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>Bedroom Secrets

20 Feb


I sleep in a chamber entirely my own where all sorrow is overthrown. These are my bedroom secrets. This is the stuff of dreams and quiet reflection.

>Review: The King’s Speech

16 Jan


When a movie is surrounded by buzz, it invariably disappoints. Luckily, The King’s Speech, a costume drama revolving a king with a stutter, escaped this tradition. Much has been said about the performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Colin Firth, most famously known as Mr. Darcy from both Pride and Prejudice and the Bridget Jones films has often suffered criticism regarding his craft. They accused him of being cold and distant – a very English characteristic. Although I didn’t agree with them (just remember the passion of Mr. Darcy or even the unexpected frivolity he displayed in Mama Mia), he wasn’t considered one of Britain’s great actors.

But fresh on the heels of last year’s Best Actor nod for A Single Man, a film that might have breathed new life into his career, Colin has finally silenced his critics with a performance that encompasses many different emotions. At times, Bertie is vulnerable and insecure – convinced he is no king. At other moments, his angry outbursts remind us of what lurks beneath the surface. He portrays a man never meant to be king but thrust into the limelight by circumstances. When his brother, a very unlikeable fellow played by Guy Pierce, abdicates in favour of his American divorcĂ©e, Bertie suddenly finds himself king.

Naturally, kings are expected to deliver speeches and having a stammer can be a rather embarrassing business. It is evident in the beginning of the film, that many options have already been explored and none of the methods proved particularly effective. The therapist who asked Bertie to speak with a mouthful of marbles comes to mind. His wife (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks out a more reliable speech therapist and finds the eccentric Lionel Logue. At first resistant to his methods, the king eventually succumbs. As Bertie settles into his speech therapy sessions with Lionel, played brilliantly by the great Geoffrey Rush, we learn to laugh at swearwords and witness some unusual muscle exercises. 

As we witness Bertie’s growing confidence, we see (or should that be hear) great progress in his speech. But there are always those who make him nervous. He continues to struggle around his brother and whenever an official event presents itself, his stutter returns with a vengeance. Taking all these things into account, it is an unnerving moment when, at the end of his journey, he is handed The King’s Speech. We care about these characters and I held my breath when Bertie began his speech. And that’s just how it should be. The King’s Speech is a film well worth seeing with good performances all around. Notable mention to Jennifer Ehle for her commendable Australian accent in a very underused role. If Colin Firth wins Best Actor at the Oscar’s this year, it will be a very well-deserved honour, indeed.

5/5 stars

>Creating your Own Vintage Wardrobe

13 Jan

>I’m sure I’m not the only one who admired the wardrobe of Downton Abbey. I’ve always had a thing for historical clothing – they’re classy, sophisticated and unique. Back in the day, the rich had tailors and fashion was still an art. Ladies put in the effort to be stylish and sleek. Sometimes, their style became a part of their reputation and attracted men. That has become a rarity.

In today’s world, we all dress alike. Not many still design their own clothes or peruse vintage stores for that one jewel. Sadly, classy isn’t en vogue anymore. Quite the contrary. Tacky is. Ironically, Dita von Teese is an exception. Although I don’t condone her lifestyle or profession, I greatly admire her fashion sense. Vintage can be beautiful and it makes us stand out.

                                                          Edwardian fashion in Downton Abbey

Nowadays, pencil skirts and fishnet tights have become the norm. Sure, the secretary look can be sexy, even pretty. But not nearly everyone has the figure to pull it off. Many women suffer from chunky ankles and flabby thighs. Modern clothing does us few favours. So, how can we get our hands on vintage designs with their long, flowing gowns and puff sleeves? Every now and then, Victorian influences creep into today’s fashion. But most of the blouses are transparent. What do you wear with that? Other tops have an unusual cut that doesn’t flatter us. I’ve given up on high street stores (well, with some exceptions as listed below). So I’ve turned my attention to other resources instead.

Class, accessories and style are united in this striped number

As I like to say: Google is your friend. Many websites are dedicated to vintage reproductions to fulfill our every need. If it is an antique’re looking for, Ebay might be the answer. I spent a large portion of this morning searching for Victorian and Edwardian items and stumbled upon over a dozen original outfits – some dating back as far as the 1880’s. And of good quality, too! So, I put in a bid or two and fingers crossed, I will soon be the owner of an antique Victorian jacket. Naturally, they cost rather more than a reproduction but they’re certainly worth it.

Another alternative is Etsy – more suitable for those who, like most of us, live on a budget. You’d be surprised at the amount of vintage inspired clothes and accessories people have made and put up for sale. It is relatively cheap, innovative and you’ll be hard-pressed to run into someone wearing the same outfit.

                                                          Ruffles galore in Anne of Green Gables

Fashion tip:
Notice how in Anne of Green Gables a simple blouse and waistcoat combination instantly gives you a classy, vintage look. I’m sure everyone has a white blouse somewhere hidden in the corners of their wardrobe. Waistcoats are easy to come by in regular stores. Try different styles for different results. Experimentation is key so start mixing and matching! Couple it with a long skirt in neutral tones and you could end up with a Victorian/Steampunk looking fashion hit on your hands. Notice how in the picture below Anne has a small watch on her waistcoat; you can also try a small brooch or pin. Adding that little accessory will liven up your wardrobe and keep things fresh.

                                                          The classical blouse/waistcoat/straw hat combination


Try adding a choker to your dress for a little extra sparkle. See how Mary spruced up her dress by accessorizing. Otherwise, a subtle string of pearls might do the trick. Pay close attention to period drama to see just how effective a well-placed necklace or headdress can be. Gloves are also a real eye-catcher. Nothing says elegance like the evening gown – elbow-length gloves combination. For outside strolls and picnics, you should give a straw hat a try. They come in many different styles, with all sorts of ribbon, feathers and even fruit. 

                                           Mary’s choker might be recycled but it’s a stunner.

                                               The very definition of puff sleeves.