Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Human Pretzel

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As summer quickly approaches (amongst the all too frequent bursts of rain and cloud), and I slowly crawl from my cave of hibernation, my achy old bones and poor excuse for muscle crave relief. I adapted all too quickly from a gym bunny into a lazy, sofa dwelling oaf (due to lack of funds and inspiration). So, as a big kick up the all too wobbly back side, I metaphorically and actually jumped on my bike and have decided to get back into shape, sooth my poor neglected body and get some stretch and life back into the old gal!

I am still rather budget restricted, but have taken this as an extra challenge to prove that with a bit of effort and creative thinking, it is possible to get a healthier bod without spending the pennies! The incredibly obvious suggestion would be a bike ride, since I both own a glorious two wheeled steed AND live in the land of flatness and cycle paths. This is something I really enjoy but don't do often enough; this must change. I also tried my hand at running... In public... Out in the open... I'm not sure that's for me, plus I have no idea if I'm doing it right!! But my most favourite discovery lately, is yoga!

I have always loved to dance, (taking classes from the age of five until I was in my late teens), enjoy most cardio classes and really took to pilates, but never actually thought of trying yoga. It seemed a little too inactive and unrewarding to be honest. Until I stumbled across the website and youtube channel of Yoga With Adrienne, and now my lovelies, I can't get enough!!

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Adrienne has such charm and spirit, that it is impossible not to like her immediately. Her website Yoga With Adrienne offers such a range of twisty treasures, including understandable explanations of the most basic starting point, free videos for absolute beginners and has a personal touch to the whole tutorial. Adrienne's YouTube channel is a gold mine of workouts and stretches for almost every aching limb or ultimate goal. From simply stretching, to full core workouts and even yoga for healing. Some of my favourite videos so far include a 20 minute 'Yoga for Beginners' film and the 'Travel Yoga- Morning Sequence'.

If you find yourself in need of loosening up, bringing flexibility and posture back to your body, if you feel stressed out by work and life in general and need a little time out from the day, to clear your mind, then yoga is a must. Especially using websites like Adrienne's which offer free videos and advice, and welcome you into a bendy community to boot!

Do you guys have any clever, money saving tips for getting into shape? Have you tried yoga and seen a benefit to your life style? Let me know of any motivational tips for flexing the body and mind!

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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dreaming In Dots

There is one print I can't seem to get enough of, in clothing, interiors, stationary- seriously, give me a polka dot and I'm one happy bunny. And in my much expressed delight, there seems to be an outbreak of spots everywhere!

I think the thing with this deliciously cute pattern, is you can take it in many directions, depending on your mood and requirements. If you're thinking Parisian chic then perhaps a dotted thin knit jumper with a dark pair of cigarette pants? How about pastel cute, with a mint green and white speckled dress with frilly socks and sandals? A vintage inspired letter set to send heart felt whisperings to a loved one, delicately sprinkled with polkas and pansies? Here are my top dots!

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Polka fever, wearing the Miette skirt I made, using the Tilly and the Buttons beaut of a pattern, matched with a stripy knit.

What are you thoughts on all things spotted? Are you a dotty Daisy or more of a striped Suzie? What's your pattern of choice, if any at all?!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

My spidey senses have been tingling lately, as I'm finding inspiration and creativity everywhere I look! I have indulged in the sensory delights of the written word, a stunning songstress hypnotising my ears and all manner of brilliantly entertaining forms! I feel obscenely obliged to share with you a few of my most recent beloveds:

Turning Page

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Last week I completed the gloriously paced, mysteriously thick with twists, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.

The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new -partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple-murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades--with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is remotely what it seems.

I chose this book with slight hesitance as I had already seen the film adaptation, and didn't see the point since I knew the story and significant plot twists, but curiosity got the better of me and I dove straight in. From that minute onwards, the pages flew from one to the next (metaphorically, since I had this on my kindle...) and I devoured it from start to end. A cleverly told portrayal of dramatic and distressing events, from a stubborn and complex character point of view, delicate turns of the tale pulled me along, and somehow had me questioning my original stand on the story. Definitely worth while, whether you've seen the film or not, in fact I have more appreciation for the acting and casting, since reading the novel. Thrilling and enjoyable!

Episode Marathon

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Rich and I watched the latest offering from the fantastic creatives behind American Horror Story, the third season, aptly named Coven. If this trailer doesn't make you want to rush out to itunes, I don't know what will, other than perhaps the promise of wickedly twisted characters, wonderfully messed up episodes and my actual real life hero Stevie Nicks! Questioned frequently whether it lives up to the previous two seasons, I say if you are a fan of the programme, give it a watch, it might surprise you.

Popcorn Ahoy

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There's never an excuse needed for watching a Disney, and my latest animated movie crush is firmly fixed on Frozen, the Academy Award winning hit following the story of two very different sisters, and their journey of acceptance and of course love, oh and did I mention there's a talking snowman? Once you hit the play button, I dare you to attempt to go a day without the songs swimming through your head, it really is impossible! Really great fun film, incredible visual feast, sweet and funny to boot!

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French film 17 Girls (or 17 Filles), caught my attention on Netflix last week, and I'm really glad I gave it a watch. Based on actual events that took place in a sleepy seaside town in Massachusetts, USA in 2008, when eighteen high school girls, all 16 or under, got pregnant at the same time. There isn't a great deal to this movie, after the initial jaw dropping story line, but this moody, soft paced piece of film was enjoyable, not to mention the delicious French accents.

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For some bizarre reason, I suggested to Rich that we watch The Conjuring, knowing full well that I would pee my pants and give myself nightmares when bed time came. That said it was bloomin brilliant! Again, apparently based on real life events, this film will have you jumping out of your skin and, if you're a wimp like me, watching from behind the safety of a pillow. It is thicker and meatier than your average ghost story and had our attention the whole way through. Just please, take my advice... Watch it with the lights on!

Sing It

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I am haunted by this song continuously, day and night. I can't seem to get enough of the latest treat from the ridiculously beautiful Lana Del Rey, 'West Coast', which is the lead track from her newest album, out very soon I hear. The sultry tone to her voice, the gentle yet longing melody, everything about this surrounds me in one giant haze of dreaminess. Honestly, I have lost count of each time I have hit play, it really is one of those songs!

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And of course, difficult to avoid this Dutch beauty on the radio stations here in the Netherlands, but my love for Ilse de Lange grows stronger, following her latest music venture into the band The Common Linnets, with fellow Dutchie Waylon. The track Calm After The Storm has a soft country vibe to it, gorgeous guitar and the two complimenting voices of our mentioned artists. Not only has this song won pride of place up there in my mind, keeping me from restful slumber (along with Miss Lana), but The Common Linnets also came second in the Eurovision Song Contest, whilst representing the Netherlands!

Whilst I continue to feed my need for all things book/ movie/ music based I hope you guys are having a productive week so far, be sure to check out a few of these beauties when you find yourself free of time!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Super Size Me

It's that time of year sparkly chumlets, for last night held the notoriously drama fulfilling, glamtastic Met Gala! Now, some style fans eagerly await London Fashion Week, some movie mavericks favour the Oscars, but I let out a wee yelp when I saw the media photos pour in for this overly theatrical of events- the annual fund raising gala for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

Having studied costume design and construction myself, and harbouring a life long love dedicated to the film industry and anything remotely theatrical, of course this excites me; but this is the one night when the glittering stars of the big screen gather, in some of the most outrageously over the top outfits, and throw caution to the wind with their usually strict fashion rules.

Here are my favourite looks from the event:

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Reese Witherspoon in  Stella McCartney
What is not to love about this, the gown is beautifully fitted and packs a punch with this delicious colour. The delicate yet modern design of the bodice is just wacky enough, and Reese gives Hollywood glamour with her classic hair and make up, creating just the right balance altogether.

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Dakota Johnson in Jason Wu
I'm not sure what it is about the Met Ball that brings out the opera gloves in people, but over looking the slight bizarrity of this accessory, I love the delicacy of this dress. The colour is rich and deep, the fabric looks expensive and sumptuous and I love the sweet shape and hint of sparkle.

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Blake Lively in Gucci Première
Bringing out the Hollywood big guns here, Blake looks truly stunning in this shimmering beauty. Such a flattering and jaw dropping silhouette, Blake bounces in all the right places, and the cape trail is super old school in the perfectly glamorous kind of way. I suppose having Ryan Reynolds on her arm doesn't offend the eyes either...

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Johnny Depp in Ralph Lauren & Amber Heard in Giambattista Valli
From one hot couple to another; Johnny looks all kinds of kooky yet damn fine in his spats and tail echoing the timeless style of his young love Amber Heard. The metallic lace is a work of art and just so pretty with its bracelet length sleeve and funnel skirt. Paired with vampy make up and drop earrings, she looks every bit a match for Mr Depp.

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Florence Welch in Valentino Couture
I know, in this setting perhaps not an obvious choice, but for me this outfit stands out from the puffball skirts and wishy washy colours of the safer options on the red carpet. Florence looks ethereal in this smokey stone grey and wonderfully patterned top layer. Bringing something unique in way of two piece and striking a powerful image in a subtle way.

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Nicole Richie in Donna Karan
Again, perhaps a controversial selection, but there is something about the fluidity and deconstructed texture here, that I can not take my eyes off. Such a simple shaped gown, cut on a bias to allow for this almost stretched, draping. The brushed velvet gives elegance and richness and is a high contrast to the finer, paleness of the rest of the dress.

Of course, there were so many gorgeous frocks hitting the red carpet, and also some questionable numbers, but here are just a few others that I thought absolutely worth a mention:

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Emma Stone in Thakoon

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Dree Hemingway in Proenza Schouler

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Suki Waterhouse in Burberry

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Gisele B√ľndchen in Balenciaga

For more information on the up coming costume institute exhibition, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, head over here where you can dive into the super sculpted works of Charles James, British couture master. I also suggest you take a look at the Vogue website for some fantastic behind the scenes photographs, from what seemed to be one heck of a night. Keep an eye out for some show stopping gowns by Zac Posen, who reigned supreme at the gala, dressing the likes of Dita Von Teese, Liu Wen and Karen Elson- seriously, you'll spot them a mile off!

I'm off to wrap myself in something floaty and twirl around the house. Have a great week folks!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

"A girl can't read that sort of thing without her lipstick"

Graceful and elegant, humble minded and kind of heart, and of course eternally acknowledged as a treasured style icon- spending a moment to remember Audrey Hepburn on her birthday today.

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Not only a presence on screen, capturing the heart of movie lovers the world over, cementing her fashion status off celluloid with her simplicity and sophistication and down right classic beauty- Audrey Hepburn was also wise beyond her years and in honour of what would have been her 85th birthday, I would like to share with you her most spot on sentiment, as relevant now as it was then;

Beauty Tips By Audrey Hepburn

  • For lovely lips, speak words of kindness
  • For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people
  • For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry
  • For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day
  • For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone
  • People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anybody
  • As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others
  • The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to the heart, the place where love resides
  • True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows. And the beauty of a with passing years only grows.

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"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"