Monday, 22 August 2011

BP Portrait Award 2011

A definite sign for me that another year has simply disappeared again is when I read that the exhibition of the BP Portrait Award entries is shown again in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
As always, an absolute amazing exhibition to go to (and it is for free).
See for yourself...

The exhibiton is still on till the 18th september so if you have a chance...

Taking Woodstock

Another film I have watched recently after wanting to see it for a while:

It tells the story of the Greenwich Village interior designer who inadvertently helped to spark a cultural revolution by offering the organizers of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival boarding at his family's Catskills motel. The year is 1969. Change is brewing in America, and the energy in Greenwich Village is palpable. Elliot Tiber is working as an interior designer when he discovers that a high-profile concert has recently lost its permit from the nearby town of Wallkill, NY. Emboldened by the burgeoning gay rights movement yet still tied to tradition in the form of the family business -- a Catskills motel called the El Monaco -- Tiber phones producer Michael Lang at Woodstock Ventures and offers boarding to the harried concert crew. Later, as the Woodstock Ventures staff begans arriving in droves, half a million concertgoers make their way to Max Yasgur's adjacent farm in White Lake, NJ, to witness the counterculture celebration that would ultimately make history as one of the greatest events in the annals of rock & roll. (sourse:

Don't get fooled by the colourful poster and the coolness you may expect in a film portraying that time. In my humble opinion it is an exceptionaly boring film.
Hardly any music, hardly any acting worth seeing and the plot is simply lifeless and dull. Even Imelda Staunton is far away from being remarkable in this one, what a let down really. Ok, it is interesting to find out the background story of the legendary Woodstock but you could simply read it up and have a better time I guess. A film that is presenting itself too much with a cool hippie vibe and delivers a completely non-atmospheric re-telling of history.
Didn't hurt to see it but absolutely not worth to see it again.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Music Challenge (29): A song from your childhood

Opus: "Life is live" (or is it "Live is life"??)

yeah, those were the days...I remember singing along to this without having a clue what the words mean. For some strange reason I understood always the word "Aeppelbrei" (apple compote) in one line..

The Proposal

Yes, and sometimes I am not anywhere near as intellectual as I want to be. Straight after fighting my way through "Fellinis Roma" I needed something easy to watch and decided on this one.

In New York, Margaret Tate is a successful self-made chief-editor of the Ruick & Hunt Publishing and loathed by her coworkers. Margaret lost her parents when she was sixteen and is tough with the employees of the office. Her executive assistant and aspirant editor Andrew Paxton has been working with her for three years without any recognition. When Margaret has problems with the immigration due to an expired visa and is threatened with deportation, she blackmails Andrew to agree to marry her. In return, he would be promoted to editor and she would publish his book. Meanwhile, the skeptical clerk of the immigration department Mr. Gilbertson schedules an interview with Margaret and Andrew after the weekend. The couple travels to Sitka, Alaska, to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Andrew's grandmother and Margaret is welcomed by his warming family. Over the weekend, she grows closer to Andrew's family who ask her to marry Andrew in their barn, a family tradition in the Paxton family. And the tension increases when Mr. Gilbertson appears out of the blue in Sitka promising to charge Andrew for fraud...

Sometimes I surprise myself because: I liked it!
The plot was simple and unrealistic, yeah, but it is a romcom after all. And it was not as plain and stupid as it could have been. The bonds between family members was portraied in a very sensitive and convincing way and the jokes were not too OTT. I don't mind Sandra Bullock (if you know me you would see that this is a compliment, I don't tend to like the majority of actors/singers/everything) and think she played her part very well (but has a slightly annying voice I think).
It was the first time I have seen handsome Ryan Reynolds in a film and again; he was much more convincing than I thought after only knowing him from perfume adverts. Casting has done very well here. They both make a lovely awkward couple, not too sweet, not too perfect. And Ryan Reynolds is nice to watch anyway, he gives you that "I look like a big boy but I can hold you and protect you from all evil with my strong arms" feeling ;-)
I enjoyed watching it and would be happy to see those two together again in a film! Sometimes it is worth to give films a chance that don't belong to your prey-pattern.

Fellinis Roma

Amazing what stuff I sometimes find recorded on sky. Must have been one of my "I-have-passed-my-film-exams-I-should-know-those-classics"-moments...
So I started watching "Fellinis Roma", as I now know, a controversially seen biographical of Fellini arriving and living in the eternal city himself and most of all a film about Rome.

There is no real plot, different episodes follow each other. Sometimes set during world war II, sometimes in the early 70's. I am quite an artsy film person and get bored easy if there is a too conventional story line...but this one here overpowered even me!
Some episodes didn't do anything for me, some were slightly scary due to the strong stage like make-up of some of the actors and some were simply strange.
Sometimes there was a bit were I thought "Yeah, that is a nice idea", then there were moments were I nodded off. Although some scenes were so grotesque that I feel they might be staying in my mind now (the brothel, that weird weird weird sacral catwalk). All reminded me a lot more of theatrical performance than a film.
If I wouldn't have read the very different opinions of the critics I probably would be afraid now that I missed something genius. But now I know that this is a weird film, not bad bad but far away from being a masterpiece as well.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Music Challenge (27): A song that you wish you could play

Easy question:

"La valse d' Amelie" from the film "Le fabuleux destin d' Amelie Poulain"

I own an old piano and my granny used to play it but I was never eager enough to learn it proper, what a shame. But this music really wants me to be able to. One of the greatest pieces composed for the piano. Full of emotions, memories...just everything (I'm still convinced I'm the real life Amelie just with lighter hair, double her size and a better taste when it comes to shoes).
Last time in Paris my husband and I bought a little musical box on the Ile St. Louis which plays that tune when you turn the little crank. Pure magic. If anything will get me to sit down and actually learn playing the piano then it is this...(ok, this youtube version is a bit too "heavy" and gets the timing wrong at times but you get the idea anyway)


Last week I finally had the chance to see Disney's 2009 anmitaed film "Up" which everyone who had seen it loved so far.
Here is a very short summary taken from imdb:

A young Carl Fredrickson meets a young adventure spirited girl named Ellie. They both dream of going to a Lost Land in South America. 70 years later, Ellie has died. Carl remembers the promise he made to her. Then, when he inadvertently hits a construction worker, he is forced to go to a retirement home. But before they can take him, he and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, who's trying to get an Assisting the Elderly badge. Together, they embark on an adventure, where they encounter talking dogs, an evil villain and a rare bird named Kevin.

So far so good. If the plot would have focused on exactly the bit pointed out above I'm sure I would have loved the film deeply. The scenes of Carl's past and his relationship with Ellie are done in such a wonderful and moving way I had to fight with tears more than once. You (or at least I) don't expect that sort of short and poignant portrait of an ageing couple and what happened in their life and to their dreams  in an animated film aming for a young audience. The scene where she gets told that she won't be able to have children on her own...nearly as sad as the worst bits of "The Lion King".
But then the directors have the urge to construct some sort of plot and that is the moment it started to lose big amounts of it's magic (same with "Wall-E"). I'm not a fan of any sort of action movie and my major problem with the Disney type of film is that there always has to happen something, always needs to be someone evil, it always leads to a big fight. I find that boring and disturbing at the same time. Guess I'm just childish and will always adore "Winnie the Pooh" for being so quiet, enchanting and harmless. Or arthouse films which don't lead to anything spectacular...
Anyway, it is a good film in general with some funny scenes, it's crafted immaculately and I would happily watch it again. But unfortunately for me the magic of the first 20min gets broken too much...

PS: The character of Charles F. Muntz looked familiar (weird to say that about an animated figure) - can anyone help me with that?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Music Challenge (26): A song that you can play on an instrument

yeah, far from being impressive, I know...I learned to play the recorder in primary school and really enjoyed it (even played it for two more years in grammar school). But then I missed the moment to move on to a "proper" instrument so what I am stuck with now is the Irish tin whistle...

...another reason is probably that years ago I was smitten by an Irish Folk musician...what a shame he never got to knew me...

Friday, 12 August 2011

Camping - experiencing your own neglect as relaxation

it's been a while since I picked up the last "Blogstoeckchen" by Miss Winkelmann but this one just had to be done.

When did you go camping for the last time?
in may, my third ever camping trip, we stayed 3 nights in Norfolk on a very empty campsite

Do you enjoy camping?
suprisingly yes! I never have been camping before may 2010, it always sounded horrible to me. No own bathroom, no wlan, surrounded by creepy crawlies and, even worse, other campers! But then my husband convinced me to at least try it and I saw the biggest advantage: once you have all your equipment together it costs next to nothing.
I tried it and now don't wanna miss it anymore (and I travel with my beauty case and a proper duvet so it's a bit more "glamping" than "camping")

Where would you like to go camping?
everywhere I haven't been, where it is fairly quiet and a decent shower and toilet block is provided..Which is neither overcrowded by teenies nor by bourgeois caravans. Somewhere on a beach would be nice...

Best campsite?
lacking experience to answer that. 

Who is your favourite camping partner?
my husband. Would never consider sharing a tent with anyone else. Wouldn't get the tent up without him anyway ;-)

Your favourite "tent food"?
a proper fried English breakfast with tea in the morning made on our gas cookers in front of the tent...breakfast never does taste better.

Any tipps and tricks?

having a big enough tent to be able to stand upright in it. When you are not a teenager any more it's a real pain getting dressed in a kneeling position

Music Challenge (24): A song that you want to play at your funeral

Nothing more to add really. A great song with enough power, verve and drama, I'm a theatre person after all so I can't leave the stage without some effect I guess ;-)

Queen: "The show must go on"

(but played in the original version not this one, the only one available on youtube)


I love English magazines...the last couple of months have be extremely good in terms of freebies. Just look at it:
  • a Ciate Lip gloss
  • a Ciate nail varnish
  • a Balance Me shower gel
  • a mini bottle of Benfit's "Posietint" (my first Benefit product ever, yeah)
  • a mini Dove hair conditioner
  • a mini Mavala nail varnish

No wonder why buying magazines in German is just not that tempting at all...

Monday, 8 August 2011

Music Challenge (25): A song that makes you laugh

My husband introduced me to this work of pure genius. I love it since then and it really never fails to make me laugh...sometimes my mind is quite simple :-)

The Goodies: "The funky gibbon"

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Every little helps

Something funny I found online:

The Shopping Guide

So which shopping type do you think you are? I'm probably the foreigner going to Lidl and Aldi :-) Not the middle class pilates lady...yet...I hope ;-) ?!?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Music Challenge (23): A song that you want to play at your wedding

Too late for making that decision. And there was absolutely no music played at our wedding and it was good that way cause I find music at proposals/weddings/funerals can too easy cross the line from emotional to kitsch.
Anyway, as "Love actually" is our film (and a quote even made it into our wedding bands) it would have to be this one:

Billy Mack (Bill Nighy): " Christmas is all around"

...would have made it quite a humorous wedding thinking that it was in warm july...;-)

Amazing graze

When I topped up my O2 phone card recently I got a voucher to try a graze box. I had read about it on blogs before so I gave it a go (
It basically means that you can pick a selection of nuts/olives/dried fruits/nibbles in general which are all supposed to be really healthy and you get them send by post so you can have healthy snacks instead of chocolate bars. I think it is your choice how often you want one delivered and if you want it send straight to your office.
I had fun rating all the food they have so they could mix me the right box.

The whole rating business worked very well and I got 4 pots of things I actually liked (chilli olives, dried exotic fruit, American nuts and a Thai snack mix)

The idea is good, the taste was fine but I have three problems with it.

1. The price...if you don't have a voucher it is well over 3£ every time.
2. I had eaten all 4 boxes within a short long are they supposed to last again?!?
3. I could eat the boxes AND have a slice of cake/icecream/chocolate bars on top of it.

So if you are richer than me and much less greedy and health orientated - this might be the right subscription for you! The idea at least is good I think.

PS: I have some vouchers for a free box in the UK so if anyone wanna try it too for free, let me know!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Music Challenge (21): A song you listen to when you're happy

The Kinks: "Lazing on a sunny afternoon"

Cool, British, relaxed, retro, cheerful, reminding me again of "The boat that rocked" and a possibly better time (which everyone thinks who wasn't there)...

Coco Mademoiselle Dupe - Eat your heart out, Keira!

Very rarely it happens that I miss the newest beauty and cosmetic craze around me. When we drove into the Lidl carpark on tuesday I was unaware of their perfume "Suddenly - Madame Glamour" until I saw their big banner stating that this one recently was voted better than a Chanel one.
I had to buy takes so little to convince me.

That's what it looks like and it smells quite nice. According to reliable sources (and a blind folded test with 100 women) this one is a Chanel "Coco Mademoiselle" Dupe, a scent I don't own so I don't really have an opinion about it. But for 4£ I had to have it (not sure if it is available in Germany as well!?).
Not that I wouldn't own way over 60 perfumes already and if I would shy away from the really expensive ones - quite the opposite - but this one is a nice little bargain and really smells a lot better than the price may indicate. Thumbs up Lidl!

Thursday, 4 August 2011


Inspired by Miss Winkelmann's recent post I took a detailed pictures of things in our house in England.

The vase came from an indoor fleamarkets in Brighton (Snooper's Paradise, the best shop in the world). It caught my I, picked it up and oh wonder: it is from a German manufacturer, from 1982 aka my birthyear and from the "Daniela" series...three good reasons to buy and one of those magical shopping moments)

A fun sign from Brighton in front of my beloved shabby feature dining room wall (which no one else understands, pah).

My husband collects Lego, no further comment needed...

Some everyday products which sneaked out of the bathroom ending up in the bookcase, I'm such a messy person.

A decoration thingy dangling from the curtain rail.

IKEA mirror in the hall.

The master of the front of the vintage train sign we haven't found a place to put it yet.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Music Challenge (22): A song that you listen to when you're sad

Not only when I'm sad.
This is definitely one of my absolute favourite songs of all times. From the first note on I'm spellbound and have to listen (despite not knowing an awful lot of Italian - but learning this language is on my list*sigh).
First heard this song in the Francois Ozon film "5x2" so in my mind the film and the song are connected. Sad film, but fascinating too in it's reverse story telling.
A song for those lovely sad moments better known as melancholy, a mood I'm very good at.

Paolo Conte: "Sparring Partner"

RA Summer Exhibition

On sunday I made my way to the annual Summer Exhibition in the Royal Academy in London again. Saw it the first time by accident ( wanted to see the Waterhouse exhibiton and opted for the cheaper combi ticket) in 2009 and was stunned. So much art in one place! And such a variety!!!
It is an overwhelming experience, I give you that and of course not everything "speaks" to you but anyway: An exhibition that is nice cause it's completely missingany unifying leitmotif. So everone will find lots of interesting and beautiful works of art no matter if you are an expert or not. A great mix of painting, sculpture and architectural models as well.

The exhibition is still on till the 15th august so if you get the chance to be in London - go and see it! It's worth the money! I promise you that you will be amazed and will get truly inspired...I got to inspired that I will sign up for an oil painting class this winter :-)


After already having blogged about the very enjoyable book, now my review on the less enjoyable film.

 "Possession is a 2002 American/British romantic/mystery drama film written and directed by Neil LaBute based on the novel by A. S. Byatt."
The basic plot line you can read up in my book post but it wouldn't be a Hollywood production if it wouldn't have been shortened and changed. What pissed me off the most was the casting of Aaron Eckhart as Roland Michell. To make an American self-assured sunnyboy out of that shy, inhibited and troubled British! As a good deal of the story evolves around the rivalry between the British and the US university system this gets even more illogical.
Gwyneth Paltrow as Maud Bailey gets portraied too normal and is lacking all of the weirdness that is characterizing Maud in the story. And if American actors should be casted to play Brits...never have been sure about this.

But there is an upside to the film too. The Victorian plot aka Jeremy Northam as "Ash" and Jennifer Ehle (remember? it's THE Lizzy Bennet from the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice") as "Cristabel". They are more than suitable for their roles, they are brilliant actors and authentic that it makes your eyes water at some points. Ok, maybe I'm biased as I think of Jeremy Northam as an extremely handsome, fascinating and sexy actor...;-) But even without that, the Victorian plot has all the charme and the depths the 20th century plot seems to be lacking. But isn't that even true for the novel??

Anyway, the film itself is quite enjoyable (if you haven't read the book). A bit of a Dan Brown treasure hunt aiming for a female audience. The depth of detail and intertextuality of the novel although get lost nearly entirely.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Music Challenge (20): A song that you listen to when you're angry

Not just this particular song, I find "The Hives" in general very good for those moments when you have to let off steam. Ok, not a very creative choice...

The Hives: "Tick Tick Boom"

Music Challenge (18): A song that you wish to hear on the radio

hmm, as I already said that I'm not a radio person so this is tricky. If I want to hear something I get the cd out of the shelve or simply go on youtube - gone are the times when you waited next to the radio with the tape player ready for recording just to get that song you hunted down for so long...a bit boring now, isn't it?
A song that I had to track down through radio is the following example. It was used in a ballet I loved at the time and which I had seen so many times...I wanted to secure my memories so I started a mix tape with every little fragment I could find. Always has been one of my biggest fears to forget something which once held sweet memories for me...

Ottmar Liebert: "Barcelona Nights"

Monday, 1 August 2011

I did it! Race for Life, Clapham Common, 30.7.2011

On saturday I did my first ever "Race for Life" in order to raise money for e charity Cancer Research UK.

I chose to walk 10k, not an unusual distance for me but I never actually had walked it timed and on purpose before. How long would it take? 2hrs? More?

For the first time ever I made my way into London wearing trainers and tracksuit bottoms, a scary experience. I normally wouldn't like to be seen dead in them...but if it is for a good cause...

On the Northern Line more and more ladies dressed in pink and carrying their bags of unwanted items for the donation station got on the train. And I started to get slightly worried...they were all belonging to the super-fit crowd. I was getting a bit scared that I might be the only one fit enough to walk the 10k but not fit enough to run them...

When I arrived my worries were gone, there were loads of girls and women of all ages, sizes and fitness-levels. I felt happy and relieved :-)

After getting  free Yakult and cranberry juice, after handing over my bag and getting slightly annoyed that I hadn't got enough money with me to buy the official T-Shirt of the event, I started walking shortly after 9.30.
A great feeling, no one makes fun of you when you are not running or don't look like the most sporty person on earth.

Even though I kept to myself during the race I felt happy and very very good and satisfied.

In the end I finished my two laps around the huge common in 95min. Well proud of that!

Was a great day and a fantastic and inspiring event, already signed up for next year and can only encourgage everyone to give it a try.

PS: And you can still sponsor me and donate a small amount of money for Cancer Research UK when you click the link on the right and go on my sponsor website. Thank you!!!

Music Challenge (19): A song from you favourite album

First I had no idea who Beth Gibbons was and of Portishead I had only vaguely heard of. Then I read the raving review in the Rolling Stone and bought it (yes, there were times were I bought cd's without having listened to them before).
I didn't love the album instantly, it was too weird, dark and out of this world for me first. But after a while I started to adore it...and especially this song. Songs like that I always compare to the feeling you have when you slowly glide into a hot bath...comforting, relaxing, special and secure.

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man: "Mysteries"