Monday, November 30, 2015

St. Andrews Day

Today is St. Andrew's Day. 
It is a national day of Scotland. 
Here is the story of St. Andrew: 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Let's talk about: The Young Victoria

This week I watched the film The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as Victoria and Albert.  I enjoyed the movie. 
I thought that Emily and Rupert were really good in their parts and I think the rest of the cast was top notch as well. 
The costumes and look of the film were gorgeous and captivating. 
I enjoyed Emily's portrayal of Victoria's strength in standing up to those around her that were trying to bully her. I really enjoyed the relationship between Victoria and Albert. Especially knowing how much she really loved him in real life and how much she mourned him after his passing. They do a good job of showcasing how that strong of a relationship was begun.
I know there are historical inaccuracies that I am not aware of and that every historical movie adds things or changes things for the sake of drama but I do think they went a little over the top in this film with Albert getting shot. As far as I understand it, there was an assassination attempt but Albert was not injured. 
Overall, I think if you have any interest in the love story of Victoria and Albert you will find this movie to be enjoyable. 

Here is the trailer: 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Let's talk about: The Fellowship, The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

 The Fellowship, The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip and Carol Zaleski tells the stories of four of the main "Inklings": J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. 
We get a LOT of information not only about these four men but also those they surrounded themselves with and how they met.
I put a lot of tabs in this book while reading it. There were so many things I wanted to remember and go back to. There are so many good quotes. 

We began with Mr. Tolkien.

 They talked a lot about his mom. Mabel gave him a great world to grow up in. She taught him Latin, French, German, about linguistics. Her influence created a thirst for knowledge of languages, alphabets, and etymologies that would last throughout his entire life. 
She taught him to draw and paint and introduced him to the children's stories of the time such as Alice in Wonderland and other fairy tales.
We also learned a lot about his wife and children. He was so devoted to them. It seemed that like most of us, he always felt like he should be doing more and yet he was doing so much. 
I was so impressed with Tolkien. Obviously I already really enjoy his work but this book just opened my eyes to him as a man and not just the creator of the marvelous world of Middle Earth. 
He was such a good man. It has given me some information on some of his other books that I will be talking about soon as well. 

C.S. Lewis grew up with his brother as his main companion. One of my favorite parts of his story was when they were quoting a letter he wrote about his brother Warnie coming home. 
"Horra!! Warnie comes home this morning. I am lying in bed waiting for him and thinking of him, before I know where I am I hear his boots pounding the stairs, he comes into the room, we shake hands, and begin to talk... well I was glad to have him but of course we had our rows afterwards..."
It is just such a telling quote about siblings. 
I was surprised by Lewis. I knew that he grew up religious and at some point became atheist and then later accepted Christianity again. 
What I didn't know was that while he wasn't my least favorite of the Inklings, he was certainly not my favorite person during his teenage and atheist years. He seemed to be quite the sadist and sexist man.
We followed his life through his affair with Mrs. Moore and then his romance with Joy. 
Later he improved greatly in my estimation and I found his transformation very interesting.
His quotes gave me a lot to think about. 

 I had never heard of Owen Barfield before reading this book. I enjoyed learning about him. I am curious to read his book, The Silver Trumpet, but haven't had any luck finding a reasonably priced one. Owen seemed like a nice gentleman. He was depressed a lot, or at least seemed to be. 
He had a stutter and found that reciting poetry and singing helped it.
Owen seemed to always think he wasn't good enough and I felt so sad for him and the fact that he seemed to always be unhappy with who he was and what he was doing. 

Charles Williams was the Inkling that I never liked throughout the book. 
"Charles Williams was a man that everyone had trouble describing. He seemed ugly but beautiful, a swirling mass of contradictions. He wrote shockers that failed to shock. He worshipped women but 'liked to beat them with a ruler'. He was a faithful husband with a harem of besotted acolytes. He was orthodox but heretical, a devout Anglican who practiced magic. He had a face at once hideous and beautiful."
He also kind of looks like the mean teacher in Anne of Green Gables... or is that just me thinking that? 

The Inklings were actually begun by Edward Tangye Lean. He founded the group when he was an undergraduate. He created it so that a small society of literary students could " pay homage to those who express themselves through ink as well as those who discover through their inky labors, inklings of a higher world." Tolkien and Lewis joined his group and took over when he graduated.
I found it interesting that Tolkien's son Christopher became an active inkling as well when he came to read English at Oxford.

Overall, this book was really well written. There was a lot of information. So much that it could be a bit tedious at times. However, I really enjoyed reading it and finding out so much more about these men and the times they lived in. It is a very interesting book and well worth the time it takes to read it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Sorry for the break in posts lately. I have had a lot of projects taking up my time. 
I will be back later this week with a few posts and then I will be taking the week of Thanksgiving off from blogging. 
So, stay tuned. There will be more!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Let's talk about: Nestle Animal Bar

The day before Halloween I stopped into the London Market as I was in the neighborhood.
I grabbed two Nestle Animal chocolate bars to give to my daughters when I picked them up from school. They were very excited. 
The bars themselves are pretty cute with animals on them. 

They both thought they were good. 
I didn't try one but I can tell you that my kids thought they were great. 
My 5 year old reminded me quickly of why I don't normally give them chocolate on the go when she stuck her thumb through it. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Remember, Rember, the 5th of November

With today being the 5th of November I feel like this is the most appropriate thing to post today: 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Let's talk about: Boxen, Childhood Chronicles Before Narnia

One day while I was at the library they just happened to have this out on a shelf being displayed. 
I had no idea that it existed so I grabbed it and checked it out. 
This book is introduced by Douglas Gresham, giving us a look at the childhood of C.S. and W. H. Lewis. We read about how they spent much of their time in the attic and they began to build worlds together. 
The book is full of their drawings and stories. 

While it isn't on my top list of favorite reads ever, the talent these boys showed at such a young age is remarkable. In some of the stories they were as young or younger than my daughters and I couldn't believe the vocabulary, handwriting, and writing ability they already had. 

I wouldn't urge you to run out and buy it but if you get a chance you might want to peruse it simply to read a bit of their young imaginations.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Let's talk about: The Great British Bake Off

I have been hearing about The Great British Bake Off for so long. I really wanted to be able to watch it but couldn't find anywhere to do so. 
Then it showed up on Netflix!
I started watching one episode thinking I would get a feel for the show. 
I ended up watching the entire first season over three days. 

The main judges on the show are two well known chefs, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. 
The hosts of the show are Mel and Sue and they are so much fun. 

The contestants have three challenges each week and then one person is eliminated. The last person standing is crowned as Britain's best amateur baker. 
The challenges are so much fun to watch. 
You end up with things like these...

What I love about this show is that although the judges are brutally honest about their feelings, they aren't cruel. And all of the contestants (at least that I have seen so far) get along and are kind to each other.
Also, I am not a baker. I don't know how to bake most of the things they made on this show and to be honest, I hadn't ever heard of a lot of the things they baked on this show.. My cooking is very simple and I have to follow a recipe exactly the way it is written. I don't have a natural talent for this stuff. Because of this I wasn't sure how much I would like this show. So if you are the same way, let me assure you it was still very enjoyable. My husband watched a few episodes with me and found it really interesting as well. 
If you love baking, I think you will love this show. 
It was so fun to see what the bakers came up with for each challenge. 
My only disappointment was when I finished the season and realized that there was only one season on Netflix. Now I need to find a way to watch the rest of the show!
Oh- and on the USA version of Netflix it is called The Great British Baking Show. 

*Have you seen this show? 
*Do you like to bake?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Let's Talk About: Walkers Shortbread Chocolate Scottie dogs

On a recent trip to London Market, I picked up these Scottie Dogs to have as a treat when we were learning about Scotland. 
They were so adorable. And really good too. 
Both of our daughters loved them. 
Definitely something I would buy again.