Saturday, 29 March 2008

What a mug

I love a cup of tea so you can imagine that I keep a fancy collection of mugs. I also adore my books so I am in total awe of the quirky mugs that design agency, Art Meets Matter have been producing over the last five years. I have seen then around but never really took any notice till last week when I was browsing though chic home store, Habitat. The award winning mugs bring uber cool to the max. Each one is based on a classic Penguin paperback book as well as the colour, typography and icon look that was created by Edward Young in 1935. This paperback series is distinctive in that it changed the way people accessed books forever. Tony Davis from Art Meets Matters sums it up perfectly when he talks about the relationship between tea drinking and books. "I’ve always felt there was natural affinity between books and coffee or tea-drinking which wasn’t reflected in the objects we drink out of. It seemed natural to put them together." Well said my good man, well said. The brand has now been extended to Espresso size, pencils, books, tea towels and even deck chairs. Another range that I have my eye on are the Pantone palette tea mugs. Designed by the dynamic duo of W2 Products, the mugs are based on the Pantone colour charts which are vibrant and come in a wide variety of colours. In fact those of you with beedy eyes will notice that Pantone Inc. are the global authority on colour and provider of professional  colour standards that are used by funky and creative types. The company have produce numerous colour charts and the mug takes form in a perfect ceramic that is glazed with a pattern that resembling the Pantone colours and also contains the Pantone colour name and number. I just love em and I want the whole set.

Check out the fantastic interactive Penguin website here and the W2 products here.

By the way this is my 100th post so I might just treat myself to one of those mugs as a celebration.

The Gossip Girl books

Book to film or TV adaptations are always interesting, more so because it often boils down to what is left out rather than what is kept in. Hollywood bosses being the wusses that they are have made a habit out of turning successful books into films. From The Godfather to Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings; all have made it onto the big screen to critical acclaim You know what? Some film adaptations have actually turned out to be very good, in fact some have been better than the books themselves. The Devil Wears Prada is one of a few. Click on this link to find out what the top 15 book to film adaptations are.

In the case of Gossip Girl, the series - which aired on ITV 2 last Thursday - is so far removed from the book that I am wondering why creator, Josh Schwartz (who brought us The OC) did not just start from scratch. In both book and TV series the story takes place in New York and follows the extravagant lives of the sophisticated teens who attend the prestigious Constance Billard school. The key characters are Blair Waldorf, Nate Archibald, Chuck Bass, Dan Humphrey's and his younger sister Jenny with the charismatic Serena van der Woodsen taking centre stage. Serena and Blair are best buddies or they used to be before Serena slept with Nate, Blair's on/off boyfriend and then did a runner to boarding school. With Serena's abscondment Blair carves a niche for herself as the school top dog and she is not prepared to relinquish it upon Ms van der Woodsen's return. However there is a twist in the story which comes in the shape of a mystery blogger who keeps the students updated with the misdemeanors of Serena and co.

When I got hold of the book I was expecting it be like the 80s teen chick lit, Sweet Valley High with some colourful and engaging characters. Unfortunately none of the characters in the book do anything for me; Blair is sour and spiteful, Nate a non entity, Dan sort of vapid and even Serena herself comes across as flaky and forgettable. I am not sure if it is Cecily von Ziegesar's writing that puts me off but something is just not right with this book. The show on the other hand is funny, entertaining and engrossing. You really care what happens to all the characters including Chuck who is a bit of a twat.

Gossip Girl airs on ITV 2 on Thursdays at 10.00pm

Friday, 14 March 2008

I'm a Lushite

When I was younger bath time was not an experience I looked forward to. As a tiny tot to a traditional Nigerian mother there were no options of mucking about in a bubble bath instead I had to look forward to being scrubbed from top to bottom. The result of this was that I was squeaky clean but it was not something I enjoyed. Things did not fare better as I got older, you see I grew up in the 70s in a modern built flat so our bathroom stone cold and mouldy. Frankly I could not wait to get out of there. However when I bought my house four years ago I inherited an avocado bath suite complete with a bidea. Lovely - NOT - I swore blind that I would never step foot in that limey bath and I was true to my word. I absconded to my parents while the builders turned the house into my home. As well as putting in a new kitchen, new floors, new internal doors, new lights as well as redecorating I also had the bathroom done up. After a productive and expensive trip to, I came home with traditional sink with a rail to hang the hand towel, new toilet and my piece de resistance is my glorious Cambridge roll top bath with Bensham shower mixer taps. After four years, I am still totally and utterly in love with it. It may take up a lot of water but hell who cares, lying in there soaking with the candles flickering is pure bliss. So it is only right that I should have some fancy soaps to go into that bath.

Hence Lush. I must admit it has taken a while for Lush to crack me, for years I have walked past that place without a second look but a recommendation from a good mate and a need for some lip balm sent me in there. Once I was in I was curious by all these lovely smelling bars and balls of soaps. I bought the Sexy Peel soap, the Milky Bar as well the Soft Coeur massage bar. I also treated myself to the Honey Trap lip balm. Lets say I am addicted; I am astonished by the quality of the products. They are a sheer joy to use and all fresh made to boot. Oh and a few weeks ago after payday, I went back for more and bought the You've Been Mangoed bath melt and a Buffy body butter. I think I'm in love. With friendly and knowledgeable staff, it is no surprise to hear that Lush has been named Best 100 Company to work for five times in a row by The Sunday Times.

Friday, 7 March 2008


If someone had told me last year that a film about a pregnant 16 year old from a small town in Minnesota would be a translantic hit, I would have laughed out loud. I saw a trailer Juno at the launch of last year's London Film Festival and out of all the films this one stuck because of its freshness and amazing dialogue. Now I like many things in a movie; good storyline, magnetic characters (good and bad), a happy ending and a wonderful script. Yep, I am a big sucker for a great script. In the era where Hollywood is obsessed with special effects like massive bombs, spectacular car chases and airplane crashes, a great dialogue has often been put to the way side. The only directors who seem to specialise in creating great dialogues and I do not mean great lines like Jerry Maguire's "Show me the money," the Fight Club's, "The first rule is you don't talk about the fight club." No I mean a great film with a cracking script that is consistent throughout. Take Steven Soderbergh who gave us Traffic and Erin Brockovich or Quentin Tarantino's quirky writing in Pulp Fiction which is amazing and one of the most unconventional piece of work to come out of Hollywood.

Now onto Juno, this is a poignant and bitter sweet film that will leave you enraptured. The film totally lives up to its hype and I can say deserves the huge push that the powers may be gave it. Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page is an earthy teenager who is so sharp she might cut herself. After taking three pregnancy tests, instead of freaking out or throwing herself off the top of a building she wastes no time in finding suitable parents for her unborn baby. With the help of her 'so cool it hurts' best buddy, Leah played by Olivia Thirlby, she finds yuppie couple Mark and Vanessa Lorring played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. On paper the couple seem like perfect fodder to bring up her baby but in reality there are cracks in the marriage. Meanwhile there is a small matter of the father of Juno's baby, Bleeker played by Michael Cera still being in love with her. To throw a spanner in the works it looks like Juno might feel the same way about him.

Diablo Cody's writing here is exemplary and boy did she rock the red carpet at the Oscars with her leapord dress and taking off with the award for Original Screenplay. Ellen Page's performance is endearing and the combination of these two women results in a film that is sweet and touching.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

The Hills

I am not ashamed to say that I am addicted to The Hills. Lets see, I have downloaded the first five episodes of series one from iTunes, now that Channel 4 have got with the programme and started showing this hilarious reality show I make sure I tune in for that and I have even joined a Facebook group dedicated to The Hills. So I think it is safe to see that I am a true addict. I am not sure what it is about this teen reality show that has me glued to the screen. The characters are ordinary people going on about their ordinary lives but hey, maybe that is the attraction. The Hills is a spin off from Laguna Beach, dubbed The 'real' OC; now I never saw that programme so I cannot tell you much about it except that it was based on the life and tribulations of Lauren Conrad who The Hills is based around. The pert Lauren Conrad moves from Laguna Beach to Los Angeles and lands a coveted internship at the super cool, Teen Vogue which she juggles with a college degree at Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing (FIDM). Her room mate is her close friend Heidi Montag, the ultimate party girl who drops out of FIDM after one day. In the show we also meet Whitney Port, a savvy lady who is conscientious and proves to be a good friend to Lauren. Then there is Audrina Partridge, a stone face brunette with eye liner that could kill who apparently works as a receptionist for Epic but does not seem to do much apart from wine and dine with Heidi. Now lets talk about Ms Montag - oh dear, where should I start. Heidi brings new meaning to the word blonde. Her vocabulary consists of words such as "Oh totally," "It like so cool," and "Oh my Gawd!" Her interview with FIDM was bordering on hysterical.

Tutor: "How would you class yourself as a high school student?"
Heidi: "I never did anything, I never went to classes, I just hung out and went shopping."
Tutor: "Have you read the curriculum?"
Heidi: "Erm no"
Tutor: "What are your goals?"
Heidi: "I want to do PR, I want to be the fun PR party girl in LA"
Tutor: (Looks very unimpressed) "It usually takes someone being in the industry for a long time to land on the 'fun, I want to organise a party."
Heidi: (Looks surprised) "Really?!!, it's not like right away?"
Tutor: "No." Would you be willing to work in retail sales?"
Heidi: "You mean like actually working the floor and stuff?"
Tutor: "Actually working the floor and stuff."
Heidi: "I don't think I could do that."
Tutor: "Are there any other industries that you were thinking about other than fashion?"
Heidi: "No."
Tutor: "Are you sure you are in the right college?"

Ummm, all I can say is at least she made an impression. After dropping out of college, the ditz goes on to get a job working for an events company and was shocked and horrified to find out that instead of swanning in right at the top of the company, organising club nights she was doing tedious work like ordering stationary and getting the bosses lunch and stuff. I expect her resignation any day now. In real time The Hills is now on its third series where Lauren, Heidi, Whitney and Audrina have experienced the highs and lows of career, love and friendship. It seems that I have a lot to look forward to.

Made in Medway

Medway is not regarded as one of the highlights of the Kent county. Tucked away in the south east, the area comprises of four towns; Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham. While Rochester lives up to its Dickensian heritage with a charming high street, Cathedral and castle to boot, the other towns are in huge need of a face lift. It looks like the cries have been answered as millions of pounds is being pumped into the area in order to regenerate it. However, one area that does not need any assistance is the creative quarter that reside in Medway. Fashion designers, photographers, artists, graphic designers and sculptures, whether born or made in Medway have all made their mark here. It is very fitting that a book that encompasses this creativity has been launched. Made in Medway is a book that celebrates the creative community in Medway by profiling 27 different creatives (individuals and organisations) and asking them what the area means to them. Written by fellow creatives, Steve Rowland and Bianca Donnelly, the book is akin to a coffee table one and each profile has a large picture of the relevant creative as well as several questions about their work and about Medway. As I live in this area (I moved here four years ago) and I am a creative, I am very passionate about the place and keen to know what is going on. Needless to say I found this book very inspiring and was very sad when I came to the end. More please!! If you want to find out more about the book then check out the Made in Medway website. In case you are interested there is also a blog as well.