Progress Report ~ January

Hello all

As we’ve reached the end of the first month of 2012, I thought I’d provide you with an update as to how I am getting on with my ‘What to do in 2012’ list. I would also update you on my 30 Before 30 List too, but there’s not much happening on that front at the moment! Hopefully I’ll have more to tell you at the end of next month!

Most of the items on the list involve outings, and I haven’t achieved any of these yet. The main reason for that is money; I haven’t got any, and therefore I can’t afford to do all these things. However, hopefully that will change soon, and I’ll be able to get going with some of them!

There has been some minor progress with a couple of the other items on the list, though they are very much a work in progress!

See 52 new films

So far, this year, I have seen ten new films. This is actually quite an achievement for me, because last year I only managed 30 all year! I chose 52 because it works out to 1 a week, on average, so I am about 6 ahead of myself now.

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Read 75 Books

I feel as though I am falling behind with this. Not that I am not reading, I am, and I making very good use of my library card. But I have only read 7 books, and it’s already February, so unless I get a shifty on, I don’t think I’ll make it to my target of 75 by the end of the year!

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Project 366

Project 366 is going well in the sense that I have managed to take a photograph every day so far. However, it’s not exactly challenging me, and has come to be a bit of a chore; I often get to 11.30 and realise that I haven’t taken a photo, so hurry to take one! I have to start going out in search of a good photo, and that will hopefully reflect itself in the coming weeks’ photos! If you have missed any of my weekly roundups, they can be found here.

Until next time


What to do in 2012

Hello all

Aside from my content-lite, photo-heavy, sent-from-my-phone Boxing Day post, I have been quiet on the blog over Christmas. I haven’t really had time to think about posting, because I’ve been rather busy! I have had a lovely time with my family, and tomorrow I am off to London town to meet up with some of my favourite people from uni. My New Year’s Eve plans are with my family too; I am going to my brother’s house for fun, food and games. I hope all of my lovely readers out there have had a fabulous Christmas and are looking forward to a special New Year, no matter how you choose to spend it!

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Right now, I am going to share a few aims for 2012. Every year I half-heartedly make a list of New Year’s Resolutions, and I never remember what they are by the end of January! This year, my resolutions will be to complete as many of my 30 Before 30 list as possible, and also to complete as many of this new list as possible. All being well, this will be a regular yearly list. They are all things that I want to achieve each year. So here we go:

  • Go to a music concert/gig: I want to go to a gig, whether it be a massive stadium concert with Lady Gaga or Take That, or a tiny local gig with a band that I’ve never heard of before. I just want to start seeing more live music!
  • Go to the theatre: Again, this can be a West End play or musical, or it can be a local amateur dramatic production. Whatever, I just like going to the theatre.
  • Go to a comedy gig: I have never seen live stand-up comedy before, so I would like to go. Maybe I’ll go to a comedy club or something similar.
  • Go to a theme park: This is a regular occurrence anyway, I usually go at least once a year, but I will put it on my list to ensure that it happens. And hopefully next year’s trip won’t end in an motorway-side singsong.
  • Go to a stately home: I love a good stately home, and I’m determined to visit Chatsworth at some point. Even if I can’t make it to Derbyshire this year, there are plenty of lovely places in Essex, to begin with (Audley End, for example).
  • Read 75 books: I didn’t set myself a target this year, though it was the first year when I actually kept a record of all the books I read. At the moment I am at 69, but that should be at least 70 by the end of Saturday. I have included every book I’ve read, whether it’s for the first, second, or fourteenth time. I think that 75 is a doable target; I probably have at least half that many books on my shelf that I’ve not yet read.
  • See 52 new films: This is less certain. I was also keeping track of films that I saw in 2011, though I was only counting films I saw for the first time. I have managed 30 so far, and I can’t see it rising before the weekend. 52 is therefore ambitious, but it only works out to one a week, and I will just have to make an effort. There are lots of films due in the cinema that I am excited about this coming year, so I will have to make lots of cinema visits!
  • Project 365: This is the most ambitious of my 2012 resolutions. A lot of people across the blogosphere take part in similar projects to this (I’ve been reading Sam’s blog all year), and I thought I’d give it a go. You may remember last year I had a similar idea; I was going to take a photograph of myself everyday. I managed it for about three months (give or take a few days), but let’s face it, it was boring. I want to take photos of more interesting things, so I am going to try it again. I won’t be posting each photo everyday, but, if I can manage it, I’m going to do a weekly round up each Sunday. And as the year starts on a Sunday, that works out fabulously!

So that’s that. my 2012 list. I know that it might seem a bit excessive to have a 30 before 30 list, and a 2012 list, but I don’t care. This new one is hopefully going to be one that I continue each year forever. They are all things that I want to do every year. And I do so love a list.

Until next time


Jane loves photos

Hello all
Day 6 of the June Photo Challenge is ‘Books’. As I said yesterday, I have a lot of those, so it was really hard narrowing down the choices! I took lots of photos, and this is the one that I chose to go on the Flickr group.

These are the books by the side of my bed; including The Silence of the Lambs that I am currently reading. Unfortunately the photograph is slightly blurred, but I liked it so it’s the one I chose. I’m also going to share with you a handful of the other photographs I took.
Until next time



Jane loves blogging

Hello all
I’ve missed a week of the postaweek challenge again! I have no real excuse this time, except that the computer I use primarily is a bit temperamental, so the actual posting can be difficult sometimes. But I’m back this week.
What is the last good book you read?
I’m an avid reader, I love books and I don’t think I could live without reading. I’ve always got a book on the go, and I usually read at least once a day. But sometimes I go through stages where I read even more voraciously than usual. And I’m currently going through one of these phases now. I have a Books tab at the top of this page, and I’m updating it with all the books I read in 2011. My total is at 25 so far, and that includes everything, including the children’s books that I love, and all the books I have read before. Looking at my list, I can see that I was obviously going through a greedy-reading phase at the start of the year (I read eight books in January), and, as I said, now. I’ve read three books since the start of the month, and two of them in the last two days.
So I thought I’d give you a brief review of the last book I read, which I finished about twenty minutes ago. It’s called The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson.
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The Chocolate Run is a story about Amber, a young woman, living in Leeds, who has been friends with Greg for a few years. They are friends because their own best friends are in a relationship, and they were kind of thrown together. As the book begins, they have just slept together for the first time, and Amber can’t decide whether or not she’s just made a huge mistake. Greg’s a womaniser, a tart, a serial shagger – he’s not a man that she ever imagined sleeping with, never mind beginning a tentative relationship with.
As the title may indicate, chocolate plays a part in the story. Amber isn’t a chocoholic, she’s more like a chocolate connoisseur. She appreciates everything about chocolate; not just its taste, but the way it smells, looks, feels. The book is actually much less about chocolate that I thought it would be, based on the title. Amber judges people in terms of chocolate, someone might be a Flake, where someone else might be a very expensive dark chocolate. But it doesn’t play a huge part in the plot of the novel.
At the end of the day, The Chocolate Run (which was published in 2004) was never going to win any awards for high-brow literature, nor is the ending any great surprise: you don’t read chick-lit without being able to guess at the ending from about halfway through the book. But it’s entertaining, and it is kind of nice to read a book that is about a woman who has some commitment issues, rather than it always been about the man who is reluctant to settle down. It’s also refreshing to read a book of this type that is set outside London. OK, so all involved have good jobs and nobody is short of money, but it’s still nice to read about a different city.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a simple, romantic story – I read it in just under a day, because I was enjoying it and wanted to find out exactly how it would end. I’m about to read Mister Pip next, which I understand will be a slightly different kettle of fish.
Until next time

Jane loves films

Hello all
This week we’ve had the tale of two trailers. Both based on books by British authors, both highly anticipated (by me, at least). One trailer has left me cursing the fact that July does not follow April; the other one has left me wondering if I might just bypass the film and re-read the book. This post is going to discuss the latter, and I’ll discuss the other one at a later time.
Do you remember, a couple of months ago, I wrote about my love for One Day, the book by David Nicholls? To be honest, I gushed, rather than wrote, I enjoyed it that much. I also spoke about how I had, ill-advisedly, read some message boards that bemoaned the casting of Anne Hathaway as Emma. I don’t think it’s a good idea to automatically decide that someone isn’t the person to play a character just because it seems a bit off. I don’t really remember, but I’m fairly sure that there were similar voices of dissent when Renée Zellweger was cast as Bridget Jones, and now you’d be hard-pressed to imagine anyone else playing her. But, I wander from my point, because I am now about to stomp all over the idea of Anne Hathaway as Emma, albeit having waited to see some footage before doing so.
I love Anne Hathaway, I really do. I think she’s a very watchable actress, she’s not one of those girls that other girls don’t really like (yes Megan Fox, I’m looking at you). I liked her when I first saw her, in The Princess Diaries, I liked her in Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada; I even liked her in Bride Wars, even though it’s not that good. And I’m fairly sure I’m going to love her in Glee. Plus, you know, we share a birthday (same day, same year), so that gives us a link, I feel.
However, she’s not looking great as Emma. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to have mastered the English accent at all, something I find surprising, considering she played Jane Austen in Being Jane and didn’t seem to attract too much criticism (I haven’t seen it, so I can’t judge). But in this trailer, we are treated to her butchering the accent, and never it is more obvious than when she says “I know we will” to Dex. She also seems to be using a weird combination of accents, when she says both “I’m a disaster” and “chances”, she’s using a long ‘a’ sound, which would be fine if she was actually speaking with a Northern accent (Emma is supposed to be from Yorkshire). But everything else is very middle England, and so it just jars. And when she says “absolutely”, to me it just sounds like her regular American voice.
The trailer also manages to give away most of the plot of the film, barring the ending, which to be fair, is the major reveal that you probably wouldn’t want to know before seeing it. Jim Sturgess looks good, but that might just be because I’m feeling generous towards him because I enjoyed him so much in Across the Universe last week.
I don’t think the film looks horrible, nor do I think it’s going to be a terrible adaptation of one of my favourite books of recent years. However, I don’t think it looks all too great. I know it’s probably not a good idea to judge an actor’s performance in a film based solely on the trailer, but you do have to wonder how much better it can possibly get. It’s not just the accent either, she doesn’t look terribly comfortable in the role, and if she’s not convinced by her performance, how on earth am I supposed to be? The book is pretty much Emma’s story; although it’s about her and Dex, I feel that she carries the narrative. Also, in the film, Anne Hathaway is a much bigger star than Jim Sturgess, so I feel that she’ll probably be used in the greater capacity.
Of course, as I have previously stated, I would never want to be one of those people who feel so negatively about a film adaptation that I would let it ruin my enjoyment of the novel. I will go to the cinema to see One Day, and if I don’t like it, I’ll file it away under ‘films I won’t watch again’, and go back to the book. My main problem is, when so much relies on the performance of a particular actor, why take any chances with the casting? Surely to goodness there are plenty of British actresses out there who could be relied upon to bring Emma to life. Granted, Anne Hathaway plays frumpy to perfection, but it’s not unheard of for a) people to uglify themselves for a film role, or b) films to take a bit of artistic license when it comes to casting stunningly beautiful people as average-looking characters. Emma Watson, anyone?
For reasons unknown to me, my skills as a casting director have yet to be recognised by any major Hollywood players. However, I’m the boss around here, so I decided to do a little fantasy casting for the part of Emma. Romola Garai, firstly, who was in I Capture the Castle, Atonement, and the recent BBC2 drama The Crimson Petal and the White. She’s the same age as Anne Hathaway, give or take a few months, plus she’s British, so she’d have no accent problems. I’m not suggesting for one minute that she’s ugly or frumpy, but she does have an interesting face that could be used to great effect to chart Emma’s changing style and confidence.
Kelly MacDonald is one of my favourite actresses, though I haven’t seen her in that much. I love her in Nanny McPhee (one of my most favourite films in the world), and she was also great in State of Play, a television series that I loved. She’s also set to star in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, a fact I did not know until about thirty seconds ago. Anyway, she’s great, but at 35, she might be a bit old to play the youngest version of Emma, who is supposed to be about 21. And she’s Scottish, but we heard her English accent in Nanny McPhee, and it was fine.
At 28, Emily Blunt is, again, very close in age to Anne Hathaway, plus she’s, you know, awesome. At no point is this more evident than in The Devil Wears Prada, where she manages to just about steal every scene she’s in. And again, she’s English. Just saying.
Lastly, Gemma Arterton is probably a bit young, at 25, to play the older version of Emma (I think the novel spans twenty years, so she’d be into her early 40s by the end of the film). But they’ve greyed-up Jim Sturgess’ hair for the end, so it’s not like they couldn’t work their movie magic on Gemma Arterton too.
Well that was fun, I might try some fantasy casting again. I’ll let you all know what I think of the final film when it finally comes out, in September. And I’ll let you know what I think of the other big trailer later on in the week.
Until next time!