Monday, 31 October 2011

Book Review: The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes. Man Booker Prize Winner 2011

The Man Booker Prize is the most prestigious and enduring accolade in literary fiction. Julian Barnes is considered one of the finest authors of our generation. Having made the Booker Prize shortlist on three previous occasions, it was 27 years later and fourth time lucky for him with his latest offering in the form of short novel, "The Sense of an Ending"

Here is my best summary of the plot without giving anything away;

The novella is the introspective journey of Tony Webster, a middle aged balding man looking back on some of the defining events of his life. A lawyer's letter informing him of an unexpected testament in a will, forces Tony to revisit his youth through the hazy mirage of unremarkable decades gone-by. In many ways the protagonist has lived an ordinary life and there is a sense that much of whats happened to him, has really happened to others and that he's lived vicariously in that afterglow. The complicated semi-celibate relationship with his girlfriend Veronica. Her subsequent leaving him for his superior school friend and intellectual, Adrian. Adrian's suicide. Tony believes he understands his role in these events, that somehow history is in his grasp and as accurate as his beliefs about it. However, he is taken on a journey that forces him to reexamine his assumed knowledge of himself and his startling role in the events all those years before.

The novel is a poignant one and Barnes writes with wonderful dexterity. Welcomingly the work is not overly ponderous however, it still engenders an amount of self-reflection in the reader as we work through the maze of Tony Webster's predicament. Furthermore, the shortness of the book, 160 pages, makes it infinitely more readable and gives it a certain potency that may have been lost if Tony had been given more time with his audience. As the plot isn't particularly fast paced Barnes adopts an economical and selective approach to storytelling, which effectively mirrors the mind of our protagonist.

I would recommend this book to anyone, especially from a stylistic and technical viewpoint. When I read books it isn't always for entertainment, but sometimes for the pure pleasure gleaned from an insight into the imaginations of some of the greatest minds of our time. Julian Barnes doesn't disappoint and truly delivers something unique and inspired.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Halloween- Sailors and Showgirls

The theme for Halloween was Sailors and Showgirls- at least for our party it was. For the occasion we had dinner at Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill, which for those who haven't been is an amazing restaurant/ bar.

 The ambiance was amazing- the room in which we were dining was dark but flooded with golden candle light- unfortunately the flash in my photos kind of spoilt the effect, but you get what I mean. And the lighting only made everyone's costumes all that much more impressive and magical.

Dinner was wonderful, accompanied by a ghoulish Cabaret singer and people getting into their groove to the beats of Matthew Williamson's amazingly cool impromptu rendition of 'like a virgin'.

It was the most glamourous of Halloween's I've ever been to. Feathers, sequins, heels and not a splatter of fake blood in sight.  I'd much rather do dinner and dancing than jostling in a packed club and leaving after 10 minutes because of people stepping on my cape or poking me in the eye with their headpieces. 

So now that I've got the dress up part of Halloween out of the way, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. All the sweets I can eat, candied apples and pumpkin pie. And of course the obligatory DVD sets of terrifying horrors. eek.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Truly, madly, deeply

In love with Eva Longoria's Victoria Beckham Fall 2010 dress, which she wore to Glamour Reel Moments 2011 a few days ago. The colour is my favourite - total sucker for blues of any shade, and the shape is just gorgeous. Would love to get my hands on this dress. On the look-out from now on.

Eva Longoria Actress Eva Longoria arrives at Glamour Reel Moments 2011 - held at the Directors Guild of America on October 24, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Eva Longoria Actors  Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Eva Longoria arrive,at Glamour Reel Moments 2011 - held at the Directors Guild of America on October 24, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Eva Longoria Actors  Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Eva Longoria arrive at Glamour Reel Moments 2011 held at the Directors Guild of America on October 24, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Backpacks are Back - a worthwhile investment?

Dear oh dear. The backpack is experiencing a fashion renaissance. It started with the Olsen twins and their utilitarian Croc Backpack for the Row and the trend is now spreading like wildfire across the backs of the well-heeled.

To me the backpack is the antithesis of all things cool.

Although it does serve one practical purpose. This nifty little object is a total man repellant.

No more wolf whistles, forget low guttural moaning as you walk by and wagging tongues. No more thinking up responses to cheesy chat up lines and the awkward "excuse me, do you have a boyfriend?" approach from spotty adolescents. So if you're a girl who loves to complain about how much attention she gets (let's face it, everyone knows this type of girl), look no further and spare us your boring stories (yawn).

 For maximum effectiveness I recommend a Reebok drawstring rucksack (see below). 

A room with a view

There is nothing more incredible than living in a home with breathtaking views; whether they be of rolling fields dotted with grazing cattle, the azure glistening ocean or the twinkling lights of a vast metropolis.

Somehow looking at something beautiful from on high makes me feel perfectly content. So just feast your eyes on these awesome panoramas.












Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Hotel, Tanzania

Love this life








Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Dos and Don'ts of Halloween.

My two favourite holidays are Halloween, closely followed by Guy Fawkes Night.

Of course there is also Thanksgiving, which I enjoy vicariously from the comfort of my sofa as I watch my favourite US shows. And needless to say, no self-respecting HBO drama would miss the opportunity of shooting a Massive, glazed, over-stuffed turkey and intrigue over the pumpkin pie. But I'm straying off the point..


Halloween reigns supreme in my books for several reasons. People dress up!! Oh how I love seeing my friends transformed into vamps, ghouls, victorian gentlemen, pirates and pumpkins. There's candy - lots of it. Adorable children ring my door bell, laugh in my face and then silly string me, with their parents looking on apologetically. I feel a thrill of nostalgia at every pumpkin I see. I am reminded of my favourite childhood movies; Casper, Hocus Pocus and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And crucially, no one can tell me I'm overdressed!!

  1.  Leave your outfit till the last minute
  2. Be predictable or lazy - a white bedsheet with the eyes cut out is not a costume
  3. Use halloween as an excuse to dress like a hoe! Leave the sheer stockings & suspenders in the underwear draw where they belong
  4. Get embarrassed about dressing up. It's meant to be fun and there's nothing worse than the awkward person shifting self consciously in the corner
  5. Don't be mean to other people on Halloween. "Errr, so who are you meant to be?" Halloween is a holiday, so let's play nice.

  1. Be creative. There are enough vampires, pirates and nurses to go around
  2. Make sure you have plenty of candy for the little ones
  3. Carve a pumpkin lantern to go outside your door
  4. Find an outfit to make you utterly unrecognisable
  5. Get your friends together on the Sunday of Halloween weekend for a marathon Horror fest. First person to freak out and bottle it does a dare.
  6. Enjoy!



Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Getting a tattoo.... ?

I've long been tempted by the idea of getting a discrete tattoo. By 'long', I mean since I was 14 and found a drawing of a beautiful antique key that I'd love to get inked somewhere unobtrusive. It would be really small. Maybe somewhere on the foot, or on my ribcage. 

But then again, I've always been scared by the idea of permanency. I don't like thinking that something is 'forever', whatever it may be, even youth and beauty. 

So maybe I will, but maybe I won't. If anyone cares enough to stop me, I probably won't. Sometimes a little intervention is a good thing :)



A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled, but for that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy.

Few words have rung truer of late.

It's just one of those things in life. We love the people whose  sincerity forces us to abandon all pretence; with whom self-awareness gives way to unthinking ease of being. Those who encourage the best in us and for whose sake we strive to be better. 

The people we want to sit on the sofa with after a long day, munching on popcorn, aimlessly channel surfing. Delicious homemade dinners or boxes of Chinese takeaway over nostalgic reminiscences of holidays & beautiful summer days or snowy winter mornings. Impromptu boogie nights to appalling disco classics, totally lame moves and nil embarrassment, because it's fun to not care. And when we don't care, we are free to be ourselves, free to be perfectly content.

When you're that happy, what more could you need?





Monday, 17 October 2011

Pictures for the boys... Message for the girls.

I am not an abriter of taste. Nor do I believe in the 'ideal' of feminine beauty. For me it lies somewhere beyond the colour and slant of one's eyes and the colour of your skin.

The skinny/curvy debate is one that is always raging in the media. Frankly I think it's lazy journalism, since people will always want to read about it but little of value is ever said. So continuing in that tradition I've compiled a set of contrasts.

First the skinny. What we supposedly have to be. A measure of success, style, even daresay socio-economic standing.

Secondly, the curvy. What most of us are - often wish we weren't. The shapes that many of my friends diet to avoid being. It's a shame because it's beautiful. I like healthy bodies. Athletic, that can endure running long distances, climbing up hills and sprinting for buses. These bodies are not necessarily super-ripped or whippet thin, but whatever the dimensions they'll serve you well.

So  the message is, don't starve for the sake of some nebulous ideal. Embrace your DNA and who you are. We live once, enjoy good food, heady wine, profound books, laughing and plenty of whatever gets your pulse racing.

p,s, looking at the pictures, i know who i prefer