Monday, June 28, 2010

Music Monday - Placebo - Running up That Hill

This is my new favorite song to play on the ipod - Placebo - Running up that Hill. Of course I am old enough to remember Kate Bush, and although I like her, I LOVE this version.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For the Love of Norton - Peter Gethers

For the Love of Norton - Peter Gethers (1993)

I was sucked in by the repackaging of this book to thinking it was new, and not published in 1993. However I didn't actually realise until the last page that it was not a new story, but an older one in a new cover. The chapter about the difficulty getting fax machines into France should have been a give away to me, but it was a slow weekend.

Never the less, I did actually enjoy the stories about Norton and his owner Peter, who with girlfriend Janis, decide to leave their corporate jobs and go and live in Provence for a year. Norton, a Scottish Fold pussy cat, takes it all in his stride and travels easily with his owner, travelling to exotic restaurants and hotels, sampling local French and Italian cuisine.

Cute without being cheesy, it made me wonder how my own Poppy Q would tolerate a life of adventure. I think she is happy climbing up on her usual sleepy spots, and wouldn't tolerate being carried around in a fabric shoulder bag. Her dislike of people food would also make dining time much less interesting than Nortons nights out.

3/5 - a nice read and a good idea for a read for the pet lover, especially those that enjoyed Marley and Dewey.

The Vitner's Luck - DVD

The Vitner's Luck - DVD (2009)

I loved the book this story is based on, and was saddened that the movie received such poor reviews, but knew that it would be a hard story to adapt. Set in 19th centuary France, a poor peasant winemaker, Sobran finds the secret to making a good wine with the assistance of an angel Xas. In the book they share so much together, and upon getting married Xas promises to return to meet up with Sobran each year.

The movie was sumptuous, the shots of the vineyard and chateau, the peasants home and plants and bugs were beautiful. However it seemed to lack a soul, the main characters seemed to speak the words and act passionately, but it never seemed to flow or make sense. I was distracted seeing Keish Castle-Hughes, who although was looking beautiful was definately a maori girl in the wrong period film. In the book, the story spans the years of Sobrans life, yet his wife looked 19 throughout, and was not aged at all.

In total, a 2/5 for although lovely to look at, this movie failed to capture the magic of the book or turn into a different, but better version.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Anything For Her

Anything for Her (2008)

I guess this one came out in 2008, was shown at the 2009 film fest, and now is on slow rotation at the cinema. It was a wild and woolly afternoon, and the best thing was to be bundled up warm at the movies. My friends asked me what it was about, and I said I thought there was a murder, a breakout, a gun, a man looking stern and his wife in a trench coat.

That description was pretty true, this little French action film bounced around quite quickly showing us how a woman ends up in prison for a murder she says she didn't commit, and how much her husband loves her, and tries to get her free.

4/5 for this one, as the action/thriller genre that Hollywood has forgotten how to do. I think American movies have got so involved in showing the 15 minute car chase smash a 100 cars up, and a shoot fest with 20 bad boys dying to appeal to the twenty year old audience, that they have forgotten about the story.

This movie is action with a story, and a genuine believable love story. The tension builds and although you can guess what is going to happen, you are never quite sure. So good, that I almost forgot about the subtitles and believed I could understand all the French.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Long Song - Andrea Levy

The Long Song - Andrea Levy (2010)

July is bought up on a plantation in Jamaica at the time of the abolition of slavery. This book tells the story of her life, her mother and her children in a time that seems almost unreal to us. When children and adults are bought and sold like cattle, where children are taken from their parents and made to work with no education and nobody is paid for their work.

I enjoyed the sing song voice of the protagonist and the way that it switched between her own telling of her story and her sons views. I found that I was engaged in the story and wanting to know what happened next, rushing to bed on these coolish nights was made more pleasant by having a good book to read.

I also appreciated its editing, by not being a 600 page monster of a book, it felt just the right length to tell the story. A very solid 4/5 for this gem.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grey Love- Dream shopping on ETSY

Love the bag - layered pleat bag

Oh how perfect for winter - Smoky Quartz Druzy Necklace

Oh this little jewel is pretty - SALE EC Blizzard ring

Ohhhh and how nice is this one? - necklace with gray lavender ocean jasper cabochon oxidized sterling silver

Dig this girl -Organic Girl

I love me some ETSY shopping. If I win LOTTO, I'm going to snap all these grey goodies up.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Don't you love all the letters in this dining room? Hmmmm I like this idea. I think this picture came from Design Sponge, and I've saved it in my faves file.

Claire, you asked if I had read Magpie Hall by Rachel King. In fact I bought the book on TradeMe about 6 months ago, but have not read it yet. I am afraid that I seldom read New Zealand books, as I have been disapointed by so many. I was hoping that you were going to tell me how good it was and recommend it.

Several years ago I decided that I would not continue with books I was bored with or not enjoying. I now seldom persist if I know we are not a good fit, in fact I disgarded Frances Mayes last book, as 5 pages in I was losing interest. Life is too short, and there are so many good books out there.

The book I am reading at the moment is The Long Song by Andrea Levy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music Monday - Jack Johnson - You and Your Heart

I haven't had a music monday clip in a while, and this is the new CD that I bought at the weekend, Jack Johnsons latest. Oh, and I bought tickets to see him live in November too!!

Nice to have something to look forward to.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Grocery Money

Lucky the freezer is full, look at what the Grocery money bought this week. Whitcoulls had a half price sale off all fiction this weekend. I managed to snag the last copy of the Passage in the store.

So, no buying lunch this week, it will be soup and toast every day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Genova (2008)

2008 - this movie is old, but has only been released at the arthouse cinemas this year. I had a nice lunch at a friends six year old birthday party, and once all the lego was cleared away and the dishes done, I was able to meet a good friend for Saturday treats.

On Saturday, we often head to Sweet Mothers Kitchen, here in Wellington for their fantastic curly fries, a real coke and for me a chicken burrito. How exciting is my weekend!!! Well it gets better, as Whitcoulls had half price off all fiction books, so I bought three huge ones to add to my pile, and had a decedent caramel ice cream from the gelato shop. Then to make it more thrilling, I went to the supermarket for more bread and fruit juice, so I can have a nice lazy Sunday brekkie.

So back to the movie, - tragic car accident, mother dies, girls grieve, dad decides to take them to Italy, little girl cries a lot, big girl rebels a lot, old girlfriend pines a lot, new young student flicks hair a lot, Colin Firth begins to relax, also takes shirt off, everyone sweats, lots of walks through little streets, only ever eat past, girl walks home, mother seems to pop up a lot and cars have a fender bender (I hope I haven't given the story away).

Oh, and the man behind us - please buy some tissues, vicks nasal sniffer stuff and breathe through your nose. We know you have a cold, you breathed like you were on a respirator, and we thought it painful to sit in front of you for a long movie.

So the movie, it was a bit slow and predictable so 2/5, we only saw you because Grand Designs was a repeat tonight.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Daughters of the Witching Hill - Mary Sharratt

Daughters of the Witching Hill - Mary Sharratt (2010)

You know you think you have read so much on a subject, that any new book seems to rehash stories you have heard before. You know, like how you've read eleventy books on vampires, angels, serial killers, the Plague, Tudors and all other popular genres. Well witches, and witch trials have all been retold a thousand times, that is hard to find a fresh voice.

Daughters of the Witching Hill tells the tale of both Bess Southerns and her granddaughter Alizon, living in the Pendle forest in the UK. Bess starts having visions, and uses her spirit and her Catholic past, to guide her in healing and treating neighbours. However, some use their ablilites to harm others and all too soon rumours of witchcraft fly through the countryside.

Based on a true even of 13 bought to trial for witchcraft, this was one story I was unable to put down and was pleased to turn in at night and read more pages. It's focus was more on the womans stories with only a small amount of pages allocated to the trial, which is just the way I like my novels. To much of lawyer/court speeches and I am quickly bored and skipping pages.

I think I may even need to give this one a 4/5, for I am at a loss to find fault with it, and would happily recommend to all as a great read. I liked the characters and could sympathise with them, what would you do if you were widowed and poor in the same time period? How would you feed your family and survive? What skills would you use?

Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dream Room

I like the idea of soft greys and white, and no clutter (well compared to my room). Looks like a great place to fall into and read.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

La Maison De Nina

La Maison De Nina - DVD (2004)

I almost didn't get to watch this dvd, as I had left it til last, but the weather conspired against me and Bones didn't get good reception tonight, so it was easier to pop the DVD on then watch old stuff on the DVR.

Set at the end of the war, Nina runs a home for Jewish orphans outside Paris, who live a quiet life in the leafy grounds of a large home. Joined by a group of boys who have been liberated from the concentration camps, their lives are disrupted by the unruly and disturbed children. Helping them to settle in, and find the fate of their families provide many challenges.

4/5 for this very moving story. I sooo wish that TV would play quality dramas like this instead of Bones, CSI and NCIS rubbish.


Amelia - DVD (2009)

I had hesitated seeing this one at the movies, only because at the time it played here we had the sunniest days of our summer, and sitting inside seemed like a waste of sunshine. Now that the winter has truly arrived it is the perfect opportunity to catch up.

I have a distinct memory of learning about Amelia Earhart when we were at primary school at about seven, in one of those shoolastic books that talked about all kinds of bits and pieces. So I was looking forward to the movie.

It was beautiful and an interesting story, but I was distracted by Hilary Swank. So much effort seemed to have gone into her portrayal of the walk, talk and hairstyle that magic was lost. There was no spark, no emotion - she just seemed a bit wooden to me. It felt still when Richard Gere reached for her hand and Ewan McGregor went for a smackeroo. Such a shame.

So tis only a lowly 2/5 for this flight of fancy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Last Station

The Last Station - (2009)

So last week Kate Roger, our movie reviewer on TV gave this one a nearly perfect score, and the girls and I chose to see this one instead of Sex and the City, which only received a 1/5.

Essentially it is the tale of two love stories. Leo Tolstoy and his wife the Countess Sofya, who is emotional as she tries to keep control of the will and her opinionated husband. Valentin Bulgakov is employed as Tolstoys personal secretary, and is involved in his attempt to create a communal living environment rather than fictional writing.

Tolstoy becomes angry with his wife and leaves, becoming ill on the train, he decamps to a railway station, and it is here that the last drama plays out.

3/5 - it was OK, slightly slow, and the warm cinema caused me to doze off several times. Oh, also we were the youngest crowd in the cinema, it was an early session though, early enough to have time to get home for a curry and then home for Grand Designs. Yippee for Saturday.

The Postmistress

The Postmistress - Sarah Blake (2010)

After my experience with Wolf Hall , I was a bit hesitant starting my next book. The cover and the premise looked interesting, and the beginning was solid enough.

Entwining the stories of Iris, the local Postmistress, Emma the young new doctors wife, and Frankie Bard an American radio reporter in London who all find that their lives changing during the second world war.

About the middle, it seemed to lose it's momentum and I was a bit confused about why Frankie ends up traveling to Berlin, and how Emma seems to just wander around and worry about her husband.

Tying everything together at the end, on reflection the novel was OK, but seemed to not really live up to it's promises and I never really felt connected to any of the characters.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Away We Go - DVD

Away We Go - DVD (2009)

I know, we don't make many films that appeal to the large growing indie alternative 20/30/40 year olds. You know, the ones that live like they are still 21, living in poky rentals and buying op shop clothes. No doubt one of them is vegetarian, they would love to drive an eco friendly vechile or bike everywhere, they buy organic, shop on ETSY, and feel alienated by all the blockbuster hollywood movies.

We'll employ Sam Mendes to direct and we'll write it about their travels all around the states and Canada, to find somewhere perfect to live. We just need to find lots of kooky friends and relatives for them to visit, and we need to find a whiny singer song writer to provide the background music.

I think I really liked the idea of this movie, and the previews appealed to me more than the actual movie, which I found a bit of a snore. So my sweet little indie/alt loving heart could only give it a 2/5.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel (2009)

Approach with caution, I had been aching to read this one all year and it was a six month wait at the library. About 5 times I had lifted it off the shelves at various shops, but each time I shoved it back and inched away, waiting for the reserve to be mine. And mine it was, just before a long weekend, so as my mission I set upon reading it on Friday night and finished tonight. Alas though, 300 pages into the book, I realized that this 500+ page tome, could only be part one of what must be a trilogy - a very long trilogy.

Telling the tale of the early years of the rise of Thomas Cromwell, in Henry the VIIIs court, it is the serious mans version of the story of the king and the rise of Anne Boleyn, who is set to become queen at the expense of Queen Katherine. I love me a bit of Henry the VIII normally, cause you know I loved Hampton Court Palace, I could so live there. I even enjoyed studying about Thomas More at high school, even if we had to do A Man For All Seasons as a play (at an all girls school when we were 13).

I am a great fan of many in the historical genre, but my tolerance is stretched whenever a novel spins off into too much political or courtroom drama, and I felt that Wolf Hall suffered from too much seriousness. It felt like it was trying to be the serious mans The Other Boleyn Girl, and show no bodices or heaving bosoms. Instead it was full of dull men in their dark capes and hats who had serious business to discuss.

So I am sad to give this serious weighty tome a 2/5 and that I will stray away from part two, three or any other follow up.

It also makes me remember to stray away from award winners, as literature critics I feel are going the way of music critics, of trying to find the offbeat, the serious and often the strange to worship and follow, and sometimes my heart doesn't agree with their choices.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Dear pretty bedrooms found in blogland (sorry we don't know who took these lovely shots).

Our bedroom may not be quite as pretty and calm, but we got some relaxation in it nevertheless this weekend. I have made it 300 pages through Wolf Hall, and will have it back in the library by its due date. I don't know that I'm liking it, and am thinking I should give up, but 300 is an investment of time.

So Pops and I will snuggle down between the covers. It's cool and blustery here and tv sucks. I mean really really sucks.

So I shall become a literary hermit for the winter. Not such a bad choice I think.

Oh and besides the tv being a suckfest of programming, it is sooooo hard to find interior furnishings here in NZ. We seem to be stuck in a plethora of faux silk slippery hideous duvet covers, or ones covered in playboy logos or furnishings that have been in the shops since 1982. I don't think the buyers for shops have read a design blog or magazine for twenty years. I sooooo would love their job.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

2012 - DVD

2012 - DVD

Well I like me a good disaster film, and this one covers the mother of all end of the world scenarios. It also raises the serious question of how John Cusack looks younger than his most recent other outings, and actually is turned into a reasonably fair nerdy action hero. Watch him run, jump, swim and leap! All without mussing his hair.

So if cracking earthquakes, volcanoes and huge tsunamis are your thing, leave your common sense at the door and watch this, or better yet save it for Dec 21st, 2012. I bet they do a roaring trade that week.


Friday, June 04, 2010

Intervention - Robin Cook

Intervention - Robin Cook (2010)

So I was in the warehouse, and was tempted by this book in the bargain bin. I could have given in and spent the $12, but the guilts got the better of me. I walked away - I did. Instead I rushed home and booked it in at the library, and had it in my hands within two days. I won't promise to buy no books this year, but I am trying to restrict it to only a couple.

So, Robin Cook writes pretty standard medical thrillers and this one didn't really surprise me with plot twists, although it did dart of in tangents and explore a few modern issues. I found all the digging around in the Vatican without being caught a bit silly and surprising, and I enjoyed the exploration of alternative medicine. I don't believe in chiropractor's and homeopathy, but I have had acupuncture on my back that worked well. It think the majority of it is placebo medicine, but if it makes you happy, go for it.

A 3/5 for this one. I am now on to my big challenge of reading Wolf Hall which is a bit daunting, luckily it is a three day weekend here.