone or catching up with the newest TV shows, screen time is a significant part of modern life.

Three quarters of those surveyed in a new study admitted to spending more time looking at their screens now than they did five years ago (77%), demonstrating the nation’s growing use of digital devices. Only one in five (21%) said they could live without technologies like mobile phones, laptops and iPads. However, this use could be exacerbating dry eye symptoms as staring at a screen reduces the eye’s blink rate by up to 60%, potentially triggering dryness, grittiness and soreness.
In light of the nation’s growing reliance on technology, leading eye care specialist Optrex is working with top optometrist Brian Tompkins to put the spotlight on the nation’s ‘Screen Eyes’.
Managing Screen Eyes

Many people experiencing dry or irritated eyes when using screens simply put up with it, unaware that simple actions could help to manage their ‘Screen Eyes’. Brian has compiled some straightforward advice to help combat the symptoms:

  • Eating plenty of oily fish, fresh food, nutrient-rich vegetables and Omega 3-packed nuts will help to promote lipid production.
  •  Transform your home or office with some leafy green plants – as well as boosting your oxygen levels, the humid atmosphere will help to lubricate your eyes.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule when working with screens: Every 20 minutes, close your eyes 20 seconds and then blink 20 times
  •  Heat is a handy helper when it comes to promoting a healthy lipid layer. Wear a self-heating eye mask for a few minutes or warm your hands on a cup of tea and place them on your eyelids to encourage lipid production Instead of putting your washing on the line or in the tumble dryer, set up a clothes horse in your living room.
  • Try using drops or an eye spray like Optrex Actimist for Dry and Irritated Eyes to help stabilise the eye’s lipid layer.

The Product –

The geniuses at Optrex have come up with the super handy and refreshing spray to enliven and moisturise your eyes.

How the Spray works –

  • Spray directly onto closed eyes to soothe dry eyes
  • Repair the eye’s lipid layer and locks in natural moisture
  • Clinically proven to provide instant relief for up to 4 hours
  • Suitable to use with contact lenses

Verdict –

I love, love, love it! This handy little spray is down a definate part of my make up bag. My eyes feel so much lighter and uplifted after just a few sprays.

What is great is that you can spray it on your eyes with make up on, and there is not even the tiniest of smudges!


Optrex Actimist is available to purchase at all major chemists nationwide.

🌟🌟QUIZ TIME 🌟🌟

In the meantime why not take this cute quiz. Where you can entre a competition to be in for a chance of winning one of 10 pairs of IMAX tickets!!!!

https://screendryeyesquiz.co.uk/

147 Things by Jim Chapman 💙 a book review 📚

We live in an era where technology leads most of our lives. It is an era where bloggers, you tubers and technological wizards can sway our thoughts and influence our opinions.

Just the other day we attended The Wembley Cup with my boys. A football match where the main players were football youtubers with a few football legends. You should have seen the thousands of kids, they went crazy over these youtubers, that my husband hardly knew. Yes we are getting old, but it is definately a sign of the times.

The Book –


What came first, the chicken or the egg? 

Why does breaking up make your heart hurt? 

Why can’t horses vomit? 

From YouTube superstar, TV presenter, model and fact-obsessive over-sharer Jim Chapman comes a hilarious user’s guide to the universe.
In 147 Things, Jim takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best bits of everything, from the mind-blowing to the ridiculous. As with his videos, no subject is off-limits and he’ll lift the lid on his life and his relationships, sharing embarrassing stories and things he’s learned along the way.
If you’ve ever felt weirded out by the fact that we’re seven billion (mostly) hairless apes spinning around a giant ball of flaming gas, or that we all begin as tiny humans inside our mothers, or that many of us keep slightly less-dangerous forms of wolves in our homes, then you need this book in your life.
Jim will inspire you with his facts about the sheer unlikelihood of us all being here and equip you to feel just a little less overwhelmed by the small stuff.

Verdict –

I have found that it is very difficult to buy gifts for pre teen boys, so the ages of 10-16. They are slightly too old for regular toys, computer orientated games are very overpriced, clothes will not be cool enough as gifts, but books are a winner – the mums will be happy for sure, but to make the birthday boy happy you need to pick a topic that is hip & trendy, as well as appropriate.

Now a word of warning, this book will definately be loved by a boy 10-16 years of age, but there are some words which some may find inappropriate. For example, my ten year old son was very quick to point out the word ‘penis’ on the first page. But if you are like me, I feel kids need to learn things and not be overdramatised by them. This is life after all. 

My sons favourite thing was “9 – Every other species is fine being naked, so why do we where clothes” 😃

So a very fun book! My 10year old enjoyed it and finds it super cool that one of his favourite youtubers has a book out! It is also educational! I found out lots of fun facts! 

Interesting, cool, fun & definate to be a hit if given as a gift! Put it on your Christmas list if you are lost on what to buy your pre teens.

Available now to purchase on Amazon & all major bookshops! Was published on October 5th.

In the meantime find out more about the author Jim Chapman –

Jim Chapman’s channel –

https://www.youtube.com/user/j1mmyb0bba
 Link to purchase the book –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/147-Things-users-universe-buttons/dp/1509854150/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506953243&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+chapman
Link to audio book with exclusive Q&A with Jim –

https://soundcloud.com/pan-macmillan/147-things-by-jim-chapman
Happy reading! xxx