Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Film Review: My Week With Marilyn

What's it about?
As you may guess from the title, the story centres around Marilyn Monroe, played by Michelle Williams, however, it is told from the point of view of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), whose memoir the film is based upon. The story spans more than just a week, as it tracks the making process of a film by Laurence Olivier, The Prince and the Showgirl. Colin is 3rd assistant director on the production, so basically does whatever task needs doing, which in this case is often checking why Marilyn is late onto set again. Through this, he develops a special relationship with her and becomes one of the few people she can trust in the torrid world of fame and film.

Was it any good?
In short -yes. I was absolutely spoilt for choice in terms of the cast, which included some of my favourite British talent: Dominic Cooper, Eddie Redmayne, and Emma Watson. Of course, the indomitable Kenneth Branagh played a believable Laurence Olivier and Judi Dench's portrayal of Dame Sybil Thorndike created one of the most likeable characters in any film I've seen. Even then, most of the parts, big or small, were a recognisable face, Zoe Wannamaker, Simon Russel Beale, Julia Ormond, Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones and even Mr Carson from Downton Abbey made appearances. All were typically on form and added to the overall Britishness of the feature - it is a BBC film after all.

Now, let's talk about Michelle Williams as Marilyn. I've seen mixed reviews of her performance, and most of the negative ones focus on one fact - she is not Marilyn. Let's get one thing straight: there will never be another Marilyn. It's sad, but it's true, just like the fact that there will never be another Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn. I would describe Michelle's performance with just one word: ambient. She seems to give off light, just as the real Marilyn did. But what she also does is to provide an insight into a very troubled and scared girl with the outward appearance of a goddess. The events in the film also shows what it must be like to be that famous, and how lonely it can be. I hear that Scarlett Johansson turned down the part, so I don't know who would have done the better job , but I was personally very happy with Michelle Williams.

Overall, the movie is pleasantly attractive to watch. I think this is down to a mix of Simon Curtis' direction, the accurate depiction of the period and the English locations. They seem to have gone to the trouble of filming in the actual place the characters are supposed to be - Windsor Castle, Eton and Pinewood Studios all make appearances. I think that by using the real places instead of studios, the film emphasises the fact that it is a true story.

But what about the clothes?
Most of the costumes appear to be accurate reproductions of outfits Marilyn actually wore around that time. They even made sure to recreate the wardrobes of Arthur Miller, Laurence Olivier and other characters based on people who were photographed a lot at the time. Aside from these, I think the wardrobe department did an excellent job of maintaining the dress sense of the age. I was particularly impressed by the outfits of Emma Watson, herself playing a girl in the costume department. She represented what I think of as the typical fifties girl, all full skirts and cropped cardigans. Plus she always wears the same necklace which gives her character an extra hint of personality.

If you can find a cinema where this is showing, go and see it! If not, it will definitely be worth buying a copy when it comes out on DVD.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

IFB Project 27: Feature Another Blogger

I love this week's IFB Project. In the spirit of the gift-giving nature of Christmas, Independent Fashion Bloggers has asked us to give a present to one of our favourite bloggers by featuring them on our own blog. While I doubt that my little page can really direct a whole load of people towards my chosen blogger, if just one reader checks it out and likes what they sees, I think it will be worth it.

So, here are the reasons you should check out Coffee, Light and Sweet

  • The photography is lovely
  • It reminds you that every weekend is an adventure just waiting to be had
  • I have found some of the most interesting articles, delicious recipes and useful ideas through Friday's regular links
  • It makes me think
  • It makes me happy
  • It makes me hungry
  • It is never repetetive or boring because the posts cover such a range of topics without losing focus
  • And (actually, this reason is just for me) Jillian is a regular and thoughtful commenter on my posts. Thanks Jillian, it's appreciated.
Merry Christmas to all my readers, I hope it's a good one for you all.

Alys x

P.S. All pictures cheekily nabbed from Coffee, Light and Sweet. Don't forget to check it out!

Friday, 23 December 2011

How to accept all presents gracefully

Prepare a surprised and gleeful face in the mirror, one which looks spontaneous and genuine even when it's the exact same thing they got you last year, or something unidentifiable, or a pair of socks. Make sure to open your eyes wide and your mouth wider, then smile brightly. Remember, eyes and teeth darling. Eyes and teeth.

Don't just say the same thing to every present because people will start to notice if you exclaim that every gift you receive is "just what I always wanted!" Instead, just think of a few adjectives which could describe bad presents you've had in the past without offending anybody: "interesting", "very colourful" and "well that's just blown my mind" can all be useful.

Thank them sincerely and offer the hug/kiss/slap-on-back/nod that is appropriate to your relationship. It shows a certain amount of gratitude which spontaneously causes you to show affection.

Look at it and play around with it for a suitable amount of time before moving on to the next present. If you just rip it open, say "oh that's lovely" and discard it in favour of the bigger, shinier gift at your feet, you are acting like a petulant child from a home video TV show. Take some time to appreciate either the amount of thought that they went to or perhaps the stress when they couldn't think of anything and had to buy you this instead.

Remember, whether the gift is good or bad, a surprise or exactly what you were expecting, it does nobody any good to show disappointment to one gift and over-excitement at another. Christmas is not the time to upset anyone. Especially whoever's carving the turkey. They have a big knife.

Photo is mine

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

3 ways to feel comfortable in your party dress

1. Ditch the bra - Now I'm not recommending this for every dress, just the ones you can get away with wearing without underwear. Often these are the constricting ones which don't actually require any extra support underneath, and you'll actually be able to breathe easier with fewer layers on. One alternative is to find a pretty but comfortable slip dress which you can wear below any party outfit. Look out for old-fashioned ones next time you're in a vintage shop.

2. Wear it beforehand - You know how sometimes when you wear the dress for the first time on the night, you begin noticing things you didn't in the changing room? Like how the sequins are really quite itchy, or the skirt rides up too far when you sit down? That's why it's a good idea to wear your new purchase for a good hour doing normal tasks around the house (being careful not to damage it of course) so that if any problems arise, you can find a solution, or if it's really that bad, find another option.

3. Find a good cover-up - The more extravagant the better: a fur stole, a feather shawl, maybe even mix things up a bit with a soft leather jacket. The point is less to keep you warm and more to keep yourself covered when feeling a little self-conscious. It can also act as the grand reveal for the outfit which lies beneath, so you enter in your amazing cover-up and then Ta-Dah! Everyone gets to see your amazing dress in all its glory.

Click images for source

Saturday, 17 December 2011

IFB Project 26: Best of 2011

A cloud of the words I use most on the blog, apparently

This year has been the first full 12 months my blog has seen. It feels like so much longer!To celebrate what has been a varied and exciting year, and also to partake in this week's IFB project, I have gathered together a collection of my favourite posts of this year. There is one for each month, except August, because I wanted to include my Sydney shopping guide AND the post I wrote on the London riots. Enjoy!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Happy Birthday Jane Austen

Today marks the 236th anniversary of the day Jane Austen was born in Steventon, Hampshire. That's not too far from where I live, and it is in fact just a short walk from my house to where she is buried from Winchester Cathedral. Jane is a part of my local world, but I find it fascinating that she has touched so many people all over the world with her stories.

That's why today I hope to celebrate her life and work, if only by reading the first chapter of a book, watching a brilliant film/TV adaptation of her work, or even just using some of the Austen memorabilia we have scattered around the house (I'm actually using a Jane Austen mouse mat right now). I found the party layout above on Dear Lillie, and though I don't really have the time or resources to put that kind of tribute together for today, it's a great inspiration for the sort of thing I'd like to do to show my appreciation.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I want it!: Zadig & Voltaire Veda Sequin Jacket

So... at £535 it's a little out of my price range. This fact notwithstanding, you cannot deny that a sequin blazer makes any party outfit an instant hit, and all without too much thought. Just throw it on over an LBD, jeans and a shirt, a silk jumpsuit, maybe even shorts or a skirt and voilĂ ! Effortless festive chic. With a piece like this, you'll reflect every light in the place, and glitter your way to being the life and soul of the party. This would also be the perfect item to wear when throwing your own party, ensuring you really are the hostess with the mostess.

But then again, maybe all that is just my mild obsession with sparkly things talking...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

5 classy gifts which DON'T cost a fortune

It can be hard to find a meaningful gift for everyone on your list without splashing over your budget. While, many advertising campaigns try to goad you into buying the flashiest, most expensive gifts, it can often be the ones you've actually considered rather than opting for the highest price tag that make the best present. In other words, it really is the thought that counts. Here are some ideas to get you started.

blah blah notebooks - £6 each

Lipstick-shaped pen -£3 and Compact -£7
Beaded Skull Bracelet - £10

Typewriter earrings - £16

Detox votive candles - £11.50

Friday, 9 December 2011

IFB Project 25: Partywear

This week, IFB asks what we bloggers wear to parties. Well, above is a picture of me at the last party I threw. I'm not sure what I'm doing or why, but I look like I'm having fun, and I think that's the key to what you wear to parties. Being comfortable and feeling ready to have fun is essential. Adding a few components to that can enhance your party experience significantly. Let me run through the party basics.


I think nothing says party like a good sparkle, particularly at Christmas. This is a good piece to find in a vintage store, while keeping in mind the flapper 20s, or perhaps more of a Studio '54 look. My top is a find from a vintage shpo in Melbourne, Australia. I umm-ed and ahh-ed over buying it, but I'm so glad that I finally did.

Such a classic. It can be a small component of the outfit (nails, tie, jewellery) or make up the entirety of it (LBD anyone?). Black is the colour of the night and thus the colour of the time of parties. You can never go wrong with it, so invest in a black blazer now.

So what if you'll end up taking them off within ten minutes of dance-floor action? It's the entrance that counts, and the first glimpse the other guests get of you will be of a tall party goddess with super-long legs. The more extravagant the better, because if you're not going to make a statement with shoes, when else can you?

An element of costume
That's what the hat and feather boa are about in the top picture. Mystery and intrigue are essential to your party persona, so throw on a mask, pair of glasses or maybe even a fake moustache. Just make it look chic, and you're sure to have loads of conversation starters with new acquaintances.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

My Christmas list

I adore this watch so much. On occassion, I wear two watches, one with the time in England, and one set to New York for blogging purposes. This would be all my problems solved in just one simple - if rather expensive - design. The little bird which flies around the edge of the face instead of a minute hand is a finishing touch which just makes it perfect.

This top reminds me of chainmail, but would obviously be a lot lighter. I think it could be a really interesting alternative to the classic plain white tee in most outfits. It would also arrive just in time to be part of a killer NYE ensemble - the shinier the better, I say.
OK, so it's a suitcase for kids. That doesn't change how awesome it is! I would love to be the proud owner picking this up off the luggage carousel: stylish, sleek and a little bit whimsy - what more can you ask for?

So what if my interest in this book has more to do with Rafa himself than tennis? The fact is, I was never interested in the sport at all before that 2008 final between Nadal and Federar. I don't think my nerves have ever been so wracked in all my life. Since then, I've been watching Wimbledon every year, hoping for something equally exciting (the only worthy one so far was that never-ending Mahut/Isner showdown) but also hoping to see Rafael win again.
This is too cute. I don't really know where I'd put it or what I'd use it for, because it doesn't really have a use. I just know that this is a ridiculously cool tribute to Karl Lagerfeld and I want it.
I'm building up a sort of London/Paris theme in my room, which this fits in with nicely. Does it matter that I already have several similar cushions? No, it does not.

And finally, I know it's a lot to ask, but can someone please get me Logan Lerman? Please?

Click Images to find their source and where you can buy them.
Disclaimer: You cannot actually BUY Logan Lerman... you could try though

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Stylephile: Holly Baker

Today I introduce a new series which I hope will become a regular feature on Fashion Moriarty. The Stylephile will be about exploring personal style and taste in clothes through interviews and pictures of the subject's key pieces. Please let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy the first post!

Holly Baker is a language student and part-time model who has made several appearances on this blog mainly due to her proximity to my house. One day she hopes to have a job which will allow her to travel the world, but for now she has a decidedly British style - flirty florals, manly tweeds and vintage accessories. When she isn't conjugating French verbs, Holly enjoys reading classic books, watching movies on the sofa and playing badminton.

Who or what most influences your style?
I'm not really influenced by anyone in particular, but I do like Hermione in Harry Potter. I like her jackets, coats and jumpers, they look so perfect for winter. I also go to a lot of vintage clothing fairs and events with my mum, so I'd say I am influenced by classic style, especially the '40s/'50s.

Where do the majority of your clothes come from?
New Look, Primark, Laredoute and some pieces are special investment buys from vintage fairs or shopping sites like eBay.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Uum, I don't know. 11? 12? Actually probably like 14 or something. And my favourite ones are my prom shoes - the black ones with gold bits. I love them so much.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
I'm gonna say Hermione again.

So you mean Emma Watson?
No, Hermione the character. If only she were real, then she could play me.

Who would be invited to your dream dinner party?
Ooh, Ant and Dec, Audrey Tautou, Emma Watson, Professor Dumbledore and of course Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And Jesus, just to spice things up.

What will you never be caught dead wearing?
Ugh, leggings! That is, on their own, as trousers, with a normal-length top. Oh I can't bear them with that little bit of muffin-top you get, even if you're quite skinny. Or jeggings, or leggings and Uggs

What is your ideal outfit?
Jeans, nice boots, a smart top - preferably a shirt, with a cardigan over the top and a nice big tweed jacket

Describe your style in a few words
Warm, comfy, classic, seasonal and English