Monday, 29 August 2011

Movie Monday: One Day

It's not often that I see a film and can't find a few redeeming qualities to it.  In fact more often than not, even if the film is appalling there is still some remote amusement from it because I, as many do, enjoy the act of the cinema.  The concept of sitting in a dark room and totally forgetting who you are, what's going on in your life and instead being completely ensconced in somebody else's thoughts, feelings, actions and consequences.  Unfortunately for the entire of One Day I sat there completely aware that I was indeed in a cinema and completely aware that there were a bunch of mostly very good actors on the screen playing dress up.  It wasn't all the actor's faults though, in several cases they were actually the victim of just some very bad casting.

Before I go any further I think it's very important that you all understand that I was really willing it to be at least vaguely entertaining.  Reviews have been less than complimentary but everybody knows that a critic is far more, well, critical, than the average viewing public.  I also would like you to know that I can critique this myself from both sides of the spectrum as I have both read the book and not read the book.  This leads nicely on to how much effort I put in today to like this film.  Of the five of us that were seeing it, I was one of two that had not read the book.  At approximately 9am I began.  That's right I tried to read the entire 435 pages in  7 hours, which may sound do-able but it actually wasn't when factoring getting ready and getting to the cinema.  I made it eventually to page 229 which took me half way through the book, just enough to get an idea of the characters but I had no idea where they would end up .

The story follows Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter's (Jim Sturgess) friendship across twenty years (I only made it ten in the book) as she struggles with her romantic feelings for him whilst he seems half oblivious to them, half in denial.  The current running through the book and that of the film is that it focuses on one particular day in each of those years, July 15th, as a sample of their lives as the time passes by.

Firstly, let's address the elephant in the room.  Anne Hathaway's accent.  The role called for her to have a Yorkshire accent and it has been widely documented that she did a particularly bad job of it.  I'm no Yorkshire accent specialist but it doesn't take a genius to know that continuity is quite a big deal and that was what I and every other non-yorkshire-accent-specialist, would have noticed.  From the opening credits to lights up it would have been quite understandable for any of us to think that Emma (Hathaway) was having some kind of identity crisis.  Throughout the first scene I actually recall thinking her accent was bad because she sounded like she had a very standard British accent, not quite RP but not far off.  However, just moments later and completely unprepared for it, a broad northern accent suddenly appeared for a sentence before she made a quick return to her previous dialect.  This was a recurring incident throughout the film and no matter how many times it happened it still took me by surprise and resulted in me releasing a little chuckle.  This in itself was incredibly distracting and the main reason why I felt that Emma's character never fully developed in the film for me, that and the fact that there were emotions that weren't played out when they should have been. 

Sturgess's portrayal of Dexter was far better but even he didn't fully develop for me until at least half way through.  One of the most important aspects of a successful film, book or play is for the audience to care about what happens to the characters in it and unfortunately this just didn't evolve for me with Emma and only very close to the end for me with Dexter.

Upon reading the first half of the book and knowing that Emma's hopeless boyfriend Ian was to be played by Rafe Spall, I immediately believed that he was the perfect actor for the part and although I still stand by my initial feeling, Spall overplayed the part and seemed far too much like a creepy old man, that was reminiscent of a David Walliams character from Little Britain.  Ian was so repulsively odd in fact that instead of appreciating that Emma may have felt sorry for him it became impossible to believe that she ever would have gone on a date with him in the first place.  Suki, one of Dexter's many girlfriends fell victim to some really horrific casting.  So much was the case that when actress Georgia King was introduced as the character both my sister and I gasped "No!" in unison.  King, a fantastic actress in the flesh, never quite transfers to the big screen for me, as her characters tend to seem over-dramatised and unbelievable, this teamed with her awkward look means that the pretty, petite and naturally bubbly girl in the book never came alive in the film.  

Very few books ever transfer into film the way we imagine them but I think One Day, even done to the best of it's ability would never have succeeded.  Twenty years, even when accounting for one day a year, is a long time and a couple of hours was not long enough to condense all the emotions and developments of Emma's and Dexter's lives.  Instead we were rushed through the first ten with very little time to take in the relationship or even understand how or why they were friends.  Due to the pace, as an audience member Dexter and Emma were two completely opposite individuals that were friends in the film because the script said so and for no other reason.  The fact that the film races through the first half of the book especially means that it fails to lay the foundations required for us to sympathise with the characters later in the story.  I think it's even fair to say that I was more moved by the trailers of upcoming releases played before, than the actual film.

If you've read the book please take heed of the reviews and do not go and see it.  The version the book has painted in your head is far superior.  If you haven't read the book I'd still recommend not watching it.  If you must rent it, when it comes out on DVD, then do but be warned the storyline almost seems pointless and the characters relationships forced.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Stove on Sunday: French Food in Chamonix

Cheese features highly in my food posts, most recently seen in my The Stove on Sunday post on Goat Cheese Tarts.  So, if like me, you are dairy obsessed then read on because this promises to be the ultimate cheese post!

We stopped over in Chamonix for one night, on the way to Tuscany, as seen earlier in the week in Chamonix in Pictures.

Upon arrival we headed straight out for our evening meal and ended up making quite a brisk but impeccable choice to dine at Le Carlina.  The outside tables, although a little chilly, despite the patio heaters, was incredibly atmospheric and it felt very French to watch the passers by and look out to the snow covered mountains whilst drinking red wine.

All of us had quietly decided that cheese would be our order of choice and after much deliberation and debate we decided to get the fondue and the raclette to share, as none of us could decide which we would prefer.

The raclette looked something like this...

I love the simplicity of this meal, after all it is just raclette cheese heated to be eaten with side dishes such as potatoes and bread.  There is no skill required and yet it is potentially one of the most delicious meals going. I have had this before in Switzerland but we all agreed that the cheese was particularly creamy and good at Le Carlina and it was hands down the best we have tried.

Both this and the fondue came with accompaniment dishes of different hams, including bresaola and chorizo, mini gherkins, mini pickled onions, bread and potatoes.  The fondue had a slight twist to it and was expertly chosen by my sister @holly_mcnally.  With the promise of mushrooms accompanying the fondue we were shocked to discover that instead of a side dish they were in fact incorporated into the actual cheese dish.  We were further shocked to see that instead of whole pieces it had been added as a kind of liquid form.  You could distinguish the mushroom flavour but on the same hand it was not too overpowering as, mushroom hater @hannah_mcnally happily appreciated.

Fondue has been sampled by myself on many occasion and although a frequent orderer of it I am usually hugely disappointed upon eating.  Perhaps it's the gruyere, perhaps it's the kirsch but either which way, after several mouthfuls the waves of sickness set in and I am utterly horrified at the site of any more cheese.  This, as you can imagine, due to my declaration of love for cheese, leaves me distressed.  Surprise, surprise though I could have kept on going with this version from Le Carlina.  I have no idea if they used a different cheese, or a different alcohol or a different ingredient in general but this was more than tolerable and I ate way too much of it.  This and my dad's version made with cheddar and beer are the only fondue's I can honestly say I love.  Hopefully I'll get the chance to post my dad's version some time.

We topped the meal off with a coffee that makes me realise that no matter how much I love Starbucks it will never be as awesome as this...

None of us could manage dessert, except this girl...

She had two scoops, one Ferrero Roche and the other Kinder.  The choice was insane and highlighted once again how rubbish ice cream parlours in the UK are.

The following morning we stopped by the local Boulangerie to pick out something for lunch for the second part of our journey to Tuscany.

This extraordinary brioche caught our eyes and although we didn't buy it that time around, when my parents came home via Chamonix they kindly picked it up for our breakfast back in England the following morning.

The pink clusters, we initially assumed, were some kind of dried fruit, perhaps strawberries but on further investigation we discovered they were praline.  I have no idea why or how they were pink but it tasted like sweet popcorn and is apparently made with sugar syrup.  It was a different twist to your standard brioche and was perfect adorned with butter and eaten with a fresh pot of the most stunning hazelnut coffee my parents had bought me in Italy.

The lunch we chose from the boulangerie was actually croque monsieur's for most of us and although I don't have any pictures of the best croque monsieur I've ever eaten we did try and re-create them upon my parents return.

You Will Need:
White Bread
Beschamel Sauce
Cheddar Cheese
Pepper to season

1.  Layer one slice of bread with mustard and then the beschamel sauce
2.  Place ham over the sauce and follow by grating a thick layer of cheese onto the ham
3.  Season with pepper
4. Place the second piece of bread on top to create a sandwich
5.  Layer the top of the sandwich with mustard and beschamel sauce
6.  Grate another layer of cheese on top of the sandwich
7.  Season with pepper
8.  Place in a preheated oven of 180 degrees
9.  Cook for around 20 minutes or until golden brown

Hopefully they should turn out something like this...

We ate these and the brioche out the front of our house looking out to this, which just made them picture perfect moments...

And then, as most of us British know, the rain came.

On a final note, those on the East Coast of the States, friends, readers, family etc I hope you have not been too affected by Hurricane Irene and have/are keeping

Friday, 26 August 2011

How to Recycle your Touche Eclat

You made it.  After sprinting for the last five minutes you've managed to just wedge your foot in the train door in time.  With one swift push, you're in!  Phew!  You wipe your brow and search around to check that everybody didn't just see you launch your glamorous self into their cabin.  You straighten yourself up, flash an embarrassed smile and slink into the nearest seat.  The only thing you didn't have time to do this morning was apply your lipstick.  Rifling through your bag, out comes your chosen colour.  Now where is that lip brush?  A sensible woman would put all these kinds of beautifying ingredients into a make-up bag.  You remind yourself that you are not sensible.  You shirk off your own criticism and continue to rummage.  First hands, then arms disappear.  Soon your entire head is in your Marc Jacobs and your beginning to emulate a scene from Mary Poppins.  Pens, mints, antibacterial hand gel and other random but very useful belongings are strewn out of the bag.  You huff, you puff, you fall back into your seat, exhausted.  You could just apply the lipstick like a normal person but what would be the point of purchasing a lip brush in the first place?  Plus you can administer far better control of that hot pink colour with the brush, so as not to scare your colleagues.  No.  You will not be beaten.  You dive back in.

Is this anybody else?  I bought a lip brush, and it is so teeny tiny, I'm looking for it far more than I am ever using it!  Then I had, what I consider a pretty cool idea.  An idea that not only saves you this arduous start to your day but is also credit busting, which seems to be a regular phrase on To Elle and Back.  I tend to keep a lot of empty products, mostly to use as travel sizes for when I'm on holiday, you can see how I do that in The Smart Girl's Guide to Travelling Light.  I had, however, accumulated three finished YSL Touche  Eclat's, for a reason far beyond my knowledge but that's beside the point.  On yet another occasion when my trusty lip brush was playing hide and seek, I realised that when cleaned properly the brush from the Touche Eclat could essentially do the same thing.  So I did just that.  I used my antibacterial brush cleaner on the Touche Eclat brush and have been using it as my lip brush ever since.  It's bigger than my original and even when buried in the deep depths of your, read my, Mary Poppin's bag you're guaranteed to see the shiny gold packaging peering out beneath your random but very useful belongings!

Have you got any DIY treatments, products etc that work just as well as those you purchase?

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Chamonix in Pictures

I visited Tuscany a few weeks back and it was B-Utiful!  The food, the weather, the scenery, the men.  Instead of flying we drove which was an adventure in itself and took just two days from my village in Kent, England.  Isn't that amazing?  We stayed in Chamonix, in France, as our nights stop over and it was simply fantastic.  Chamonix is primarily known for it's ski season but even in July it was pretty and had a lovely atmosphere.  As promised, as soon as I got my camera back I wanted to share my holiday photo's with you and some of the lovely things I tried, different beauty products, activities and a review of Tuscan Tennis Holidays.  These will all be spanned over a couple of posts and to start them off here is Chamonix in Pictures...

We stayed in Hotel Faucigny, which was very central.  Quite a basic hotel but still homely and had my favourite wood burning stove smell that reminds me of Christmas.  I loved the wooden carved Christmas Tree artwork outside the hotel too, although was quite odd to be looking at it in July.  The old fashioned ski poster was one of the off beat pieces in the breakfast room.  The service in the hotel was fantastic too.  As you all know I left my camera there.  That's right Ladies and Gentleman, I lost my camera on the second day.  We only realised as we were going through the Mont Blanc tunnel.  I wasn't heading back there as I was only staying a week in Tuscany but my parents would be staying there again on the way back and after notifying them that we had left a camera there, they not only made sure it was kept safe but they also had it waiting in my parents room on their return.

Looking at this picture now, I still can't get over the view.  I love the idea of being able to see snow on the mountains in the middle of summer.

These were some shop signs.  I was blown away by the attention to detail, the fact that they were hand painted and all round delicate beauty of these.  I can't imagine seeing anything like this anywhere else other than France, Switzerland or Austria.

Presentation is so important here and it really showed in every store.  My local bakers wouldn't look anything like this, although some London ones would make this kind of effort I suppose.

Local produce was abundant at the market.  I lingered at this stall for quite some time.  The honey and lavender soap caught my eye and I found the thought of buying French soap from your local market quite romantic.

This was a store dedicated to fragrance.  The presentation of the candles on the right was outstanding.  I would have loved some of these for our house but unfortunately the shop was closed.  I think the yellow sun one was my favourite.  The picture on the right I think is an odd and far more attractive type of pot pourri but don't quote me on that!

Every time you looked up you would spot these paragliders.

Sundays food post will be focusing on all the food we sampled whilst in Chamonix, including a few bits we've tried to make ourselves since.  Considering we were only there one night we got through a awful lot of cheese, I can tell you that much!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Comprehensive Guide to Victoria's Secret

The web has been alight with the exciting news that Victoria's Secret will be hitting the London streets in 2012. This information wasn't particularly surprising to me as I saw an article in 2009 stating that they planned to open in the Summer of 2012.  My first thought was "what's taken them so long?" but I guess there has been several examples of successful American businesses not working in the UK.  Bath and Body Works, who are owned by the same company, for example, lived here for a brief euphoric time and then quietly descended back on the US.  So I can imagine they wanted to feel entirely certain that they could begin a growing business here.  I'm actually in two minds about their launch next year.  Part of me is absolutely thrilled that they will be more readily available and then the other part of me is a little bit elitist at the thought that everyone will be able to breeze into the store and pick up clothing, beauty products etc, that up until now not many of us have our hands on.

I first purchased from Victoria's Secret in 2004 and since then I have built up quite a vast collection of pyjamas, beauty products, clothing and home goods, whether it be from trips to the States, gifts or from purchasing online.  Funnily enough the only thing I don't own from Victoria's Secret is underwear, which I find rather amusing being that it is primarily known for that.  That all said I consider myself to be somewhat of a Victoria's Secret expert, read obsessive, so here are some of my trusty favourites and what the UK can expect from this iconic American brand next year...

I fell in love with the Strawberry and Champagne Shampoo and Conditioner back when I lived in Massachusetts in 2005.  Unfortunately they discontinued those soon after and word on the street from my Aunt who lives in NY is that on her last visit to the store she was told the whole line is now discontinuing.  I will live in hope that this is not true but at the moment you can still purchase these online at 5 for $30 or in UK airports.  I love the fragrance and will be sad to see it go, if it does.

I try and stock up on the Bath and Body Works versions when I'm in the States but you can't buy them online so I've been getting the VS ones in Pure Seduction.  Gives you a fresh, fun and clean scent, the ones we have in the UK are so boring and medicinal!  These are $3.50 or 3 for $6 online but again they are available in some UK airports.

I got one of these lipglosses free with a purchase in NY a couple of years ago and recently re-purchased at Stansted Airport.  I forget what the shade was called but it's a light pink and has a banana like scent to it.  The smell took a while to grow on me but it was worth it for the shade.  It's been my go-to lipgloss this summer and has lasted me since May.  Great flawless gloss with a nice colour pay-off. $7 or 2 for $12, or 4 for $20 online.

I got a VS blanket as a Christmas gift a few years ago and I love it, albeit it's very loud!  Whilst browsing I thought these pillows were also pretty cute.  Perfect for University students. The blanket is $34.50 and the pillowcase set, which includes 2 cases is $19.50.

I'm still yet to own a pair of VS Pink sweatpants but the VS Pink range is incredibly popular and whilst studying in the States the college was a sea of these.  You were nobody unless you had PINK stamped on your ass!  Great again for any up and coming University go-ers but also fab for slouching around the house in.  These are $44.50 and you can also get matching hoodies too.

I'm a Red Sox fan so this VS baseball attire is a hoot. Hoodie is $39.99 and the crop top is $26.50.  

They also do great sleepwear but nothing caught my eye to show you guys on this occasion.  I have numerous nighties, pyjamas, slippers and even the limited edition VS PINK Victoria Secret Show 2010 dressing gown.  As you can see from most of the prices as well, they're great at constantly having offers on which always makes you feel like you're making a steal.

All of the items are available at and some of the beauty range is also available at selected UK airports until next year when they open on Bond Street.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Bright Future

Today I got up, brushed my hair and got on with life.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Clam bake on the Cape

This is what I'd wear to a clam bake in the Cape or a family cook out on Martha's Vineyard (if I didn't live in England of course!).  I imagine this is what Ally Hilfiger would wear (does anybody remember that show Rich Girls on MTV?) except maybe she wouldn't be allowed to wear a Ralph Lauren shirt.  It's a very laid back look, think Caggie Dunlop from Made in Chelsea.

ps-this is the first time I've ever done one of these and I'm not going to lie, felt a bit of a dork taking the photo's!
*Ally Hilfiger image taken from and Caggie Dunlop image taken from

Friday, 19 August 2011

Sephora's Instant Moisture Mask

Skincare products tend to fall into one of two categories with me.  Either super good stuff that I've taken a great deal of care with selecting and promises to keep my skin youthful (some of you may know I have an obsession with ageing).  Or totally and utterly quirky and bizarrely fantastic.  The product I'm about to tell you about actually falls into both categories.  When perusing Sephora in France, back in April, I decided that I would only purchase something that I couldn't get in the UK, as otherwise I was paying a similar price, if not more, for standard goods that I could get from Selfridges.  I came across the Instant Moisture Mask and I'm not going to lie, the initial purchase was based on it looking like this...

Skincare in a smoothie flask!  How cool is that?! 

Once I got over the initial excitement I actually came to learn that it looked like a pretty reputable product too.

This fun flask contains four sachets of powder which should be used once a week across a four week period.  After doing this for the first application I discovered that actually it created way too much product.  In fact I did my face, neck and hands, along with my sisters and my mothers and there was still some left over.  You should also note that we did apply quite substantially too, so honestly one sachet is way too much for one application.  It says not to store the product and the same goes for the powder either but I have been using less powder each application and folding the end over on the sachet and keeping it shut in the flask until Sunday appears again.  I haven't died yet and seems to be business as usual after using the product so I think you're safe to assume that actually you can get two months worth of use out of this, a total of eight applications.

There is a black line quite low down on the side of the flask, which you should fill water to.  Only fill it to that line if you intend to use the whole sachet though, otherwise fill it halfway to the mark.  Add half or all of the sachet, depending on your requirements.  Place the lid back on the flask and begin to shake vigorously.  FYI this is like an insane workout for your arm.  Basically you have to shake until the product no longer makes a sound.  The powder reacts with the water to create, guess what, a smoothie like consistency.  This takes about 4 minutes I'd say.  You are recommended to apply the mixture to your face, neck and back of your hands and leave for 5-10 minutes.

The mask looks like a clear gel and has a really nice aftershave-esque scent to it which I love but I guess may not be for everybody.  It's cooling on the skin and feels incredibly refreshing.  The aim is to intensively hydrate the skin, offering it a boost when it's looking and feeling a little dull.  It considers itself to be suitable for sensitive skin due to it not using parabens or preservatives and the act of you creating the product yourself means that, and I quote "active ingredients are preserved and the formula is more effective".

I really rate this mask a, because it does exactly what it says on the tin.  I found that my skin did look smoother, more rested and glowing and b, because what cool packaging!

I trialled this every week as recommended and ditched my mid week mask that I would usually do as well to see if the results carried me through the week, which they pretty much did.  I also decided not to use this as part of my DIY Facial routine I do on some Sundays and instead used it alone across the month so I could really gauge the results.  

According to the website it's Limited Edition, I hope they get a good response from it and decide to implement it as a regular product as I've already re-purchased and hope to purchase again next time I'm abroad.

Instant Moisture Mask is available from Sephora for $15 or 8 Euro's 90(where the hell is the euro sign on my keyboard?!)

*Image taken from 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Smart Girl's Guide to Travelling Light...

The Metro did an awesome double page spread a few weeks back on travel sets by many a different beauty brand.  The majority were pretty reasonable too.  The fact that most were affordable but didn't compromise on style and cool factor was also a huge plus in my eyes.  All being around the £15 mark it was tempting not to blow £60 on about four different sets for my holidays BUT no matter how fun they were, none catered specifically to all my needs.  In true Carrie Bradshaw form "Suddenly I realised..." a simple solution was staring me in the face.  DIY and no I don't mean you should head on out to B&Q, this is me we're talking about.  I'm the first to go out and buy numerous products on a whim but I also love being able to save some money and discover an alternative route to the same outcome.  Some of you may be familiar with my DIY Facial, if not scoot on over here.  I applied that same mentality to transporting my beauty products and here's how you can to.

Glance across your dressing table.  Every product is in a different type of packaging.  Light, heavy, plastic, glass, big, small, square, round...Now focus on the smaller products.  That eye cream, those little bottles of shower gel you stole *cough* were given to you at the hotel, from your last weekend away.  A lot of the packaging we use can be re-used in some manner.  Some of my lotion and potion bottles I keep and use for decoration in my room, or vases but that's a whole other post entirely.  Basically I discovered that whilst I was chucking away  these pots, I could be saving them for the very time I don't feel like transporting that heavy glass Neals Yard bottle across the World.  

Here's what it should look like...

  • Use your eye cream pots for your daily moisturiser.  You'll be surprised how it carries just the right amount for a week or two away.
  • Any mini sample pots, from places like Kiehls, to carry your eye cream, conditioner or even foundation!
  • Was there ever a better time to sign up to a sample service like Glossybox.  I re-used the Abahna shower gel bottle.
  • If visiting a hotel there honestly is no shame in leaving again with their mini Molton Brown products they've supplied to you and again, once used, RE-USE!
The best news, is they're all 100mls or under so not only are they light on your hand luggage, they're also adhering to air travel rules.

If this is all a little too sensible for you though, then you can still decanter in style with this Mister Mascara set from ASOS for £7.15.  It even comes with stickers, which was the wow factor for me.  Smitten.

*Mister Mascara images taken from

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Stove on Sunday: Caramelised Onions

I'm sat here eating cold pizza that I created last night.  It really is so simple to do and not at all time consuming and it honestly packs a punch on the taste buds.  Move over Pizza Express.  I've done a post on how to make your own pizza here (you need to scroll down to the Non-New Yorker Weekend section for the recipe) but last night I topped it with smoked cheese and caramelised onions.  Last time I made caramelised onions they were rock hard and not particularly appetising along with being an absolute bitch to get off the bottom of my mum's pan.  Oops!   But I totally nailed it last night and again it was so simple.  I have no idea how I managed to screw it up the first time. 

Whilst my pizza was cooking I melted some butter in a hot pan and added chopped onions to soften.  Once softened I literally just poured a healthy amount of brown sugar, straight from the packet and continued to cook on a slightly lower heat.  Once the onions were really soft, I added the final ingredient, balsamic vinegar and continued to cook until they looked soft and syrupy.  I then distributed them across the pizza once it had finished cooking.

No pictures unfortunately because my camera is still being held hostage in France, although it will be back later today.  I just felt like I needed to tell you how simple it is to make one of my favourite pizza toppings!  My parents are requiring a snack later for when they return and I have a sneaky feeling I may be recreating this.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

I Don't Know How She Does It: The Book

Must Remember
Talk with Paula outlining firm new approach to children's haircuts/time-keeping etc.  Talk with Rod Task outlining firm new approach to role with clients, ie I AM NOT THEIR EMERGENCY GEISHA.  Pay rise: repeat after me, I Will Not Accept Extra Work For No Extra Money!  Get quote for new stair carpet.  Buy Christmas tree and stylish lights (John Lewis or Ikea?)  Present for Richard (How to be a Domestic Goddess?), in-laws (cheese barrel or alpine plants advertised in S.Times colour supplement: where did I put the cutting?)  Stocking fillers for E&B.  Fruit jellies, Uncle Alf.  Travel sick sweets?  Ask Paula collect dry cleaning.  Persnal shopper how much?  Pelvic floor squuuueeeze. Make icing for Christmas cake: too late buy roll-on stuff.  Cards stamps first class x30.  Wean Ben off dummy!  Remember Roo!! Ring KwikToy useless bloody present co. and threaten legal action.  Nappies, bottles, Sleeping Beauty video.  Smear Test!!!  Highlights.  Hamster?  ~ I Don' Know How She Does It, Allison Pearson

You may recall that I featured upcoming SJP movie I Don't Know How She Does It in a Movie Monday post a little while back. I also mentioned that it's based on a book by Allison Pearson of the same name and last week whilst holidaying I finally got to peel open the pages.

The story follows Kate Reddy (SJP's character in the movie) Fund Manager, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend.  She struggles to balance all aspects of her life, most importantly home versus work and tackles the familiar scenario of male/female hypocrisy.  In an attempt to prove that Women really can have it all, Kate begins to lose grip on her marriage and her relationship with her children.  Everyone expects one hundred percent and although she may be attempting it to the best of her ability, eventually something has to give.  Whilst battling sneaky male employees vying for her job, "unmaking" mince pies for the school Christmas assembly in an attempt to give the homemade vibe,  exchanging flirty emails with suave American client Jack Abelhammer, busting her ass to get back home in time to at least put her children to bed, making her husband understand that yes she does need to work as many hours as she does, trying to convince her mother-in-law that she doesn't work as many hours as she does and no her husband isn't wasting away due to her lack of attention to him and her constant, last minute, international, business travel, leaves any reader begging the question "I don't know how she does it!"

Any working mother though will recognise this all too well.  The desire to be successful, the attractiveness of being able to be your own person outside of the home, teamed with the overwhelming guilt that you're missing out on everything, from their first haircut to their ballet recitals.  Allison captures the trials and tribulations of a working mother so perfectly that I was exhausted and convinced that I was one just reading it but pleasantly amused simultaneously.  Her ability to match the emotions Kate is battling with hilarious anecdotes makes this a light, quick and thoroughly enjoyable read but by no means a guilty pleasure.  The characters and storyline is an intelligent journey through the modern world, with honest observations but in a laugh out loud manner.

Reading this the book came to life so it will be fab to see if the film has captured the essence of this read too, which from the trailer, that you can check out on a previous post here, I think it will do!

I Don't Know How She Does It is available at Amazon for £6.39 and is due for release in UK cinemas September 16th.

*Image taken from

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Things to come on To Elle and Back...

The above picture is me Friday night, my last night on holiday.  I look burnt, I assure you I am not.  I also look startled and as if I have had cheek implants whilst away, again both untrue.  Some of my pictures have been a little, well...crap, of late due to a loss of camera totalling in three months, hence many a camera phone image.  Camera was retrieved from behind sister's cushions on her chair in her room the day before departure, she still persists it was hiding from my messy room.  Camera takes further sabbatical on day 2 of holiday in Chamonix, our stopover, on way to Tuscany.  Camera has lots of pictures for blog.  Camera will not return from it's vacation until next Sunday night.  Parent's camera worked as replacement and has even more pictures for blog.  Parent's camera will also not return until next Sunday night.  So you see my dilemma. 

I had taken cables and everything with me to blog my way through France and Tuscany so you can imagine my annoyance at such a quick departure of the actual camera.  It was more than annoyance actually, it was full on sobs and child fit in the back of the car as we sat in awful traffic to get through tunnel to Italy.  Father says traffic was worse than last year and made increasingly more aggravating by my "wobbly" BUT that it also made the time go super fast. 

Anyway, lots of posts to come as had most fantastic week and want to share every detail with you.  Expect posts on, most notably, food.  Food from restaurants, food I've never tried before, food I've had a million times before but was more fantastic whilst away, food we made ourselves.  Most exciting and unusual post will be on stuffed courgette flowers.  See, exciting.

Expect posts on unusual beauty treatments, local beauty products and due to line of thinking whilst away have found new interest in trying to create some kind of homemade skincare product with Olive Oil, all recipes on a comment below please!

Finally, expect a full and glowing review of Tuscan Tennis Holidays, who were so super duper that me, girl who has not played tennis in 10 years, wants to play again and I didn't even partake in the coaching.  I'd also like you to note it isn't just because I saw no.73 in the World train on the next court with his shirt off either.

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