Best in Show ~ People Tree Dresses

Hello all

I love People Tree. That is, I love getting the catalogue through my door and perusing it wishing I could afford to buy anything. I have never bought anything from them, but I know that if I did, I would love my purchases. I had never heard of them before Emma Watson did a collaboration with them, but now I love them and check out the sale section on their website all the time.

I was going to just do a blog post of all the things that I have found that I love, but that would be a very long post, so I thought, for now, I’d just pick my favourite dresses from the site at the moment.

Dragonfly Frill Neck Dress – £42dragonfly-frill-neck-dress-f76db6b59f30

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Tropical Print Amy Dress – £75


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Sari Kimono Dress – £64


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Lora Coral Dot Dress – £75


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Delicate Flower Skater Dress – £55


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What do you think of my choices? I obviously love them all, but I think my favourite Tropical Print Amy dress. It’s on the front of the most recent catalogue, and I keep catching sight of it and wishing I could afford £75 for a dress! I also really like the Sari Kimono dress; it’s not my usual style (more like my sister Kim’s), but I do really like it and think it would be a great autumn dress!

The great thing about People Tree is that all of their items are Free Trade; they are committed to improving the lives of the poorest people around the world. You can buy anything from them with a clear conscience and with the knowledge that you are also helping these people. There items are beautiful and fashionable and wonderful, but they aren’t interested in ‘fast fashion’; things that are produced cheaply at the expense of those poor communities for our consumption.

Until next time


Boys Don’t Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses

Hello all

I’ve worn glasses since I was about thirteen. I probably needed them before then, but I did my ‘head in the sand’ thing, and avoided it for a while. I remember my Maths teacher used to go on and on at me about getting glasses because I was struggling in his class. As it turns out, I was in a set that was slightly too advanced for me, but that’s neither here nor there; I needed glasses. I’ve obviously worn them ever since, apart from the period when I didn’t have any because I lost a lens in New York and couldn’t afford (nor be bothered, really) to replace them.

Anyway, I’ve recently come to the decision that my face looks way better with glasses in it. I present to you the following pieces of evidence to bear this out.

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Item No. 1 – Me without glasses

I know that this isn’t the best photograph, but it’s the best, most recent one I have taken of myself without glasses on. I had actually bothered to straighten my hair and put some make up on, so I’m happy to share it with you. I have tried to edit it to make it a little better, but nothing works, so bear with me.

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Item No. 2 – Me with glasses

Again, sorry about the quality of the photograph, but you get the idea. My glasses make my face less moon-like. I know that this is mostly to do with the fact that I need to lose some weight, but honestly, I think my face is loads better when I am wearing glasses. (If you don’t agree, there’s no real need to tell me. I have to wear my glasses, so to tell me they don’t suit me would be futile.)

The glasses that I have are really cheap ones from SelectSpecs, but I kind of love them. (They don’t seem to have my exact pair any more, but these are very similar.) I like that they are so cheap that I can buy myself more than one pair if I want, and have different glasses for different occasions.

Although I’m really happy with the glasses that I do have, I’ve been searching out inspiration for a different pair. Here is what I’ve found!

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Although I am not convinced they would suit me, I really like Chloe Sevigny’s pair. I found a similar pair at Specsavers, in the range that Gok Wan designed. They are a slightly different shape, but they have the half and half effect. They are also a bit out of my price range at £99.


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I think I like these glasses, but I know that a lot of what I like about this photograph is the overall beauty of Demi Lovato. So jealous. Anyway, these are rounder than mine, and slightly on the bigger side, but they aren’t dissimilar. I’m not sure that my face is actually long enough to pull off a bigger frame, but it’s worth trying. I couldn’t find a pair exactly the same, but these ones (called Jennifer, again from Specsavers), are similar.


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Hayden Panettiere glasses here are similar to the ones that I lost the lens from in New York; they were a similar sort of width, but hers cover more of her face. They aren’t as big as mine or either of the others I have featured, but I like them for that, because they are a bit different to what everyone else is wearing these days. I found a couple of similar pairs, this pair from Boots (called Emma, for £44), and the pair below, from Selectspecs at just £10! I picked a different colour, because I like these brown ones.


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Actress Jennifer Aniston attends 'El Hormiguero' Tv showon February 22, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.

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I really like Jennifer Aniston’s glasses here, because they are a thinner frame, but still a nice shape. I also like the tortoise-shell colour. The closest pair I could find were these Specsavers ones, though they aren’t quite right. (They are Karen Millen, at £125.) I found a few pairs on eBay that I liked, but obviously they are clear glass, and would be of no use to me.


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Vodafone girl

I did a screenprint of the Vodafone advert because I liked this girl’s glasses so much. They are kind of hard to see in the photograph here, but you can tell that they are kind of big, Again, I think they would probably be a little too big for my face, and obviously I am not as pretty as her, which would help, but I like them anyway. The closest I could find were another pair of Gok Wan glasses from Specsavers, they are £99.


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What do you think? Do you like the current fashion of bigger frames, or do you prefer a more subtle approach to eyewear? I think it’s great that there is such a wide range of options out there, and at such good prices too. I know that budget glasses might not be everyone’s cup of tea, at the end of the day you are getting what you pay for, as the frames are made of plastic, but for someone like me who can’t afford to spend £100 on a pair of glasses at the moment, they are ideal. Also, I have had my pair since November, and they are still going strong. I’m not exactly careful with them, either!

Until next time


Books Q&A

Hello all

Terri-Jane over at twoninethree answered this questionnaire on Friday, and I thought I’d do the same!

The Rules:

1. Post these rules

2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover

3. Answer the questions below

4. Tag a few people to answer them too

5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you’ve tagged them

6. Make sure you tell the person who tagged you that you’ve taken part!


What are you reading now?

This morning I started reading Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford. I got it from the library to read before the television dramatisation airs, but I have to say that I am struggling a little bit with it. I don’t know if I’m going to continue with it!

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?

I have Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah to read, also from the library. I heard about it on the radio when the author was on the Simon Mayo book club, and I reserved it. It has taken ages and ages to come, but I have it now!

What books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?

Currently there are about fifty books on my bookshelf that are unread, so there are lots and lots! Labyrinth (Kate Mosse) and Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) are two that spring to mind as having been there for a while though.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?

I’m not a huge magazine reader, but I often get passed copies of The Lady to read, and I like having a flick through that. Other than that, if I can afford it, it’s Empire or Total Film.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?

I’m not really one for persisting with books I am not enjoying; if I don’t like it then I will probably give up. There are too many books in the world that I want to read to waste time on ones I am not enjoying! Having said that I read May Day (Scott F. Fitzgerald) earlier this year, and it wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was only a novella though, so once I was about halfway through it seemed silly not to finish it.

What books seems really popular but you actually hated?

I recently read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. I waited for ages for this one at the library too, because it was awarded the Man Booker Prize, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Obviously it’s a very well written book, and who am I to say that I didn’t enjoy a book that was singled out for one of the most important and prestigious literary awards in the world? But I didn’t really enjoy it.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?

I don’t think that there is one book that I would recommend to “just about everyone”, simply because I know people have such widely different tastes when it comes to reading. But I will always recommend American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld if I think it’s going to be a welcome recommendation.

What are your 3 favourite poems?

Where do you usually get your books?

If I’m buying, it’s charity shops. I can’t afford to buy new books these days, unless it is something that I desperately want or need. But I actually use the library far more than charity shops now, because it’s free! I reserve lots of books; as soon as I hear about a book that I think I might want to read, I add it to my reservations list and wait for it to come in. It may take months, but there are plenty of other books to read in the mean time, and I’m happy to wait in most cases! A library is honestly one of my favourite places to be.

Where do you usually read your books?

In the bath! That’s where I do most of my reading, though I do read before I go to bed too, and on the train. I try to read on the bus, but I can’t do it for long before I start to feel really ill.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?

I read a lot; I was reading before I started school, and I’ve never stopped. I don’t think I had any particular habits as such, just that I did a lot of it!

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

It was probably The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson. It was a great conclusion to a fantastic trilogy, and I couldn’t stop until I’d finished!

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?

Similar to Terri-Jane’s answer (and probably anyone who has ever done a degree with a literature element), I am ashamed to say that I have! Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to read all the books that you have to, and you have to cheat a little bit. I always told myself that it was much better to use an online aid rather than turn up to the class without having any idea what the book was about!

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?

I’ve never bought a book just because I liked the cover. I do think that a good cover is very important, but if I pick up a book because I like the cover and then read the back and discover it’s probably not my thing, I won’t buy/borrow it. It’s needs to be the full package!

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

I’ve written about this in blog posts before; I was (and still am) a huge fan of Shirley Hughes’ Alfie books, along with Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series. I also liked the Puddle Lane books, and Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What book changed your life?

I don’t think a book has ever changed my life, as such. Mansfield Park changed my reading habits, because I had never even thought about reading Jane Austen before I read it for my A-Level English Literature class, and that led me to find Pride and Prejudice. The seven Harry Potter books changed my life in a way, I suppose. Not to sound too cheesy, but my best friends and I love them deeply, and I think they provide a bond between us that we will always have. When we are eighty, we will look back on the years when they were being published and released (along with the films), and have very fond memories.

What is your favourite passage from a book?

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.” The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

“She was the reason I was a reader, and being a reader is what had made me most myself; it had given me the gifts of curiosity and sympathy, an awareness of the world as an odd and vibrant contradictory place, and it had me unafraid of its oddness and contradictions.” American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

“The pause makes you think the song will end. And then the song isn’t really over, so you’re relieved. But then the song does actually end, because every song ends, obviously, and THAT. TIME. THE. END. IS. FOR. REAL.” A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.” The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

There are loads more, but I’m going to restrain myself!

Who are your top five favourite authors?

I simply can’t, and won’t, restrict myself to just five favourites. But here are five that I like.

  • Jennifer Egan
  • Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Agatha Christie
  • Enid Blyton
  • J.K. Rowling

What book has no one heard about but should read?

I wouldn’t deign to suppose that I know about many books that are especially undiscovered, but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a good book that a lot of people seem to have ignored.

What are your favourite books by a first-time author?

  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (sorry to repeat myself here!)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

What is your favourite classic book?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

5 other notable mentions?

  • The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth

Let me know if you do this Q&A!


Reasons to be Cheerful in 2012 – Films (May)

Hello all

Welcome to another edition of Reasons to be Cheerful. How many films did you see last month? I managed to see Titanic 3D twice, as there were two different groups of friends to go with, and while I haven’t managed to see Avengers Assemble yet (it only came out a couple of days ago), I should be going before the end of May. My local cinema is a little independent one and sometimes gets films a bit later than the multiplexes – we’ve been promised Avengers Assemble by 25th May. But I’m happy to wait as it will mean paying a much cheaper ticket price than if I went to the Odeon or suchlike.

Anyway, onto May. There are quite a few films arriving this month, and I’m going to be previewing both the big hitters and the films I want to see myself. Sometimes these overlap, sometimes they very much don’t, but in the interests of a well informed, non-biased blog post, I’ll tell you about all of them, even if I’d rather cut out my own tonsils than pay money to see them.

American Reunion


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Because this blog post is a little late, this film is out already (it came out today). I’m no fan of the American Pie films at all; the kind of broad, gross-out humour has never been my cup of tea. I’ve only seen the first film, and while I didn’t hate every single minute of it, it certainly didn’t induce in my any need to a)ever watch it again, or b) watch any of the subsequent sequels. This latest one is the eighth instalment, and it seems to be being mooted as the last one, with the tag line ‘Save the Best Piece for Last’. Obviously box office success and cast willingness (read lack of any other work for the majority of them) will dictate whether or not that turns out to be true. So the premise of this one is that the gang from the original film, including Jim, Michelle, Stifler and Oz head home for the high school reunion, with high jinks and japes ensuing. Lots of sex jokes can be expected. I would say that if you are the right age to remember and love the original film, if you are a teenage boy, or if you just have the sense of humour of one, you’ll probably enjoy this. Released 2nd May.

Beauty and the Beast 3D


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Another Disney reissue in 3D, Beauty and the Beast follows in the footsteps of The Lion King and Toy Story from last year. Finding Nemo is also coming later this year, and I’m sure that many more will follow. I’ve actually already seen this release of Beauty and the Beast, I went at the weekend to a free preview. There isn’t much to say; I’m not really sure that it’s worth paying over £10 for the privilege of seeing a film that I already own just for the 3D element. The 3D is, of course, done well, but I’ve never been a fan of 3D, especially, and Beauty and the Beast is already a fantastic film, that doesn’t require anything extra. There is also a Tangled short at the start that is pretty awesome. Released 4th May.

Silent House


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Here’s another film that I won’t be seeing, especially not at the cinema. That’s not because I don’t think it looks good (I do, based on the trailer, at least, if not the critical reception). It’s because it looks too scary for me to even consider. It is a remake of a Uruguayan horror, which itself was apparently inspired by true events. One of the main selling points of it is that it is shot in real time, meaning that the 88 minutes of the film that you see are 88 minutes of a ‘real’ evening. It stars Elizbeth Olsen, who received rave reviews for her role in Martha Marcy May Marlene, and looks to be building quite the career for herself. The directors of Silent House were also responsible for Open Water, so if you liked that, maybe you’ll enjoy this one too. As I mentioned, the critical reception has not been amazing for Silent House, but take a look at the trailer, and make your own mind up! Released 4th May.

Dark Shadows

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Hold on to your hats, people. Dark Shadows is a Tim Burton film, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Weird, right? Anyway, Dark Shadows is based on a soap opera from the 1960s, and tells the story of Barnabas Collins, played by the aforementioned Johnny Depp, who is turned into a vampire and buried alive by a witch in the 18th Century, only to be reawakened in 19872, where he finds his family home inhabited by his ancestors. It also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and  Eva Green, and looks as though it is actually quite funny. It’s probably not really my sort of film, but I think it will probably appeal to rather a lot of people. Released 11th May.

The Dictator


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This is it. The film that I would rather sever body parts with rusty instruments than go and see. Seriously, I have no desire to see more of Sasha Baron Cohen in films than I already have. That is, I’ve watched the trailer for The Dictator. Two minutes of my life that I’m never going to get back. But, as I said, I wanted to preview all the big films that are coming, and it seems that is going to be big, one way or another. Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator from a fictional Middle Eastern country. It’s filmed in the mockumentary style, like his previous features, Bruno and Borat, and also stars Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly and Megan Fox. Released 16th May.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting

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Very much in the vein of He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, this is an ensemble romantic comedy. From the trailer, it would seem that this is my type of film, although I thought that about New Year’s Eve, and I got my fingers sorely burned. This one stars Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Chace Crawford, Dennis Quaid, Rodrigo Santoro and, bizarrely, Cheryl Cole. It is ‘based’ on a book, presumably in the same way that HJNTIY was based on a book: it’s a self-help book that inspired the film, rather than the film being a novelisation. It tells various stories of couples expecting babies, and  as long as it’s entertaining in a rom-com kind of way, I’ll be happy. Released 23rd May.


Men in Black 3


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Finally for May we have Men in Black 3. This is the third (obviously) in a franchise that began fifteen years ago in 1997. I don’t really have anything against the Men in Black films, though I have only seen the first sequel, and not the original film. The new one sees Will Smith’s Agent J travelling back in time to 1969 to save both Agent K (played by Josh Brolin in 1969) and the earth. I do have to wonder if fifteen years is a bit too long to expect audiences to really appreciate the film in the same way; a film that worked well in the 90s isn’t necessarily going to do the same in 2012. All that being said, it looks as though it could be rather fun, and Emma Thompson is in it, and we all know how awesome she is. Also, it looks as though the Chrysler Building features in the film, and I’m always on board with that. Released 25th May.

What are you going to be seeing this month?