Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ugly? Or just different?

This is a post about the film "Beastly", starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer. Due for release this summer, it is a loose re-imagining of the tale of Beauty and Beast. I stumbled across this film through the blog Haute Macabre, who were understandably a little bit miffed about it.

Watch the trailer. It got me thinking about what the mainstream (and to an extent the alternative) media perceives and beautiful and ugly, and onto one of my pet subjects - what message is being sent out to children and the impressionable about self image?

As I said, the film appears from the trailer to be a loose re-imagining of the Beauty and the Beast story. In this version, the 'beast' is an arrogant frat boy who is turned into the beast by a witch. The form that that 'beast' takes? One more commonly seen in the alt. world - tattooed, shaven headed and scarred. Oh, and he rides a motorbike and wears leathers.

I am well aware that there are many many people in the world who think that the merest hint of ink on a body (particularly that of a woman) is cause to deride that person with any number of insults about their personal choices and being ugly (insults that wouldn't wash with many other areas of society by the way), but it is another thing entirely to portray the very definition of ugliness in this way.

Beauty and the Beast is a difficult story to portray, even more so in these supposed times of tolerance and acceptance - however you portray the Beast, you are bound to upset someone. How do you make a sensitive film with an arty feel whilst making the Beast something so outlandish that it couldn't possibly upset someone would be hard. Maybe it is a film best left to the likes of Disney. Jim Steinman managed to get the jist across quite nicely and without upsetting people in the video for Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". I think in that case we have the awe inspiring might of the Meat to thank.

But "Beastly" seems to take it somewhere else. The trailer feels a little bit like the message is "being pretty isn't everything, but you really don't want to look like this". This being different, alternative, non conformist. It feels a little bit like the last vestige of Hollywood prejudice - tattoos are still somewhat taboo outside of certain circles, and cannot ever be allowed to be mainstream. 

This is not to say that I think the alt. media is much better at not portraying stereotypes, but that is the subject of a whole other post for me I think!

I will watch this film when it is released, because I would like to be proven wrong. I would like to think that in the end he learns to love his new look and mourns if he has to change back, and I have therefore completely misjudged it.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The best and the worst of things

It is almost the end of February and another month has flown by so quickly.
Here are my current best and worst of things!

The Best:
  • Skirts - skirts absolutely rock and nothing rocks more than a skirt you have made yourself. 
  • My boyfriend, who is warm and fuzzy (in more ways than one!) and keeps me going when I feel like everything is too much. 
  • Stone Sour - oh god I love this band. Corey Taylor's voice makes me melt into a puddle and I have been listening to their latest album, Audio Secrecy pretty much non stop all weekend. The residents of St James may have spotted me dancing along the street on Saturday morning - this is what I was listening to!
  • The Wagamama Cookbook - some friends bought us this for Christmas and I made my first dish from it last week - rousing success and one of the scrummiest stir frys I have cooked in ages. 
  • Sunny spring days like Saturday morning was - it was so lovely to be out in just a tshirt! 
  • The Healthy Skin Diet book (I mentioned this in my last post) - although I haven't properly started the 8 week programme yet, I've taken a few tips from the book and am implementing them now. My skin is clearing up fantastically, and I have high hopes for the actual programme. 
  • Weleda Almond Skin Care - for sensitive skin that needs rebalancing, this is one of the first sensitive skin ranges I have ever used that doesn't assume that you need heaps of moisturising oils - it sinks into the skin wonderfully and is a great base for make up. Since using it my skin has become so much clearer and heals so much faster. 
  • China Glaze Fairy Dust nail polish - I bought this the other week and have only just had a chance to try it. I used it on top of China Glaze Little Drummer Boy as recommended by a few other people and oh boy it is stunning! 

The Worst:

  • The rain! Today it is bucketing down! 
  • Cleaning - worth it once it is done but so dull and tedious! 
  • Money. It sucks. There never seems to be enough of it! 
  • Uni assignments. Don't get me wrong, I am loving my courses but I hate writing assignments! I have 2 due in 4 and 5 weeks. 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic?

I have never thought of myself as a shopaholic. I don't fit the profile - I mean, I HATE shopping. I don't have an addictive personality, and I do know when to stop. But as I walked out of the cobblers at lunchtime having just handed over £42 of my hard earned pennies to pay for the repairs to the well worn boots and shoes I wear to work everyday (still cheaper than new pairs) I felt this urge to go and buy something.

I dismissed it soon enough, thinking that this close to pay day that might be a little reckless, and actually what do I need? It made me wonder what drives my need to shop, my need to have things, new things, pretty things...

Let's have a look at the things I have bought this month:

Weleda Almond Skincare - cleanser, moisturiser and facial oil - the last is a bit of a luxury item.
Deodorant, toothpaste and soap - again, fairly essential items
Nail polish - China Glaze Ahoy!, OPI Katy Perry The One That Got Away, China Glaze Fairy Dust, Seche Vite (replacement bottle)
2 sets of work out gear and a new sports bra
Skirt from Next (part paid for by vouchers)
Vest top from New Look
T shirt from Sainsburys
Black jersey mini skirt from Sainsburys (paid for with Nectar vouchers)

It doesn't feel like a lot, but it all adds up. Even though the idea of spending an afternoon traipsing round shops feeling depressed that I don't fit into that cookie cutter mould of the 'typical' British woman, I still end up buying things here and there.

But what makes me want to buy things? Is there, as one of those TV psychologists might try to insinuate, a deeper need or longing? I know my obsession with skincare and make up goes hand in hand with the skin problems I've been tackling for a good decade or so now, but the rest of it? Maybe it is really ok, and I'm just a normal person and the only reason it feels like it is too much is because I'm trying to save for the future. I have a good job, I earn good money, why shouldn't I spend it?

Then again, why should I spend so much? Do I really need these things? I tend to get a little bit obsessive about things, particularly my wardrobe, and I'll find something that I percieve that I 'need', and then go on an endless quest to find such things. The endless quests that are usually futile, but on the rare occasion they are successful they are so so rewarding. My latest one is some new jewellery. I own a lot of jewellery, all of it very beautiful and some of it very striking and different. But none of it feels right at the moment! I'm not fortunate in that I can't just buy any old jewellery, because I'm so allergic to anything other than silver. I'd love some cheap jewellery but alas... And again, I know what I want, and I can't find it.

I think it is time to do something different.

In March I am embarking on an 8 week diet to try and sort my skin out (the Healthy Skin Diet) so I think I will make it a Healthy Wallet diet as well. No purchases besides what is budgeted (I keep a certain figure in the monthly budget to pay for essential skin care, haircuts, hair dye etc).

I shall report back here with progress (and I promise I will start it all off with a proper post about the diet) and at the same time I'll update you with the no spending rule. That is, no spending on stuff just for me beyond what I budget for.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Putting myself together

At the beginning of the year I said one of my aims for 2011 was to make time to put myself together every single day, rather than the usual norm of roll out of bed, shower, clothes, out that had become habitual.
Today whilst catching up with my favourite blogs in a brief break from the Forest Sector Reforms of northern India, I read a post about another blog (kind of like a blog within a blog) where the author is wearing no pants for 365 days. This is the No Pants 2011. (I should probably point out for those stoically British types out there who might be wondering - it is an American blog and therefore she is referring simply to no trousers).

I am a new comer to the joys of skirts and dresses. Until a couple of years ago, they were strange, formal garments, that immediately made me feel dressed up and uncomfortable. Particularly if the particular garment was made of anything except denim. I'm a lot more comfortable in skirts these days, it becomes a bit of a necessity when trousers become difficult! I now have a fairly extensive collection, including off the peg, and hand tailored, denim and jersey.

This is my latest purchase, a gorgeous broderie anglaise affair from Next (of all places), coupled with my new grey and black stripy tshirt (from Sainsburys!), cardigan from H&M, black leggings, and of course, the obligatory boots (check out my new kitchen!).

For me being put together means I have the full package on (clothes, hair, make up, jewellery). I've failed miserably so far on this and I pledge to do better. Being properly put together makes me feel better, sit more upright and feel more confident. I swear my brain engages better as well.

Anyway, back to the trees....

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Best and The Worst

The Best things at the moment:
  • Sweet potato, lentil and spinach curry. It was a bit spicy due to store cupboard russian roulette, but it was ultimately delicious served with brown rice. Yum. 
  • CSI:NY box sets - a great way to spend an evening on my own. 
  • Plymouth Gin. If you have never drunk this, you must get a bottle. It was the original gin of choice of James Bond apparently and to me it is the BEST gin. It is quite sweet and oily, but crisp and refreshing at the same time. If you can get the Navy Strength it is even better. 
  • My new Kindle :) A birthday present from my parents, and I have already downloaded a mini library :)
  • It being the weekend! 
  • Topshop Nail Polishes - I think I might have to give in and buy the purple mini set I saw today, and possibly the one with the black sparkly polish. So so pretty.
The Worst of things:
  • Having an assignment due in next Wednesday that I haven't really started. 
  • Not having much money to spend on things. And wanting so many things. 
  • Looking back on old pictures of yourself and feeling despondent that you have put on so much weight. 
  • The size of the washing pile. And the size of the clean laundry pile that needs putting away.


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