Saturday, 18 December 2010

Simple eye make-up remover simply (no pun intended) the best make-up remover I've ever used, and I've used a lot. It doesn't leave a greasy residue, removes make up easily and does not upset the skin (take it from a rosacea sufferer). Also thumbs up for the price!


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Teenage girl arrested on suspicion of burning Qur'an - The Guardian 25/Nov/2010

This morning this article caught my attention. A teenage girl of 15 allegedly burns a copy of the Qu'ran. This is not a post to express my anger about burning the Qu'ran per se. I'm not a Muslim, nor a supporter of Islam. This is rather a post to express my sadness and dissappointment for a young girl who in the multicultural country she lives in (UK that is), has failed to show the minimum respect required to a sacred and religious symbol such is the Qu'ran, but assuming herself to be part of a civilised world.

People are different, and they always will be. They will have different opinions, attitudes and behaviors. You will disagree with them. You will argue with them. But if you disrespect them, you allow for them to disrespect you, and if limits are not maintained, the result would be quite simply a mayhem. And all this in civilised Europe.

So yes, I am dissappointed that someone was so provocative and disrespectful to a religion and a large group of people, although this of course would not be the first nor the last time. Nevertheless, my dissappointment can only escalate when the person in question is only 15, and she uploads a footage of the act on a social networking site such as Facebook to take credit for her action.

Youth is the future of every country. And this does not seem very promising at the moment.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Urashima Taro

A few days ago I had the fortune of watching a performance of the story of Urashima Taro performed with human sized puppets in the style of the Japanese Bunraku puppets, aided by Kamishibai, a form of paper theatre also originating from Japan.

The story revolved around a poor fisherman, Urashima Taro, who was seduced by the beautiful but mysterious witch Lady Otohime, who encourages him to stay with her in her palace under the sea. However, things quickly turn sour and Urashima's dream of never-ending happiness and pleasure turns into a nightmare. After Otohime gives birth to their baby she ignores him completely. Urashima, as a result, decides to escape from Otohime's palace. However, he cannot escape from her vengeance.

Although the plot was not particularly mentally challenging, I was intrigued by the media used in the performance. Undeniably, it takes exquisite talent for someone to perform a whole story on their own. Indeed, the only human on stage was the actress playing the role of Lady Otohime. The rest of the characters were Bunraku puppets held by the actress on stage. Moreover, there was very little talking (it would rather be a monologue now that I come to think about it), but she successfully used her body language as well as some sounds that other characters were supposively making, to convey the atmosphere and information about the story. Very impressed indeed.

A video to give you a taste :)

Friday, 19 November 2010

The unknown Tony Blair

Now which Prime Minister wouldn't want to publish his erotic encounters, and then be shortlisted for a bad sex award?

And then lose the award to a mere mortal?

Lucky Cherie!

The Joanne Harris Appreciation Post

This post is dedicated to Joanne Harris - one of my all time favourite authors. Although most widely known for being the author of Chocolat (which personally I don't think it's her best work), she has written a number of other masterpieces.

If you haven't read any of her books yet, you really REALLY have to read Gentlemen and Players. When I read it I was intrigued beyond words: very intelligent plot as towards the end it proves to be much more complex than the reader initially thinks, very 'human' characters, exploration of taboo topics, graphic and detailed descriptions of feelings and behaviors, and (my favourite!) interchanging personas! Although the interchanging personas are a characteristic of several books by Harris, it never seizes to excite me each time. How can you better communicate a character's thoughts and feelings if you don't let them do the talking? And do this for all the main characters in the book?! I'll tell you this: I was on holiday in the Greek island of Santorini, and anyone who has been there can assure you that you have every reason to go out. Well, I did go out, but not without Gentlemen and Players!

Don't get me wrong, I love her other books as well, with a sliiight preference for Jigs & Reels, her collection of short stories published in 2004. Arguably writing a good short story is more difficult than writing a book: the story has to encapsulate the plot, the techniques as well as the feelings and the behaviors of the characters in far fewer words than a regular book. What is more, I love the way she gives voice to characters that one would normally ignore. In one of the stories, the persona is one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters. AND she falls in love with the bad wolf from Red Riding Hood, who is apparently hurt by RRH's behavior. Now, who else does that other than Joanne Harris?! (Maybe Carol Ann Duffy in The World's Wife, but I'll discuss that in another post).

Next on the reading list: Blue-eyed boy by Joanne Harris (yes, I'm a bit left behind, but I have courseworks to write and lectures to attend!)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Designer ft High Street

With both Lanvin for H&M, and Valentino for Gap collections hitting the stores at the end of the month, fashionistas have every reason to be excited.

My top picks from Lanvin for H&M:

Nothing screams luxury more than that.

...and nothing screams boldness more than that!

...and both are at the humble price (for us mortals) of £99.99 each.

Source for photographs: H&M website

PS: I'm afraid I haven't seen any pieces of the Valentino collection yet. But, no worries, I will unquestionably keep you posted when I do! :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

We heart Akis from Greek Masterchef


Red, Bloody Lips

I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that it will be all about statement lips this fall. I love red lipstick, it gives an air of '50s glamour and a Grace-Kelly-elegance no other make up tool can give. Seen at Roberto Cavalli, D&G, Peter Som, Missoni, Proenza Schouler and Issa, to name just a few, there's no doubt it will be a celebration of scarlet lips this season!

My top red lipsticks at the moment: 
MAC's in Dubonnet
MAC's in Chilli
Max Factor's in Bewitching
Revlon's in Really Red

PS: So excited!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Why I love Soap and Glory

Because they smell divine and their bodycare products are probably the best I've ever used (and I've used A LOT). My absolute favourites:

Scrub Actually: 
It's the only scrub I've used (at least from what I can remember) that has exactly the think, pasty texture which is particularly useful if you need some serious scrubbing. Although I wouldn't recommend it for sensitive skin (as I said, serious scrubbing), it leaves my skin really soft, like no other scrub does! Particularly effective on tougher areas, eg elbows and heels. 4.5/5

The Righteous Butter:
Probably the thickest body butter out there, and I say butter, because this is much thicker than a lotion.  Very good for serious moisturizing and can make your skin feel velvety for more than 24 hours. However, not recommended if you don't really like this on-going feeling of moisture/ kind of oiliness, or if you plan on going for a wax. Oh, and did I mention that it smells great?

Friday, 29 October 2010

The Island - Victoria Hislop

I've recently started reading 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop; there has been some discussion about this book a few years back, with very positive reviews but for some reason I didn't have the chance to read it (usually I kind of chase such books). After I've found out that the book got its own TV series, I thought I was on to something. And I was! After a lot of effort since the copies at the public library were always on loan (I had vowed that the only chance I'm buying books again is only if it is for reference or if I can't borrow it - this comes from a serial book-buyer), I had the good fortune of borrowing it from a friend, although unfortunately not in the original language it was written.

I haven't finished it yet (although I've read half of it in two days - this being in between lectures and tutorials), but I loved it. I like the way Hislop writes, with detailed descriptions but without being pompous at all. I'm impressed with how well-researched this book is and how did Hislop manage to be so detailed about a reality she did not experience herself, or about a place which is not her home!

Concerning the plot and the three-dimensional characters, I was struck with how successfully they were used to bring out  the hardships of the time: the prejudices against people with Hansen's disease, the poverty, the turmoil of war and the locals' reactions to it. Most importantly, however, emphasis is put on the conventions of the human nature that have not changed one bit through the centuries: death, promiscuousness, jealousy and alienation within the family and of course, weakness. Weakness of the body, weakness of the spirit, weakness to understand, to accept and to forgive.

Concerning the series, I liked it as well, with talented actors and very good direction with attention to detail. However, as it always happens when books turn into TV series or films, the book is beyond comparison. Nevertheless, a very good attempt to bring to life the tragic story of The Island.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Happy National Mushroom Day!

15th of October is National Mushroom Day according to a tweet from Foodimentary!

I won't go into details about mushrooms, that would be too boring. But I am going to tell you about my relationship with them. When I was younger, I hated them. I would even pick them out from pizza which I loved. My mother tried repeatedly to convince me of their nutritional value, with no effect of course (I was a very highly opinionated child), and that would be for the simple, straight-forward white button mushrooms, let alone the - then - scary chinese, shiitake enoki etc mushrooms.

As years passed, however, my relationship with mushrooms blossomed slowly but steadily. I think at the beginning I started to taste them because I was too bored to pick them from the rest of the food. Firstly, I had one small bit. And then another, and another. Fifteen years later, mushrooms became one of my favourites. I like them in pasta sauces, as a pizza topping, or in salads, but I absolutely love them grilled on their own: with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and salt, with no extras to disturb their nutty and earthy flavour.

Oh, and the best thing? They are highly nutritious, with no fat or cholesterol and low in calories, sodium and carbohydrates.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

US Masterchef Final, Rustic VS Fine Dining

The thre judges: Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot

Given that I love food, I LOVE food shows. So I couldn't not comment on the US Masterchef final! The two finalists were Whitney, a 22-year old student and David, a 29-year old software engineer. Let me tell you, they were the two polar opposites in the kitchen. They had two hours to cook a three-course meal, probably the most important meal in their lives, given that there were 250 000 dollars and the opportunity to publish their own cookbook at stake.

Whitney chose fairly low-budget ingredients: black eyed peas, shrimp and turnips for her appetizer, chicken for her entree and white chocolate and raspberries for her dessert. David, on the other hand, leaned towards a much more extravagant meal: a scallop ceviche for appetizer, beef wellington for entree (That's Gordon Ramsay's signature dish!) and nectarine crepes for dessert.

Whitney less than 10 minutes before time was up dropped her chicken on the floor, and had to make another one in something like 7 minutes. And guess what? She won! She's proof that simple, home-cooked food, with clean flavours, if executed well enough can beat other flamboyant, intricate dishes found in fine dining restaurants. Of course, David's over-ambition may have played a role as well.

Whitney Miller, the Masterchef winner

Can't wait till her book is published! :)

The double life of a celebrity lawyer who hid a dark secret - Independent Oct2010

After reading this, I remembered a quote I've never really thought about in the past. That everything comes at a price. But then again, I'm not sure that in this case it is this guy's work to blame for his suicide. I mean, he was a celebrity lawyer, with a six figure annual income, and sure the it must have been hell for him to deal with all this pressure day in and day out. However, he began drinking from the age of 13 and thought Alcoholics Anonymous was 'not for him'. Instead, he gave up, decided he could no longer take it, and shot himself in his house, claiming that he loved his wife, but he was not the man she needed.

Apparently, he was right.

PS: Another quote that fits in this story: Συν Αθηνά και χείρα κίνει, meaning it's not enough just to call for help from the Gods, you have to do something yourself as well.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Snuggled under a blanket

It's Wednesday morning, cloudy with a chance of rain and I'm reporting from my student's room in the UK. Although UK's "good weather" certainly does not match the equivalent in Cyprus, I kinda prefer it here. Has a more romantic feel to it: the rain, the cloudy sky, hot chocolate in hand looking out of the window at the lake and the nearby forest (no I'm not in London, obviously!).

On the background: romantic spanish instrumental music

Monday, 4 October 2010

The trends I love for F/W 2010 - Knits

Chunky, yet stylish, I love knits as well! Although I don't really like the wrapping under endless layers of knits (make me feel fat and awkward), I love a knit dress with opaque tights and thigh-high boots or an oversized V neck knit top with skinny jeans and ballerina shoes. Enjoy my favourites from this trend from Stella McCartney and Diesel:

Stella McCartney


Saturday, 2 October 2010

The trends I love for F/W 2010 - Fur

I love it (faux that is)! Nothing screams luxury like fur does. I loved these fur coats by Dsquared²  and Burberry Prorsum: they are big, they are warm (i'd say) and above all, they are glamorous!
Burberry Prorsum

Thursday, 30 September 2010

An Education (2009)

I love films. And I don’t mean just watching them for entertainment. It’s really fascinating thinking all the things that make a film what it is: the clothes and the settings, the character stereotypes and the relationships between them, but what I really love is when these relationships become complicated and multi-layered. That’s when points and messages really come across, and of course, that’s when it gets really interesting!

I couldn’t have a section on my films without one of my all-time favourites: An Education. The story is set in the 1960s suburban London and it is about a teenage girl from a middle class family, Jenny, who embarks on an affair with a much older man.

Carey Mulligan is a-m-a-z-i-n-g in her role as the very intelligent, talented and witty Jenny, who rebels and breaks the stereotype of women in the 1960s England: she does not destine herself to become a housewife in a patriarchal family. She applies to study to Oxford, lies to her parents, smokes, has sex and goes to out-of-town romantic weekends with a man twice her age. However, the real twist in the story is when she finds out that this man she is having an affair with and is ready to marry, is already married to another woman. She is shocked of course, not only at him, but also at her foolishness to leave school in order to be with him. Yet, she breaks the stereotype once again, goes back to school, gets into Oxford and dates men her age. If this is not inspiring I don’t know what is!

Apart from the story, however, what I adore about this movie is the style and elegance of the 60s: Mulligan with an almost Audrey Hepburn look when she’s getting ready to marry David (played by Peter Sarsgaard), the hair that is pulled back, the bold eyeliner, the red lipstick, the porcelain skin and the minimal jewellery undeniably give her an air of elegance I absolutely love. Rosamund Pike, who plays the role of Helen, a friend of David’s, although not as understated and elegant as Jenny, certainly captures the glamour of the time (which I’d personally connect with American style rather than British): she wears fur coats, leopard shirts and tailored trousers (which are back in fashion by the way). Although not as conservative as the rest of the female characters, she certainly makes out the best of her clothes. Sarsgaard also rocks the role of the middle aged playboy with his wit and natural charm. He even got me, let alone Jenny!

This for me, certainly gets a 9/10.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Gordon Ramsay

One of my biggest inspirations: Gordon Ramsay. Known for his foul mouth, short temper and of course a scandal which included a professional mistress (Sarah Symonds who allegedly had an affair with him also wrote a book called Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman), he is still one of the best chefs on the planet. He presented a number of shows varying from Kitchen Nightmares, where he saved failing restaurants, to the F word (‘It’s not rude, it’s Food!’) where he had amateur cooks cook his recipes proving that you don’t need to be a professional cook to cook amazing food.

But the reason he’s an inspiration to me is that he went from zero to hero: in his teens he was a football player who probably could not tell the difference between edam and brie. Thirty years later, he has 12 Michelin stars under his belt, is ranked the third best chef in the world (Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse are the first two) and is the main holder of an empire valued at £67m.

Unfortunately, he’s married.

First post!!

ok, here it goes: this is a blog for all my things favourite: food, fashion, beauty, food, books, films, food, tv series oh and did I mention food? :)

To others food may be their way of not starving themselves to death. But when I say food, I mean real food: edible art, something pleasing to the eye, to the nose and then finally to the mouth.

To find out more, read on :)



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