Posts Tagged "Review"

Keep Calm and Cast On

Posted by on Oct 15, 2011 in Art & Craft, Home & Garden | 2 comments

I’ve been really enjoying my return to knitting, and was delighted to receive a copy of Keep Calm Cast On: Good Advice for Knitters by Erica Knight from Quadrille to review.



This is a charming little gift book, with a lilac linen cover and featuring lots of ‘good advice for knitters’: anecdotes, handy tips and quotes from literature and poetry.



Many of the quotes are about the therapeutic effects of knitting, and these I can really relate to. These are two of my favourites:



And I have learnt some handy tips which I didn’t know before:



It’s a lovely little book, and would make a perfect present or stocking-filler for any knitter, whether seasoned or novice. I keep mine stood up on my desk – it looks great, and reminds me that when the going gets tough, I just need to pick up my knitting and do a few rows, and suddenly all is right with the world.



Keep Calm and Cast On is available from Quadrille, and all good bookshops, including online, RRP £4.99. Thanks to Quadrille for sending me this copy free of charge to review.

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My favourite Jane Eyre?

Posted by on Sep 11, 2011 in Books & Film | 10 comments

As a child I loved the 1944 film version of Jane Eyre with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine, and of course a very young and beautiful Elizabeth Taylor in the role of Jane’s tubercular childhood friend, Helen Burns.



This black and white version is very ‘noir’ – perfectly highlighting the gothic elements of the story and particularly the harshness of Jane’s upbringing at the orphanage. I’ve seen this version many times (and still cry when Helen Burns goes ‘home to God’).

My next encounter with Jane Eyre was reading the novel itself. This has to be one of my favourite reads of all time, and I love the Folio Societyedition I read with its beautiful illustrations from woodcuts by Simon Brett:



I was very excited when a film version with Charlotte Gainsbourg came out, who I could happily look at till the cows come home. For some reason though, I now can’t remember much about this film, or whether I liked it or not – so it can’t have made much of an impression. (A bit like the Balenciaga perfume which I also wanted very much to like, because of Charlotte Gainsbourg and for its bottle, but it just does nothing for me).



On Friday I dragged myself out of my sick bed (ok, so maybe that’s a bit melodramatic!) to see the new film version of Jane Eyre on its opening night.



Reader, I LOVED this film. Mia Wasikowska comes the closest I have seen to portraying the spiritedness and intelligence of Jane Eyre, and Michael Fassbender was the perfect Mr Rochester, if a little too much on the handsome side of ugly to fit the book description: ‘I knew my traveler by his broad, black eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the sweep of his black hair. I recognized his strong nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw—yes, all three were very grim. I saw his figure, now without a cloak, was athletic, though neither tall nor graceful.



The moors were beautifully photographed, and I loved that Jane Eyre had a slight Yorkshire accent. There were a few things that went by a bit quickly (Jane’s schooldays, and the ‘meet the mad wife’ scene), and I thought the oddness of the house and Jane’s suspicions of Grace Poole being the midnight screamer needed fuller treatment. There were also a few minutes where it all went a bit soft focus, as Jane and Rochester frolicked about scattering rosepetals or some other such romantic shenanigans, which it could have done without. But overall I enjoyed this version version very much, and its emphasis on the mystical and otherworldliness of Jane Eyre.

I cannot say which is my favourite version of Jane Eyre. Ultimately it must be the book, but I cannot choose between the 1944 or 2011 film versions. I will have to see if this current version stands the test of time, and if I would choose to watch it over the 1944 one in ten or twenty years time?

Finally, with a nod to my Show Me Your Stationery posts, I just want to show you this ‘Jane Eyre’ journal by Paperblanks, new to their Embellished Manuscripts collection.


It’s available in three sizes, mini (£10.99), ultra, and ultra classic (both £14.99) and features a reproduction of the original manuscript of Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë’s signature. I’ve not seen it in the flesh as it were, but it’s on my stationery wishlist. Maybe this will be my favourite Jane Eyre?

Which is your favourite Jane Eyre? Are there other versions, TV or film, that I should seek out?
This is a non-sponsored post. The film stills come from various websites, I’m sorry I forgot to note down the sources to credit them.

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My New Swimsuit from Lingerie Please

Posted by on Aug 17, 2011 in Fashion & Beauty | 1 comment

I am more of a bikini person that a swimsuit one, but being of a certain age now *cough* I’ve decided that maybe a one-piece would be more appropriate, especially during my fat belly moments (we all have them don’t we?).

Well I’ve found the perfect swimsuit, from the fabulous Lingerie Please, who were kind enough to send me one to try: the Sunseeker Solids Cross Body Bandeau Swimsuit. I’m sorry you are not going to see a picture of me modelling it, but here is my body double on the Lingerie Please website:



I’ve been told that this is Lingerie Please’s best-selling swimsuit, and I can see why. It really is flattering, and pulls you in and pushes you out in all the right places. It almost makes me look like my body double above! It’s also extremely comfortable.

Lingerie Please are also currently running an offer where if you buy a £5 voucher, you can then buy any product on the site at a 50% reduction. It’s a great offer, and means you could buy this swimsuit for only £29.50 (price without voucher: £59.00) or check out what else you might fancy in their wonderful swimwear or lingerie ranges.

Now I just need the sun to come back …

Thanks to lingerieplease for sending me this swimsuit to review. No payment was received and all opinions are my own and honest.

EDIT 07/04/14: I have removed the links to the Lingerie Please website, as it does not seem to be in existence any longer. 

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How To Make Your Own Drinks

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Books & Film, Food & Drink | 4 comments

This week I have mostly been … making my own drinks – thanks to this great book by Susie Atkins, How to Make Your Own Drinks


How to Make Your Own Drinks book by Susie Atkins


I’ve been poring over (no pun intended) this wonderful book for a few weeks now, and dreaming of all the refreshing summer drinks I would make from its pages, only to be thwarted by an almost holy grail-like search for citric acid – one of the ingredients in many of the recipes. I finally tracked this elusive substance down by asking the owner of my local Asian food store, who looked at me very suspiciously before producing a packet from behind the counter.

And so to work …



Is there anything nicer on a hot summer’s day than sipping ice-cold home-made lemonade? (Ok, some might say sipping ice-cold lemonade with a generous shot of vodka in it, but that wouldn’t be me!) The recipe for lemon cordial in this book requires just one lemon, sugar, water and citric acid, and in a few minutes you have a big jug of cordial ready to steep in the fridge overnight …



… which only needs to be strained and bottled the next morning. A little amount of cordial topped up with sparkling water, ice and a slice of lemon and sprig of mint is so delicious, and takes me back to holidays in Weymouth sipping home-made lemonade in Sibley’s on the seafront.



There are so many more drinks in this book that I want to make. I am considering Blackberry wine, but it takes over six pounds of fruit, and that might leave me a few crumbles short over the autumn – I will see how well my brambles do this year before I decide! But I will definitely be making cucumber gin, which looks and sounds delicious:



I really love everything about this book – the recipes are beautifully presented, with wonderful photographs, and lots of useful and interesting sections, such as those on the essential kit needed, matching drinks with food, and on packaging drinks as gifts – watch out friends, I’m liking this idea!



There are over 70 recipes for homemade drinks in this book – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Like the lemonade, it’s really refreshing!

Thanks to Octopus Books for sending me this review copy free-of-charge – but the opinions are my own and no payment was received to write this review.

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