High Society (1956)

60 years ago this week (17th July 1956) an amazing film was released. It’s the type of musical film that will probably always make it onto the greatest musical films and for very good reason. It is, in fact, one of my favourite musicals of all time. This film is High Society.

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I’m always shocked by how few people have ever heard of or seen this film because it brings some of the best actors and musicians of Old Hollywood together to portray a retelling of the very famous The Philadelphia Story. Now I’m not saying Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart didn’t do the original justice because they totally rocked the film but when you have the likes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra together in a script that is funny and musically ingenious you know it’s going to be a film to talk about.

224265256413693233RDl7GbVXcIt’s always been a special film to me because it was Grace Kelly’s last ever film before she married Prince Rainier of Monaco and basically became a fairytale princess. In the film she plays a wealthy soon to be married socialite and yet we see her try to please her family and eventually go back to her ex-husband who she still loves. The film may be a musical comedy but the relationships and emotions involved in the film seem very normal.

The songs themselves tell a story and are very memorable, that’s why we named our blog after a High Society song. The song “Who Want’s to Be a Millionaire?” is sung by Sinatra and Celeste Holm and they make it a funny yet romantic song because they don’t want yachts or other expensive items they just want each other. The funnier thing is Sinatra’s character doesn’t even realise Holm has a crush on him.

You’ll also notice Louis Armstrong in the film with his band and how different his music is to the rest of the film. This brings a freshness because all his songs are fun and make you pay attention.

So what’s not to love? Excellent actors who may not have gotgrace-kelly-bing-crosby-frank-sinatra-high-society-1956 on in real life but have a great relationship on screen (Crosby kept his distance from Sinatra during production) A lovely vocal performance from Kelly and a great scene in French. Great songs and great musical talent to write and perform the songs which means the songs will be remembered more than the films.

Some musicals can become boring or not seem relevant to the time and we find them being consigned to the archives yet High Society as withstood society’s changes. It actually teaches us about love and relationships while reminding us of people’s standing in society and how we need to be our own person. 60 years on it’s still a watchable fun film that you’ll want to watch again and again.

International Women’s Day 2016

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Ladies and gentlemen! Today is a pretty awesome day for all the sexes. Today is a day where we appreciate women, where we strive for equality, talk feminism, and basically tell the world why ladies are kick ass and why our issues matter. Each IWD has a different focus and this years is to focus on the Planet 50-50 by 2030 which is a United Nations backed scheme to help see women gain better equality and prospects by the Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development comes around in 2030.

56c4be02e74370e73f0f7876e318fa63As you’ve probably seen a lot of the British (and worldwide) press and media organisations are really taking to the subject of today and Twitter and other social networks are all aflutter with you lovely people joining in. We’re seeing the Guardian have a live blog and asking people ‘What does equality mean to you?’ The Independent have a pretty cool 10 ways you can make a difference article that takes into account the likes of donating to rape charities and looking at everyday chores in the household and see who does them most. I really like Google’s doodle for the day and the hashtag they’ve created #OneDayIWill It really gets us involved and they’ve also got some videos of women from all over the world doing things we might not necessarily see as feminine just drilling in what International really means!

We at Well Did You Evah thought we’d try something a bit different. We could talk about equality and feminism till the cows come home. I could tell you how it’s going to take about 118 years for the gender pay gap to become level or how women in some countries still don’t have their basic rights and needs met. I could tell you about how in this country a lot of careers still have a large ratio of male to women staff and don’t get me started on the top jobs.

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The ratio of women in political power compared to men

After seeing what others have been writing about today we thought we’d stick with actual women who have made a difference, are making a difference or are just so cool we’re proud to have them be the same sex as us. We’re going to pick figures from history, actresses, writers and artists and most definitely throw a few in their who you may not have thought of but we think deserve to be in the mix. This in no way means no one else should be on our list, we’re just picking the ones we shortlisted because to begin with we could have created an entire month.

 

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This will give us a few days worth of posts so, drum roll please, we’d like to introduce you to Well Did You Evah’s Ladies week!

What Really Happened That Week We Went To Brussels

This week we went to Brussels for 4 days. They were a quite good four days filled with shopping, food, museums and rain. Lots of damn rain.

We took photos as evidence of our epic journey. We didn’t document the rain because that would be stupid and at one point we were being pelted by football sized hail (might be a tad exaggerated). As Cat quite rightly puts it we experienced The Day After Tomorrow in weather conditions, that’s NOT an exaggeration. But enough about the weather!

IMG_0311On the Eurostar on the way to Brussels Mama paid for us to be upgraded to Standard Premier… The difference between the norm and this is amazing. You feel all posh as they bring you a meal to your table, they balance a tiny tray with your coffee cup, milk and sugars in one hand while pouring your coffee from a snazzy coffee pot in the other hand. Oh and the train is moving.

We stayed in a lovely penthouse near Grand Place. Such a stunning place owned by a lovely couple who had great tastes in the antique area.IMG_0318 This meant we could buy in and cook our own food which led me onto Cheese Fondue flavoured crisps… I’m still undecided on them. Speaking of food we all know what Belgium is famous for. If it’s escaped your attention it’s chocolate, beer, chocolate, waffles, chocolate and chips. We bought lots and lots of chocolate. We also bought some beer.

One of the nicest places to go walking (when it’s not raining loads) is near the Hotel D’Ville and the Grand Place. This is a beautiful courtyard type square that in summer is filled with vendors selling flowers and the likes. At this time of year it was quieter even with the tourists bustling around. You can also have horse drawn carriage rides from here and there’s a Starbucks and a tourist information centre. On the first night we actually ate in this area… We went to Hard Rock Cafe where you can get some very decent American food served by wonderfully friendly staff who aren’t afraid to sit down and have a chat with you. I know you don’t go on holiday to eat the same food but we make it our mission to go to the Hard Rock Cafe wherever we go so we had to do it.

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On the second day it rained. A lot. We walked up rue du Neuve which is a pedestrianised street full of high street stores. It can get quite busy but it’s worth a browse. We also had breakfast in one of my favourite cafe’s in Brussels. It’s a little place called Peck 47. They do gorgeous smooth coffee, excellent blends of fruit juices and some stunning food. I had Eggs Benny and Cat had Eggs Hemmigway. The Benny came wth loads of crispy bacon and really set me up for the day. We carried on shopping and buying chocolate after that then we went back to the flat to have a picnic and allow me to get some work done. There was a reason why I had to go to Brussels, journalism waits for no man.

Thursday may be the most profound awe inspiring day of my life. It rained a lot of the day, not all though! Then the meteorite hail came and I saw someone knocked out by it (I’m joking, it was probably close though) First off we went to BelVue museum which, when it’s open, is a lovely little museum about the history of Brussels and Belgium. It’s currently being refurbished though so we went to the Coudenburg part instead. This is a museum under BelVue.filename-img-0339-jpg

It’s the old Royal palace and as some amazing archaeological history to it. It won’t be everyones cup of tea but it is worth having a look around. Even if it’s just to watch the big door swing closed and shut you in. An even better part is finding your way out. You do get a map but when you’re that deep underground that you have no phone signal and you realise they’ve installed toilets and seats it can make you feel a little unnerved about the situation.

After this we had lunch in Green Kitchen their lovely restaurant/ cafe. Here everything is freshly made on the day and you can create your own salads or pick from the ready made quiches, sandwiches and soup. It really is a great place to go eat, most of the museums have great food selections to them and usually have great deals on.

IMG_0326We then took a leisurely, rainy, walk down to the European Parliament. This is where I work a lot of the time when I’m in Brussels. If you get a chance I would highly recommend the guided tours they have on. They must be one of the only working Parliament buildings in the world that gives almost full access to tour groups and the tours are available in the corresponding languages to the 24 countries in the EU.

Behind the EU building you’ll find the Science Museum which contains rocks, shiny rocks, sparkly rocks and DINOSAURS. Everything from big dinosaurs to tiny dinosaurs. The kids and school groups that were there seemed to be really enjoying it. I liked the dinosaurs too.

You might be wondering what part of my day was awe inspiring.IMG_0337 Well I met a certain little boy. A certain little NAKED Boy who is doing something that some people might laugh at and other people might be disgusted by. Yep I went and found the Mannekin Pis or as we Brits call him the Pissing Boy. This little boy is on souvenirs all over the city and is well worth the effort to find him and join the crowds to have a selfie with. At certain times of the year the locals like to dress him up in appropriate clothing so it’s fun to see what state of undress he’s in. As I mentioned he was in his birthday suit when I visited him.

I might add that me and Cat went to one of our favourite museums in Brussels on the Wednesday… The Belgian Comic Strip Centre. They have some awesome permanent exhibitions showing all the best of Belgian comics including the Smurfs. They look at the progression of the comic and how digital art as changed what we read and look at in todays comics. They also have a floor of temporary exhibitions which on this visit were the works of Fred Jannin and Jean-Pol. Take my word for it you’ll be smiling the whole way around the exhibitions and it’ll really open your eyes to the Belgium contribution to the comic world.

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I had fun on my Brussels adventure I ate lots of yummy food including, sushi and waffles. In fact I didn’t buy anything but food and drink. Oh wait I bought a flat pack t-shirt. I have a new found love for the French language because I really don’t get Dutch.

So as I write this from my Standard Premier seat on the Eurostar to London, in which we’ve literally just exited the euro tunnel to the great British sunshine (Fuck me there’s no rain!), the first message I receive on my iPhone to alert me I’m back on British soil is not a hello from my service provider but an alert about Jeremy Hunt, I realise I’ve had a pretty good week. Not all work, not all play but there’s lots of chocolate to eat and a naked boy to smile at on my photo album.

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  • We travelled to Brussels Midi Station from St Pancras International with Eurostar and booked our accommodation through Airbnb. Other alternatives are available.
  • There are plenty more places to eat and museums to go to in Brussels. We just wanted to show you the variation there is in the city and some of our favourites.

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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A Slice of Craft Ale Heaven in the Big City

Craft Beer BarWhilst the classic notion of pub culture is seemingly still in decline, the rise of Craft beer culture is reaching new heights. A recent post in the Guardian outlined that Pale Ale sells are higher than ever, increasing in as much as 70% over the past 2 years with younger demographics taking up the drinking of real ales. With this, London especially, is seeing new establishments opening up to cater for the growing taste. Festivals are being held all over the country so lovers of these, often limited edition drinks, can share in their unique tastes and talk about what is essentially a passion project for all involved. Continue reading

Cinderella Still A Fairy Tale Full Of Faith and Magic

Cinderella_2015_official_posterLast week I went to see the live action version of Cinderella. I liked it that much I’m hoping to go see it again before its cinema run finishes. As a fan of Disney and especially Cinderella I will admit I was nervous at seeing it. I’d basically not watched anything much to do with it in case they’d changed my vision of the fairy tale. If anything I think it was better because it was more in depth and filled out. This is great for us that watched the Disney version as kids and completely understood it yet as we grew up we wanted to know more about Cinderella’s life. What happened to her father? Was there more to her meeting her Prince?

This film fills these gaps so well that you’ll find yourself crying. I cried in a cinema packed with kids. Her mum dies, there’s tears. Her dad doesn’t return, tears. The King tells the Prince he can’t marry a commoner, floods of tears. Kenneth Branagh who directed managed to bring a very old story up to date yet keep it magical and innocent for an entire audience. It’s the first time in a while I’ve seen a wide age range in one showing. That in itself is magical and this is what Disney does for us. The fantastic cast may have had a hand too with the likes of Hayley Atwell, Cate Blanchett, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.

Cinderella’s mum (Attwell) tells her to “Have courage and be kind.” It feels like one of those short phrases tumblr_nmpig7pNXG1un08uto4_250that are a life lesson. Lily James who plays Cinderella captures this phrase in all she does in the film. It’s sometimes difficult to be kind in some situations like in the film and yet Cinderella follows through showing the younger audience and us older people that it can be done. In a strange way it was nice to see her break down in private so we see she’s still human just like us.

The romance of the film reminds us so much of the 1950’s original version. There’s
still a barrier in the way between royalty and commoners and yet when they set eyes on each other all that matters is love. There’s no point hiding when matters of the heart are at stake, just as Prince Charming (Richard Madden) proves. Cinderella and the Prince first meet in such an everyday type of situation. Nothing special but the moment does fit so well. She saves the stag that the Prince and his men are hunting showing us her compassion and affinity with the animals is still very much present. As are the adorable mice and Gus-Gus.

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The magic of the transformation and the ball were left in and left quite close to the original version yet there was some well received tweaks. Cinderella still has to meet the all important curfew and still managed to run, gracefully, all the way down those steps in pretty glass shoes. That in itself is a fairy tale but it’s the price we pay for dreams.

I was so glad to find they’d left the song “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” in the film and that Lily had recorded a version too. Each Disney film has a signature song and for me this one is it. As a child I hummed to it and as I’ve grown up I’ve found different interpretations to it. You’re all probably the same. It’s a song that will never date and means a lot in difficult situations.

317d1d33cf493046471f3b16a1f2d59d58f30660I think the main reason I’m writing this piece is that there is still room for fairy tales in the world today and they make us feel better no matter how much we cry through them. We see so many interpretations of the tales of old and yet they essentially stay the same. Cinderella is just like us. She’s had tragedies, hard times and then so much hope. If we all stuck with “have courage and be kind” we too could make situations better for ourselves and others. Yes it might be hard but we can learn something. We don’t all live in fairy tales but we can strive to be better people and live to see our dreams come true even if that dream is only to find our own Prince or Princess. I live to fulfil my dreams because some people can’t and like Cinderella said about the ball: “It was like a dream. Better than a dream.”

All I can do now is hope the live action version of Beauty and the Beast is as well executed. If they destroy that film my faith in humanity will be lost as it’s my all time favourite Disney film. I will say the cast looks fantastic so far!

 

Happy Birthday James Dean

tumblr_nbuj61SjqY1rerml7o1_128084 years ago today James Dean was born. He would go on to be one of the most successful actors in Hollywood and yet he only made three films in under two years. All though his career was short lived due to his untimely death at the age of 24 he became a star that the young people of the 50’s could relate to. The film Rebel Without a Cause still strikes a chord with the youth of today. Dean’s style would become iconic and his short life would be looked at time and time again in relation to his sexual orientation and his memorable style. He is truly a legend in his own rights, achieving in five years what many actors didn’t in their entire careers. He earned the respect of his fellow actors and crews and of his fans both young and old.

The 50’s really was the best time for Dean to be an actor on the big screen. His three staring films are practically classics and I hope that everyone has watched at least one.

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3786205157_591149762b_o1East of Eden was the first he got main billing for in 1955. Aged 24 he starred in this take of John Steinbeck’s book of the same name. As a young guy himself he really showed his maturity in this film as it is loosely based on the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. We see Dean go through love and hate towards his father and brother. He tries his hardest to gain his fathers approval and it is so very convincing that when, at the end, he achieves the approval and love he craves you can’t help but smile. Many reviewers said this was Dean’s best ever performance and the Academy Awards saw fit to award him an Oscar for his acting role in 1956. He was the first person to receive a posthumous nomination.

Soon after in 1955 he’d star in another film where he’d be vying after the affections andMV5BMTg2ODcxOTU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA3ODI1MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ attentions of a father figure. Rebel Without a Cause will be his most recognisable film where he played teenager Jim Stark opposite teenage stars Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. The film is a masterpiece and sees Dean portray eerily perfectly the raw feelings felt by the middle class youth. He has such an expressive face and way of acting that works perfectly in all the high emotion scenes. His red jacket and quiff became staple requirements for many men of the 50’s. The story works well for Dean because of his age and he works wonderfully onscreen with Wood and Mineo making this a performance that will never be forgotten. Unfortunately Dean never saw the completed film, Warner Brothers released it less than a month after he’d died.

 

tumblr_n2uhd90gcu1s0lxi0o1_500His last film was released in 1956 and took a completely different road to his previous two films. Giant saw him play a stable hand who strikes it rich with oil, not the young person he feared he’d be typecast as. In Giant you see Dean’s dedication to the film and the art of acting by actually dying his hair grey to portray the ageing of his character. He stars opposite stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson in the film and he bounces off them perfectly. Giant itself was released around a year after his death and someone had to dub some of his lines in production because of his sudden death. Again he received a posthumous Academy Award and if you watch the film you’ll agree it was well deserved.

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Even though James Dean only starred in three films he made three films that can be watched by anyone. His talent was a massive part of his short success and so was his iconic image. He will be remembered for a very long time and hopefully his films will be remembered as well as his fast life and tragic death have been.

Moonko Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas seems to have come around pretty darn fast this year. I’m already seeing Christmas trees up and hearing Christmas songs at the shops. There’s a vast array of jumpers available for those in the Christmas spirit and it’s getting ridiculous the amount of people who I’ve heard have finished their Christmas shopping. Yep already in November.

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It’s sometimes hard finding gifts for loved ones and friends especially when you want something a little different or unique. Independent sellers are a great way to tick all these boxes and you can be happy knowing a lot of hard work and care went into your perfect pressies.

Moonko is one of these brilliant independent sellers. Based in a bright and cheerful shop on Division St, Sheffield you can buy a vast array of wears from many established and up and coming designers. There’s also a lovely website for those to far away from the shop.

Here’s a selection from the store that really caught my eye.

Merchant & Mills Rapid Repair Kit
23uhOybfet7P07EUuaS2FoujkYwThis is a brilliant thing to give as a present because it’s so handy. It holds everything that you might need for those last minute repairs on clothing. I have one and it’s saved me plenty of times when the hems have come down on my trousers. The tin is small and portable and will suit complete novices who need to use it in an emergency up to those who frequently sew. Merchant & Mills are a well known brand in the drapery and tailor world so you can rest assured that the quality is top notch and that you’re giving the best.

Available online and in store for £15

Bonbi Forest Locket

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These look stunning! They’re available in silver or gold plated brass and all the artwork is unique. As you can see there’s a nice selection with some more Christmas themed than others. I love how different they are and how quirky the charm on the chain is. All the illustrations are drawn by Lee May Foster-Wilson and have been drawn with love and care. The lockets are a nice enough size to wear everyday or save for best. I’m sure there’ll be a locket with a design to suit everyones style and tastes. Added bonus they come in a little organza bag to make them extra special.

The store has a nice selection in and they’re available in the jewellery section of the website for a great price of £19

Nathalie Bond Handmade Candle and Soap

lqlJxDgUwoRAu2BH988ndBQweuAThis is one of those gifts that your nose will persuade you to buy. The geranium candle smells beautiful and luckily Moonko have it in two sizes. The geranium soap contains rose petals so will leave you feeling pretty and smelling flowery fresh. Both the candle and soap are handmade with natural and organic ingredients so are great for those of us that are sensitive to strong fragrances and nasty ingredients. All Nathalie Bond products are created in Sheffield and I’m sure you’ll be falling in love with the collection soon.

The Handmade Small Candle is £11 and the Handmade soap is £5.

Stoneware Whisky Cup

Everyone needs a wee dram of whisky or a hot toddy during winter so why not have aFRghBNBVy-njFuVLqHPg1yrvNsk proper whisky cup to drink it out of? And if you’re not a whisky fan then use it for the drink of your choice! There is a great range of cups available but these really caught my eye. They’re handmade in Scotland by Tom Butcher so each one is different and has it’s own character. They’ll stand out in any household and be useful to everyone.

Get your own whiskey cup for £10

 

Donna Wilson Squirrel Beaker and Tea Towel

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I love the entire Donna Wilson collection but the squirrels put a big smile on your face. Everyone uses a cup for their morning cuppa so what better gift to send. Tea towels are always useful too especially one that tells you to “Use my tail to dry your dishes.”tvaKLwj3QnUpoCdN2MbqEcjux20 These would be great for students and adults alike. You’ll definitely know who the cup belongs to. The illustrations look great and vibrant and the quality is brilliant with the cup being handmade and printed in Stoke-on-Trent and the tea towel printed there too.

The beaker is available for £15.25 and tea towel for £12.

 

Hopefully this list will have given you some ideas and steered you towards the independent scene for gifts this christmas. Everything should be available in Moonko’s store and online (subject to availability). Locals can also make use of the click and collect service which coincidentally gives you an excuse to go shopping. Don’t get stressed out in big stores this year and remember to treat yourself!

 

Well Did You Evah’s Guide To WWI Films

In this household we watch a lot of films. I have a love for war films but I tend to find that the majority I do watch are WWII based. With this week being special, it’s remembrance day on the 11th November in the Centenary year of the start of WWI, I thought It’d be a good idea to educate you in the world of World War I films. Here I’ll pick 5 of my favourites that are memorable, shocking, and very different from each other.

 

War Horse (2011)

WAR HORSEHow this film makes me sob every time I watch it. Poor horses. This film is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name. The story revolves around Albert, a Devon lad, who joins up the war just to find his horse who was sold to the cavalry to aid the military effort. He vows to find the horse no matter what. The film basically follows the horse around and we see different aspects of the war from the frontline to a small devastated family who come to be in possession of the horse. It’s a touching story because it leaves none of the brutality and scariness out of the war. You basically fear for the horse. You fear for Albert searching for his horse. It’s a war film that takes you on a journey and makes you think more about what you’re seeing.

Paths of Glory (1957)

Paths of Glory is such a great World War I film because it shows the so called coward best-paths-glory-1957side of the war. Again this is based on a book, Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb, and the film is directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows four French soldiers who refuse to follow orders to undertake a mission because it is a suicide mission. Set in black and white we see the gore and devastation of the war, especially from a French perspective. The men are tried for cowardice and are eventually executed by firing squad even though their Colonel has fought their side. Paths of Glory is a film that really needs paying attention to, the cinematography and story are fantastic with so many twists and lots of WWI politics involved.

Wings (1927)

Wings is a silent film that still maintains and shows all the drama involved with war. It’s kind of light hearted for a war film in that Clara Bow’s character is in a love triangle, the wings-1927-002-mary-david-and-jacktwo guys go off to war thinking they’ve both won her heart then she becomes an ambulance driver in the war and unintentionally meets one of the guys in Paris, France. As in all silent films the drama seems a lot more intense with the music. The acting is superb and the romantic storyline running along the war will make it a hit for a broader audience. The ending is quite emotional with a twist of fate. It doesn’t seem as realistic a war film in todays terms but you have to remember before the 1950’s they made films on what sold well.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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I chose this one because it’s based on factual events and looks at T.E. Lawrence’s time in the Arabian Peninsula during WWI so is completely different to the fighting and side of war a lot of films depict. Lawrence of Arabia shows us a lot of customs and difficulties a Western man might face in Arabia during the first world war. The fighting bares no resemblance to what the front lines in Belgium were seeing and the military there appear to be doing something completely different to the military in Europe. Peter O’ Toole and Omar Sharif bring life to the characters they play yet manage to have a military seriousness to the end. A great film to watch to get a different perspective on the war

African Queen (1951)

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in this brilliant film set at the beginning Hepburn_bogart_african_queenof WWI in German owned East Africa. Again this is a different side of the war. Hepburn plays a missionary and Bogart is the captain of the little boat, The African Queen, who brings in all the mail. War breaks out and they watch the Germans destroy the villages. Brilliantly Hepburn decides that the little boat can be modified into a torpedo boat to sink the big German gunboat that is blocking the river, and the way out. Fun ensues and the chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn makes the film enjoyable while still being a serious war film at the same time. The African Queen is a film that you can learn a lot from while smiling as well.

 

These are just five of the films that I love to watch and find entertaining, daunting and educational at the same time. War films can be scary but some can be fun and romantic so everyone can watch.

Just remember, what those brave men and women did for us will never be correctly or sufficiently shown in a film. All that can be done is recreations for us to watch, and ultimately, enjoy.

War Horse is on BBC One this Sunday 16th November at 8pm. 

York Coffee: The Perky Peacock

York is one of those places that suits everyone. It’s historical, touristy, quirky and studenty all at once. It’s even better for hidden gems of the coffee variety. We’ve become quite the York lovers over the years and added together with our love for coffee, cake and artisan foods we thought it was a no brainer to share our knowledge with you.

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Perky Peacock at Lendal Bridge.

One of our all time favourites is The Perky Peacock. Perky is in two locations, one in the tower at Lendal Bridge (blink and you’ll miss it) and the other on Gillygate very close to York St. John Uni. It’s all ran by the wonderful Nicola Peacock and her fantastic team. Nicola knows all there is to know about the food and coffee they sell and can put together an excellent bacon butty on Via Vecchia’s cheese bread. The coffee comes from Origin Coffee Roasters and no matter who makes your drink the coffee is wonderful. All food products are baked freshly every day and sourced locally which should keep everyone visiting York very happy. If you manage to get to the Lendal Bridge one early enough you’ll find yourself being led there by the smell of bacon.

The team put together a great range of sandwiches everyday and the shop at Gillygate do wonderful warm sandwiches and platters to suit everyone’s tastes. The bread PerkyIMG_1553 uses is an art form by itself, none of this plastic bread or stuff that looks rustic, all the bread is supplied by the guys at Via Vecchia so is artisan to the very core and is literally produced 2 minutes away from both shops on the Shambles. Bluebird Bakery also have some input with their temptingly gooey brownies. Honestly you’ll have to take one home. Both sites are completely different to each other but still a great place to chill out with a lovingly made coffee and a slab of cake. The ranges of cakes they have everyday is amazing and their NobHobs rival the Mcvities version.

In Cat’s uni days Nicola even made porridge with marshmallows along with a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Unforgettable really. If you have a take out drink from Perky take a look at the cup and try not to smile.

Things to most definitely try: Bacon butty on cheese bread and a flat white.

Things to look out for: Any cakes that catch your eye and the awesome tote bags. Help promote Perky Peacock! Oh and watch out for the rising water line when it rains badly at Lendal Bridge.

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