Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Merry Christmas

I can't believe I haven't written a blog post since August! Well, actually, I can. I've been dithering for months about whether to carry on with this blog. My heart just doesn't seem to be in it any more, which is why it's been reduced to just the odd film or blog review.

Everything is fine here. Family life just continues as normal - being a mum is still the best thing that's ever happened to me, and my little boy is my whole world. But since I decided to keep that part of my life fairly private, it doesn't leave much else for blogging.

Crochet is still my main hobby, though I have to just fit it in when I can, which is not very often. I did start another blog, HookyHare, which was to run alongside my Folksy shop and Ravelry. I've since opened an Etsy shop, but stocking it is quite a slow process! In 2017 I'd like to just keep making things and popping them in there to (hopefully) sell, and I'd also like to have a serious attempt at dyeing some of my own yarn. I also want to focus on using my luxury yarns to make things for myself - probably shawls. And maybe next year will be the year that I learn to knit socks? (It was supposed to be this year, but, erm, yeah, that didn't happen!)

My reading plans for this year didn't work out how I'd hoped, but I intend to continue ploughing through my paperbacks and whittling them down to just favourites - the rest will be donated to charity. In fact, I'm thinking of putting myself on a bit of a Kindle ban until I've read some 'proper' books.

Similarly, I didn't do so well with my DVD watching - it was a lot harder than I thought it would be to make time to watch films, although in some ways I'm glad that I haven't been a complete telly addict all year! Again, I'll continue to work my way through the list and only keep the films that I really enjoy watching over and over again, the others will also be donated to charity.

I never did finish writing about all my New Year Resolutions Things On My To-Do List, but I suppose if I try to think positively, I didn't do too bad with them...

Obviously I didn't get all the way through my book and dvd lists, but I made some headway.

I'm not sure if I did more crochet, but I have done some over the year.

Have I learned a new skill? Erm, no I don't think I've managed that one.

Declutter and be more organised? I've donated lots of things to the charity shop, and I've sold quite a bit on ebay, so there has definitely been some decluttering going on, but not as much as I would've liked. And I treated myself to a new planner, a Kikki K, although I'm not sure if it's made me more organised. I'm constantly searching for the fabled 'planner peace'...

Improve my health? Well, in July I started doing the Couch to 5K running plan from the NHS. I kept up with it for about three months, but then a nasty chest infection kind of knocked me right out of my routine, and I never got back into it. BUT, I started it. And if I did it once, I can do it again. And I know that the best time to start is Now, rather than saying, I'll get back into it next year, but... I'm going to try and get back into it next year.

So, 2017. How am I feeling about it? Well, this time of year, between Christmas and New Year, always makes me feel a bit down, but a bit reflective too. 2016 has been a bit bonkers to put it mildly, what with certain political decisions, and the constant barrage of death, destruction and general bad news. I can't quite put my finger on how I'm feeling at the moment. I think, like so many people, I've got that niggling sense of wanting to do something to help, but not really knowing what, or how. Selfishly, I guess, there is also a part of me that wants to ignore all the horrible stuff - turn off the news, stop reading Twitter - and just focus on being happy with my little family.

I never wanted to abandon this blog half way through the year, which is why I intended to keep writing my book and film reviews. However, the ones that are still in the drafts folder never made it to the blog, and never will now. As I said, my heart isn't in it any more, so I think now is the time to call it a day.

If I do decide to carry on blogging, it will be over on Hooky Hare; I still read my favourite blogs, and will continue to do so from there. In the meantime, I can be found on Instagram @HookyHare24.

Thank you for reading and commenting over the years.

Have a very happy 2017.

Lots of love

Michelle  xx


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Fargo


Next on my list was Fargo, a film set in snow-covered Minnesota. It follows Marge, a heavily pregnant police chief, who is investigating the deaths of a state trooper and two members of the public, which she discovers is linked to a bungled kidnapping, arranged by the debt-ridden husband of the kidnap victim.

There is a lot of bleak humour throughout the film, but a lot of violence too - it's not for the squeamish. I've seen it before and I enjoyed it then, as I did this time around. However, I feel as though I've become a bit more sensitive to excessive violence - I know the film is a work of fiction, and it's all just special effects etc, but it kind of upsets me a bit. I don't sit there crying or anything like that, I think I just have a vague feeling of unease, like I shouldn't be enjoying it (I can't really explain what I mean without giving away any spoilers).

It's still a good film though, with a great cast, and I probably would watch it again, despite my slight discomfort at some of the violence.


Evita


Chris bought me this a few years ago for Xmas, at my request, but I've never watched it until now, in fact it was still in it's cellophane wrapping!

I was only very vaguely aware of the storyline, Argentinian politics not being a specialised subject of mine, but I did quite enjoy this. I was familiar with one or two of the songs, and I have to say I think Madonna was great in this. I think she got criticised and praised in fairly equal measure for her performance, but I thought she did well, and I was impressed to read that she took extra singing lessons and really threw herself into the role.

Antonio Banderas as Che was really good - I liked the way he popped up as a different character throughout the story (or the same character in lots of different jobs!), but I was never totally convinced that it was him singing, probably because I haven't heard him sing anywhere else (whereas Madonna's voice is unmistakeably hers). I was surprised to see Jimmy Nail had quite a significant part too, and his voice was also recognisable.

Evita is more of an operatic musical (or rock opera) meaning that the dialogue between the songs, which would normally be spoken, is also sung - there are no spoken lines at all. I'm not usually too keen on that, I prefer musicals that have 'talky bits' then a song, then more 'talky bits', if you see what I mean (like Chicago, for example)! But as I said, I did really enjoy this, though I don't think it's a film I'd want to watch again now that I've seen it.

Dirty Dancing


This is one DVD in a box set that I've got, hence the photo of the disc itself. What can you say about Dirty Dancing? It's just one of those feelgood films, with great music, great dancing (obvs) and Patrick Swayze at his most gorgeous (which also makes me a bit sad now).

I was crocheting whilst watching it, and couldn't resist putting this photo up on Instagram (excuse the dodgy reflection):

She really did carry a watermelon!
and then later:

"Now I've... had... the time of my life...."
Bet you're singing along, aren't you?

I'm watching all my dvd's with a view to donating most of them to charity, and only keeping the ones I watch regularly. If this had been just a Dirty Dancing dvd I might've kept it, but since it's a box set I'll probably give it away. As much as I love the film, I can't say I've actually chosen to watch it before now; it's one of those I've seen loads of times, because it's always on tv, so I don't think I'll miss not having my own copy.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Dark Star



Not my DVD but one I inherited from someone else. I'm not really into sci-fi, but I was determined to watch it with an open mind. I got about ten minutes into it before abandoning it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Chicago



I flippin' love this film! I love every song in it and I have a massive girl-crush on Catherine Zeta Jones who I think is just completely amazing in this. I've never seen it on the stage, and I'm sure some people would say that that's far superior and I'd completely understand that, but since this is the only version I've seen, this is my favourite.

And all that jazz.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Cats


Next one on the list, this is the Cats Ultimate Edition, released in 1998.

Cats is one of my favourite musicals, I've seen it three times at the theatre, where it's a really magical experience. Obviously, watching a dvd on the tv in the living room isn't quite the same thing; I started off on the sofa watching it, and then kind of started doing other things whilst just listening to it in the background.

I can't listen to Elaine Paige singing Memory without crying though...
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