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Showing posts from November, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins and November Movies

Florence Foster Jenkins was one of the world's greatest opera singers - by her own reckoning, at any rate! She began her musical career as Little Miss Foster, and gave a piano recital for President Hayes before she even hit puberty. But, sadly, it just wasn't to be. When her father refused to let her study music she eloped with an older man who infected her with syphilis on her wedding night, and when she left him to support herself through piano tuition she injured her arm and had to move back in with her mother. Things finally began to look up in 1909; her father died, leaving her a substantial sum of money, and she met the love of her life, St. Clair Bayfield , a mediocre Shakesperean actor played by Hugh Grant in the movie. Bayfield encouraged Florence to live her dreams when it came to music, becoming her manager, and supporting her in singing lessons. Lady Florence, as she liked to be known, became a fixture of wealthy New York society, helped along by her generous

Sunday Blog Linkies

Blog linkys, hops, parties - whatever you want to call them! - are a great way of connecting with other bloggers and becoming a real part of the blogging community. Here are a bunch of Sunday linkys you can get involved with. For other days of the week, please check out my Connecting With Linkies post.

Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs is a radio show that has been going since 1942, and currently airs on BBC Radio 4. The concept is pretty basic, but entertaining nonetheless - guests have to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island, to listen to over and over during their slow descent into insanity... They also get to pick one book and one luxury item, though the latter can't be animate or communication technology. There's no escape from your fictional island. Anyway, here are my answers:

This Week #58

Roxy the Raccoon and other Stories

I've written before about the Truth and Tails book series , and how impressed I always am with them. They have lovely, colourful illustrations, and the simple stories provide the ideal starting point for discussing big issues with young children. Carlos the Chameleon explores outward appearances and fitting in, for example, while Vincent the Vixen introduces the idea that sex and gender don't necessarily correlate. The latest in the series, Roxy the Raccoon, is another triumph. I was sent this to review some time ago and today I finally had chance to sit down and read it with Marianna - she loved the artwork and quickly picked up some new animal vocab. Roxy lives at the bottom of a big tree in the forest, close to her friends Sammy the Squirrel, Cherry the Chipmunk and Brad the Beaver, who all find ways to better include Roxy in their activities because "it's much nicer when we can do things together." Roxy watches a beautiful sunset. Brad fashions

Friday Frivolity: Black Friday

It's Black Friday! A few years ago this didn't even exist in the UK, linked as it is to Thanksgiving, and was instead used to denote the Friday before Christmas - a day much feared by police and A&E (accident and emergency, like the ER) professionals. But Walmart owned supermarket Asda was determined to see the retail event take off here. 2014 was kind of the break through year, with unprepared police forces being called in across the country to deal with assaults, unruly crowds, and generally threatening behaviour. It was complete chaos and last year many retailers really scaled back their promotions to avoid a repeat performance. This year the media says it will be a primarily online event - the truth remains to be seen, I guess! Shoppers wrestle over a television at an Asda superstore in Wembley REUTERS / Luke MacGregor Though it has resulted in some classic Tweets: Are you braving the crowds today? And, if you've already been, did you pick up any

Five (In)Famous Fandom Flaps

These days my online identity is 'blogger' foremost and 'comper' second. But, pretty much from the moment we got our first dial up modem to not so long ago, my online identity was very definitely 'fangirl'. I have to admit I kind of miss it! Because, don't get me wrong, parenting / lifestyle blogging has a lovely online community, but fandom is just something else entirely. It's all encompassing;  a proper subculture, with its own etiquette, lingo, social norms and, as a collective, it never ever forgets anything. Fandom has been around for as long as people have been fans of things. It really began to come into its own in the 20th century, when sci-fi fans exchanged fanzines, attended fan conventions, and generally did their best to outfan everyone by creating intricate worlds within worlds in homage to their favourite creations and creators. When the internet came along, fandom made the natural progression, and today creators often court fandom

25 Questions Food Tag

I found this tag over at Anca's Lifestyle blog and decided to give it a go. :)

Monthly Blog Linkies

Blog linkys, hops, parties - whatever you want to call them! - are a great way of connecting with other bloggers and becoming a real part of the blogging community. Here are a bunch of monthly linkys you can get involved with. For other days of the week, please check out my Connecting With Linkies post.

Is Breast Best?

Before pregnancy the breast vs. bottle debate is something you may be aware of, but is unlikely to be something you particularly care about. I certainly didn't. Once I knew I had a baby on board it became impossible to ignore it. Breast feeding was constantly pushed at check ups and antenatal appointments as beautiful and natural, something which only a particularly cruel specimen of humanity would deny their child. (And if that didn't convine you, there were those terrible posters about how breastfeeding would help you lose weight because, obviously, it's the only thing women ever worry about.) The way that message was framed riled me on so many levels. ' Breast is Best ' because ' Natural is Best ', as though we recommend new parents also ditch shoes and electricity. Mother Nature, as wonderful as she might be, really doesn't care if you and your offspring die - whether from dehydration when you hit feeding problems, or tetanus contracted through

This Week #57

This week has had its downs - a fault on the phone line left us without internet for a few days - but for the most part it's been a good one. I had healthier scrutiny committee this week, but there wasn't much else of interest on, work wise. Two of my friends from uni came down to stay on the weekend though which was really fun. We went shopping to Cardiff and, of course, Marianna treated them to six or so episodes of Batman... ;) TBA ☆ READING:  N/A ☆ WRITING:   How to host a blog competition . ☆ WATCHING: Batman. So much Batman. Marianna loves the old 1960s TV show, so we've just been watching it over and over again. It's so cheesy, and has way too much emphasis on Burt Ward's bare legs and random exclamations. (Holy Ravioli, Batman!) ☆   LISTENING:   Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson . We've been binge watching Supergirl and this was the song they used for Kara's flashback to being a newly arrived 13-year-old refugee in 2004, the

How To Host a Blog Competition

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to run it, you need to think about why you're running it. What do you want to gain from your competition? This might sound like a stupid question, but it will have a big impact on how you go about organising your giveaway. There is a huge community of compers - people whose hobby is entering competitions - and providing you promote your giveaway properly, they'll come. But, if you're running a giveaway to reward your regular readers, you might want to go about things differently to ensure it stays within that target audience. By tailoring your strategy to what you want from the giveaway will give you a much better chance of acheiving it. Putting principle into practice - One of my goals for this year was to increase my Klout score. To do this you need to get a lot of social media interaction, something which I have very little time to accomplish. Another thing I wanted to do this year was grow my Twitter following. I s

Friday Frivolity - Thanksgiving

This week's theme is something I don't really know much about - Thanksgiving. Pretty much my entire understanding of the holiday comes from that episode of Friends with the turkey (which was clearly just a total rip off of Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean ) and the 1993 film Addams Family Values . My mum actually said to me last year that she had always thought Thanksgiving was just an American name for Christmas. I mean, it does have a lot in common with the traditional British Christmas - namely, eating until you feel sick and then falling asleep in the living room. I hope turkey isn't big at Christmas in the States though, that must be serious turkey overload in the same month! If you're celebrating, I hope you're having a great time! :)

When I Was Young

I found this 'geneameme' over at the Lonetester HQ genealogy blog. I just had to give it a whirl! 1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.) My mum kept everything she could, uncaring of the fact we lived in a tiny house with no attic, garage or basement. Cards, baby stuff, schoolwork - all kinds of stuff. I try to remember how I didn't want it every time I'm tempted to keep everything of Marianna's. I mean, I enjoyed looking through the things she had kept but I didn't want to keep it. Hopefully saving the bulk of it digitally will be the best of both worlds. 2. Do you know if you were named after anyone? I know that I wasn't. My mum just liked the name from the time she was in secondary school, and decided she would name her future daughter Jessica. She has often complained to me that it got really popular in 1987/88, and how annoyed she was that there were so ma

What Did We Do Before The Internet?

We received some horrific news this week... there is a fault on the phone line so we have no internet until Thursday night at the earliest. It's been a nightmare - we had to decamp to my mum's today, or otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get anything done. I'm in the last generation of people in the UK who will remember life before the internet. We first went online in 1998, when I was ten years old. My parents made the decision because I was about to start secondary school, and they thought I would benefit from all this new fangled technology. What I remember most about it was how slow, clunky, and unreliable it was. The main provider in the UK at the time was AOL, who used the slogan ' you know where you are with AOL, ' which had to be followed up immediately with, ' yeah, not on the bloody internet! ' You'd sit there, listening to the screech of the dial-up tone, and hope nobody wanted to use the phone for the next couple of hours. T

Wise Words For Kids

Regular readers will know all about my love for The Book of Everyone , the customisable personalised books you can give for just about any occasion. So I was super psyched when I was asked if I'd like to review their new venture, Wise Words For Kids. As always with The Book of Everyone, the graphic design and layout of the book is awesome. The artwork is bright, eye-catching, and memorable, and the double page spreads dotted throughout work really well. Each speech bubble comes with two default pieces of wisdom to choose between. Alternatively, you can put in inspirational quotes, or whatever other advice pops into your head. I write a weekly round-up blog post every Sunday which starts with one of my favourite quotes, so I had great fun going through my masterlist of them and picking out the best ones. I kept a few of the defaults - they range from the heart warming to the delightfully silly ('Never do your homework in a room without windows') - then went thro