Wednesday 3 December 2014

Mockingjay Part One Review


Not going to lie we were tempted just to put that and be done with the post.. We loved this film. Really loved it. A lot. We came out the cinema and basically just flapped and said omg for a good hour. We've tried to make this review as spoiler free as possible!

Fellow lovers of the books would probably have felt the same way as we did, it stuck so closely to the novel and some of the dialogue was word for word to the book. We feel that if you hadn't read the book it would have been a bit slow as there is a lot of detail that went into the film. However, the pacing is deliberate; a very gradual build up to the next film where everything will kick off. The second part of the book was incredibly action packed so we're so excited to see that come to life on screen. We liked that from the film we see a perspective that isn't just Katniss', as fantastic a narrator as she is, it's interesting to see those few scenes that don't involve her.  One thing we were immensely happy with was the portrayal of Finnick. The development of his character transferred SO well from the book to screen, we're so happy they kept his key scenes in as it's so important to the story and we just love his character. His backstory really emphasises the dark nature of these novels, and these films are getting progressively darker, so it was always a nice reprieve to see Effie and Haymitch on screen and to be provided with some much needed comic relief! There's no other way to describe the films, they are war films. They are dark and brutal in some aspects which is brought to screen so well.

Jennifer Lawrence absolutely slays in this film. I mean really, really well acted and she even briefly shows off her singing skills. We also loved Phillip Seymour Hoffman, his character's quietly manipulative behaviour was portrayed perfectly, coming across as though he believed his actions were for the greater good . It was convincing and real. Julianne Moore was good as President Coin, leader of District 13, however she did make us like the character more than we did in the book, perhaps it's because we just love Julianne. It may all change in the next film! And finally, although Josh Hutchinson doesn't have a huge amount of screentime in this film, what we saw was incredible. His performance and the costuming, hair and makeup were brilliant. The visual portrayal of his deterioration both mentally and physically was harrowing to watch. 

We called where it was going to cut off ready for the next film, it was a good place to stop.
(Did anyone else have that moment where the screen went black and you thought it was the end???) Some aspects of the film weren't how we pictured them, such as district 12 which we'd both imagined different than what we saw, but there was nothing major we could find fault in. We also imagine Panem to be in a straight line with one district after another and the Capital at the end, clearly not the case!

These novels are complicated and dark and contain scary parallels to the society we live in. We're so happy they're being brought to screen so well and we're so excited for the next film! (and a little annoyed we have to wait so long!)

Have you seen Mockingjay: Part 1 yet? If you have, let us know what you thought of it!

Monday 17 November 2014

Recipe: Hot Toddy

Winter is fast approaching and we're fully in hot drink season. This classic recipe filled with warmth and winter spices is guaranteed to make you feel better if you have a cold. We've found that it helps you breathe a lot easier and clears up any sniffles. Funny how whisky has that affect!

Any whiskey
Cinnamon Stick

Firstly, boil a kettle and add a measure of whiskey to a heat proof glass or mug. A measure is usually plenty, but if you fancy a bit extra, go for it. 

Whilst the kettle is boiling, add the cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves to the whiskey, try not to overdo the cloves as it's a strong flavour! If you have ground cinnamon as opposed to sticks then just add a sprinkle to taste. 

 Place a metal spoon into the glass (this stops it cracking apparently) then pour the hot water into the glass and stir. We'd recommend letting it sit for five to let the flavours blend in. Squeeze a wedge of lemon into glass according to taste, then chuck the wedge in! 

We like this drink for it's warming and medicinal flavours, perfect for a cosy Saturday night!
It warms you through after a day of being out in the cold. 

Let us know if you try it, or comment with your favourite hot drinks for cold days!

Snow + Rock Leeds Launch

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to the opening of the new Snow + Rock store in Leeds and as an avid skier, Lizzie went along to check out the new store! 

I've been skiing since I was nine years old and genuinely love doing it. So much so, my usual line when asked about skiing is 'it's the only sport i'm good at'. I always love my annual skiing holidays to France with the family! Having the right gear is so important when facing the cold (I was once so cold my eyelashes froze together!) and Snow + Rock has always been my go-to store for getting my clothes and boots! Annoyingly, my closest store was always a good hour away in Manchester, so you can imagine my excitement when discovering there was going to be a store in Leeds! 

As Snow + Rock kindly gave us the opportunity to have custom insoles fitted free of charge, My boyfriend Alasdair decided to take the opportunity of the store event to get some ski boots fitted. Having bought ski boots myself over a year ago now, I knew the process takes a long time, but I hadn't seen the new methods used to fit them (the ski nerd in me really came out here, cue a million questions!) so it was a good new experience for both of us! Ski boot fitting is an extensive process to get the fit just right and find the best boot for your ability. Literally can't stress enough how informative and friendly Laurie, who fitted the insoles and boots, was and she made the process so easy for us! Every step was throughly explained and having a sales assistant who not only knew her stuff but clearly loved her job was such a great experience. 

So I thought i'd give you a little insight into the process, there's a lot of new technology and science that goes into making ski boots as comfortable and practical as possible! They first measure your feet and look at the arches of your foot. You then try on some of the wide selection of boots they have depending on your ability and feet and a bit like a crap version of Harry Potter where the wand chooses the wizard, the boot tends to chose the foot!

To create the insoles, Alasdair was placed on two bags of silicon, which was moulded round his foot, then had the air vacuumed out. This ensures a true custom fit (and makes it super comfy, my boots fit like gloves!)

Whilst Laurie worked on Alasdair's insoles, we took the opportunity to explore more of the store and see what was happening at the opening event! As well as the winter sport area, there is the 'Rock' aspect which had climbing and walking gear, but we were also excited to see both a cycling and running area of the store. As Alasdair is a cyclist and I attempt to run (i try really hard to run but i look like Phoebe off of Friends, my arms and legs flail as if independent from my body) the store basically covers all bases for us!

To celebrate the opening, there was a little ceremony outside in which Olympic and Commonwealth medal athlete Laura Weightman opened the store. The CEO of Snow + Rock was also in attendance (he has a man to hold his umbrella - goals!) and everyone seemed genuinely excited about the opening! I had a chat with some of the guests whilst milling around the store and the reception was all positive, my favourite person being a man who hadn't skied in twenty five years but had been inspired to give it a go again, love it!

One of my favourite parts of the opening was the balloon release, where gold balloons had prizes inside. Not only was it fun to be a part of (Alasdair was literally the keenest person there, so determined to catch one!) but was pretty to watch! 

Once we'd watched the opening (and got soaked in the process, classic Leeds weather, always bloody raining!) We went back upstairs to see how Alasdair's boots were doing. This next part of the process I hadn't seen before, not only were the insoles fully moulded, but the shell of the boot was also custom fitted! 

The boots were heated up to 180 degrees and then placed on Alasdairs feet to mould around them. Icepacks were then placed around the outside to cool them to his feet. I didn't envy him at this point, the process isn't the most comfortable! 

And these are the boots! Fully custom fitted with excellent service in a lovely new store. Can't fault our experience at Snow + Rock and look forward to buying my new ski suit there next year! 


this post was sponsored by Snow + Rock

Thursday 6 November 2014

That's What She Read: November

Winter is coming. The night is closing in on the day and darkness will reign over light. What better time to read a good novel?! There's not much we like more than curling up with a book, cup of tea and a blanket when the weather is miserable. This is what we've been reading over the last month!


Read: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
This book seemed to be the 'it book' of the moment due to the recent film adaptation, so I had to give it a read. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I did find it a little hard to get into a first, I thought the start was really slow, but once I got further in I couldn't put it down. It's filled with unexpected twists and I really couldn't decide if I trusted Nick or not. Amy as a character was so unusual to read, really interesting perspective on life as a woman and how people perform their gender (my dissertation was on gender performance, the literature student in me came into stride reading this!) However, don't EVEN START me on the end. I was not happy with how this novel ended. I mean, it really made sense and I was pleasantly surprised that it did have a sense of closure. However, I literally threw the book across my bedroom at the end in anger, if you've read it you'll probably know why! 

Just finished: Maze Runner, James Dashner
I absolutely LOVED this novel. I literally did not stop reading this book from start to finish and by the time I looked at the clock, it was 3am. The story is so addictive, it's the Pringles tube of YA novels. Set in a mysterious world in the middle of a maze, we follow the story of Thomas who is put there with his memory wiped and surrounded by teenage boys who'd learned to live life in the maze and spent every moment trying to work out why they were there. There are twists and turns throughout (heh), filled with strange monsters, camp politics and a drive to survive in a world with no mercy on the lost and the weak. Basically, when Thomas arrives, shit goes down. Young adult novels can be overlooked as good literature, but this story captivated my imagination and to my delight when I turned over the last page, this is the first book of a series! I can't wait to read the rest! I have forced this novel onto Sophie so I have someone to talk about it with soon!

To read: Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami


Read: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
I am a big lover of anything Murakami writes and usually after reading one of his books I can't start anything new for a good week because I still feel deeply involved with what I've just read. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle didn't have as much of an impact on my as say Norwegian Wood or Kafka on the Shore, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It's rather surreal at times and there is a very strong spiritual aspect to the book, which can make it quite difficult to wrap your head around. So if you're wary about it being too heavy, maybe try one of his other books first to ease yourself in. Though is starts innocently enough, with a man listening to the radio and boiling spaghetti, everything quickly becomes more and more warped and fluid; the perspectives seem to shift, lines blur between reality and dream, you're no longer sure what is metaphorical and what is literal. I think that is what I love so much about Murakami; you can still be thinking about it months later. People can get different things from it and have their own interpretations, especially when there are ends purposely left loose.

Just finished: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
 I say I've just finished this, I actually read it a while ago, but I just really wanted to talk about it.
It is amazing and truly brutally scary about human nature. It is honestly one of the most repelling and captivating books I have ever read. The book is a recount of the murder of the Clutter family and the following events that occurred in Kansas in 1959. Capote travelled to the town in which the murders took place, and spend six years gathering information from interviews with residents, policemen, and the killers themselves. There is still debate as to whether the book is considered fiction or non-fiction, but we can assume a certain level of accuracy to the recount, and it is enough to challenge your ideas on human psychology. Unlike most crime novels, we know from the start who has committed the crimes and why. The suspense of the book doesn't come from any mystery of what could happen, but from the knowledge of what will happen.

To (re)read: The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

What have you read recently? Let us know your thoughts if you've read any of these books or if you want to tell us about other books you've enjoyed!

Tuesday 4 November 2014

TTDIY: Charlotte's Ice-cream Parlour

Just as summer was drawing to a close, we made the most of the last of the sunshine with a little trip to Charlotte's Ice Cream Parlour. This has been a staple place to visit for us for as long as we've been in Yorkshire and has changed a lot since we first started visiting! Although the weather is getting colder now, it's still a fun place to visit whatever the season. You can sit out in the sun with an ice cream or huddle up inside with a hot chocolate!

With a large variety of flavours, both traditional and unusual, there's a lot to choose from! We nearly always get two scoops and try get a good combo of flavours, there's also loads of toppings and sauces to go with it. All the icec ream is made by Charlotte's and their Jersey cows! 

There's also loads of stuff to do for both adults and children whilst having your ice creams; it's not often you find a mini-golf with such a fabulous view!

The view from Charlotte's is of our town, Mirfield, we always spend time trying to point out various landmarks that we recognise but it's genuinely such a pleasant place to sit and take in the view. When we were younger, visiting Charlotte's would be more of a day trip as we used to have to trek up and back through the woods and fields.

As well as mini-golf there's also a pretty good selection of animals to look at and pet, the donkey's are always up for a scratch behind the ears! 

The goats were probably our favourite animals to sit and watch, they always provide some entertainment on the rocks! We were slightly disturbed however by some wildly inappropriate pig behaviour, we can't look at the piglets in the same way anymore...

Hat: Primark, sunglasses: Rayban Clubmasters, top: New Look, belt: Primark, skirt: Boohoo, Boots: Topshop, Bag: Mulberry, Lipstick: Mac in Chilli

Dress: Topshop, cropped jumper: H&M, boots: Topshop, bag: Primark, Lipstick: Kate Moss for Rimmel in 09

How did you spend your last days of summer?