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Shopping: Urban Outfitters Wedges

Oh look, another new and exciting weekly installment! Every Thursday I'll be posting up my latest bargain, whether it's an item of clothing, something on my food list for the week, or an event I've been to. Let's get back to the root of this blog and remember it's all about me being poor, and bargains are what I live for!

This week's bargain are these Kimchi & Blue burgundy wedges from Urban Outfitters:

I've been wanting to bridge the big gap in my shoe collection between massive stilettos and pumps/boots. I love seeing girls wearing heels in the daytime, just with jeans or something casual, but I can never find a pair that I don't feel overly dressed up in.

Enter these beauties! Reduced from £48 to £30, they're also available in brown and black, but I adore this berry colour for this season - it's everywhere and I can't get enough of it! Hopefully these will be my easy transition from daywear to nightwear, from work to a restaurant, and they look pretty comfortable to shop in too. Definitely check out the Urban Outfitters January sale, in store and online riiiiiiiiiight..........NOW!

Life: How to Prepare for New Years Eve

People seem to be split between two groups when it comes to New Years Eve. The first love it, and cannot wait to dress up, hit the town and drink into the early hours. The second can't stand the bother, knowing that it will nearly always be a disappointment and ridiculously overpriced. I'm in the latter. Don't get me wrong, I like a night out, I like getting dressed up. But New Years Eve just seems to be a chance of any idiot available to shout, puke and get in my way. I don't want to pay £50 to get into a club or bar that's usually free, and pay even more for drinks that are already hiked up because I'm in London. And the biggest thing is the expectation. People EXPECT that it will be the best night of the year, and in my experience, the more you plan an evening the less chance there is for spontaneity and therefore less chance for fun.

I've had a couple of great NYEs though. And today's To-Do List Tuesday is a little guide on how to make the last night of 2011 a good one.

1) It's all about timing
Don't plan too far in advance, but don't leave it until the last minute. I reckon optimum time is about 9 days beforehand. That way you don't make a rash decision to go to that bar with that person you hate, but you also don't end up staying in alone eating Ben & Jerry's from the tub watching Jools Holland in your pjs.

2) Wardrobe decisions
Despite not having any firm idea of where you're going, plan your outfit well in advance! If you're anything like me and leave it until the last minute you'll either end up wearing something you hate, or refusing to go out at all (This has happened to me. In fact I have been known to go home and get changed once I'm out too, but that was in my student days of being fickle and within walking distance of my house). Oh, and if you wear heels, cram some flats in your bag. No high heels are still comfortable at 2am. NONE.

3) Strategic Drinking
This works threefold: 1 - the important aspect of pre-drinking. Get your vodka jacket on and get you in the mood for heading out into the cold. 2 - take a hipflask. No harm in saving in a bit of money and keeping yourself topped up. Always good if you're heading out to fireworks or something outside! 3 - Pick a time and just drink water afterwards. Sounds prudish, but I'm not going to condone binge drinking, plus I am Queen Hangover and would be a billion times worse if I didn't have a self-imposed water o'clock.

4) Company
I've spent NYEs with 1 person and 25 people. It's difficult if you're like me and have friends dotted all over the country, but ultimately it's the company you keep on the evening that make the whole night. Don't get forced into going to a party with someone who will ditch you when you get there. Christmas is about family, NYE is about friends. 

I'm aware I sound like a moany old trout in this post. I'm not fussed about going out at all. But that doesn't mean I want to be sat at home alone when the clock strikes midnight! This year I'm going to one of my best mates' flats for a few bevvies. Warm, cheap and friendly - onto a winner!

Whatever you're up to this NYE, I hope you have a Happy New Year! Thanks for reading my little blog and I hope you come back in 2012!

Explore: Winter Wonderland

It's the now annual pop-up festive event that people flock to every Christmas. A beautiful sight? Uh, no. Happy tonight? I guess. Yep, walking in the Winter Wonderland is essentially the lovechild of a dodgy German Christmas market and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Full of fairground rides that charge a crazy amount of money for otherwise useless tokens, but you know what? People go crazy for it! It must be an overdose of Christmas cheer or something.

My colleagues braved this!

Nice views over Hyde Park I'd imagine
The reason I wanted to visit was for the Bavarian Village. I definitely wasn't disappointed by this enormous Bratwurst I had! Nom.

There was also more places selling mulled wine than I could shake a stick at. That is definitely something I love about Christmas as an adult. When else in the year do you get mulled wine or bucks fizz in the morning? Makes up for not getting a visit from Santa anymore! The Carousel Bar was great, as it actually veeeeeeeery slowly rotated with hobby horses and everything. I can't imagine it's as much fun after you've had a few bevvies though.

The entrance to the Carousel Bar

Full of gimmicks, cheese and tat, this tourist trap is tacky, brash and overpriced. But then that's British Christmas right?! Too many baubles on the tree, everyone wearing crap paper crowns around the dinner table: standard. Winter Wonderland is all of those things + an ice rink. Be prepared to queue, be prepared to be crowded, but the mulled wine will help ease the pain.

Life: Getting Home at Christmas

I remember when getting home for Christmas meant waiting outside McDonald's at Milton Keynes shopping centre for my stepdad to pick me up from a shift at The Body Shop. Those were simple days. Then I became a student and made the wonderful decision to live 300 miles away in York. Unable to live off just my student loan, I also had a job at Lush, which I adored, but meant I couldn't travel home until Christmas Eve. One particularly memorable journey involved all trains to London being cancelled, having to get on a train to Birmingham instead so I could switch trains and get to MK but then being fined on the train as it was an 'unreasonable diversion route'. MY ARSE. Who knew Scrooge was now a train conductor?

Anyway. So now I live in London and I'm hoping that the snow won't stop me from travelling a mere 40 miles by train instead. Today's To-Do List is how to prepare for travelling back home at Christmas. Good luck!

1) Don't leave packing until the day before. You WILL forget one person's present and they WILL be upset about it.

2) Think about Suitcase Tetris. Everything needs to fit in around everything else. Don't pack that lovely squishable box of biscuits for your gran underneath the two bottles of wine you plan on necking when you finally arrive.

3) Remember your connection to the outside world. It's lovely to go home at Christmas (and any other time), but I can't be the only one that gets so bloody angry if I forget my sodding phone charger. And obviously take your laptop because how else will you be able to start shopping in the online sales at midnight on Boxing Day?!

4) Try and get an off peak train. Wrestling with commuters and shoppers while you're hauling your suitcase through Euston isn't ideal and will make you either sweaty, angry, or both.

5) Have at least 2 decent outfits. One for Christmas Day, one for unexpected fanciness.

6) Aside from that just take comfies. Slippers, pyjamas, big jumpers, anything with an elasticated waistband.

And with all that you'll be sorted and comfy, you'll arrive stress free and enjoy the festivities. I'm heading home tomorrow and I CAN'T WAIT. Merry Christmas!!

Shopping: Buying an Outfit for Christmas Day

I now work perilously close to some very good shops. In my opinion, East London has the best shopping in the city with a mixture of markets, vintage stores, boutiques and high street in a pretty close knit area. There's the legendary Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane markets and Brick Lane all within 3 minutes of my office, so it take a lot of strength to hold back from innocently wandering around at lunch time.

A perfect example is Tuesday, when I went out to stock up on Christmas cards. Needless to say I didn't buy any as I was lured into Urban Outfitters - my favourite of favourite high street stores. I bought a couple of things under the premise of wearing them for Christmas day so TECHNICALLY it was OK! I always find picking an outfit for the big day a bit stressful as ultimately I won't be leaving the house, however I will probably be photographed throughout the day, so I need something that is:

1) Easy to sit down in. This rules out skinny jeans as the blood flow cuts off my legs after 30 seconds of sitting on the floor.
2) Elasticated or easily adjusted. For when I stuff my face with turkey and Twiglets (not necessarily at the same time).
3) Not over the top. Because it's not a wedding, I'll be with my family who have seen me at my worst, but it is after all a special day.

So behold! My Christmas outfit purchases!

£20 in the sale

It's red therefore it's festive. I'm going to pair it with high denier black tights too. Not even thinking about shoes as I intend to wear Christmas socks or slippers to keep my tootsies toasty.

Silver collar necklace £18

I think I'll probably wear a plain black top, or a vintage jumper with silver threading when it gets colder. Either way this collar necklace gives it a bit of oomph.

WIP nail polish £6

And finally I got lured into buying this at the till point. I don't own many statement silver rings so instead I'm bringing the bling to my nails and decking them out in this glittery beast. Perfick!

(All photos from the Urban Outfitters website)

Music: Christmas Playlist

I'm obsessed with making lists. Apparently it's a Virgo thing. Maybe it's because I have to organise everything from my meals to my outfits weeks in advance. So obviously the next logical step is to share these lists with the lovely readers of this here blog, one each week (on a Tuesday), to help inspire some organisation into your lives, or at least to share some attempted wisdom.

As it's Christmas NEXT WEEK, the first To-Do List Tuesday is dedicated to festive songs. That's right, tunes to have on in the background while your basting the turkey, or passing out from too many mince pies. Here are my must-have downloads for Christmas 2011:

1) It's Christmas (And I Hate You) - Paloma Faith & Josh Weller

It's not as miserable as it sounds, the tune is pretty jaunty, and it's funny more than anything. Perfect for singing at the other half when you've had too much mulled wine.

2) All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
Now normally, Mimi makes me want to self harm, HOWEVER, it can't be denied that this is a classic that is guaranteed to make you hurt yourself attempting the high notes. The ultimate girls night in sing-a-long.

3) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - She & Him
The devine Zooey Deschanel paired up with M Ward are constantly in my 'Favourite Bands Ever Ever' list, and their album 'A Very She & Him Christmas' is so traditional it'll make your granny reminisce about the good old days.

4) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Michael Buble
Another cover, but Michael Buble's Christmas album is just so........Christmassy! He's a suave old motherlicker and those dulcet tones and videos of walking through snow are just the cherry on the Christmas cake.

5) I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard
I don't care if I look uncool dancing to this around my kitchen (and my housemates can testify that I did indeed do this at the weekend), this song is my childhood Christmas memories wrapped into one. I always remember watching the video on Top of the Pops 2 on Christmas Day with the lead singer and his multi-coloured beard and paper streams in his hair. Aces.

6) Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
I have two memories of this song. 1) It being heavily featured in Home Alone. 2) Dancing to it in silver hotpants that my mum made me on stage at a school production when I was 11. Despite the small amount of trauma induced, I still love the song.

For my full Christmas playlist on Spotify click here (but beware, there's some naughty words in there!).

Explore: Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum

Ah Christmas, the time of year where everyone in the country gets that Torvill & Dean feeling and heads off to the local ice rink. And they are local - I don't remember it being this way when I was younger, but as soon as the festive mood hits, temporary ice rinks now pop up all over the place, and are sprinkled all over London at some of the city's top tourist attractions.

Last year I went to the rink at the Tower of London, this year I hit the Natural History Museum. Turns out if you want to go to the famous Somerset House rink at a time that isn't bedtime or in the middle of the working day then you have to book in advance in October. However, the setting of the NHM was stunning. The whole building was lit in blue lights, there were fairy lights in the trees and the obligatory Christmas tunes piped into the air. 

So we strapped into the standard painful toe-pinching, ankle-destroying ice skates and took to the ice (remember to take an extra pair of thick socks)! The most important thing to note is that I did not fall over. My cousin who I was with did a spectacular treble spin, legs splayed style fall which caused me to shriek like a banshee with laughter, but aside from that we were relatively unharmed.

It was about £14 for an hours worth of skating (which is more than enough), and there's stewards who help you out if you're struggling (when they're not flirting with sexy Europeans in tight tight leggings!), and make sure you can get back up again if you fall. It's a great atmosphere with all levels and ages there, and it's definitely made me feel more Christmassy! 

Take a look here for a full list of all the temporary rinks up in London over the holidays.

Explore: Cointreau Prive by Dita von Teese

On Friday night myself and two of my best girlfriends got dolled up to hit the pop-up bar Cointreau Prive in Piccadilly, London.

Open for just 3 weeks, the bar has been designed and curated by burlesque legend Dita Von Teese. Inspired by her favourite cocktail bars in LA and Paris, she has handpicked the expert bar staff to make signature and unique cocktails and make the whole experience feel intimate and a world away from the tourist traps literally right outside the door.

As suggested by the name, the drinks were all based around the Cointreau liqueur and I had the signature Cointreau Teese which was the yummiest apple concoction that tasted like pureed sweets in the most fabulous taaaaaaaaaaall black martini glass (made so large so people wouldn't steal them I'm sure!). My girls Ms O and Ms W had the Cointreau Rose with raspberries and rose wine which was sweet but not as fresh and still very tasty. For such a place the drinks weren't hideously priced, but saying that we could only really afford 2 each!

The room was underground and decorated in reds lamps and low tables with an impressive chandelier in the main section. One of Dita's own elaborate corsets decorated in feathers and crystals sat in a corner, and plush velvet sofas were available for the lucky ones that were there long enough to wait for someone else to move (like us!). 

The atmosphere was calm but fun. As entry is only guaranteed if you'd book online it assures that it doesn't get overly packed and uncomfortable. The queue for the bar wasn't horrific, and you didn't have to fight for a space to perch with your drink. The DJ was fantastic, playing a mix of classic motown, modern indie dance tunes and an immense remix of Howlin' For You by The Black Keys. Sadly we had to leave to get the last tube home at about 12.30am, but the night was still in full swing with people still arriving and moving towards the dancefloor. We even saw Paloma Faith looking more stylish then I could bear!

It was a perfectly executed experience. Cointreau Prive runs until December 17th, but bookings are filling up fast so make sure you grab your chance to go as soon as possible!

TV: The Borrowers - Christmas 2011 Preview

On Tuesday through the magical power of Twitter I won two free tickets to a preview screening of one of the BBC's big Christmas productions for 2011, a brand new adaptation of classic children's story The Borrowers.

Everybody knows the story of the little people living beneath the floorboards whether it's through reading the books by Mary Norton, the numerous TV productions or, like me, from the 1997 film starring Jim Broadbent. Despite the Borrowers not being magical the story is a fantastic fantasy tale and is perfect for Christmas broadcasting.

This adaptation has a great cast including Christopher Eccleston, Sharon Horgan and Robert Sheehan (the main reason I was interested in seeing it I'll be honest!) and has cameos from national treasures like Victoria Wood and Stephen Fry (always a guaranteed crowd pleaser!). It also has a particularly fantastic performance by young boy whose name I can't find on the normally reliable IMDB but who plays the main 'bean' role.

The Clock family hide under their jam jar lid table
The story follows the same plot as most other adaptations with the Borrowers living happily under floorboards before being discovered and being forced to move out of the comfort of their own home. It's a tale of discovery and growing-up as Arriety desires to meet other Borrowers and escape the family home, but when the opportunity actually presents itself it shows the importance of family and the strong connection between the 'little people'. It's predominantly an adventure that is great fun to be involved with and keeps you running with it, managing to keep up and waiting to see what comes next. 

The scenery is absolutely fantastic - it must be such great fun to create props that would be the right size for us, but are huge for the Borrowers. Scenes where Arriety is kept in a shoe box, and her parents are kept in a specimen jar are very cleverly done, even down to how their voices are projected from behind glass. The finest detail is paid attention to, even down to the large stitching and zips on clothes and the consistency of water, which is much thicker for the tiny Borrowers.

The preview screening was held at BAFTA and was followed by a Q&A with the writer, director and two actors. They clearly had a ball working in such an imaginative playground and seem very proud of the outcome, as they should be. The Borrowers is a great family-viewing experience for all ages and will certainly go down well after all the turkey sandwiches I'll be stuffing down my face on Boxing Day!

The Borrowers screens on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 7.30pm.

Film: 50/50

I went to see 50/50 on one premise only: It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
I don't normally like films with Seth Rogen in, and I wasn't sure if a comedy about getting cancer would be a bit to close to the mark. I was wrong.

This film is amazing.

The plot centres on JGL's character who is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer and follows him through diagnosis through treatments and beyond. His character is young, (supposedly) healthy and normal, in a relationship with Bryce Dallas Howard (who has the most beautiful hair! Sorry, girly moment...) and best friends with Seth Rogen's drunk and irresponsible Kyle.

Somehow the film manages to pivot on such dark subject matter with genuine, real to life, completely unoffensive laughs. This isn't a film that laughs at people with cancer, it doesn't take the mick out of a serious and deadly disease or its victims, it is laughing at the characters and the everyday circumstances they get themselves into. It reminds you that ill people want to keep living a normal lifestyle and almost, it seems, forget what is happening to them. On top of his illness, Adam's girlfriend is unfaithful (WHY?! HAVE YOU SEEN JGL?!) and his overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston brilliant as always) desperately wants to look after him, when really he just wants to stay in with his greyhound Skeletor and smoke medicinal marijuana.

It is heartwarming to the extreme, while being genuinely laugh out loud funny. I was on the verge of tears for the entire thing (and pretty much had a meltdown at the end), but was also laughing almost continually which really is a bizarre and ingenious balance to achieve. It is exactly the type of film JGL is perfect for: a gentle and thought-provoking indie pic where he beautifully portrays every single emotion without really saying anything. The fact that he doesn't cry for almost the whole film is remarkable and makes his eventual breakdown hit the audience full pelt, with not a dry eye left in the house. The same goes for Anna Kendrick. I love them both for their understated way of acting - it just makes the characters seem so much more real.

Don't get me wrong though, this is not a chick flick. Yes it has a relationship break-up, but the film focuses more on the bromance between Adam and Kyle, luckily without resorting to the stag-do-esque nature of other male bonding films (I'm looking at you The Hangover). Yes it's a tearjerker, but it's also a witty and clever script that never takes away from the serious nature of its subject, and doesn't make you feel uncomfortable. I genuinely hope you all go and see it as it is definitely my film of the year.

Music: Wild Beasts - Shepherd's Bush Empire, 24/11/11

Wild Beasts are one of those deceptively named bands like Howling Bells or Arcade Fire where you assume they'll be loud, screamy and a little bit scary, when actually they couldn't be more different.

Wild Beasts
I saw Wild Beasts at the Shepherd's Bush Empire which is a really cute old theatre with tiered seating above and a ye olde feel. I've been there numerous times before for other gigs and I always enjoy the atmosphere as it never feels too crowded, despite the expected concert smell of beer and sweat - bleurgh!

Shepherds Bush Empire
I'd heard of, but never actually heard, Wild Beasts before this concert, but I'm always a one for discovering new music so when my lovely friend Pauper Princess invited me along I couldn't turn it down! Mercury nominated in 2009, the 4 piece are very of the moment with the slow building, dark indie-rock that has taken over from anthemic, stadium-packers in the last few years. Along the genre that contains bands like The XX and White Lies, I'm not a huge fan of this type of music. It doesn't tend to grab my interest as the beat is often the same without an exciting crescendo and the vocals are normally subdued and melancholy - good for break-ups and cold Winter evenings, but not always for a night out. But that's the singles they release. You end up listening to an entire album and there is always at least one stand-out corker that reshapes the entire record and make you question your original opinion on said band. Wild Beasts are without a doubt like this. They mixed up their set perfectly which not only kept my attention but enabled them to show off their talents as a band, especially the amazing vocal range of the singers. 

I love it when a band considers their staging even when they're in a 'small' venue (as in, not a stadium). I think this really shows that the band are considering the fans who aren't in the pit, and Wild Beasts had a fun lighting show with a different colour or set-up for each song. They weren't a particularly active band, so the lighting was definitely a great inclusion. The stand-out song for me was Hooting and Howling from their 2nd album 'Two Dancers' as it really got the crowd moving and involved and the band looked and sounded like they were having a blast performing it. 

Live pic courtesy of Gigwise
Wild Beasts aren't exactly a band you'd dance around the room too, but they are the type of band where you listen once and then find that you've had the album on repeat the whole tube home, missed your stop but don't mind as you get to listen to it again. They're a grower, but a keeper.

Film: Wuthering Heights

The original novel
Aaaaaaaaand it's another book to film adaptation, surely the 10,000th this year. But unlike some of the others, this is based on a classic and world famous novel, and has been adapted countless times before (as well of being the subject of everyone's favourite Kate Bush song). I first read Wuthering Heights as a set text for my GCSEs, and completely fell in love with it and have read it numerous times since, so I was excited to see a modern take on the story.

If there is one word that sums up this film it's 'bleak'. Actually, two words: 'bleak' and 'depressing'. The story isn't a bed of roses anyway - the premise is the forbidden and tortured love of Cathy and Heathcliff that in the end is so toxic it destroys them. So I wasn't expecting a laugh a minute. But this adaptation really did not hold back on the contempt and hatred the majority have for Heathcliff, and how this develops his own insufferable fury.

Filmed in the sweeping Yorkshire Moors, the setting is sparse and harsh, making it perfectly clear that this isn't a Jane Austen 'period piece' for the BBC. This is nitty-gritty, down-and-dirty, smack-in-your-face dark Bronte, where the characters are alone even when they're together, and separated from any reality we may know. Like the book, there was little dialogue, it is heavily based on imagery: Heathcliff's disregard for life shown by the casual cruelty to animals; the gentle nature of Cathy towards Heathcliff by the collection of feathers; the lone swallow shown swooping across the sky without it's companion from a previous scene to show the upcoming separation. It's what I'd summarise as 'arty-farty'. But it is beautiful. The lack of colour, the use of nature and the impact of the weather all create a story where the characters are keeping quiet. It's enough to make you cry anyway, but then the story does that too.
The North Yorkshire Moors - Wuthering Heights country

I won't include any spoilers for those of you that don't know the plot (shame on you for not knowing it though!), but for fans of the book, there were significant changes to the ending - nothing changed, just left out. And my biggest disappointment was the missing out of the immortal words from Cathy, '
I AM HEATHCLIFF!' I also wasn't a huge fan of the casting of Kaya Scodelario as Cathy, she seemed a big weak and flimsy - not stubborn, determined and increasingly bitter like her literary counterpart. The girl who played the younger Cathy though, Shannon Beer, was really incredible, she told the story in her eyes and gave a spin on the character that I hadn't really thought of before.

This isn't a film for a romantic night in. This isn't a film for a fun trip to the cinema. This is a film to sit in the dark, crying, and with the promise of a pub afterwards. Visually stunning and a reasonably faithful adaptation, it should definitely be seen. Just proceed with caution.

Life: Job Hunting - How to Save Your Sanity in 5 Easy Steps

Two weeks ago I sadly had to leave my job, and after lamenting for 24 hours I realised that I'd have to find a new one and quick sharp. After graduating in 2010, I applied for internships for 5 months before getting something, and when I decided to move on to another position it took another 6 months. 

Needless to say, the thought of job hunting again therefore terrified me. I've since managed to get a fab new position in just a week, and after almost an entire year of searching and successfully getting a few opportunities in between, I wanted to share some of the things I've learnt in the hope that it'll maybe help some people realise that job hunting isn't always soul destroying, but there will always be a positive outcome if you persevere!
You don't always notice your own
mistakes on your CV

1) Please God read through your CV and then get someone else to check it!
In fact, get a whole heap of people to read through it. There's bound to be a word missing, a spelling mistake, or a layout tweak that could improve it. 

2) It's not about what you know...
It really does help to know people who could put a word in for you or find out about potential positions in their companies. Think about friends, relatives, colleagues, friends of friends, neighbours, people on Facebook you never talk to. Somebody somewhere is bound to know someone vaguely related to the industry you want to get into so forget pride, just ask!

3) Use your imagination.
Don't just rely on Guardian Jobs and Prospects for finding positions as every single person searching for a job will be using those same websites. Of course they are helpful, but try and find sites that recruit specifically for the industry you're looking for. This can be as simple as typing 'Marketing jobs' into Google to find (you guessed it) Marketing jobs.

4) Use social media!
It's not just for reading about Kim Kardashian's divorce or spying on your ex. Social media is a brilliant way of finding out about vacancies and interacting with companies and brands in a less formal setting. Why not tweet the CEO of that company you're dying to work for? It's only 140 characters, what could go wrong?!

5) Dedicate time to your search.
Finding a job doesn't just happen. You have to be on the ball, checking sites everyday if not 10 times a day. Sign up for email bulletins and tailor your CV and cover letter for every single application. Being methodical really does help. I set up a folder in my email account specifically for correspondence regarding to jobs, and had a list of companies I'd contacted and who I intended to contact. I know people who put together Excel spreadsheets for the task! It may seem like a huge pain in the behind, but it allows you to keep a tab on things and refrain from wasting your time on repeat applications.

Good luck to anyone job hunting!

Film: I Heart Classic Cinema!

Today my shiny new BFI membership arrived in the post! I've been meaning to sign up for this for a really long time, and I've finally got around to it. The reason I wanted to join is because I am a huge cinema fan. I know that's such a cliche - it's one of those things everyone says isn't it?
"Cinema, music and exercise."
I like to think that go slightly beyond the average Orange Wednesday goer. I studied Film Studies at A Level which opened me up to a huge variety of cinema that I may not have approached before, and I've had a subscription to Total Film for many years. I love nothing better than scrutinising a film and discussing it over a glass of vino or even just on the bus home. Saying that, I have been known to go to the cinema alone if I'm desperate to watch something that no-one else has an interest in; I specifically remember going to see Capote and then calling everyone I could think of to implore them to go and see it!

Anyway, a BFI membership allows you to go to special preview screenings of new films and (more excitingly I think!) you can go and see old classics on the big screen. I'm already planning to go to screenings of Singin' in the Rain and It's a Wonderful Life (nearer to Christmas of course!). So in homage to the classics, here's a list of some of my favourite older films. Check them out and let me know what you think!

My favourite film of all time!

An adorable comedy

A film about cross dressing well before
 Rocky Horror!

The original is much better than the awful
Lindsay Lohan remake!

The original. Amazing.
What are your favourite classic movies?

Life: Movember 2011

For the last few years the eleventh month of the year has not been November. Instead it's been Movember, the month where men across the world grow their facial hair all in the name of charity. Clearly, I can't take part in Movember but in honour of the charity, here are a few of my favourite moustache related products to get you in the mood to raise some dough for the noteworthy cause!

For the debonaire baby in your life!

A cute ring from Cutie Pie
Quirky corkscrew from Drinkstuff

Moustache cookies anyone?

And of course, don't forget to support people who are taking part this year! If you don't know anyone, here's a few wonderful people I know who are doing their bit for Movember:

Explore: The Astronomers' Ball - Royal Observatory, 22/10/11

Last Saturday night I spent my evening at the beautiful Royal Observatory in Greenwich for the science-based geekery fest that is the Astronomer's Ball. Set on top of a hill in Greenwich park, the observatory overlooks amazing views of London, with a clear view of the City with the O2 to the right and St Paul's to the left.

The Royal Observatory

The view from the Observatory

The Astronomer's Ball was essentially a way for adults to run around the observatory like children, without having to be graceful and let the little ones touch all the exhibits before them. There were stalls around the venue to get people involved such as Guerilla Science's 'Space Travel Bureau' which was fantastic - the actress behind the stall asked us all sorts of questions to tailor our space trip for us, and was hilarious to the end. I even got to send a free postcard from the Sun (which my mum received yesterday!) There was also 'Send Your Message to Space', where they were projecting everyone's messages into space. Here's mine:

My message to send into space!

There were talks, presentations and shows. We went to two shows in the planetarium, the first called 'We Are Astronomers' narrated by David Tennant, which told us all what an astronomer actually does. The second was 'Tonight's Sky' which told us what we could see in the night sky if we managed to escape the light pollution of London. And just an FYI: going in a planetarium after drinking can be VERY disorientating! One of the live narrators of the second show was comedian Robin Ince, co-presenter of the Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4 with Prof Brian Cox. He also did a short stand-up set as well, in the foyer where a jazz band had been playing for most of the night.

Comedian Robin Ince 

There were also tours of the various areas of the observatory, where we were shown around by people in period costume who told us of how they had discovered various planets or stars. We also got to see the meridian line which separates the east and west hempispheres; it's shown by a green laser beam that goes as far as the eye can see.

The green laser that shows GMT

The event was a fantastic way of being able to learn amazing facts and figures and see science at work with the added bonus of interactivity, comedy and a bar! And to finish it off, we got dropped back to the other side of the river by boat! Although it was dark we could still see the sights of London, and went under all the bridges including Tower Bridge which is always beautiful.

Tower Bridge from the boat

I'll definitely be going back to this event next year. I recommend it if you're like me and a secret nerd! 
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review