Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Well travelled?

I just got back from San Francisco. Would you like to see the highlights of my trip?

Of course you would. Right?

Well, here goes:

There was the airport. It did have a remarkably good bookshop, of which more in another post.

There was my hotel. It really was rather delightful, plus it offered early evening free wine, nibbles and neck massages.

There were some very hilly streets.

And there was the Golden Gate Bridge. It was very scenic. This was about as close to it as I got.

And... that's pretty much all I can tell you about San Francisco. I guess what I'm trying to say is that while travelling for work is pretty interesting in itself, and I do love a chance to say in a fancy hotel, it can be unbelievably frustrating to be in a city you've always wanted to visit, and have no chance to explore.

Ah well - I'll just have to go back another time for fun. And definitely stay in the hotel with the free wine/massage combo again!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

My name is Celia, and I'm a filmaholic

Source: archive-cinema

Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Partly, this is because of my job - it's not unheard of for me to see screenings of four or five films in the space of a single working week.

But mainly it's because I'm a big movie geek, and there are few things I'd rather do with an empty evening, or a rainy Tuesday morning, than go to the cinema. I'm that irritating person who will NEVER forgive you for talking through the trailers. (In fact, my abiding love for trailers is possibly more extreme than for the movies themselves, but that's a whole other post). I have no objections to going to see films alone. It's hard to watch DVDs with me, because I've seen three quarters of what's on offer when it was first released.

That doesn't, sadly, mean I'm always as up-to-date as I'd like to be - so far this January, I estimate I've seen six or seven films at the cinema, plus various others on my flight back from England, and on pay-per-view. But the sheer number of interesting films released during Oscar season always, always defeats me - I still haven't managed to see The Artist, My Week With Marilyn, The Iron Lady, or Hugo. Fail. I'm working on shrinking that list...

Anyway - last week I got chatting with some people I know about favourite movies. I was telling them about my friend A, who used to work in a cinema. All the staff had to wear a name-badge with their favourite film written on it. One guy said he'd pick Jurassic Park, a girl said she'd have chosen Clueless (an impeccable choice, IMHO).

And while I still don't think I could narrow it down to a single film, and thus will never be the ideal employee at a Norwich multiplex circa 2002, here are my top five:

 - A Life Less Ordinary: Ewan McGregor when he was young and fresh-faced* and Cameron Diaz on fine form as a spoiled, neglected princess? Angels desperately trying to make them fall in love by throwing bat-shit crazy scenarios at them? Danny Boyle? Awesomeness.

 - The Philadelphia Story: (See Also: Bringing Up Baby). This is the perfect film. PERFECT. Extra points for use of the word 'yar.' Remaking it as a musical six years later, and trying to get Grace Kelly to follow the footsteps of Katharine Hepburn? Not perfect. At all.

 - Mary Poppins: I have a thing for Julie Andrews. It extends to the Princess Diaries films, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and to a lesser extent, The Sound of Music. I also have a thing for Dick van Dyke, particularly in Diagnosis Murder. So. All together now: 'round the chimney, step in time...'

 - Strictly Ballroom: Actually, this was a tough call, I could just as easily have picked Romeo + Juliet. This wins - just - for the scene with the Coca Cola sign, and the roof, and the washing, and Time After Time. To my 13-year-old self (and probably my 27-year-old self too, if I'm brutally honest) that was the height of romance.

 - Annie Hall: There's nothing I can say about this that hasn't been said a million times before, by people far more articulate and pithy than me. So I'll resort to incoherent, jumbled words. New York. Lobsters. Diane Keaton. Neuroses. Amazeballz.

Other contenders that didn't quite make the grade include Apocalypse Now, Witness, Casablanca, True Romance, Lost in Translation, North By Northwest, Some Like it Hot, The Empire Strikes Back - I could go on for a while.

 I also have some more recent faves - Zombieland, Easy A, The Social Network. (OK, I like Jesse Eisenberg and I want to be Emma Stone). But I'm waiting to see if they stand the test of time. My personal opinion is that any film where Bill Murray plays Bill Murray playing a zombie seems almost certain to still be garnering some serious acclaim in 50 years...

* To be fair, I met him a few weeks ago, he's still looking pretty damn fresh-faced and young.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Caffeine-free? WTF?

I bought 12 cans of caffeine-free diet coke. By mistake. Caffeine-free, my friends. Giving up caffeine is not one of my New Year's Resolutions.


Now I have to drink all this caffeine-free shizzle before I can justify buying more.

On the other hand, to cheer me up in my caffeine-deprived state, I have:

1. A picture of baby Martha in the teeny candy-cane ensemble I got her for Christmas, which I keep glancing over at whenever I need a mood boost.

2. The highly exciting first ever pictures of another bebe, whose arrival is due in July (yay!)

I shall teach these impressionable souls that caffeine addiction is a BAD THING.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Picture by Linda Bailey

I grew up in a strange - borderline-insane in fact - little country town near the East Coast. It has minimal transport links, an array of antiques shops, a huge book-printing factory, an excellent legend about the devil turning into a big black dog, a disproportionately large number of musicians, and not a lot else. I miss it every day.

This explains it better than I ever could.

Bungay, I salute you.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Busy lady

This has become a very poor, sad, neglected specimen of a blog over the past few weeks.

There are reasons for this, although I hesitate to call them excuses.

1. I was back in England having a jolly lovely Christmas, and thus too busy to blog

2. I was back in LA after Christmas, working like a be-atch, and thus too busy to blog

3. I was really homesick for England, and didn't want to make it any worse by blogging about Christmas loveliness

4. I was feeling kind of blah and uninspired post-Christmas, and mustering the energy to type seemed far too big an effort (1 day off in 12 will do that to a girl, I fear)

Part of the problem is that currently, all I do is work. I'm lucky, I have a job I quite enjoy, most of the time. However it's a pretty all-consuming occupation - it involves crazy hours, late nights and early starts, and I'm not as good at switching off from it as I perhaps should be.

If I'm not careful, it could easily take over my life. As it is, it's always the first thing people ask me about, and always the thing people introduce me as - you know 'this is Celia, she's a...'

Never 'this is Celia, she's got some wicked craft skillz,', or 'this is Celia, she ran a marathon last week.' Obviously I don't have craft skillz, and I definitely have not run 26 miles any time recently Or, you know, ever. And for that I blame my stupid time-consuming, energy-sucking job (and my clumsiness, and my general laziness. Ahem.)

The point is, I started this blog to remind myself to focus on all the good bits in my life, and to make the most of the opportunities I'm given. So I'm loth to take up precious t'interweb space chatting about what I do for a living. Which is fine, until periods like this, when I HAVE NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT except my job.

So. Yeah. I've kind of run aground - hopefully this week I should have a little breathing space to enjoy the LA sunshine, get outside and running again, and start thinking, only three weeks late, about a few New Year's Resolutions. (learning to switch off from work occasionally might be an excellent starting point...)

Saturday, 7 January 2012


If you know me, you'll know I have quite a big event to go to in the next couple of months.  It's rather a fancy affair, and somehow I have to squeeze my between-dress-sizes body into a floor-length frock for the occasion.

But, being me, there is obviously a budget. Much as I would love a Marchesa creation, that's not a realistic proposition.

So I narrowed my choices down a little.

Here are the options:

1. Black but blinging.

This little beauty is available for hire from here. It's gorgeous, but I have no idea whether that high waist would be flattering, or absolutely hideous. And even though you can order the same dress in two different sizes for no extra cost, what if neither of them fit?

2. Batwing (but blah?)

Another David Meister creation, available for hire from here. Again, there's the potential that neither size would fit, and although it's definitely pretty, and I think probably rather flattering, it's not exactly the dress of my dreams.

Which brings me to:

3. The high-street bargain.

I don't think this picture actually does it justice. In real life, it's less, um, shiny, for want of a better word. And I think more flattering. It's in the Coast sale, at more than 50% off. And even though it's clearly a high-street choice, as I'm going to be surrounded by Yanks at my big event, I think it's pretty unlikely I'll spot too many people wearing the same dress. On the other hand, it's strapless, and I have a deep-rooted fear of strapless dresses falling down at inopportune moments...

4. One-shoulder chiffon number

Not entirely sure why the dress is 4 inches too short for the model in this picture? Seen as I'm basically a midget, that's not a problem for me. It's from here, it has a rather lovely velvet ribbon detail  on the waist, and I like the single strap. Sadly, I appear to be exactly halfway between two dress sizes when I try it - one size is fine at the waist but causes some unfortunate bust-squeezage issues, and the next size up swamps me.

To make a long story short, option 3 is the current winner. Hopefully it's being bought this weekend (fingers crossed, this plan could go awry very easily indeed.) And as it's quite long, I'm toying with the idea of adding a strap like the one on option 4 with extra fabric from the hem.

Here's another pic, just for the hell of it: