Sketch’s Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas picIts that time of year again. Yes the time where socializing with your extended family becomes a ,reluctant, mandatory activity. Where you must endure the horror that is jokes from crackers and where the only things on TV are seasonal films and shows that will be forgotten to the ages of time once the year ends. So dear reader, it is therefore  my job to inform you of some purchase choices for one of the, considered, upsides to all this festive merriment. Take into consideration that most things in the tech market aren’t cheap so for the sake of your bank balance I will aim not to exceed £100 in the process of my recommendations  and of course try to justify the price if it seems somewhat outrageous, although in today’s market we consider most things to be overpriced. Anyway, let us proceed. Continue reading

Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole & Joan Fontaine

This week has been tough for Old Hollywood fans everywhere. Two of our beloved actresses and one actor have died in the same week. Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine are world famous and rightly so, they’ll be sorely missed.

Eleanor Parker- 26th June 1922- 9th December 2013

Eleanor_Parker

Many people don’t realise who this lady is and you really should do. Parker is most famous for playing the Baroness in The Sound of Music. She was an actress that went against convention in the 1940’s and 50’s and this is why she doesn’t get the recognition of some actresses in that era. Parker wouldn’t be pigeonholed into playing one type of character, she wanted to play a variety and she was brilliant at it even if her own personality never shone through.

Eleanor Parker

Parker as the Baroness

Throughout her career she had ups and downs, as everyone does. She starred with some very well know actors such as Kirk Douglas, Julie Andrews and Errol Flynn. She was also nominated for three Academy Awards. When you watch any of her films you can see she worked hard at her roles and even went as far as to perfect a posh English accent in The Woman in White (1948). She starred in over 80 films and TV series throughout her career venturing into series like the original Hawaii Five-O and Murder, She Wrote. No matter what you films, TV series or stage productions you mention most people will only see her as the Baroness… and even then they don’t know her real name.

Peter O’Toole- 2nd August 1932- 14th December 2013

otoole9

Peter O’Toole. Fantastic Actor. Hellraiser. True Legend of the big screen. The guy who liked a few drinks too many. O’Toole was a man with many sides and yet each side defined his work and made it successful. In the 60’s he Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed became known as the Hellraisers and the name stuck.

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (How to Steal a Million)_16

O’Toole & Hepburn in How to Steal a Million

O’Toole starred in many films that are still famous and well watched today. He played T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) he played opposite Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter (1968) and no one can forget his fun performance with Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million (1966). He must have starred in close to one hundred films throughout his long career and officially retired last year with this statement: ”It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back.” Said in true O’Toole style. He is one of those unlucky actors never to have won the Best Actor Oscar even though he was nominated 8 times. The Academy Awards gave him an honorary one in 2003.

Peter O’Toole was great because of his commitment and love for the films he was in. Yes he had drink problems but like many of that era it helped his fame. He gave everything 100% and after his performance in Lawrence of Arabia everyone knew his career was destined for bigger things. He also has beautiful blue eyes which really didn’t hurt his chances in colour films.

Joan Fontaine- 22nd October 1917- 15th December 2013

Annex - Fontaine, Joan_01

I was shocked when I heard of Fontaine’s death at 1am this morning. I honestly thought it was a hoax, it seemed too soon after O’Toole’s death to be real. It is however very real with reports from her family that she died in her sleep.

article-1311426-0B007CAA000005DC-682_468x489

Courtesy of Getty Images

Fontaine’s sibling rivalry may, to some people, have made her more famous than her acting work did. I don’t believe this one bit. Joan Fontaine was born Joan de Havilland and is Olivia de Havilland’s younger sister. They’ve had a feud for over 50 years and I’m hoping they straightened it out before she passed away.

Fontaine was a well deserved Oscar winner winning in 1947 for To Each His Own. She impressed Alfred Hitchcock with her soft features and big frightened eyes and she starred in two of his films Suspicion and the film that made her famous, Rebecca, opposite Laurence Olivier. Fontaine starred in over 30 films with some of the most recognised stars and directors of the day. She was directed by Billy Wilder in The Emperor Waltz and Fritz Lang in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

She made each film her own and didn’t allow the famous men to take the spotlight off of her. She starred opposite Orson Welles, Bing Crosby and Cary Grant and yet never appeared phased or awestruck. She was a strong woman who knew what she wanted and turned her career into a competition with her sister. Fontaine was a graceful beauty that knew how to speak out in a world where that wasn’t the norm.

Hollywood and the rest of the world should mourn the loss of these three Old Hollywood giants. We’re slowly loosing an era that shaped the film industry we know today. The natural beauty of Parker and Fontaine will never be seen in the same way again and the confidence and skill of O’Toole was second to none.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all their families and we hope that you’ll watch one of their films just to prove to yourself the talent that as left the world.

MV5BMTg5NTE3OTE2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzY4ODg0NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Clark Gable and Eleanor Parker in The King & Four Queens (1956)

REBECCA

Joan Fontaine as Mrs. de Winter in Rebecca (1940)

tumblr_mxv1avwJvF1qgopjqo1_500

Peter O’Toole

Peter O’Toole dies aged 81

It’s with sorrowful hearts we tell you Peter O’Toole, star of Lawrence of Arabia, as died aged 81. His family released a statement today informing the press of his passing.

Peter_O'Toole_in_Lawrence_of_Arabia

O’Toole retired only last year but will remain one of the best actors to come out of Britain. He did live in Leeds, Yorkshire for a while growing up meaning Yorkshire as lost a hero.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his family at this time and we’ll obviously update you all when more comes to light.

For now lets remember the great actor who deserved all the praise and fame he got and unfortunately never won an Oscar outright. That my friends is an outrage.

otoole9 tumblr_mxv1avwJvF1qgopjqo1_500

Happy Birthday Dick Van Dyke

As it is also Friday the 13th, possible other names for this post- as created by Vanessa, “Unlucky Dick,” and, “Unlucky Dyke.”

Dickvandyke1 Dickvandyke2

The American actor celebrates his 88th birthday today, through out his career, which is still possibly on going, he has been in tv programmes and movies that both Adults and Children will recognise, from Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the TV series Diagnosis Murder.

Dickvandyke4Dickvandyke5

More recently, he may be known for appearing at the Saving Mr. Banks premier, a movie based on the making of Mary Poppins, where for he was reunited with the star Julie Andrews, who played Mary Poppins in the movie.

Dickvandyke3

Van Dyke, show’s his humour through out most of his roles, the fact that he can make funny moments in murder mysteries in nearly every episode of Diagnosis Murder (I got brought up on them so I should know). Over the decades he has shown his talent for singing, dancing, writing, acting, comedy and caring doing his share in charity work. Oh and of course he has shown his talent for Roller Skating. 

Although, like any other person Van Dyke has had his issues, he seems to have come through them and appeared back full strength still with his optimism.

Happy Birthday Dick Van Dyke!

Christmas Shopping with Busy Bees Paper Beagle

I’ve wrote about Paper Beagle before because I love the company and I hope you do too. It’s a company with heart and soul that helps the beautiful bees all while making us eco-friendly. They do some gorgeous wedding favours but I’m going to show you what you can buy to make someones Christmas that extra bit special.

original_flower-girl-favours-honey-bee-mine-braceletThese bracelets are gorgeous. They’re called ‘Honey Bee Mine’ and would be great for any ladies in your life. The colours are reminiscent of honey and the bee charm reminds you on who your gift is helping. The bracelet itself looks quite dainty but the charm makes it special. All the materials used in the bracelet, and the gift box, are responsibly sourced and it (like all the Paper Beagle products are created in the UK.) An added bonus is that looking at the bee will quite possibly remind you of an English Summer. The bracelet can be purchased here.

Something a bit more Christmassy with a modern twist is the hessian Christmas wreath. I think original_handmade-hessian-christmas-wreaththese are a great idea as they’re a modern take on the traditional, look cool and stylish and because they’re made from hessian can be disposed of responsibly. Why not buy one to put up in the living room rather than on the outside door? You can choose between red or green ribbon to fit in with your decor. Excellent! The wreath is also available in yarn for something a tad different. Want more info on the hessian wreath? Click here.

We have the wreath sorted so what about some personalised stockings. These are again made from hessian and look very different than the normal red ones. You can have everyone asking where you got the lovely stockings from. They’re a small size for small gifts and would look great with the kids initials or for the grown-ups. The rustic charm will have you dragging them out every year. They’re available here.

original_personalised-hessian-christmas-wreath

original_bee-hive-hair-pinsThis next gift is something that every woman (or man) with a head of hair frequently use… hairpins! These ones are very quirky and are made from brass so the colour will stand out in most hair colours. The ‘bee hive’ hairpin is part of the wedding favours collection but would make a great stocking filler and let’s face it they’ll most definitely get used. They also come to you already in a gift box so what’s not to love? Go take a look here.

Every year you always have those people that you want/ need to buy a little bit of something for but original_grow-your-own-christmas-tree-favoursnever know what to get. Maybe you don’t want it to be too expensive but you want to show your appreciation. I would recommend the Grow Your Own Christmas Tree Kit This is a present that’s a little unusual. Basically it’s a small gift box with seeds for a Christmas Tree in it. Give your gift, let them plant it and watch as their very own Christmas tree grows. It’s practically a present that will last a lifetime with the right care.

So we’ve talked about gifts but what about wrapping them? Paper Beagle has the solution and a very cute solution it is! This Candy Cane Wrapping Paper Set includes one sheet of paper, one snowflake printed tag, a length of jute string and an edible candy cane. Your presents will definitely stand out under the tree wrapped in this! The paper, tag and jute can be recycled after and the candy cane eaten. True christmas spirit!

original_candy-cane-wrapping-paper-set

Has an extra special treat we’ve been given an exclusive offer for all of you UK buyers! If you purchase something from Paper Beagle you’ll also receive a set of 6  gift tags for free… These ones to be exact.  Just add them to your basket, along with your other purchases, and enter the code RUDOLPH on the page. There’s no minimum spend just the requirement that you’ll love your purchase, and I’m sure you will.

All of Paper Beagle’s products are available to buy from Not On The High Street and to keep up to date you can follow them on Twitter, @paperbeagleUK.

NB If the promotional code doesn’t work for some reason please contact either myself or Paper Beagle and we’ll sort it out asap. x

BBC Cancels Victorian Crime Drama Ripper Street

I was devastated when I read about this this morning. It’s possibly one of the best period dramas set in Victorian London I’ve ever seen. It’s a crime drama with none of the gore, fighting and realism taken out. So why has Ripper Street been cancelled?

First off we should look at the slot it fills in the TV schedule. It airs on BBC One at 9pm on a Monday night, the exact same time as ITV shows I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. It proves that more people would rather watch a reality show than an original drama that shows you a bit of history. In fact I’m a Celebrity had 8.8 million viewers to Ripper Streets 3.2 million during Monday’s episode. Big difference for a comparison in two very different shows.

Jerome Flynn, Matthew Macfadyen and Adam Rothenberg in Ripper Street.Ripper Street is a great period crime drama with a storyline and setting quite different to period dramas like Downton Abbey and The Paradise. Ripper Street is downright gritty and bloody, just like a copper show set in Victorian East London should be. The first season followed on from the capture of Jack the Ripper and season two follows on from that, showing that East London still has lots of murderers to catch and crimes to solve. If this doesn’t interest you then the main trio of Matthew Mcfayden (Det. Insp. Edmund Reid) Jerome Flynn (Det. Sgt. Bennet Drake) and Adam Rothenberg (Captain Homer Jackson) definitely will. Each of the performances are brilliant and very similar to what you’d expect of Victorian detectives in a crime populated area. The men aren’t the only great performers. MyAnna Buring is everything a Victorian lady probably shouldn’t be as Long Susan the brothel madam who usually crosses paths with the detectives.

Ripper-Street-Generic-48

Ripper Street is currently airing its second series and only has two episodes left. The viewing figures for this series have dropped quite a bit compared to season one and some on the web and regular fans have said this could be down to the nature of some of the story lines. There have been a few brutal murders of females, beatings and the like but in all fairness this as helped make the show feel more realistic. What’s Victorian London without some brothels and scandal?

The main reason I’m sad to see Ripper Street go is that it’s a crime drama that keeps you on your toes and second guessing the whole way through. RIPPER-STREET-2480334There’s times when you can’t work out who the killer could possibly be. I found you also learn something in each episode. It’s an eye opener to see how different the police system is and how women were treated in the time. The actors are superb, the costumes and settings are spot on and the writing is true brilliance in a time with lots of period dramas.

So why the BBC are dropping this series now, so close to the end of season two, is beyond the comprehension of a lot of fans. It makes you wonder what programme will be created to take it’s place. I’m not a fan of reality shows and now the ratings of one have practically killed off this beautiful show I fear for the future of dramas. ITV have also recently cancelled their modern day crime drama Whitechapel, leaving the question what will be disappearing from our screens next?

Late Night Ramblings of Two Girls Trying to Beat Each Other with Pretty Pictures.

Sounds odd I know but Me and Cat are at full out war over some photos. Photos like these…

tumblr_mwymgsUNoi1sq7ofno1_r1_250 tumblr_mx6707AP2L1re0n1ho1_500 tumblr_msxuhpSKyR1s5yoh9o1_500jonathan-rhys-meyers-mortal-instruments-still-exclusivetumblr_mx27oovu8Q1r3ik01o1_500 tumblr_inline_mwyryo0mVI1rc9jsc Ben+Barnes+benbarnestumblr_mrww0eX4Ro1rn55g9o5_250

As you can well imagine we both find Jamie Campbell Bower and Ben Barnes lovely to look at. Cat would be happy to hang on to them all day. Showing Cat these types of photos late at night makes her mind do this.Smiley Jello Our war has now moved onto Facebook where I’m sending more pretty pictures and she’s calling me the spawn of Satan. This is bound to continue until someone wins (which I doubt) or Cat breaks down into hysterics like last night with the giant moth (which was actually a big ass butterfly.)

I’m only rambling about it because I thought you’d like an insight into the Wood sisters behaviour. I mean all sisters do this, right?