Monday 30 September 2013

Photography - Fire!

We had a bonfire the other night and I took loads of pictures.  I love watching fire, it's very mesmerising.




Fire! Fire! Fire!


Marshmallows!!


Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!



Grass... just cos it's pretty.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Has Bridget Jones been dropped into 2013?


I read the extract of the new Bridget Jones book in the Sunday Times today.  I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't like it.

The problem I have with bringing characters into the modern day is two fold:

1. They don't belong.

2.  The author, and in this case Helen Fielding, feels the need to remind us all that they are in the modern age.  In the first few pages we have to have mention anything that has happened in the last ten years, twitter, facebook, instagram, whatsapp, too many television controllers, controllers, Starbucks, Zumba etc.  I feel as if Bridget Jones has literally been dropped into 2013 and the Helen has gone, "Right what has she missed?  Let's bring her up to speed. She needs to not understand/but want to understand technology.  She must want to do Zumba.  Everyone needs to know that this is 2013, not 2003." It needs to be seamless. Twitter and Facebook have been around for ages now and you either use them or you don't.  Not to be stereotypical or anything but in my opinion if you are Bridget's age and not using Twitter etc. it is unlikely you will and it's unlikely that you will understand.  Would you really be able to reel off Twitter, Facebook, instagram and Whatsapp, if you've never used them?  I would be impressed if you could.

I found this problem with AbFab (a show that I ADORE).  It was as if Jennifer Saunders had to prove that Edina could belong and prove that she was in 2012.  The problem is, we are watching the show in 2012 so she is in fact living and existing in 2012.

Shows that have been created today rarely mention twitter/facebook.  You either see characters using them, or you don't.  If they mention it, it is probably because they don't understand it (that in itself is a very overused joke).  It's a way of live.  It is no longer a novelty.

I want Bridget, and Edina, for that matter to belong in 2013.  They can belong because if they were real (rather than fictional) then they would obviously have adapted to this way of living but it's as if they haven't adapted and that's a big problem.

I do hope the new Bridget book gets better but I'm afraid I don't hold out much hope.  I heard that the only reason it was written was because they wanted to make a film out of it and there was no one good enough (or there was no Helen Fielding screen writer) to write it.  The fact that they have killed of Mark Darcy is surely because Colin Firth refused to play the role if a film were to be realised (it's inevitable really).

There must be writers that can cleverly modernise their characters.  I have the greatest respect and admiration for both Fielding's and Saunder's work but I just don't think they've cracked it.

Let's wait and see shall we?

Katie :)

ps. I did still really enjoy the new AbFabs so maybe I will enjoy the new book even if it's not perfect.

Friday 27 September 2013

Adverts



When you go to the cinema, timing is crucial.  You want to get there early enough that you can watch the trailers (I have a love/hate relationship with trailers), but late enough that you miss the dreaded adverts.

I inevitably fail and normally miss the start of the film because I'm late, or end up watching every advert before the trailer.  I HATE ADVERTS.  At least when you are at home and accidentally end up watching a programme on ITV/E4/Channel 4 you can either switch channels or if you are lucky enough you can fast-forward because it is an old recorded episode of Lewis.  At the cinema though, you have no escape.

I understand that advertising is important for a company, but why have they become so weird/confusing.  Take the HTC advert I saw when I went to watch About Time.  I know it sounds implausible but I momentarily forgot what an HTC was.  No worries I thought, the advert will inform me, whist encouraging my to buy whatever it was.  Well it didn't.  The whole advert was based around what HTC stands for, because that's what everyone wants to know.  I DON'T CARE WHAT HTC STANDS FOR, I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HTC IS AND WHAT IT DOES! It gets worse. At the end of the advert it basically said, "we don't know what HTC stands for." WHAT?! Just tell me what it is and why I should buy it you morons.*

At the end of most adverts I am speechless with confusion.  I just don't understand them.  Like the Meercat one pictured above.  It's just weird.  All I want from an advert is someone to tell me the pros and cons of the product. The end.

Am I being unreasonable, or do adverts annoy you too? Do you think they are actually quite clever?

Katie :)

*I have since remembered what an HTC is. It's a phone in case you don't know/remember.

Sunday 22 September 2013

What do you do when you're bored?

When I'm bored I cook, well bake.  In the last couple of weeks I've had some (ok a lot of) free time on my hands so I went a bit baking mad.  I wanted to share with you some of the things I've made.  Most of my bakes are inspired by The Great British Bake Off, who in time will make me very very fat!

Lemon Macarons:

A couple of weekends ago I tried to make Lemon Macarons.  I knew they were difficult but I didn't realise quite how difficult! The first batch tasted amazing though, as did the second...



English Muffins:

Last weekend I made English Muffins.  They were a lot of fun to make and really easy to cook on the Aga.  I would say though, make sure you have the correct size cutter - a mug really won't work the same.  Also they must be eaten with Marmite.


Bread:

This week I started to get a bit more adventurous.  I made a standard white loaf but decided to shape it into a flower.  Not only did it look good, it actually tasted pretty good too (though I say it myself)



Bread and Cake:

Today I made "best of both" loaf, so half wholemeal, half white flour, which I have just been told is my dinner so I hope it tastes alright.  The other bake is a lemon drizzle cake because "you can't have tea without cake" no matter how big you're lunch was.


So there you go, that's what I do when I'm bored.  What do you do?  Probably something more normal?  

Katie :)

Friday 13 September 2013

It's "About Time" Richard Curtis wrote another film...

...See what I did there? See..? Sorry.


So the main question surrounding Richard Curtis' new film About Time is - if you could go back and re-do a day, which day would it be?

For me it would be any day that my mum was still alive.  I'd go back and savour every moment and ask her all the questions I was too young or too naive to ask.   The reason this question surrounds the film is because the man guy Tim (Domhnall Gleeson - Bill Weasley from Harry Potter no less) can travel back in time.  Just like his father (Bill Nighy) and his father.  In fact all of the men in his family can. If they screw up a day, they can go back and try again.  Tim uses it to get a girlfriend (well we all would, wouldn't we?), enter Mary (Rachel McAdams).

This film is more than boy meets girl or girl meets boy.  It's more than Julia Roberts standing in front of Hugh Grant saying "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her" (Notting Hill btw  and yes I did know that off by heart). It's about families and second chances.

I think this film is a bit of a trick (sorry I mean lesson) you play on children.  "Charlie really hate going to bed.  He never wants to go to bed do you Charlie?". Charlie is now confused and says authoritatively, "Yes I do".  He has inadvertently agreed to go bed.  Poor Charlie.  How is this related to the film you ask (oh you didn't? Rude!)? Well I will tell you.  In the film Domhnall's character can time travel but in real life you can't.  I know, no shit sherlock.  I think that clever Mr Curtis or Mr C-Dog as I like to call him is saying to us, "You can't travel in time (again no shit sherlock) so you need to make up for that by making the most of each day".  I know it's hard when you're at work or at school or  if you're like me look for work.  I constantly get to the end of each day and think how pointless it was.   We can't re-do days so we have to think about them before we start.  We need to think before we speak and think before we do because once it's happened there is no turning back.  It sounds a bit cheesy (also known as wankery) to come away from seeing a film and saying "Oh, no it was much more than a silly rom com, the underlying message was so deep and moving.  It's made me like totally rethink my life. Yah." People who haven't seen it, will either a) laugh or b) walk away or c) do both.

A couple of days before the film was released I listened to it being reviewed on Front Row on BBC Radio 4.  The review panicked me.  I don't think I was old enough to see Richard's earlier films at the cinema so I was never aware of the reviews.  What happens if the film was awful I thought? I love Mr C-Dog, it can't be awful!

After a while of thinking and reflecting (I'm so deep man) on what they had said the more annoyed I became.  It was as if they were comparing Curtis to Pinter or... (I worryingly can't think of anyone else, nor do I know who Pinter is) His films should be compared to other Romantic Comedies - not RomComs I might ad, they are in a different league and normally involve Jennifer Aniston.  No About Time should be compared to the Notebook or the Time Traveller's wife. It's not fair to compare it to some cultural French film with subtitles. It's like comparing a Scientist with a Painter.  They are both equally good at what they do but you can't compare them.  In Richard's category (in which he can be described as some kind of God) he trumps everyone else and so does this film.

By the way Camilla Long, the Radio 4 reviewer, said that Richard always writes romantic stories and shouldn't he try something new.  That's like telling a painter perhaps you try doing some sewing instead.  It's utter bollocks.  If you are good at something, which Richard so clearly is, then you should keep doing it.

About Time is a truly unique, must see film that will fill you with happiness and love and a new zest for life.  Don't compare it to some French subtitlely crap compare it to the new One Direction film.  Although having said that, the 1D (check me out) film is probably of much higher quality story telling tell than any French film so perhaps go and see their film instead.

So there you go.  Go and see the new One Direction film it's probably way better than any Richard Curtis film... Wait, what? Oh I give up!

Katie :)

ps. Do actually go and see About Time (Mr Cowell really doesn't need you money).  Don't read the reviews (except this one obvs.) just go with no expectations and you should experience something truly lovely.

Don't even watch the trailer.  I hate trailers, they may work in getting me to see the film but they also tell me everything that is going to happen.  I'm always disappointed when I see the trailer first.

pps. Make sure there isn't a couple trying to have sex on the row behind you.  It's kinda off-putting!

Saturday 7 September 2013

Shopping - a horrible game played by women

I hate shopping.  I know women are supposed to love shopping and I am a women (I think) and so should therefore love shopping but I really, really don't.  I have a theory and my theory goes as such: women don't actually like shopping.  They just play a game with other women to make them feel bad, "Oh, you don't like shopping? Well you're obviously not a good enough women them.  You may as well be a man" before crying because they have just been invited to go on a girls shopping trip to Oxford Street*.  I personally do not care for this game.  I don't want to play and if I do play I will lose every time.  I will NEVER like shopping (unless it is stationary shopping in which case I do like it but it doesn't count as proper women shopping).  Why can't we all just agree that shopping is stupid and stop making each other feel bad?  It has been said that the only reason we put on makeup and wear nice clothes is to impress other women and make them feel bad.  You see it on the school run every day.  There are women in high heels, skin tight jeans and fresh lick of lipstick on, there are the women who are lycra-clad and wearing trainers to show off that a) they walked to school and b) they are just off on a run now the kids are safely deposited at school and then there are the women in their pyjama bottoms with last nights dinner down their top, with an added bit of baby sick on the shoulder to add a potent smell to the look.  The first too women are playing the game, the third wants to shit on the game.  The third group of women are my heroes.  Anyway back to shopping.  I am willing to accept that there might be some women who like shopping.  They make the 0.05% of 'true women' in the world.  These women fall into two categories:

1.  Rich women.  Shopping with endless amounts is always going to be more enjoyable.  For starters you never have to set foot in Primark and you don't have to continually look at the price and move hurriedly away.  These women will openly pay £200 for a bra.

2.  Perfectly shaped women.  If you are tall, thin, boobless, all clothes will fit you.  Fashion does not accept that we as a nation are obese, or even just not the same size as models.  If all clothes fit you and look good on you, I am willing to accept it may be more fun.

Women that are both 1 and 2 are always going to win the game.

I have come up with a list of reasons as to why I hate shopping.  Feel free to add your own.

1.  Shop assistants asking me if I'm ok.  Of course I'm not bloody ok, I'm shopping.
2.  The embarrasment when you take 10 items into the changing room and none of them fit you.  As you leave the cubicle and the shop assistant says "was everything alright?" What do you say?  "No of course not, your clothes are shit".
3. Clothes in piles rather than hangers.  Even if you are a size 6 and it is at the top of the pile, you still have to unfold it to see if you like it and then refold it if you don't.  I don't want to spend my time folding clothes and I feel too guilty not to.  Zara and Gap I am looking at you both with tears in my eyes.
4.  Other people.  Why are there always people getting in my way when I'm shopping.
5.  Babies/children.  The reason that there are so many people is because people take their children shopping with them.  Why? I don't like screaming children/babies.  Leave them at home, or at school, don't drag them round the shops.  They hate, I hate it and I'm pretty certain you hate it too.
6. Sales.  Sales should be banned full stop.  They attract people, which as you can see in number 4 I don't like and you rarely find anything.  The reason clothes are on sale is because nobody wants them.  Even if you do find something you like, it will never be in your size.  Death to sales please.

My final point is this.  Never go shopping hungry.  It will make your shopping trip 100 times worse.  Eat lots and lots of cake before attempting shopping and constantly re-fuel.

Shopping? It's not a game I want to play. Stop kidding yourselves!!

Katie :)


*Oxford street is the worst possible place to go shopping.  It is long, which means you have to walk many many miles to try on clothes that don't fit and it is busy, oh so very, very busy.  I really hate people.

Monday 2 September 2013

Lighthouse 2013! Give me an 'L', give me an...


I forgot to post this before, but here is what I thought of Lighthouse this year (also in the St Peter and St Paul Parish Magazine):


Lighthouse is over and I am absolutely shattered and dare I say it, a little bit bored.  I know, I know it’s only just finished but it was a busy week.  What do you expect?  Now all I have to do is look for a job and I reeeally don’t want to do that!  So to keep myself busy and to keep the spirit of Lighthouse alive I thought I would share with you some highlights from the week. 

Firstly for those of you that don't know what is (where have you been?!)  Lighthouse is a Christian Holiday Camp that runs for one week every summer in Great Missenden for children aged 0-12 years (well that's what my CV says anyway).  It happens in tents and many larks are had.  

This year I have been running the ‘Ark Tent’ with three wonderful people, Charlotte, Maddy and Lucy.  The Ark tent is of course the best tent and is full of four and five year olds  - almost 200. Each year there is a theme and this year it was… LIGHT.  Alongside the theme there is a drama – one in the main tent and one in the Ark tent.  In the Ark tent we were going on holiday – such fun!  We learnt about God’s guiding light and how Jesus is the light of the world AND we learnt that teaching all of this to four and five year olds is rather difficult.  The whole God and Jesus being one in the same and Jesus being the son of God and the son of Mary and Joseph and oh have I mentioned the whole holy spirit thing – I think you’ll agree is not the easiest of things to teach small children.

The week went well though with only a handful of hiccups (mainly mine, but that’s what eating cold rice does to you) and I think/hope everyone involved had an enjoyable time.  I have summarised my week below, which I hope will give you an insight into lighthouse and make you really, really, really, want to help next year.

Monday:

Aim: Creation story.  Let there be light.
Drama: Maddy and Katherine are deciding where to go on holiday and how to get there.
Best part of the day:  Explaining to Maddy that we cannot get to the seaside on a toddlers trike because we both won’t fit.  Maddy replies “Sure we will”, before pulling me on top of her on the trike.  We laughed.  A lot.

Tuesday:

Aim: Moses led his friends (also known as Israelites) out of Egypt. God was a guiding light.
Drama:  Maddy does not listen to a sign from God and falls in a river.
Best part of the day:  Conversation with a five year old –

5 year old: “Are you and Maddy really going on holiday?”
Me: “Yes of course”
5 year old: “So are you going to Butlins then?”

Wednesday:

Aim: Jesus healed the blind man Bartimaeus (all his friends called him Bart – obviously)
Drama:  Maddy gets lost but she trusts that Jesus will help us find her and keep her safe.  We trusted a stranger named Bob.
Best part of the day:  Jumping around on stage like it was my last day on Earth – probably too much coffee (I blame the Lighthouse CafĂ©).  We accidentally sent our five year olds onto the games field half an hour early.  This could be seen as a disaster but it meant I could practice being a shepherd (with children instead of sheep – but you got that right?).

Thursday:

Aim: Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus
Drama: We realise that Bob has sent us in the wrong direction on purpose. We forgive Bob because Jesus forgives us.
Best part of the day: It is traditional on Thursday to tell the children the crucifixion in the morning and the resurrection in the afternoon.  At the end of the crucifixion story I announced that I was very sad. I did not want Jesus to die.  After I said this a boy sat at the front came up to me and said, “don’t worry, that’s not the end of the story.  My dad told me that Jesus rose again.  He comes back to life.”  How great is it that parents are having these conversations with the children? (Answer: it’s unbelievably great).

Friday:

Aim: Paul/Saul spreading the word of God.
Drama: I want to tell my family about my holiday.  We soon realise that we should be telling people about God/Lighthouse instead.
Best part of the day:  The kids being so unhappy to leave lighthouse.  Also the realisation that having custard poured over you and having a shaving foam pie thrown in your face is a lot more fun than it sounds.

So there you have it, Lighthouse in a nutshell.  It is really, really, really fun and you should definitely sign up to help next year! The link is here: http://www.lighthousemissenden.org.uk.  I will love you forever if you come and help next year! 



The Bucks County Show. It's not suitable for Grandparents!


As we were entering the car park my Aunt exclaimed, “Oh we should have brought your Grandma!” This was a bit strange, as the rough terrain didn’t particularly spring to mind as suitable for an eighty-something year old.   I looked up ahead however and noticed a disabled sign and I realised exactly what my Aunt had been thinking.  My Grandma was not wanted for her wit, charm or physical dexterity (ahem) but rather for her bright blue disabled badge.  Never mind we thought as trudged from the far end of the field dubbing as a car park to the entrance tent.  We’ll walk if we have too.  At least it’s not raining. 

The County Show is a fun affair.  Not to be too stereotypical, but for the men there is a beer tent and for the women there are shops (and lots of them).  For me the show is pretty much the same every year.  I wander round pleading with my family to me buy jodhpurs (we don’t have a horse), new wellies (I don’t remember the last time I wore wellies and I’m pretty certain my feet unfortunately stopped growing when I was 14) and a dog (well who can resist those puppy eyes looking up at you).  Once I’ve finished with the shopping and a spot o’ lunch I find the animals (luckily the ones not for sale) and watch a few shows.

The first show I saw was the ‘sheep show’.  Essentially a Kiwi man spends half an hour making innuendos about sheep. “Don’t take a picture know, it’s not a good angle”, he says as he mounts a sheep (to be sheared of course, he wasn’t just mounting… you get it).  His jokes sometimes made you cringe, “ladies I’ll pay you 50p if you let me give you a Brazilian [wax]”, but he certainly made a show that really only involved clapping when you saw a sheep, a lot more entertaining. 

The other show I saw was of the Royal Signals White Helmets.  I knew very little about them before I was dragged away from the shops. I thought I was in for some old people parading around on old motorbikes.  I was much mistaken though as the White Helmets are members of the army who spend three or four years training to do stunt driving.  Apparently ‘the team performs spectacular feats of balance, death defying cross over rides and outstanding acrobatics’ according to the Army website.  In other words they have some fun on motorbikes and they occasionally look a bit wobbly whilst the commentator reminded us that “they could die” doing these stunts.  It was actually a lot better than I had anticipated and I would definitely recommend you go and see them next year.

The most notable thing about the show however were the conversations I overheard.  Apart from the usual “But Darling we must spend £100,000 on a tractor and no it doesn’t matter that a) I don’t know how to drive one and b) I don’t have a field” from the middle-class Bucks parents.  There was a brilliant conversation between two mothers, “Doreen, where’s Doreen? Has anyone seen Doreen?” and an equally great remark from a mother saying, “I haven’t heard about many lost children over the Tannoy this year.  It only seems to be lost grandparents!”

It seems we made the right decision in not bringing my Grandma.  The Bucks County Show is a highly enjoyable event but perhaps next year leave the Grandparents at home (even if they get in cheaper) or maybe keep hold of their hand and let the kids run wild and free instead.