Archives for category: TV and Books and Stuff

It’s been a race to the finish this month.

At the start of the year I joined in eagerly with another monthly KAL set up through the fabulous Knitting Goddess group on Ravelry. The theme for 2014 is ‘Movie Stars’; each month we get given a name and have to knit something with a (quite often very tenous) link. January was Helena Bonham Carter.

I wasn’t up for the commitment to a large item this month, so opted for something quick and simple. My favourite HBC character is Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter films, so I did a little costume research

I liked the look of the gloves and Ysolda’s Opera Gloves fitted the bill perfectly; her patterns are sublime and easy enough even for my SAD winter-fugged mind. The fact that I can’t imagine ever wearing the things seemed by the by….

The knitting of the gloves took no time at all, but all the others bits have took me forever to get sorted, hence why I am posting on the 31st. I have had ribbon issues, buying the wrong width, then the wrong length. Then there was the blocking: Artesano alpaca + winter temperatures = damp yarn for DAYS. Finally, I even had to think about painting my nails for the photos. CHORE. Honestly, it’s all I can do to brush my teeth at this time of year.

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Still, finished they are, and I’m pretty pleased with them. The lovely ladies at Knit Night reckon they are wearable. They would match perfectly with a beret I made in the same yarn.

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As reports of howling gales and torrential rain fill the radio and TV, I sit in my cosy living room trying not to think about the squally commute which awaits me in just 9 short hours.

I have also made a decision. I’ve felt it coming for a few weeks now, nagging at the edge of my mind as I sit down to yet another evening of crappy TV (Sleepy Hollow and Bates Motel excluded, natch); it’s time to crack open Game of Thrones again.

I started reading these books at the beginning of year, despite my initial reservations. Having considered the wise words of a good friend who advised avoiding any tome with ‘either a family tree or a map in the beginning’, I nevertheless embarked on what I knew would be a reading marathon, as I had watched my husband consume all 8 volumes previously. I wasn’t expecting much, I was the girl put off LOTR by too many battles and beards for goodness sake, but I was gripped from the start.

I’ve enjoyed historical literature in the past, and this had just enough quasi-queens and castles to keep me going, and I found I could overlook some of the extended battle sequences in favour of the strategic game playing that led to them. I enjoyed the characterisation and the way the action moved throughout different parts of the created world. Plus, it had dragons in. So, win.

I’m not expert enough to wax lyrical about the plot or world George RR Martin creates at length, this is the wrong blog for that, although I am sure there are very many out there. Indeed, I often consider it a curse that throughout life I have been geeky enough to be a fan of stuff like this, but never geeky enough for my passion to come out the other side of cool.

But enjoy it I do, and the point of this post was just to say I am re-commencing reading; at the start of volume 3. I stopped fairly abruptly in May when the sun came out, it just didn’t feel right reading this without a onesie on, or a whisky at my side. Or indeed, without the wind howling outside.

It’s seems I have all those ingredients ready once again. So in I go……………

norma bates blue dress

Ever feel like someone has stolen your fantasy wardrobe?

Occasionally a woman comes along who encapsulates everything you want to convey with your style: class, individuality, a nod to timeless elegance, murderous tendencies..

OK, scrap that last one.

In Bates Motel, currently showing on Universal, Thursdays at 9pm in the UK, we meet Norma, mother to infamous Norman (played by an all growed up Freddie Highmore), in a prequel of sorts. It may be stretching it to call her murderous, although she is indeed a murderess (not technically a spoiler, this has been airing in the UK for over a month-where have you been people?!), at least once over so far.

Not entirely unsympathetically drawn, Norma is a strong woman struggling to open a motel in a town full of slowly unravelling secrets, whilst trying to protect her shy and somewhat charming boy from his inevitable descent into the monster we are more familiar with.

And she does it all whilst looking absolutely fabulous (split lip accessory optional).

blue cardi

The scheduling clash of Peaky Blinders with Bates Motel caused a bit of consternation in our house for a few weeks, but now there is no contest.  Whereas the former combines accurate period detail with a contemporary sound track, the latter is more ambiguous about time and place. Ostensibly set in the modern day, the main characters in particular wear clothes more suited to the 40’s or 50’s, making it odd to see shots of Norman clad in a Fairisle jumper and slacks checking his iPhone. This jarring of the characters against their background provides a strange, unnerving atmosphere; the whole series feels very Twin Peaks to me.

I love it.

But nothing so much as Norma’s wardrobes. The dresses! The blouses! The chicness! Vera Farmiga (looking spookily like Gillian Anderson) puts in a cracking performance as the matriarch with control issues.  I’d only previously seen her as a brunette, but here she is a perfect Nordic blonde, very Hitchcock, and cuts a dash in every outfit. The floral dress and fitted cardigan look is one of my own favourites, but like Norma I don’t always play it demure. I’d love to know where this dress is from for example.

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It’s not all flowery frocks. Norma gets down and casual in a while. She has a great range in plaid shirts, and just may be the only woman ever to inspire me to shop for a belted tan leather jacket. But there is one aspect of her style which really has me green with envy. Norma ROCKS a good blouse, and boy has she got some good blouses.

norma blouse

I have always struggled to get shirts to fit, being a somewhat unfortunate combination of shortwaisted and booby. Consequently I am usually flashing my bra through a gap at the front, and the extra material in the length always seems to make its way into a humpback, leaving me looking like a lady Quasimodo. But not our Norma. Not only can she wear a blouse and apron combo with aplomb, she can cook and clean and KILL in that getup!

Us mere mortals can only dream.