Monday, 28 February 2011

Red nose day - if she can, we can

What great news, the fabulous Helen Skelton has completed her amazing high wire walk (details here

So, this spurs us on; if she can do a high wire walk, then we can surely raise s bundle through our red nose day cake bake.

Bring it on!

hair dye experiment

Let's get two things straight before you read any further:
1 - This is not a sponsored or paid for post, I bought this hair dye at the generic supermarket tempted by it's launch special offer price.  
2 - I had no intention of running an experiment Or writing this post, I just wanted to dye my hair, but this just begs to be shared

This is the hair dye; Clairol Nice'n'easy colour blend foam
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I used to, pre-Rachel, go to the hairdresser on a regular basis and spend a small fortune having my hair styled and coloured or highlighted. It was a 3 or 4 hour pampering session every 6 weeks or so.  Motherhood guzzumped that time, and money; so I simply transferred to a haircut that needed less maintenance, and started dying my hair at home.  I've had varying success; sometimes picking a colour that came out far too bright or clashed with my skin colour; but mostly it's been just fine.  

So, last week I had a grey hair shock in the car's rearview mirror and decided to get some more dye at the supermarket.  As most households these days I'm trying to cut costs left, right and centre; so seeing a special launch offer by a brand as respected as Clairol nice'n'easy was perfect.

And here we are today; following the experience which became an experiment.  Rachel was my able bodied assistant (it being a teacher training day).

Step one - read instructions
Straight forward enough, clear, large print, even Rachel read them to check for me.

Step two - put on gloves
Fail #1.  What weak gloves, I've never had any hair dye gloves that have split before, but these did.

Step three - mix chemicals to create dye foam
Straight forward, easy. BYou shake the chemicals together until properly mixed, but the foam started firming immediately putting too much pressure on the bottle.  I therefore decided i needed to get the pump dispenser on before I had an explosive situation.  I think that was the right call because I made the transfer without any leaks, but the mixing wasn't complete so then I needed to shake it all more with the dispenser on, very tricky.
Fail #2.  The mixing container is just a few millilitres too small, come on Clairol, that's cost cutting too far.

Step four - apply to hair
I was thrilled with the idea of a foam, but it wasn't foamy enough until a third of the way through the container; before that it was runny and bubbly.  Of course this is no worse than any previous dyes but it's not as advertised.  I think it links back to the problems with mixing (see fail#2).  Eventually the foam was properly foamy and was easy enough to apply.  

It was harder work to get on the hair than the lotions and took a lot longer.  This was because it took at least 20 handfuls of foam to be squeezed to get anywhere near the end of the container.  This results in.....
Fail #3 it took 7 minutes to apply, this meant some of my hair had the recommended 25minutes of applied foam, whilst some had as much as 32minutes.

Step five - was off and condition
The foam washed out easily and the conditioner had a lovely aroma, once you got into the packet.

Step six - dry and observe
Well this is the all important bit isn't it; how the colour looks, whether you are going to be able to live with the colour for the next month or so.

It's shiny
It's healthy looking
It's definitely covered all the grey

That's 3 big ticks in boxes. 

But the trouble with getting all the foam on the hair quickly (see Fail #3) means that the colour is definitely lighter on the top of my hair than towards the back and bottom.

Luckily I prefer a variation of colour over my hair, as my natural hair tends to be (and no I'm not referring to the grey).  So I'm pleased enough.  But I'm sure others might not want that effect.  

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So what's my overall view:
Great hair dye, good coverage; but design flaws in the mixing and application system make it tricky to prepare and apply.

I reckon Clairol would say it's all about user technique and not design issues, but as an engineer I would beg to differ.  And after all, it's my user impression that matters to me.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday Simple Scribble

I love sundy afternoons; that time after church and sunday lunch where we just chillax as a family. Often Rachel chooses to do some art and I sit down and chat whilst she draws. Well today I realised that some of my scribbles aren't actually that bad and so why not include them on the blog. After all many of my posts are much less than I desire but no one complains.

so here it is; my first sunday simple scribble


Silent Sunday Rainbow

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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Kntting Rocks

Oh yes, it's now official, knitting rocks. I haven't found anything quite so relaxing and yet so easy on my poor tired eyes in a very long time. And of course my infamous addictive personality means that I've ceased on those knitting needles with avengeance.

I learned how to knit a mere one month ago, and have so far knitted:
- 2 children's bag
- an iphone case
- 8 snoods
- 4 broaches
- 2 wrist cuffs
- 1 cat
- 1 owl
- 1 mouse


As I realised I am burying us alive in knitted objects, and my friends have started to look at me suspiciously if I come bearing knitting; I have decided I might just be able to sell some of these creations. Of course Mike thinks this is hysterical, who would want to buy anything hand knitted by Emma; but hey, it's worth a try.

So I now have an Etsy page here

And a Folksy page here

On our way home

So we leave the seaside on a beautiful sunset
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And eat a wonderful curry half way home
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Perfect end to a perfect half term

Friday, 25 February 2011

Half term fun was fun but was it fun enough?

Since Rachel has started school I value the school holidays above all else; quality time with Rachel, just the two of us or as a family, unconstrained and able to do whatever we fancy.  

So this half term we had a three part plan:
1. Daddy day and then family Cinema trip the first weekend
2. Rachel and I up to Rochdale to visit granny and grandad who always lavish attention on her
3. All three of us to the flat for seaside fun, chillaxing and visiting cousins

Lucky little girl I might hear you say, and yes I'd agree, so let's see how it went.

Part One
- baked cakes with daddy "they didn't turned out as well as they would with you mummy" and made pizza with daddy "totally yummy"
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- played domino rally with daddy "he wouldn't let me do my choices"
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- and when I got back it looked like daddy was being used as a surf board
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- cinema trip to Gnomeo and Juliet - big hit (see review here )
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Part Two
Off to granny and granddads, and she was an absolute star in the car for five hours!  We went out to eat, played at the playground, painted, read stories, played on granddads iPad and generally had a great time.
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Part three
We went down to the new forest flat by the seaside, our bolt hole.
We walked along the cliff top and took photos
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Went to the beach
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Had ice creams in the sun
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Dressed up as a cat
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Made alien shrinkies
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Drew pictures of ourselves
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But after 2 days we had bored her back to her DS.
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Oh well, the lesson that this half term holiday has taught us is that we can provide all the fun and entertainment in the world, but in the end we are as nothing when compared to the amazing joy of a DS or an iPad.  We will keep trying though!!!

PS - Rachel just said "I love our the holiday, its brilllliant spending all this time with you.". Looks like we did ok.

Flash back Friday - 12 years

It's 12 years ago in April, surely I can't be old enough to have been married that long; but yes, I am, we are, we've been married 12 years.

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This photo takes me straight back there, to the nerves at all the people watching when I walked down the aisle, to the reassurance when I got to Mike, to the amazing commitment and the hysteria giggles in "all things bright and beautiful". I can feel the warmth of the sun as we left the church into the blossom shaded churchyard, remember the joy of seeing all my friends there and I can hear the music of our first dance. How amazing that the memories are as fresh as they were the day after the wedding.

I hope you also enjoy this sight of wedding memories.

Join in with the fun of flashback Friday yourself here:

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Five things I want Rachel to know about me

1. I was once a goth chick. I bought long weird skirts in Cambden Market in London, wore my purple or black DMs and loved being in a group that accepted me.

2. I didn't always believe in God. There was a long time when I couldn't put my faith in something I couldn't rationalise and understand completely.  Then God touched me, saved me, loved me and I turned back to Him.

3. Everyone finds motherhood hard sometimes.  It is exhausting, trying, with no manual or appraisal.  Sure it's fun and rewarding and the most fabulous thing I've ever done, but girl please don't think it will always be easy when it's your turn. 

4. Singing at the top of your voice is good for the soul. In the car, the lounge, the kitchen, the garden or at a club; singing till your voice hurts is pure wonderful abandon.  Do it often!

5. My love for you is endless no matter what you might think when I have to set boundaries in the future.  I will always love every sweet bit of you, as much as I did the first time I saw you on an ultrasound scan, the first time I held you and everyday since.

Join the Friday club carnival here
 The Friday Club

If I was.... 

This is inspired by

If I was younger I would take more risks, try more new things, worry less about what other people think and follow my heart.

If I was older I would have more grey hairs but care less about them

If I was wiser I wouldn't have such a crazy busy life

If I was less giving of myself then I would missing my vocation 

If I was less educated perhaps I wouldn't question everything so much

If I was more energetic I might consider taking up running

If I was taller I would find it easier to change lightbulbs and reach those "special pots" in my high cupboards

If I was thinner I would be the same mum with a cheaper wardrobe

If I was not a mum I would still be travelling the world at every occasion, going to the cinema every week, having lie ins at weekends and wishing I had a family.

If I was a mum to two or more I would be s very different kind of mum, I can't tell if it'd better or worse, but definitely different 

If I was not a christian I would still be searching for meaning in life

If I was not stuck in a traffic jam right now then I wouldn't be able to type on my iPhone so easily, so there's a positive about traffic jams.

And here's Rachel's thoughts:

If I was older (she's 5) then I would gave to do more homework but I'd be allowed to watch more films

If I was taller I could go on more uses at chessington

If I was younger daddy wouldn't tell me not to suck my thumb

If I was a mum I would be just like mummy

If I was a vet then I would help lots of sick animals

If I was married I would still live with mummy and daddy 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Learning languages is fun with Lingo Show

Have you discovered the Lingo Show on CBeebies? It introduces preschoolers to a number of languages different from their own. It works for English speakers and those with a different native tongue. The language used in the programme, songs and online games are


There is more information for parents here

I think it's fab, and so does Rachel. She is in a class with numerous languages spoken at home and they learn a few words from each every half term, this makes it all the more fun.

As ever I have nothing but praise for the BBCs excellent kids programming. Well done BBC!

My Mummy's Babies Died

This is the scan of Rachel at 20 weeks when we started to believe we would hold her in our arms.

Rachel has been speaking a lot about my miscarriages since watching Marley and Me. I had no idea that the film would include a scene showing how parents can find out about their baby having died at a routine ultrasound scan.

For information, this is called a "Missed Miscarriage" because the mum has not known the baby has stopped growing and therefore the act of miscarriage has been missed. I have had a missed miscarriage and it is an unbelievable cruel term for what is the loss of a baby; I felt it put the blame on me for "missing" it, that is not the case.

I have had four miscarriages, three before Rachel and one after. She knows about the fact that I have had four babies die in my tummy, she knows that her brothers are in heaven. She talks about it whenever someone announces they are expecting a baby and sometimes when siblings are being discussed at school. She is open about it, sad about it and also aware that she is a very special child born to a mum who thought she'd never have a baby grow up. Well Marley and Me seems to have really moved her, she has been asking many more questions and talking about it a lot more; and this morning in my bed she came out with the following...

Mummy I was telling xxx that your babies died and she didn't believe me. I said that they are my brothers and they are in heaven and she said I was being silly. It is true isn't it mummy? (Yes Darling.)
Did it hurt to have them die in your tummy? (yes, it hurt my tummy and it hurt my heart.)
Did they have funerals? (no, but I remember them all the time and say prayers for them.)
Mummy will my babies die in my tummy? (I don't know darling, I hope not, but I don't know.)
At least I will have you and you help people whose babies die, so I will be OK. I am going to pray lots that God stops babies dieing in mummy tummys. (that's a wonderful idea baby.)
Mummy I love you, you must love me loads and loads, enough for me and my brothers, that's a lot. (yes darling, I do, I love you more than anything.)
Can I go and see Granny now? (yes love, be good.)

I blog about my miscarriages quite openly at LLM calling, but today I wanted to share Rachel's views and thoughts about it. Many children have to deal with the miscarriage of their siblings, perhaps this post may help them in some way.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Earthquake at the world's best film set

Think the lord of the rings trilogy
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The last samurai
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Whale Rider
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Vertical limit
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The Piano
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And the upcoming The hobbit
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All these films have been filmed in the stunning setting of New Zealand, a backdrop to be envied by most countries. And what makes it stunning? The mountains and valleys and plains and glaciers and hidden forests and beaches; all of which are formed due to New Zealands location on the joint of tectonic plates. The downside though is that it makes NZ an earthquake zone and today the dreaded has happened with awful consequences for beautiful Christchurch.

So today we play tribute to new Zealand; the scenery and the people, and pray that recovery physically and emotionally is swift.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Rainy half term entertainment

It looks like we are going to all have a pretty cold and wet half term holiday this week.  The soft plays will be heaving and noisy, the swimming pool a splashing mass of kids, the playgrounds wet and muddy.  You'll have done the baking cakes, the playing board games, the hideaways under the kitchen table and the kids tv programmes will have driven you to the edge.  So how about a trip to the cinema.  Here are a few suggestions:

Gnomeo and Juliet - good clean kids fun which they'll love, it won't challenge you but you'll probably leave you with a nice warm feeling.

Tangled - an absolute must see.  Girls, boys, parents, grandparents; all will love this classic Disney film with it's humour and beauty.

Yogi Bear - I'd rather suffer an afternoon at a soft play centre, but if I was desperate enough I could just about stomach this.

Big mommas like father like son - seriously, don't be tempted, there's got to be something better to do!

Justin Bieber never say never - do you have an aspiring singer in the family? What better inspiration and encouragement could there be than seeing how one boy kept trying and made good.

Gnomeo and Juliet

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It was a good film.
One gnome was red and one was blue, the blue one was Gnomeo and the red is Juliet.  They start off fighting each other but then they're friends and they love each other.  In the end everyone is friends.
It is very funny.  I think 3 year olds would like it upto granny age.

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It started off good, was a bit mind gnoming in the middle but finished well.  Elton could have spent note than five minutes getting the soundtrack together!  I wouldn't buy it on DVD but would watch it on tv.

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I was dreading this film, wondering what it was going to be like; but I was pleasantly surprised.  The characters are likeable and distinct; the story is close enough to Romeo and Juliet to be obvious but doesn't take it seriously.  

I liked the middle section, the cameo by Shakespeare was priceless.  It was the right length and kept Rachel entertained.  

Where as Mike thought the soundtrack was a cop out, I enjoyed all the memories through Elton's songs.  

I can't imagine many kids older than primary school liking it, it's not quite clever enough to work on many levels; but it's great for a Sunday afternoon chill out as a family.

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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Saturday's sound bites

There is so much in the news today related to families that I thought I would pick out a few of the sound bites that spoke to me and comment. So here goes
New reading test for 6 year olds to include non words.
I have a few problems with this:
1- why are we testing our 6 year olds?
2- all research I've read says that you can not accurately measure reading ability until a child reaches 7
3- most children look for meaning above and beyond their use of phonics
4- when will our teachers be allowed to focus on TEACHING?
5- measures are only useful if used for the kids, this is bureaucracy

And just to be clear, I will not allow Rachel to be part of any crazy testing undertaken not for her benefit
Mixed-race adoption policy gets new guidelines
This is fantastic news, finally a child will not be refused adoption because a family of the sane ethnicity is unavailable. I always thought this was mad and I'm thrilled to see it being put right. Of course every child should ideally be adopted by a family most appropriate for them, with ethnicity being one factor, but that should not overly delay or constrain adoptions.
Development fears over half of five year olds
This article is so disturbing. All the research looked at was how many children about to start school could " share, self-motivate, co-operate and concentrate". Something is going wrong if 5 year olds can't do this; but is the problem real or how it is assessed? I worry with these surveys just how informed the results are. The article focuses on the importance of reading to kids and regularity of bedtimes. I agree, both these are extremely important, but will Yet Another Survey really improve things? As chair of a charity preschool I know how often this doesn't happen, but with simple advice and nurture mostly parents start to change these things. I have to say, I would like more focus on the emotional intelligence of our kids as well, we seem to forget that empathy, security and nurture matter.


Friday, 18 February 2011

Masterchef review

The new series of Masterchef started on the BBC this week. I love it, always have since it was hosted by Lloyd Grossman; and since I introduced Rachel to it last year, and especially since Juniour Masterchef, she has become a fan as well.

But this year it's changed a bit, well a lot really, following closer to the format of the Australian version. I have heard and read a lot of criticism about it, especially these audition episodes, for example:

too like x-factor
we want food not emotional turmoil
new kitchen is like a space ship

But I like it, in fact I really like seeing this stage before they get their aprons. I always wondered what happened beforehand, and although I'm betting it was nothing like we've seen this week, it's still nice to see. I am glad to see how important it is to the contestants; it's a massive competition with huge pressure and the chance to change your life.

Rachel thought it was a bit mean for those who didn't get through, but then she thinks that most weeks anyway. Mind you she can be ruthless if the food looks "silly" or if Greg (her favourite) doesn't like the taste.

So we are looking forward to the coming weeks; the highs and lows (of the souffles), the sweet and sour, the tears and laughter, the massive new kitchen!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Blue Peter inspires us for Comic Relief 2011

Rachel and I were watching Blue Peter today and they were talking about Helen Skelton's latest challenger for Comic Relief; this year it is high wire walking!!

Rachel was blown away and really interested in the way kids can do things to raise money for charity, especially for kids in Africa. I asked her if she'd like to do anything and she's come up with a great plan.

We are going to have a sponsored cake baking and decorating event and then a cake sale, with all money raised going to Comic Relief 2011.

The thing is Rachel is a child of the 21st century, a child of love; and she sees bigger than I ever did at her age. For her it is great that we are doing something, but she says she's going to ask all her friends to join in and also said "if you put it on your blog and tweet it then lots of people you know can do it too!"

she's 5 and she knows "tweet" as a verb
she's aware that blogging something means people read it
she really thinks she can get people to join her

I'm not sure, I'm worried she'll get her hopes up.... BUT maybe I should have her faith and go with it.

So are you and your kids tempted?
will you join in her plan to have sponsored cake bakes and sales around the country?
I can't tell you how much I'd love it if her faith was proven true!
How amazing would it be to spread Rachel's idea around the UK; blog it, tweet it, facebook it and raise loads of money for Comic Relief 2011. who's in?

Everyone who wants to take part will bake cakes of any shape, size or form on Wednesday 16th March 2011.
You get sponsored for how many cakes you can make in the day.
Then you take these cakes to people and sell them, collecting money for Red Nose Day.
Sounds easy, is easy, could raise lots of money, will make a difference!

Here is Rachels RND URL -
And join her Team at URL -

For more about Helen's challenger visit here

For more about the comic relief campaign academy of fun through BBC kids visit here

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Marley and Me - by Rachel

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Marley was a puppy. A very naughty puppy who eats everything and rubs around everywhere. But he is very lovely and they like him. The mum has a baby and Marley likes the baby. The dad writes about Marley all the time. When there is another baby Marley gets too naughty but they forgive him.

It is too sad at the end and Marley gets sick and dies. Mummy and me cried a lot then and there wasn't a happy ending. There should be a happy ending.

I think it's for age 4 to mummy age. It's really good but sad.

8/10 paws Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is what Sid thought of all the barking
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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Blast from the past

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Does this look like a five year old to you?
She looks the spit if me when I was about 14, except loads more petite!

It's reminded me of that time, it's the late 1980s, and the film I saw that stands out in my mind is......

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Do you remember that film?
The first time that animation met live action, it was groundbreaking and I remember being wowed by it.
If you haven't watched the film here's what you need to know:
- There's a gorgeous girl
- a detective
- a cartoon rabbit
- it's a detective film
- set in toon town
- very 1930s style
- it's funny
- it's sweet
- there are cameos by bugs bunny and Mickey mouse

kids are now used to seeing cartoons and people together, perhaps that will make this less amazing than it was at it's release, but it's still very much one of a kind.

So will I show it to Rachel sometime soon?
Well it's a PG but I don't think it's her thing yet, perhaps a year from now; definitely soon.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy valentines day 2011

Fifteen years ago tonight Mike and I went on our first date, after weeks or maybe months of something that might seem more than friendship.

15 years!
Where have those years gone?
And tonight we celebrated with a meal at home together knowing Rachel was safely snoozing upstairs.

Would we have anticipated this all those years ago, no way.
Do we look back to those days with longing, not on your nelly.
Have the love changed, yes, many times.
But today I still choose Mike, he still chooses me and we both choose Rachel above all else.

Happy valentines night

Sunday, 13 February 2011

BAFTAs Part Five

OK, I'm getting tired. BUT......

the Best Animated Film will cheer me right up because I love animated movies, the whole family does, and Toy Story 3 is the bestest of the best. congrats to Pixar for an amazing film which made us laugh and cry.

Looking back at those who've departed this year
John Barry - composer - loving Goldfinger music, perfect!
Leslie Nielsen - love to hate his form of humour
Dennis Hopper - gorgeous all through his life, perfect too
Norman Wisdom - when I'm cleaning windows, playing my ukalalae
Corey Haim - loved him when I was a girl
Pete Postlethwaite - loving Brassed Off clip, amazing

Adapted Screenplay
The Social Network, well of course I love it, I'm a social network addict!

Best Director
And again, it's a roll for them, the social network.

Leading Actress
I don't like the roll she played, it makes me feel creepy, it's weird and strange and too dark. But then I guess she's not like that and that's why she's such a great actress. congratulations to Natalie Portman in Black Swan.

Leading Actor
He deserves it, again for being something he most definitely is not, the fantastic Colin Firth in the King's Speech.

Best Film
so which is it? Inception or The Kings Speech or The Social Network. I know which I want; I know which I think will get it; and the latter wins with many congratulations to The Kings Speech.

what a great night, demonstrating the wonder that is still the artistic style of movie making; here and around the world. hope you've enjoyed it with me, The End

BAFTAs Part Four

Part Four - can you tell yet that each break is for the trailers for the Best Film?

Best Original Screenplay
Loving the way the winner nearly got announced before the nominees were shown; I don't think she even realised what she'd done, not even when Wossy was on top of her. Too funny.
And the winner is The King's Speech, they're stealing the show.

Outstanding British Contribution to British Cinema
Stephen Fry is fantastic, even with his sticky out hairdo tonight. doesn't look like a style statement, guess it's due to the wind and rain tonight.
Of course, as I blogged here it is going to Harry Potter, well deserved!
Did you know those movies have made a "shed load" of money?? shock to me. I thought it was all magic. I have to say though, I still adore the "quite brilliantly narrated audio books" - they ARE my first experience of Harry Potter.

Here's a secret you might not know......I am going to be Licensed as a Lay Minister in the Church of England in November, and this will be in (well in the cathedral adjacent to) the Great Hall from Hogwarts!!!! too cool! I hope the candles float and the pictures watch us and there is magic in the air.

Here's another something else that Harry Potter has done for us; Mike was speaking to Rachel about his school friend who had ginger hair and muttered the word "carrot top"; you know she's never heard that. Well I am thrilled she hasn't, and I think we have a certain character Ron Weasley and his fabulous actor Ruper Grint for that.

BAFTAs Part Three

Part Three here we are...

Outstanding Debut
I really think this should have gone to Gareth Edwards for Monsters because of the fact that he made all the special events on his own PC; or even better to Skeletons. But Four Lions looks great so I look forward to seeing it soon.

Outstanding British Film
I love this category for many reasons, but they start with the fact that Emily Watson is beautiful and has perhaps the most fabulous diction and tone ever.
And the winner is The King's Speech, not a huge surprise, but a happy occurrence none the less. How wonderful to hear why the writer wrote this screenplay, just shows why it's important to allow the unperfect to be seen on tv, heard on radio and seen on paper!

Best Supporting Actor
The Kings Speech do it again, good on Geoffrey Rush, shame he's in New York and not able to receive the award. Very well deserved. But sorry Wossy, what was that?

BAFTAs Part Two

The BAFTAs have finally started on the BBC and so here is my the second part of my blog post series on the evening's events. For those who have been following me through the evening you will have noticed that I've been getting a sneak peek of results, but I won't put any spoilers here before they go "live" on BBC.

I love seeing the red carpet; it's the luxury, the stars, the good old english rain, and the dresses. But tonight I have been mesmerised by the gents and especially by the lovely gentleman who is Colin Firth. He deserves to win, about time. Mind you, Emily Watson, she steals every red carpet show; and Helena Bonham Carter, well you can't not look at her beauty.

But that's enough of that.

To the show; and yes it's as much about the show as the awards for us.
Streetdance - what a spectacular, love it. Good to see the historic spectacle of the Royal Opera House showing such a modern dance troop.

The montage of 2010 movies - I would pay good money to download that, what do you think? will iTunes offer it? or will BAFTA make it available online?

Original Music
Paul McCartney - British Legend. When did his voice change? Is it that we rarely hear him speak, or has something changed?
So the original music BAFTA goes to .... The King's Speech. could this be the start of the run for this great film?

Special Effects
Can I just say, that purple dress with the booby swirls, not the best look.
Of course, it goes to Inception, how could it not?
I loved that film, just amazing and mostly due to the incredible special effects. well done those guys. "feel like I'm about the woken up and dunked in a cold bath and told to finish the film" - love it. clever and funny.

Best Supporting Actress
Loving James Macavoy, he was great in Shameless and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
So who wins? It should be, she can't loose it, she hasn't..... it's Helena Bonham Carter looking very different from her Tim Burton characters. Isn't it amazing how she looks just like her Tim Burton characters in real life, love her!! Loving the looks on the loosing actress faces. but as Helena says "it's not all about the winning!" Loving her "'s as good as it gets!"

Buzz Light Year Competition

In celebration of the BAFTA awards tonight, and the anticipated awarding of best animation to Toy Story 3; we have decided to run our first ever competition.

We have a special DVD of Buzz Lightyears' adventures to give away to one lucky follower of our blog (UK only).

All you need to do is:
1 - follow the Major Love of Film blog (or be a follower already) and
2 - comment to this post saying what you most love about the Toy Story films

If you would like to make an extra entry then:
3 - like us on facebook and comment on the page or
4 - follow us on twitter @loveoffilm and tweet the competition or
5 - blog about this competition linking to this post or

Competition rules:
This competition ends 18th February 2011 at 6pm GMT
Winners will be chosen at random and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. The winner will be posted on the blog, twitter and facebook, and contacted by email if an email address is given.

Our BAFTA predictions - updated through the night

Here are our predictions, well more like our choices, for the BAFTA winners.

BEST FILM Inception

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM The King’s Speech - awarded to The King's Speech

OUTSTANDING BRITISH DEBUT Skeletons - awarded to Four Lions

DIRECTOR Social Network - awarded to The Social Network

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY The King's Speech - awarded to The King's Speech

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY The Social Network - awarded to The Social Network

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo - awarded to Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

ANIMATED FILM Toy Story 3 - awarded to Toy Story 3 - love it!!!! enter our competition to win Buzz' adventures DVD to celebrate!

LEADING ACTOR Colin Firth in The King’s Speech - awarded to Colin Firth

LEADING ACTRESS Natalie Portman in Black Swan - awarded to Natalie Portman

SUPPORTING ACTOR Christian Bale in The Fighter - awarded to Geoffrey Rush in the King's Speech

SUPPORTING ACTRESS Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech - awarded to Helena Bonham Carter

ORIGINAL MUSIC Inception awarded to The King's Speech

CINEMATOGRAPHY 127 Hours - awarded to True Grit

EDITING Social Network - awarded to Social Network

PRODUCTION DESIGN Alice in Wonderland - awarded to Inception

COSTUME DESIGN Alice in Wonderland - awarded to Alice in Wonderland

SOUND Inception - awarded to Inception

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS Inception - awarded to Inception

MAKE UP & HAIR Alice in Wonderland - awarded to Alice in Wonderland

SHORT ANIMATION Thursday awarded to The Eagleman Stag

SHORT FILM Rite awarded to Until the River runs Red

ORANGE WEDNESDAYS RISING AWARD Aaron Johnson - awarded to Tom Hardy

Join us on twitter @loveoffilm for our thoughts throughout BAFTA; and we will blog again later or tomorrow so you can see how well our predicting went.

BAFTAs Part One

Tonight, Sunday 13th February 2011, is the BAFTA awards and I will be watching it live on the BBC. I would obviously rather have been at the Royal Opera House in person, but then my sofa is very comfy.

I will blog a round up of my thoughts tomorrow, but for now let me share my thoughts on the presentations we know about.

BAFTA will tonight pay tribute to esteemed actor Sir Christopher Lee, honouring him with the Academy Fellowship.
Mike has always loved hammer horror films, and there's no doubting his great service in those. But they're not my cup of tea, so for me Sir Christopher Lee's finest performance is as the evil Lord Saruman in Lord of the Rings. I also loved his Count Dooku in the Star Wars Films II and III, a highlight of those films for me.

But when I think of Christopher Lee it conjures up his voice, that booming voice which no one else can ever properly impersonate and for which he is infamous. I am not good at identifying voices, but Sir Lee is one I can spot.

The Harry Potter film series will receive the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema
Wonderful, if slightly early considering the last installment is not yet released. I adore the Harry Potter films, almost as much as the books; they have changed through time and yet each has it's special place in my heart. One of the aspects of the films that I appreciate is the way they stay close to but not constrained by the books. And then there's the way the films have both new and famous actors working side by side; and neither outshines the other, it just works. Oh and the fact that the films are British - hurrah!!!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Shrek by Rachel

I think Shrek smells but I don't think he is scary really. People chase him all over the place and he hides in his swamp, I think that smells too. He has lots of friends from fairy tales and they all want Shrek to save their home. Donkey is really funny, he makes me laugh all the time. Shrek pretends he doesn't like donkey but really they are friends.

There is a tiny mean king who wants to marry a princess but can't get past the dragon. Shrek is the one who goes to get the princess. He falls in love with the princess when he sees her as a Shrek. Donkey falls in love with the dragon.

Everyone is happy at the end, but not the king, and they all live happily ever after in love.

Good for everyone, I watched it when I was as small as 2 and even grandad likes it.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Schindler's List by Emma

It has been many years since I have watched Schindler's List, at least 6; so this is the first time since becoming a mum.  I was reading something recently about the holocaust and the film came to mind and I knew I needed to watch it again.

This must be the seventh or eighth time I've watched the film; the first being at The Odeon Cinema in Cobham, with my dad, in 1993 on it's release. I remember a cinema in tears that day; red eyes and sobs as well as left; I remember being completely moved by a film for the first time.

And today the same reaction but in a very different way.  Today I watched it as a mum.  With an even greater empathy for the separated families and the horror of it all for children and parents.

Today, knowing the plot and cinematography so well, I saw different things.  I saw the pure philanthropy of Schindler knowing more of what it took to somehow be playing two roles.  I saw the amazing acting of Mr Fiennes (why did he not win an Oscar for his acting?) whom I detested at a new level and was warmed to see changing under nurture by Schindler. I heard the music, it had never really struck me before.  And I saw the girl in red, more times than I thought I saw before, and she moved me.

But more than this; today this film has reminded me how important it is that we never forget the holocaust.  That we keep a close eye on the world for the same going on today.  That we stand up as individuals and say to our leaders - never again.  That we teach our children about acceptance and togetherness and that discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable.  That we ask our churches to stand in the world and demand, with all other religious leaders, that we can all live together in peace.

Today this post will go on both my blogs; as a film review on and as a reflection on history and society on

On both aspects of the review the line of the film which stays with me is:
"this list is an absolute good, it is life."

Schindler's List saved but a few; but his actions for change must speak to generations throughout time as a model of doing the right thing even when it seems impossible.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Valentines: true love?

Disney chick wrote this blog post about the valentines characters she'd rather spend valentines with. It's well worth a read.

Rachel has been talking about valentines a lot recently. And, I'm kind of sad to say, I'm no longer her valentine. Although I still get hugs, kisses and she shares her sweets with me - what more could I want?

But back to Rachel; there's a valentines disco at school on Saturday and there's a certain school boy after her affections. And there's also her existing boyfriend to whom she's dedicated. I don't remember life being this complicated at 5!

She has also been talking a lot about the film characters that love each other and the ones she'd like to be. So here is the list:

- Shrek and Princess Fiona

- Woody and Jessie

- Rapunzel and Eugene

- Wall-E and Eva

- Troy and Gabriella

- Mumble and Gloria

- Tinkerbell and Peter Pan

- Lightning McQueen and Sally

- Simba and Nala

- Minnie and Mickey

- Donald and Daisy

She says "Wall-E and Eva are the most lovely; Mumble and Gloria are cute; and Troy and Gabriella from High School Musical are the best."

So who do you aspire to be like?
For me it's Shrek and Princess Fiona; that love of what's inside a person.