Happy Birthday Blonde Bombshell Jean Harlow

105 years ago the actress Harlean Carpenter was born. She would go on to become the well loved actress Jean Harlow

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In this stunningly beautiful actresses short life the public saw her rise from the ashes of critically unsuccessful films to staring opposite the greats such as Clark Gable and Spencer Tracey. She had friendships people envied, a career that remained strong when the Depression set in and mega stars like Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford were waning and she can be credited with being the inspiration behind Marilyn Monroe’s trademark hair.

Harlow was known for her catching laugh and versatility to act tumblr_nn27itkJhG1qe4ru4o1_500in any film she wanted to. This made her a much wanted icon in Hollywood and made her the type of woman people wanted to be. She swapped regularly from serious to comedy films and it’s this genre she’s probably best known for.
In her 10 year film career she made 36 films and was mostly recognised on and off the screen for her peroxide blonde hair making her one of the first blonde bombshells to grace the screen. Before this you’ll typically note most of the lead actresses had dark hair.

Of course there was the bad moments, like in any Hollywood stars life. Harlow was married three times, the longest lasting for 2 years. She found the love of her life with William Powell but sadly before they could ever be married she became ill with kidney failure which resulted in her death at the age 0f 26. There are plenty of rumours surrounding her death the most famous being that she died of a result of peroxide poisoning.

All her films are worth watching. She was a great actress that even when ill managed to get the films finished and premiered to great success. Even her last film Saratoga was finished well with body doubles when she died during shooting.

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Jean Harlow would be remembered forever for being the blonde bombshell that paved the way for change in Hollywood. She became the first actress to grace the cover of Life magazine and she would always be famous for her grace and poise on and off the screen.

 

Quite possibly one of the best on screen partnerships ever.

That Old Frank (Film) Magic

This is obviously a bit belated but I wanted this to be perfect.

 

tumblr_nzqc9riaOE1r0dj31o1_500On the 12th December the great Frank Sinatra turned 100. Everyone was jumping on the band wagon by playing his great songs and telling us stories about his less than perfect private life. I’ve actually heard someone say they don’t like the guy now they’ve heard some of the sordid tales from his Vegas and married days. Let me assure you these probably are true, there’s lots of other similar tales from friends, family and acquaintances, but this shouldn’t put you off his magnificent work whether it be his song writing, his singing or his acting.

His acting is where we come in. I could spend days talking about his music and his Rat Pack singing days. I could tell you tales of who he inspired, how he was one of the few celebrities of the time who basically needed the press to survive.tumblr_nz9e4vfjJR1r3rmj3o1_500

High Society (1956)

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Grace Kelly & Frank Sinatra

One of the first films I ever watched that starred Sinatra and, to this day, it is still one of my favourite films. Sinatra stars with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Celeste Holm in this fun musical based on The Philadelphia Story. Sinatra is Mike Connor the journalist who is picked to report on the wedding of socialite Tracy Lord. True love ensues for Connor and Holm’s character, Liz Imbrie, yet it’s fun to watch them get to this point. The film has some great songs, some classic funny moments and an all over light hearted feel.

Anchors Aweigh (1945)

One of the first films Sinatra did with Gene Kelly.tumblr_mg8uq2h4IO1qapcnno1_250 This is a great film where Clarence Doolittle (Sinatra) and Joe Brady (Kelly) are on 4 days shore leave in Hollywood. They go on a musical journey where Joe teaches Clarence to pick up girls and he eventually finds an aspiring actress (Kathryn Grayson) who is the love of his life. There’s a mix of animation with Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse. There’s some excellent songs and it is a lovely story. You’ve probably heard of another sailor themed film, On The Town, featuring Sinatra and Kelly but this one is well worth a watch too.

Von Ryan’s Express (1965)

tumblr_mx3cqlhmkh1r3mh0to1_400.gifA Sinatra film that everyone should know about and one that’s a bit different to the others he was famous for. A war film in every sense the film is set in WWII and sees a group of allied soldiers try to escape by hijacking a train. Sinatra plays Joseph Ryan who is a US Air Corps pilot and gets taken to a concentration camp after being shot down. Here the film unfolds into a thrilling story of bravery and courage. Sinatra gives one of his best performances in this role. If you’ve read the book you’ll notice a few differences but I think you’ll agree they work perfectly in the film.

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

A true Rat Pack film, maybe not as famous as Ocean’s Eleven but this is still everything that made the Rat Pack films fun and enjoyable to watch. Sinatra truly made this film brilliant with a glittering cast and some memorable songs all done to the storyline of Robin Hood. Sinatra obviously has the leading role of Robbo and sees that fun, adventure and true spirit takes place in the ranks of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Peter Falk. It’s fun to watch while still teaching the meaning of Robin Hood.

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From Here to Eternity (1953)

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This film basically relaunched Sinatra’s film career and was nominated for and won many awards. It’s based on the book by James Jones and makes for the perfect movie. Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster play three US Army soldiers stationed in Hawaii months before Pearl Harbour. They each have their different problems and we learn a great deal about them throughout the film, as well as the jobs they do. Maggio (Sinatra) is a fun character and yet suffers terribly throughout the film. Sinatra, rightly so, won Best Supporting actor at the Oscars for his role.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Where to start with the film. It’s based on thetumblr_n8aeofHfwt1sjmaqio1_500 Broadway musical but there are some differences most noticeably with there been extra songs written for the film. Sinatra plays gambler Nathan Detroit who’s finding it difficult to find somewhere to hold an illegal crap game because of the police. Then comes in Marlon Brando’s Sky Masterson and they bet on taking a girl out to dinner. Detroit also has to deal with his fiancé of 14 years wanting to tie the knot. The film is very upbeat and has some great romance to it. Sinatra fits the role of Detroit extremely well as if the part was made for him. If you’ve never seen it you’re missing one of the greatest musicals ever.

 

Frank Sinatra made films his own and brought so much emotion and drama to both the big and tv screen it’s a wonder his films aren’t more famous. He’ll always be remembered for his stunning vocals, even in films, but remember the guy won Academy Awards so he definitely did something right somewhere.

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Happy Birthday Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco!

Actress. Mother. Philanthropist. Style Icon. Princess of Monaco.

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Today would have been Grace Kelly’s 85th Birthday. She was as famous an actress as she was a Princess and will always be remembered for her fashion choices, very private private life and for her leading roles opposite some very famous leading men. When she gave up acting to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco Hollywood and her fans literally mourned the loss of such an amazing and dedicated actress but we would soon see her as  the perfect Princess. She took all her duties in her stride, put her family first and became world known in her charity work.

We would then mourn her again, when aged 52, she died after a car crash. Many she had worked with throughout her life would attend her funeral including Princess Diana, Cary Grant and James Stewart who read a eulogy.

Grace, you gave us such delicate yet strong performances that showed us what a strong woman you were and what strong women we could be. You’re remembered even today for your fashion style and your beautiful hairstyle. You charmed audiences and the likes of James Stewart, Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra and all the other men you acted opposite. Not many other women retired from acting and had Alfred Hitchcock trying to persuade them back into the business.

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We leave you with a humorous clip from Grace’s last ever film, released in 1956, High Society.

Happy Birthday Natalie Wood!

tumblr_n46rh73juW1qa70eyo1_500Today would have been Natalie Wood’s 76th birthday! I love this woman and not just because I was named after her.

She started acting at an early age and there is so much more to her than the suspicious circumstances surrounding her early death by drowning in 1981. She was her own woman with a life very much lived in the limelight. Her marriages to Robert Wagner never took away from her stardom.

Natalie was a true beauty of the golden era and all the way through her career. She remained professional in her work and Orson Welles once commented that Wood’s professionalism when she was a child was “so good, she was terrifying.”

In celebration of her birthday I’m going to tell you about some of my favourite parts she played throughout her career.

 

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

In Natalie’s first ever starring role, aged 9, she plays Susan Walker a girl brought up not to tumblr_n842dtGJZf1snmmclo1_500believe in fairytales but when she meets Kris Kringle at Macy’s Department store finds that Santa could actually be real. I doubt I need to tell you much about the storyline. Miracle on 34th Street is a Thanksgiving and Christmas classic. You’ve probably all watched the 1994 version with Mara Wilson playing Susan but this version is just as magical. Wood’s performance is heartfelt and very real.

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Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

tumblr_n5kpba5vMR1rerml7o1_1280.pngThis is one of my all time favourite films and one of the very few that stars James Dean. The film is about teenagers, rebellion and a time of decay for American teenagers. When you watch it it’s eerie how true some of the situations seem to be, even today. Wood plays Judy who we see in the Police Station with Jim (Dean) at the beginning of the film. Their relationship grows slowly but the portrayal is perfect for delinquent teenagers. Rebel Without A Cause is one of the first films where we see Wood flung into varying emotional scenes and still at such a young age, she was only 17 at the time.

 

West Side Story (1961)

Okay I know she doesn’t sing herself but this is probably one of the films everyone tumblr_n02kmiI17k1s5bh5uo1_500associates with Natalie Wood. West Side Story is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Natalie plays Maria against Richard Beymer’s Tony. Tensions erupt between Maria’s brothers gang the Sharks and the gang Tony is part of the Jets. The characters are portrayed very well and Wood’s acting is quite similar to her work in Rebel Without A Cause. Even her dancing and dubbing for her singing seems realistic. The emotion though out the film seems to make her role stronger, especially with the end tragedy.

 

There are other fantastic films Natalie Wood starred in so if you get chance have a watch of Gypsy (1962), Sex and the Single Girl (1964), Marjorie Morningstar (1958) and The Great Race (1965). You won’t be disappointed with the comedy, drama and cast involved in each.

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Birthday Double: Olivia de Havilland & Leslie Caron

This year we bring you a special beginning to July. We celebrate two Hollywood legends birthdays and they’re both still alive! Happy Birthday to Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Caron!

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Both ladies have brought their own achievements to old Hollywood and are true Hollywood actresses in every sense of the phrase.

 

Olivia de Havilland

Olivia_de_Havilland_stillBorn in Tokyo, Japan on 1st July 1916 de Havilland has lived through it all. She broke into Hollywood early on and is famous for starring opposite Errol Flynn in eight films including The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), having a public off screen feud with her sister, Joan Fontaine, but she’s probably most famous for playing Melanie Hamilton in Southern epic Gone With the Wind (1939) with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Her acting shows how versatile she was and her attitude fits in perfectly with the era of films she was in.  All her big films will be remembered forever as will her supposed romantic ties to Flynn. De Havilland won many awards during her long stage career including two Academy Awards. She also won a court case about how long you could be signed to a certain producer for, even today this is known as the de Havilland Law. She is an actress and woman who will always be remembered for her work, her long life and what she has done for the movie industry as a whole.

Happy 98th Birthday Olivia!

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Leslie Caron

leslie-caron-and-gigi-galleryCaron was born in Seine, France on 1st July 1931. Her first film role was in An American In Paris starring opposite Gene Kelly. It was Kelly that managed to get her into the big films which shot her to stardom. Caron is a well known dancer and singer and is one of only a few actresses to have danced with the likes of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Her most famous role is probably that of her playing Gigi in the 1958 version of Gigi. Her portrayal of a young woman learning to be a courtesan is fun and care free in Minelli’s version of the film. The addition of her lovely singing and dancing makes it a brilliant performance.

Caron has had a long and wonderful career with a mixture of musicals, dramas and tv work. The awards she has won are well deserved and we can only thank Gene Kelly for seeing her talent all those years ago at Ballet des Champs Elysees.

Happy 83rd Birthday Leslie!

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It’s great to be able to write a post about one actor from the Golden era still alive to celebrate their birthday but two is magical in our book. Enjoy your birthday’s ladies while we enjoy celebrating by enjoying your films.

Happy Birthday Woman of the Year Katharine Hepburn!

Katharine_hepburn_woman_of_the_year_croppedOn this day in 1907 Katharine Houghton Hepburn was born in Connecticut. She would grow up to be one of Hollywood’s best loved actresses. She spoke out for what she believed in and was headstrong and independent throughout her entire life. She made tough decisions when it came to her relationship with Spencer Tracy yet we all loved her for it and they made a perfect couple. She still holds the record for the most nominations in the Academy Awards for Best Actress; 4 nominations.

 

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Cary Grant wears a skirt in protest at Hepburn wearing trousers.

Hepburn’s films are legendary and the genres she crosses means there’s something for everyone. She shone over every genre making her a real multi talented lady. For women she made it cool for us to wear trousers, back in the day this was a big thing. She also had spectacular cheekbones. I’ve always said I want her personality and cheekbones. During her life she kept her private life as private as she could and shunned the limelight and glamour that was associated with it.

 

The majority of her films have her starring as a strong woman, even in the time when she wasn’t such a box office success. We see the strong willed Hepburn in her first film with Spencer Tracey, Woman of the Year (1942). This is a great light hearted comedy that shows off the delightful chemistry between Hepburn and Tracy while showing Hepburn, who plays a journalist, as a woman who can’t cook, gives orders and basically lives, eats and breathes work. Domestic goddess she is not.

This is just one of Katharine’s big films. Others to take a look at are:

  • Bringing Up Baby (1938) Starring Cary Grant
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940) Starring James Stewart and Cary Grant
  • Adam’s Rib (1949) Starring Spencer Tracy
  • The African Queen (1951) Starring Humphrey Bogart

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It’s really fair to say at 107 years old Katharine Hepburn is still being remembered by the cinema and Hollywood lovers of the world. She managed to stay afloat in a cutthroat business when others went under and starred with the late greats. Her life was a Hollywood story in real life which made her films and relationships memorable.

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Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn

Happy 85th Birthday Audrey Hepburn!

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Google’s doodle for Hepburn’s 85th Birthday

Today’s birthday girl, Audrey Hepburn, really needs no introduction. Her films have become classics, her charity work changed the world and made her legendary and she still remains a fashion icon 21 years after her death. Even today she’s on TV in the Galaxy chocolate advert. Hepburn took what we knew of the film industry and films themselves and gave us a fresh, brand new perspective. She worked with all the greats, won plenty of awards and was best friends with Givenchy (yes the famous fashion designer) and still remained humble and down to earth.

Here we look at five of the films we deem as classic Hepburn films… Enjoy!

Roman Holiday (1953)

tumblr_n51hjzdJ8y1tymyz0o1_500The first film Audrey was credited for, had a leading role in and won an Academy Award for. Here she plays Princess Ann who sneaks out to explore Rome on her own. She meets Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) who’s a reporter. The film is wonderfully light hearted and has some lovely funny parts. Hepburn’s performance shows why she won Best Actress and with her age in the film, she was 24 at the time, makes her stand out as one to watch.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Well what do we really say about Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I suppose (and hope) we’ve all seen it. Hepburn tumblr_n50hm1Spix1qa70eyo2_r1_500plays Holly Golightly a very fun, outgoing, party girl type in public but seemingly very quiet in public. Paul Varjak (George Peppard) plays opposite. Hepburn said the film was one of her biggest challenges because she had to play an extrovert when she herself is an introvert. The film shows so much emotions and has some very memorable scenes and fashion choices.

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My Fair Lady (1964)

my-fair-lady-1964-the-real-thingA very loveable musical with songs everyone remembers. Hepburn plays Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle who get’s picked by phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) to show that he can teach her to speak correct English so she can be presented in Edwardian Society. It’s fun seeing Hepburn talk in Cockney and see how she blossoms into a lady of society at the end. Her character changes throughout the film and she pulls it off fantastically. Hepburn doesn’t sing herself in the film but it certainly doesn’t detract from her performance.

How to Steal A Million (1966)

I love this film. Audrey stars with Peter O’Toole in this comedy heist film. It’s all about art forgery and claiming offtumblr_n517wfOVL01qiawh2o1_500 scams when art work goes missing. At some point in the film you realise that Hepburn and O’Toole’s characters aren’t as serious as you may have expected them to be, but their partnership works very well on screen and is very believable. The cupboard under the stairs scene is fantastic. It’s well worth a watch because it’s quite different to Hepburn’s other works.

Funny Face (1957)

tumblr_n51i3ie1QX1ttqe7vo1_500Another musical with Audrey playing Jo Stockton a very shy bookshop clerk who’s bookshop is used in a fashion magazine’s photoshoot. The photographer is none other that Fred Astaire. Lots of Hepburn and Astaire dancing and a great Hepburn makeover turn Stockton into the next big model in the industry. The songs work well and the change of clothes is a plenty. We also here Hepburn’s true singing voice for the first time ever.

This is just a mix of a few of Hepburn’s films. Remember she’s not just an actress, she was a woman who we can call a role model and someone who’ll be remembered forever for her work on screen and throughout the world. Even Google have acknowledged her birthday.

Happy Birthday Audrey. It truly is a day for celebrations.

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Happy 100th Birthday Alec Guinness!

tumblr_n0qyneBwz61r31mkdo1_500British screen legend Alec Guinness de Cuffe, better known to you and me as Alec Guinness, is an actor everyone has had the pleasure of watching on the big screen. As today would have been Guinness’ 100th birthday I was given the very hard job of selecting 3 films of his that I love because of Guinness’ superb performance and how the film fits perfectly to him. Please believe me ALL his films are worth a watch, he, like many other actors of bygone eras, just has something that the actors of today can’t perfect on screen. After many hours of great deliberation I narrowed it down to these three:

 

The Malta Story (1953)

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Muriel Pavlow & Alec Guinness in The Malta Story

From the first time I saw this film I loved it. From the outside it’s a classic war film of the British trying to hang onto the island of Malta as the German’s and Italian’s bomb and try to kill off any hopes of the Maltese people yet on the inside it’s a true romantic tale with Flight lt. Peter Ross (Guinness) falling in love with local girl Maria (Muriel Pavlow). Guinness plays this role wonderfully and manages to be a true RAF officer we’d expect to see but have a playful and caring side when it comes to his free time with Maria. The story itself really opens your eyes to Malta’s story during WWII and the great range of actors certainly gives you a film you’ll remember.

 

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

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Alec Guinness as Lady Agatha D’Ascoyne in Kind Hearts and Coronets

This was one of Guinness’ first big films and he nailed it, not just in one role but by playing EIGHT different characters. Kind Hearts and Coronets is an Ealing comedy and like all Ealing comedies it has a really different twist. Guinness plays eight members of the D’Ascoyne family including Lady D’Ascoyne. Unfortunately they all come to a particularly sticky end, all in their own ways. The make up and costume changes Guinness must have gone through for each character must have been tiring but in some occasions on screen you can’t even tell it’s him. He brings something unique to each character which is a true indication of his talent. Not many actors can pull off acting serious while being murdered in a, quite frankly unusual way, in an Ealing comedy.

 

 

The Ladykillers (1955)

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The Cast of The Ladykillers.

This is a film I knew I couldn’t miss out because it was one of the first Alec Guinness films I watched when I was younger. Again it’s an Ealing comedy and will
appeal to those who like a bit of dark humour. Please do not get this mixed up with Tom Hank’s 2004 remake, they’re both completely different and the Guinness version is far superior in every way. The Ladykillers is a great concept for a film and the 1955 cast perfects the overall film. Guinness role has ‘Professor’ Marcus is as sinister as he is charming, especially towards the Old Lady who owns the house he’s renting a room in. The film is all about criminals, imagination, police chases and great acting. In a weird way it makes for great family viewing, just like many of Alec Guinness’ other films.

 

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John Mills & Guinness in Great Expectations

Some films that nearly made it onto this very short list that are well worth a watch are: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Peter O’Toole plays the lead but Guinness plays an excellent Prince Feisal. Bridge On the River Kwai (1957) A very well known war story and a must watch, also stars William Holden. Great Expectations (1946) Guinness’ first credited film. He was the perfect friend to John Mill’s Pip in this film and he looks so young.

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Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence & Guinness as Prince Faisal

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Bridge on the River Kwai

There’s plenty more films that you could watch and enjoy in which Guinness stars. He starred in many genres so there’s something there for everyone. You maytumblr_n3ds83EaKz1qh3tpwo1_500
have noticed the lack of Star Wars on here. Guinness’ is said to have disliked his time in the films and, to me, it isn’t really his best performance.

Happy Birthday Alec! You may be gone but your work and talent will be enjoyed forever!

Happy 100th Birthday Pin-Up Artist Gil Elvgren!

Gil_Elvgren01Today marks the 100th birthday of the great Pin-Up master Gil Elvgren. Now we did a post on him last year for his 99th and decided to do something to celebrate his art and the ladies because these are what made him famous and oh so memorable.

Enjoy the lovely ladies in all their sexy scenarios, tasteful states of undress and, most importantly, the fun filled paintings.

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Happy Birthday Elvgren and may your sexy pin-ups last forever.

Week Round Up: Birthdays, Winter Olympics & Vampire Academy

So since so much has happened this week we decided to blend it all together and condense it down into bite size chunks. Make’s it easier to digest you see. We’re hoping that this eclectic mix will hold something for everyone.

Birthdays!

Clark_Gable_-_publicity1st February- Clark Gable (1/2/1901- 16/11/1960) American actor best known for playing Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. Starred in many films with many famous people. Try watching The Misfits which was sadly his last film

4th February- Ida Lupino (4/2/1918- 3/8/1995) British/American actress and pioneer of women film makers. Lupino starred Ida_Lupino_publicityin over 50 films and directed many more TV episodes like Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone. A very fascinating woman in a male dominated career.

Zsa_Zsa_Gabor_-_19596th February- Zsa Zsa Gabor (6/2/1917) Hungarian/ American actress and socialite. She has appeared in films and TV series but is probably best known for being married nine times and having a very public personal life.

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics!

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Mascots

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Where Sochi actually is… There really isn’t that much snow.

As I write this the BBC coverage of the Opening Ceremony has just begun. EXCITING! Sochi 2014 is the 22nd Winter Olympics and Sochi is in Russia, but you probably already knew that. Everyone seems excited to see what the Opening Ceremony will consist of and what Putin has to say. This Winter Olympics is special because it is the first time Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle has been seen at the Olympics (giving Team GB great medal chances) and the first time Women can compete in the Ski Jump. It’s also the first time Team USA have competed on Russian soil… Thanks to Clare Balding for just mentioning that.

In the UK the BBC are basically covering it all and have commentators who know what they’re on about. I will also be out there for a week from the 17th, I’m very excited for that.  We’ll keep you updated on Team GB and any medal prospects. For now go and enjoy the most expensive Olympics ever and try not to let the controversies take anything away from the sport.

Vampire Academy US Opening

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Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry & Dominic Sherwood at Publicity for Vampire Academy

The film to the best selling books opened in the US today. As a resident of the UK I’m torn between hating people who are posting spoilers already and smiling at all the great photos and reviews that are being put on social network sites. Remember we don’t get the film until April. It gives us chance to re-read the books and see if the film gets enough money to maybe have Frostbite optioned.

Goodbye for now, I’m going back the the Sochi Opening Ceremony.