I Watched That 014

Welcome to the Punch

This was a film that I’d had on my Netflix list for ages, and then randomly decided to put on late one night. It stars a couple of my favourites, Mark Strong and James McAvoy, and though British crime dramas aren’t my favourite genre, they convinced me to take a look. I thought it was fine; it’s not a film that I would necessarily watch again, but it made a change for a film like this to be as glossy and good looking as it was. It’s worth a watch for the fine British acting talent on display.

Begin Again

I absolutely loved Begin Again. I have heard nothing but good things about Once, the debut of director John Carney, and while I still haven’t got around to watching that film, I knew that Begin Again would be right up my street. Though I’m a fan of Keira Knightley for the most part, I do find that she can be a bit hit or miss, and she has a tendency to come across as slightly irritating. She’s on fine form here though, and Mark Ruffalo is a delight. The supporting actors round out a strong and likable cast, and all in all, it’s just a lovely film.

While We’re Young

Sometimes, when deciding on a film, the running length can be a big factor. Anything that comes in at around 90 minutes instantly has my vote, so the fact that While We’re Young clocked in at 97 minutes, coupled with an amusing trailer, meant that I was quite keen to see it. I’ve only ever watched one Noah Baumbach film previously (Frances Ha), and I loved it, so I had high hopes for this one. Ultimately I was disappointed. It was a long hour and half, and I didn’t really enjoy the time that I spent in the company of the two main characters. I found them fairly irritating, and aside from a couple of very funny lines from an incidental character, I didn’t really laugh either.

Iron Man 3

As much as I love Marvel films, the Iron Man series has never been my favourite. This might be an opinion coloured by the fact that Iron Man 2 is so godawful, but it definitely meant that I was never to keen to complete the trilogy by seeing Iron Man 3, even though I had heard that it was so much better. I’m glad that I did, because a) I’m a completist, and I didn’t like having a Marvel film outstanding, and b) it’s well worth a watch. It’s fun to watch a slightly different Tony Stark, dealing with the fallout from The Avengers, and witness the vulnerability that comes when he doesn’t have his suit to hide behind.

Pitch Black

This came at a time when I was experiencing a minor Vin Diesel obsession, having watched so many Fast and Furious films in such a short time. It really didn’t last long, but it made me buy Pitch Black! I didn’t really expect to enjoy it quite as much as I did; Riddick is an interesting character, as an anti-hero he’s never anything other than completely likeable, with strong morals. I’m not sure I’m completely taken with the colour filters that are applied throughout, but ultimately I enjoyed it a lot.

John Wick

John Wick was an odd film in that I didn’t really want to see it based on the trailer, though my friend Hannah did, and then when we did see it, I liked it a lot more than Hannah did. I can’t honestly say that Keanu Reeves is my favourite actor, but I really enjoyed him here. It’s clear that the people behind the film are stunt men, because this is a film that is all about the fight sequences; they are choreographed like ballet sequences, and the camera lingers where other directors would have cut away. John Wick is definitely a film that I’d watch again, though I think I’d have a little trouble convincing Hannah!

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

I watched this on a whim while I was babysitting one night; I’m a big fan of Kenneth Branagh, not such a big fan of Chris Pine, but I do enjoy a good spy-action film, and that’s exactly what this is. Keira Knightley pops up again, and gives good wife, but it’s really all about Chris Pine trying to establish himself as Jack Ryan. This is an entertaining action thriller that doesn’t try too hard, and as such, doesn’t hit the very heights that it might be reaching for. Perfectly entertaining while you’re watching it, without worrying you for a minute once you’ve finished.


Right now, I am mostly…

Enjoying : I’m enjoying the fact that I now have a laptop on which to blog. I had been making do with a terribly archaic setup, and it totally wasn’t working for me, so I took the plunge and bought myself a laptop. It’s going to hopefully mean a return to regular blogging, and I’m starting by reintroducing my Mondaying posts, which have been missing for a while!

Reading : I’m lucky enough to have been sent a review copy of the release of the year. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo have written a book called The Movie Doctors, and so far, it’s as amazing as you probably think it’s going to be. I’m going to be reviewing it in a couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that!

Watching : As I write this, I’m watching The Go-Between; the adaptation of the L.P. Hartley book that was on BBC1 a couple of weeks ago. I read the book while I was at school, and then again last year, and watching the adaptation is reminding me how much I like it. I may have to seek out more of Hartley’s work.

Listening : On Friday night I went up to London to see The Dodge Brothers play at the Blues Kitchen in Camden. The venue was not to my taste; too loud, crowded and dark for me, though I guess it was perfect for this kind of music. They are really, very good, and I don’t just say this as a fan of their bass player. They really did bring the house down; everyone had a lot of fun. I enjoyed meeting up with Chloe, my Witter/Twitter friend, although we agreed that we’re both too similar to do well in this kind of environment – neither of us are very good at pushing through people to get to the the bar or to hold our own in a big group of people! Much fun was had, however.

Laughing : I had to laugh when I looked through the office door to see this pair of doodles! They had been left at the office while their humans (can’t bring myself to say ‘mummy and daddy’ and don’t think ‘owners’ sounds quite right) were out at a meeting, and they don’t like being left behind!

Joking : I took this photo in Next last week, while it was still September, and then put it on Instagram with the caption, “I put my tree up today. Not too early is it?” I obviously found myself hilarious, but I don’t know how I managed to convince anyone, given all the tags on the decorations! My tree doesn’t go up until at least the beginning of December, and even then I do it under protest!

Photo an Hour #26

It’s probably reaching a point where I should stop apologising for being so late with my Photo an Hour posts, because it happens every month! Although I’m hoping to start getting on top of everything blog-related very soon; I have plans that involve me being a lot more organised!

The day that Louisa chose for September’s Photo an Hour was last Saturday, the 26th September. My friend Hannah’s sister was having her baby shower, so we went up to Scunthorpe for that, and a day that originally would have involved a lot of car photos (as we were planning to do the whole trip, there and back, in one day), had less in the end, as we made a last minute decision to stay up there on the Friday night.

8 9

8am ~ Due to the aforementioned drive up on Friday night, I woke up in a Travelodge. I’m always wary, because I have heard such horror stories, but this one seemed fairly new and was really nice. You can just see me in the photo if you look hard enough!

9am ~ In the supermarket. We were helping Hannah’s mum get some last minute bits from the buffet, and despite temptation lurking everywhere, I was good and didn’t buy anything to eat.

10 11

10am ~ Obviously, given the choice, Radio 2 would be on all day every day, but it’s not my car, and therefore not my choice! Viking is the local station that Hannah remembers and likes.

11am ~ A balloon selfie. It took me ages to get one that I liked.

12 13

12pm ~ Some pretty baby shower cupcakes. Despite having recently started Slimming World, I ate one.

1pm ~ More balloons. As I so often find with Photo an Hour days, sitting in one place for four hours really forces you to be inventive with the photos you take.

14 15

2pm ~ A cup of tea was the best drink option at the pub for someone who didn’t want to drink alcohol or fizzy. I was surrounded by older people doing the same, so I didn’t look too out of place.

3pm ~ Admiring some of the baby shower gifts. There were an awful lot!

16 17

4pm ~ It takes around four hours to get back to Essex, so we decided to get on the road by about four. At some point I’m going to go back and look at how many wing mirror photos I have taken during Photo an Hour days, as I think it’s probably a lot!

5pm ~ The age-old problem of trying to think of something to listen to in the car. This is a very old CD case full of very old mix CDs.

18 19

6pm ~ A stop at the Peterborough services, where I went into M&S and bought nothing.

7pm ~ The M11, if I remember correctly.

20 21

8pm ~ Finally home! Time to cook something very quick for dinner that didn’t involve eating a load of crap.

9pm ~ We had two Strictlys to catch up with, so we put them on and got through one and a half. Time for bed!

As always, there were plenty of people joining in with Photo an Hour, and always I am going to share them here, with the usual apology if I’ve missed you off! Let me know if I have and I will add you.

♥ Elise from Elise and Life joined in on her blog
♥ Erika from A Quiet Girl in a Noisy City joined in on Instagram
♥ Jen joined in on Instagram
♥ Rebecca joined in on Instagram
♥ Rachel joined in on Instagram
♥  Rebecca from Sullen Hearts joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Bee from Vivatramp joined in on Instagram and on her blog (I’m almost certain that Bee’s participation had nothing to do with our gang, she just happened to do a Photo an Hour on the same day that we did. But I thought I’d include her anyway!)
♥ Danielle from Chicadeedee joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Laura joined in on Instagram
♥ Dee from The Life of Dee joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Amy from Fluffy Owl’s Adventures joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Bee joined in on Instagram
♥ Liz from Distract Me Now Please joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Kerri from Crumbs in the Bed joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Bex from Futures joined in on Instagram
♥ Sarah from Sarah Rooftops joined in on Instagram and on her blog
♥ Penny from A Penny For Them joined in on Instagram
♥ Bev from Confuzzledom joined in on her blog
♥ Susie from Second Hand Susie joined in on her blog
♥ Hazel from World of Joy joined in on her blog
♥ Ashleigh from Mother Hen joined in on Instagram (a couple of days later than the rest of us, on Tuesday!)
♥ Louisa from Duck in a Dress joined in on Instagram

I actually completely forgot that Photo an Hour was happening until Friday night, which means that I forgot to send out the reminder that I recently set up. But I’ll be back on it for October, so if you would like a timely reminder, please feel free to sign up here with your email address, and I’ll send one out a couple of days before. Talking of which, the date for October will be Saturday 17th October. I have tentative plans to head along to a blogger meet-up, though in all honesty, I doubt that’s going to happen – October is already so busy that I can feel I’m going to want a day of not doing very much at all. I anticipate a day of book, blanket and tea photos! I hope you can join in with the fun – it literally is just a case of taking one photo every hour; you can set an alarm on your phone if you think you’ll forget! Don’t forget to let me know if you do write a blog post, I don’t always catch them all and I don’t like to miss anyone out.

Book Blog Tour ~ A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody

9780349406565 (1)This time last year I reviewed another Frances Brody novel; Death of an Avid ReaderThat was the first I had read in the Kate Shackleton series, though it was the sixth book to have been published, and A Death in the Dales is the seventh to follow the adventures of Kate Shackleton, an amateur detective working just after the end of the First World War.

This story finds her relocated from her home in Leeds to a small village in the Yorkshire dales, where she takes her niece to recuperate from diphtheria. Whilst there, of course, she gets embroiled in a number of mysterious circumstances; a missing boy, a decades-old murder, and an illicit affair.

As I mentioned in my previous review, these stories are known as cosy crime. They aren’t going to portray gruesome murders and terrifying crimes; it’s all about the gradual solving of the mystery by Kate Shackleton. In the manner of Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, mystery seems to follow her around, even on holiday she can’t escape it!

It’s no surprise that the seemingly separate mysteries of murder, affairs of the heart and missing children are woven together, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in guessing which way things are going to turn next. Frances Brody has created a strong female heroine who is completely of her time; a woman who has had to carve out a life for herself in a post-war world where nothing is as it was before. The supporting characters are all fairly recognisable bit-part players in this kind of story, but are no less entertaining for it.

Fans of Agatha Christie would find lots to love with the Kate Shackleton series; she might not be Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, but she’d run them pretty close.

A Death in the Dales
First published: 1st October 2015
ISBN: 9780349406565
Review copy provided by publisher

Mix CD swap

Mix CD swap

I’m like most bloggers; I love getting post, and I love a blog swap. Ages and ages ago, I joined in with a Mix CD swap through a US blog that I can’t remember the name of, and it was such fun, that I did it a couple of times subsequently with a lovely blogger from Texas. This is my attempt to set up something similar, and see how many people are interested in joining in!

I don’t know how many people actually make mix CDs any more, but I love the idea of making someone a CD with songs on it that I think they might like. Obviously the tradition goes back to mix tapes, and there’s something quite touching about someone taking the time to make something like that!

The basic idea of the swap would be thus; you sign up by leaving a comment with your name and a brief outline of your musical tastes. I pair you up with someone, and then you make a CD filled with songs you think they will like!

I’m thinking that it would be good to have a theme, so I’m going with autumn. Of course, as a theme it’s quite broad, and there are probably hundreds of songs that could work for it.

So, if you are interested, please leave a comment with the following information:

  • Your name and email address (if you’d prefer not to make your email address public, just email me isthatyoudarling@hotmail.co.uk)
  • Where in the world you are, and if you would prefer to swap with someone in the same country (I’m not sure how international this is going to be, but just in case!)
  • Your favourite genres of music
  • Your favourite all-time song

If I get enough interest, I’ll email everyone with their partners the week beginning 28th September. Please spread the word; if you know anyone who might be interested in joining in, please let them know!


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