Friday, 31 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Oh. My. Word.

What an amazing film.



Not only does it have the handsome and teenage crush o'mine Joseph Gordon Levitt in it this time round, it gives him a great character, central to the story and something I had figured out around three quarters of the way through, which for me is a loooooong time.

Also new to the cast Anne Hathaway does a great turn as Selena Kyle, acting the innocent fragile girl one minutes, brawling safe cracker the next, of course ins me ridiculously beautiful clothes and a leather suit (the sound of a million men applauding).

Bane is fantastic in it, although his voice is somewhat off putting, like a crazed ringmaster gone wrong, and some girls I am sure will be disappointed you don't get to see much of Hardy's lovely face BUT it's good job really because the man behind the mask offers a delicious taste of all that is wrong and evil in the world. Try doing that being all handsome.

Enough of the perving (did I mention fittie Gordon?).

I have noticed a lot of people unhappy with the film through feeds on facebook etc, I think I may have figured out why. There isn't much Batman. I mean, of course there is , Wayne is of course Batman and his character both masked and not goes through some extraordinary development over the hours of the film but not so much in costume. I think that's what people find to be disappointing about it.

Me personally, I loved it. It was the perfect end to a perfect three films. I came out and wanted to see it again, I was almost in tears three times. Batman film or not, it's an amazing thriller and gives credence to the reality of a masked man running about the place dressed up as a bat.

All performances are outstanding.

I just really want to know what the end means, will Gordon Levitt come back as Batman, or have we got a Nightwing on the way? They'd better make an announcement soon!!

5/5. Go and see it. See it now. Then see it again. 


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Glossybox: August 2012 Review - The International Superstars Box

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This month Glossybox was brought you in the form of an around the world package. I was quite pleased when I opened it up to find no perfume or lotions, not that I don't like getting them but I really do like getting a make up/nail centric Glossybox. 

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A first glance, and especially when looking at the price of this eyeshadow palette, I thought it would be naff. It looked pretty cheap to me, and I have used cheap eyeshadows before that simply slide off as soon as you blink after application. I was completely wrong about that. 

I tried out the greens on this palette when I went out on Saturday for a date with my best mate (pic here, not sure if it's a good enough one though) and the shadow blended well and stayed put all night, even in a hot restaurant and the sheeting rain I was out in. 

I was rather impressed, especially for the cost!


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I was looking forward to trying this out. Optically brightening nail polish with an anti yellowing formula? Great stuff. 

Very disappointed. It really didn't do anything at all, it does however make a really good base coat and no matter how much washing up I do it shows no sign of chipping off, which is a bonus. I wont be purchasing though, almost £8 for a bottle of this stuff seems a little expensive anyway and especially for something that promises a lot but gives so little. 


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The lipstick smells good (ie not cheap), the colour isn't a great one on me I don't think but it has a good consistency and glides on very easily. It's okay, not great, not terrible. Maybe if the colour had been a bit better I would have enthused about it a little more but it was all a bit "meh" really. 


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Without a doubt my favourite product in this month's Glossybox. I have never tried an oil cleanser before but I am very used to taking my make up off with cold cream before washing my face of an evening. It's an absolute miracle of a face cleanser, it said on the bottle that it would dissolve my make up. I was quite surprised when it did exactly this. Even my waterproof eye-liner was gone after I'd finished massaging it into my face and I was happy that I wasn't left with that squeaky clean skin (= stripped all the oil from your face leaving you to slap a tonne of cream on to make up for it). My skin felt super soft after using this product. 

I will definitely be purchasing. 

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Ah Lipcote, old friend of the teenage me. There were reasons why I stopped using lipcote in the 90s and these are the reasons I wont be purchasing any time soon as nothing appears to have changed about it but the packaging. 

It did keep my lipstick on, with almost none removed after a thirsty tea and cake date with husband but it still smells horrid, it still sings the lips when you apply it and makes them sticky then dry. I really thought they might have done something to combat those problems but alas not. 

So I'll stick to re-applying my lipstick I think. 


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I haven't used these press on nails yet. There are reasons for this: 

1. I am currently learning to play the ukulele
2. As with all fake nails which are coloured I can't use them to go out in because I have Brachy Type D thumbs (aka toe thumb/murderers thumb/clubbed thumb)  and going out to buy nail varnish just to match some free nails I've been given in a not very suited to me colour really isn't my thing. 

I would say thought hat looking at their website they do some lovely colours and designs. 

I will try them at some point and update when I can. 


Overall

Some duds, some goods, but that's all part of the fun of thying these thigns though right? Thanks to the Glossybox team for another great box! 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Card Embroidery: Happy Birthday Graham

Happy Birthday Graham

Happy pint of Guinness card drawn by me for Graham's birthday. Guinness is his favourite. We also made him this monster of a cake! 

Graham's Birthday Cake

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Sewing: Late 40s Dress, Economy Design Pattern 212

You may remember that I wrote a post back in May about a dress I was making from a vintage pattern.

It is Economy Design patter number 212 and I was going for the view with the buttons all the way down the front and the short sleeves.

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This is the first dress I've made from a vintage pattern and I did originally film me making it to out together a s a little how to in case I came across any struggles. When I went to make it though I didn't come across too many problems. 

Those I did, I have listed below. 
  • The bust was a 36, I'm a 34. I amended by taking half an inch from the seam allowance at the bust and an inch at the waist and  marking it and marking it diagonally to ensure the correct gradient. 

  • The waist was a 30, I am a 26. This meant taking an inch from each side of the seam allowance, when cutting the pattern. Not that difficult to do. 

  • I did notice with the marking on the paper, the diamonds, to show where to match up the pieces, weren't marked on the outside so I had to make sure I did that when I was cutting the fabric. 

  • The buttonholes were the worst part of it but I had this amazing reader's digest book (the complete guide to sewing) that I would recommend to anyone who's just starting out with sewing, it really is the best source of information and has really detailed diagrams. I did a few practice buttons of pieces of cloth first before tacking the dress. They certainly arent perfect but they'll do for my first try...and no one's getting that close to them anyway! 

  • I made sure I loosely stitched every part of it before I sewed it as I wanted to ensure it was correct. It took me a little time but it was much better than making mistakes have having to unpick what I'd sewn on the machine. 

  • My hemming is not great, I am crap at slip stitch, I am sure I'll get better in time but I have had to re-him the sleeves with wunderweb after I washed it for the first time and the stitching came out! 

  • The collar was a bit of a puzzle, it seemed far too many pieces were involved but once I'd started sewing it all in I soon discovered what they were needed fro and I am very proud of the my collar, even if it is ever so slightly smaller on one side than the other. 

  • It took me just under a week (sewing in the evenings) and was ready in time for my friends wedding, which was a treat, and I was especially proud to be wearing something that I'd made myself. 

All in all I think I did a good job, and it has made me think I can tackle the smallest of sewing projects now and those with intermediate difficulty. I do think it's a case of having more confidence in myself than anything else. 

So here it is all finished, my beautiful red dress from a lovely vintage pattern. I have been getting lovely comments about it in the office and when I tell them I made it myself they're pleasantly surprised!


Red Dress from Economy Design Pattern No 212, early 50s.

Red Dress from Economy Design Pattern No 212, early 50s.

A bit closer up, excuse the squinting, it was really sunny! 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Card Embrodiery: Happy Birthday Rob

Happy Birthday Rob

This card was made for my mate Rob who recently walked the three peaks with Tim and Slashwaaaa. Tim drew the design, I stitched it up. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Camping - 20th - 22nd July 2012 - Shell Island

It was with some trepidation that I booked Shell Island for our annual girls only camping trip. I had been told it was full of scallies, I had been told it was noisy as hell, but recently my friends had been and they had the most brilliant time, which somewhat made me happier when it came nearer to the day of departure.

The don't like taking single sex groups, so we had to send them our dates of birth so they knew we weren't a load of 18 year old party animals (those days are long gone for me).

We arrived and the weather was glorious, the folks at reception were friendly enough, it took us about an hour to get everyone set up in their respective tents, then it was on with the barbecue then down to the beach to watch the sun set.

This ended is disaster for Bella, who while having fun with her pup Barney, tripped over a rock and went full throttle into the sea.

Then to our delight we saw dolphins in the bay, swimming separately, then side by side. It was a lovely moment and something I'll always remember (I think everyone else may remember me spoiling the moment by saying this and such other things, as wow! this is amazing! etc etc for the whole time it as happening!)

We spent most of the following day on the beach and then in the pub, talking about lots of stuff boys would blush at. I then built the best campfire in the world ever.

Then it was time to pack up and go home.

Shell Island: Done. It was lovely weather and I was with great company, the campsite is clean, not too noisy (especially considering we got there at the beginning of the school summer holidays) and the surroundings are beautiful.


Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July Shell Island 20th - 22nd July

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Black Swan Hotel - Ravenstonedale - 6th July

With the weather crappy we decided on going home a day early so for our last day we needed some indoor activities, so off we went to the Vue cinema in Carlisle to see The Amazing Spiderman (review is here).

I wore my Shrek 3D glasses and ate much popcorn.

Styling it up at The Amazing Spiderman, Carlisle

We decided, as it was out last night, to go for a meal in the local village to our campsite, Ravenstondale. We opted for The Black Swan Hotel. It was recommended by Rosie and we were warned we would have to book in advance, we thought we'd take our chances at 6pm. 

We arrived and were told that there was room in the Lounge area so we took our seats and perused the menu (with Tim pretending to be a stag in between). It's a beautiful hotel, the staff are friendly and attentive and the place was soon buzzing with guests, a large part of which appeared to consist of an American National Geographic tour group, who were pleasant enough. 

The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale Tim stag

We started with olives to share £2.95. My only problem being, not enough green olives, yet this is always the way when you order olives in restaurants, I know the green ones are more expensive but a 50/50 split would be nice.

Olives & Feta 

For a starters:

I had Thornby Moor goats cheese stumpy which was delicious, the balsamic onion topping it off perfctly. £5.95

Thornby Moor Goat's Cheese Stumpy 

Tim had crab, peppadew and spring onion croquette, which I had a sneaky bit of and it was lovely, I'm not too fond of crab but this wasn't too bothersome for me. £5.95

Crab, Peppadew & Spring Onion Croquette 

Mains time!

I went for the beef, sliton and green peppercorn pie. I don't think I've tasted a pie quite like it, the stilton wasn't too heavy being melted just under crust, the beef was cooked to perfection and it came with peas (did I tell you how much I love peas?!) £11.95

Beef, Stilton & Green Peppercorn Pie 

Tim had the rather gorgeous looking pan fried lemon and black pepper bass fillet. I did have a sneaky mouthful and it was a melt in the mouth moment. Very yummy with the chive risotto setting it off a treat. £13.95
Pan Fried Lemon and Black Pepper Bass Fillet 

Then Tim's ears did that super cute thing the do when he eats too much, they go all red. Adorable! 

Tim's ears going red, this happens when he's stuffed! 

After a half an hour break it was time to tackle the pudding list (I know, I know, filling our faces as we were, but the last day of the holiday is a special one!). 

I opted for the almond bread and butter pudding with custard. Bread and butter pudding is one of my favourite deserts and I wasn't at all let down with this glorious pudding £4.50

Almond bread and butter pudding 

Tim went for the gooseberry sponge with ice-cream which was again delicious. £4.50

All deserts are made on site at he black swan and aren't bought in like a lot of places offering home cooked food will tell you (trust me, I used to assistant chef in a pub many moons ago). 

Gooseberry sponge with icecream

It was a great experience dining in this lovely hotel, the atmosphere was very relaxed and the surroundings beautiful and comfy. Throughout the meal we were asked if everything was okay, asked if we required further drinks etc, even when the place was packed we were still attended to. It is no surprise that the restaurant, lounge and bar get fully booked every evening of the weekend.

I'd love to go back and stay in the hotel at some point, hopefully something we will do in the future.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

I'll hold my hands up. I did grumble when I heard they were rebooting the Spiderman series. A Sam Raimi fan I really didn't know how they were going to top the first film.

Then I heard they'd signed Andrew Garfield up. Light glimmers at the end of a tunnel. 
Then I heard Emma Stone was signed up. Light flickers into a flame. 
Then I heard Rhys Ifans was going to be a the bad guy. Flame burns bright.



I knew it would be set in Parker's school days, something that is all too quickly glossed over in Raimi's films, the expansion of which I was looking forward to. 

Garfield and Stone are outstanding in their central roles, and with their relationship in real life, it's no wonder their electric chemistry is showing throughout this film. Ifans is a good but gross Lizardy mess. 

Its good to know more back story on Parker's parents and the ties it has to the storyline. It didn't make me any less or more sad this time round when Ben is shot and killed. The spider bite wasn't so cartoon like, with less emphasis  put on it this time round, but I imagine the scenes before with the hundreds of spiders would be pretty horrible to watch if you have arachnophobia. The fight with Flash is a million time better and something we see the dark side of Parker in, albeit instantly fighting the inner turmoil at his loss of temper and disapproval from Uncle Ben. 

I love that; spiderman is back to the wisecracking boy of yore, that the web shooters are back to their origin, rather than being biological. Oh and Aunt May is now fantastically played by Sally Field, which gives us a stronger, younger not as pathetic woman for Parker to look up to.

Overall: A really good reboot, something I'm eating my words about. The beginning of a new spidey is promising, and with this being pretty much back story with a mutating lizard thrown in, I'm really, really looking forward to when the really bad guys come a calling!

4 out of 5, watch-able, fun, a great performance from Stone and Garfield (plus Garfield's butt looks like the amazing spiderbutt)

Monday, 20 August 2012

The Bowes Museum, High Force, Fish & Chip Shop Kirby Stephen - 5th July

I can't remember the first time I visited the Bowes Museum, I just know it's always been etched in my memory, nor can I recount the amount of times that I have been there, walking up the staircase, imagining (as I did with a lot of places when I was a child) that I lived there in amongst the museum pieces.

I was eager to take Tim there and have been for years. So when we knew we were going to be in for an awful day of weather we thought it would be the best idea to see somewhere indoors. 

Tim was surprised as we drove into the grounds of the Museum, all resplendent in its French Ch√Ęteau glory. I am so used to it I forgot that it looks somewhat out of place in the rough and rugged hills of Teesdale and especially grand in the market town of Barnard Castle.

The Bowes Museum

The history of the Bowes Museum is a very interesting one but sadly too long to do into in any detail on here. I would urge you to read it though. The do have, on the first floor, an around 10 minutes video on loop detailing it, but if like me you're a little lazy there's a great introduction to the Bowes Museum by Bill Bryson here: 


Having had an £11million refurb over the past few years it was quite a change from the building I remember. It seems somehow much lighter and the exhibitions on the lower ground floor have been moved to offices that were at the back of the ground floor. 

There is no silver swan proudly presiding in her case in the middle of the ground floor reception area. Something the younger me was drawn to in complete fascination, but 'll get to that later. 

Admission price is £9, a good price for a museum with such wonders in it. You can spend a good half a day looking around at the different exhibitions.

The chandeliers are still there in their glory, twinkling away against the light that bounces in from the windows at the front of the building. The gift shop had been updated with glass walls and the cafe is now a lot bigger, a lot prettier ad it has a very good menu.

We started our visit with a trip to Cafe Bowes as Tim was struggling with the start of a cold and we thought a good strong coffee was just what was needed, and at £3.90 for a cafetiere for two you certainly couldn't complain.
The Bowes Museum The Bowes Museum

We set off for a look about after our pick me up and started with the ground floor which has a lovely exhibition for Charles Dickens 200th anniversary

We whizzed around this and then came to the two headed calf  something I have again told Tim about on many occasions. I remember being quite freaked out by the sight of it as a nipper, and I was eager to see it again, just to see if it was as monstrous as I thought it was. They've moved it now so you can have a good look about it from three sides, rather than it being in a glass case embedded into the wall. 

The Bowes Museum

It was on to the first floor, where at the stairs we took a photo. I don't know what it is about the staircase in the Bowes Museum, I have always felt uneasy on it even though it couldn't be made of solider stuff. I think it probably stems from being brought up in a bungalow, stairs were something it was very hard to get my head around as a child, and being back in the Bowes brought this back to me. I thought of the times I'd stood in front of that mirror at the top of those stairs and looked down into the vast hall with the swan in the centre. I thought of how little I was to how much bigger I'd become, the girl who would hold her Nana's hand, now stood side by side with her husband in the very same spot.

The Bowes Museum The Bowes Museum

We wandered about the ceramics, pottery and glass sections and through the furniture section,including a room with wall panelling from all different eras, something I thought as especially interesting, and then with Tim flagging again we decided to go back to Cafe Bowes for some lunch.

I opted for the soup, which was carrot and coriander and came with two warm rolls, one with olives in it, and it was delicious. Tim went for the cheddar and home made pickle sandwich with a side order of chips.

It came to a total of £11.85, which isn't too bad at all for well sourced produce and homemade goodness!

The Bowes Museum The Bowes Museum The Bowes Museum The Bowes Museum The Bowes Museum

We wandered about the textiles room and then decided, as it was getting near the time for the swan display to happen that we should get moving and grab a good seat while we had the chance. 

The swan is now situated on the top floor in one of the galleries, the roof has changed so light pours into the space and highlights the swan. I have fond memories of my Nana pushing me to the front and up to the glass when the swan was in the foyer of the building, watching it dip it's head and eat the fish I was so surprised, not knowing the fish was always there in its mouth. There was something utterly magical about it.

The Silver Swan, Bowes Museum The Silver Swan, Bowes Museum The Silver Swan, Bowes Museum

I have to say the magic hasn't disappeared an it gave me great delight to see it all over again, only this time with a ten minute talk beforehand and a detailed display outside along with all of the other silverware collected by the Bowes.

The mechanism is still wound up with a key, and as the swan begins to prepare for her supper the glass rods begin to move and the fish begin to swim, she looks around, dips her head and munches up a fish before settling back into position. There really is nothing more charming, the musical accompaniment chiming along in a delicate manner. I was happy that Tim had enjoyed it as much as me.

It had been taken apart and cleaned in 2008, considering there were no plans this was no mean feat! There's a link to the BBC inside out special on this here. It's all the better for it, it looks amazing and so much brighter and more beautiful than it was when I last saw it in the 90s.

After seeing the swan we looked around the galleries, which have some great work including some Canaletto pieces and some by Joesphine Bowes herself.


The Bowes Museum

It was real treat to be back in the Bows Museum and I hope to be back again some day but I really wont leave it so long until next time. It brought back some lovely memories and it really does hold a very special place in my heart.

We decided to go and visit High Force, nearby and just outside of Middleton in Teesdale. Another place that I've visited many times from my childhood. The weather had been terrible but we knew this would make our visit something quite special. I am so used to seeing High Force just flowing down the central part that it really was quite a jaw dropping money to see it in its full glory and fury rushing down both sides of it, something I haven't seen before but my Nana told me had happened when my Dad was young.

High Force, Teesdale

Tim braved the rocks at the side, but I wasn't going anywhere near them with the river so high and the waterfall flowing so fast, it was a pretty scary display of nature if I'm honest but it was beautiful when the sun came out an the light danced off the spray. 

High Force, Teesdale

We rounded the day off with a chippy tea in Kirby Stephen at the chip shop my Grand folk use to stop at on the way to the caravan and we used to sit in the lay-by and eat out of the newspaper (I don't care what people say, fish and chips tastes way better out of newspaper!).

It's a shop that has not been refurbed since the 50s and looks all the better for it, we decided to eat in and were not disappointed, I don't know what they do with the batter in that place but it's perfect and highly recommended!


Fish & Chip Shop, Kirby Stephen Fish & Chip Shop, Kirby Stephen Fish & Chip Shop, Kirby Stephen Fish & Chip Shop, Kirby Stephen