Sunday, 19 June 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

There is a part of me that refuses to grow up. I'm not sure that I'll ever outgrow the fairy tales I loved dearly as a child, and the film versions of them. I can rewatch and reread these stories and always I am transported to another world, one where I am a child and everything seemed to magical, anything possible. I fully admit that I still like going to Disneyland too.
Of course there are fairy tales for adults; indeed many of the original fairy tales that we all kow and love were originally intended for adults, and were a lot darker than their Ladybird book/Disney versions.
So for all you grown-ups who still love magic, I have compliled a list of my favourite films and books that are sprinkled with princesses, witches and unicorns. For further reading go to a wonderful website with an in-depth list of fairy tales, and the many versions available of them.

The Dark Crystal
The Princess Bride
Amelie (not a typical fairy tale but I still consider it one)
The Company of Wolves
Snow White: A Tale of Terror
Hansel & Gretal
Pan's Labyrinth
The Wizard of Oz
Return to Oz
The Chronicles of Narnia films and original BBC series
The Neverending Story
Red Riding Hood
Alice in Wonderand (Disney)
La Belle et le Bete
Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
The Little Mermaid (Disney)
Sleeping Beauty (Disney)
Donkey Skin
Cinderella (Disney)
The Sword and the Stone (Disney)
Spirited Away
Peter Pan (Disney)
The 10th Kingdom (TV show)
Edward Scissorhands
Big Fish
The City of Lost Children
The Red Shoes

I've been recommended to watch No Such Thing, Alice, Paperhouse, Valerie and her Week of Wonders, Bluebeard, Suspiria and Wild at Heart also (the latter two aren't exactly fairy tales but are supposed to have an element of them in the story).
You check out more info on these films here

Grimm's Fairy Tales
Charles Perrault's Fairy Tales
Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
The Book of Lost Things
The Princess Bride
The Land of Oz Books
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Rose and the Beast
The Secret Garden
Tom's Midnight Garden
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales

Also, of course the Harry Potter books and films. I read half of the first book many years ago, and watched the first film, but I need to do some serious catching up.

Home Sweet Home

Is there somewhere in your heart that you think of as home? Maybe you've lived in the same place your whole life, or maybe you haven't found that place yet. I spent my childhood in the Scottish Highlands on the east coast. I look back at this time of my life as idyllic and magical, and Scotland haunts me and wills me to return.
I grew up surrounded by golden sandy beaches, rolling hills, and a rugged landscape steeped in history. I saw seals basking in the sun and schools of dolphins regularly as I collected shells on the beach, and I visited castles and museums that filled my head with wonder.
I miss the céilidhs, the hardy Highland cattle and of course the food; shortbread biscuits, broths, and fresh fish.
It's strange as I haven't lived in Scotland now for 18 years, though I try to return and visit as often as I can. I live in London which is exciting and jam-packed with amazing galleries, historical buildings, eateries and gigs, but my heart still belongs in Bonnie Scotland. I yearn to wake up in my own cottage and look out of the window to see purple mountains and a sea loch, deer grazing and buzzards swooping over.
I've even taken to reading Scottish books that I read as a child and still cherish dearly. The Boy with the Bronze Axe is set in the ancient Stone Age village of Skara Brae on the island of Orkney. This is a vivd adventure set almost 3,000 years ago.
The Desperate Journey follows a family in Scotland during the Highland Clearances as they are forced to emmigrate to Canada to make a new life.

I love the old folklore and mythology from Scotland, the ghost stories and the tragic history. The mysterious secrets of Loch Ness and the unspoilt beauty of the land. Hopefully, one day I'll return for good.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)

I Heart...

Rainy Days

In London it's been pouring with rain. I sat at work today with soggy jeans and socks. It doesn't help that I left my rather snazzy leopard print umbrella in a supermarket basket by accident. This weather has made me crave the sort of things I crave in autumn and winter, even though it's June and should be sunny and hot.
So instead of salads and ice cream I've been having soups with baguettes, naughty bars of chocolate and pastries and drinking lots of tea and hot chocolate and lattes.
Today at work I was thinking that the perfect way to pass rainy days is to be at home, with a post-bath warmth, snuggled into a cosy armchair with a mug of hot chocolate complete with a floating marshmallow island. In said chair you could read one of the those amazing books where you can't put it down but as you approach the end you get sad because you don't want to say goodbye to the characters (a recent example of this for me was The Perks of Being a Wallflower).
You could watch a film. What film you watch is obviously up to you. Personally I think grey days call for the technicolour brights of old classics - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Singin' in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, High Society, or any film with Doris Day, because she has such a sunny face.
Or you could simply sit, daydream, watch the view from the window and listen to some lovely crackling vinyl. Burn some scented candles too.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Best 100 Opening Lines From Books

The perfect opening line for me is one that is evocative and gripping, instantly plunging you into the world of the novel. Now, not all of these I'd say are great openings, but there are some classics here which are definitely worth a read.
I tend to read more contemporary novels but I'm going through a phase now of devouring the classics since reading Lady Chatterley's Lover recently on holiday, and now I am reading The Kreutzer Sonata by Tolstoy.
Happy reading!

Bardot Top Place as Most Stylish
I agree with Bardot being number one, as she certainly is my style icon, but Princess Diana, Victoria Beckham and Cheryl Cole certainly wouldn't make my list.
I'd have (in no particular order): Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Seberg, Anna Karina, Catherine Deneuve, Marlene Dietrich, Dita Von Teese, Audrey Horne (Twin Peaks), Francoise Hardy, and Diane Keaton. I'm probably missing some.