Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Movie review: Attack the Block

Hollywood News

I thought this film was great. I can imagine it gaining a cult following in the future. A lot of people I know say they 'didn't get it' or thought it was stupid, but I think people just need to see it a few times. There were some brilliant lines in there that people will be quoting in a few years time, much like Anchorman, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, those kind of films.

It's basically chavs v's aliens. The film is set on a council estate in London. We witness a street gang mug a young lady. Suddenly a fiery object crashes into a car next to them and when they go to investigate they discover a strange creature which attacks their leader. The gang hunt the creature down and kill it. Soon more fiery objects are heading to earth and the street gang find themselves defending their 'block' from an alien invasion.

I've read stories about how the kids are going to need to have subtitles for American audiences. I have to admit they're not particularly easy to understand, some of the slang they use is brilliant. But that's the whole point. I really think putting subtitles on the film to explain what the kids are saying is ridiculous and would really spoil it.

If you don't like a bit of strong language (actually a lot of very strong language) then this probably isn't for you. But if you love films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and District 9 I would recommend this one.



My rating ~ 4.5/5


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Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Favourites #13

I've been doing a little rain dance each day for months and finally, yesterday, the heavens opened. My lovely little garden has finally had a drink. My lawn may start to resemble grass again. My pond and it's little froggy resident can start to fill up and my bird bath fountain can start to flow again. I wonder what my inspiration for today's Friday Favourites could be? Oh, and don't forget to enter my matryoska giveaway.

Trend Hunter

I need to find me some of these. Anyone know where I can buy some from?

animalmagnetizm

How sweet is this little magnetic cloud?

pennywishes

I need to take this advice on board.

Design Love Fest

What a brilliant idea. I think Ben would fret about this one though. Imagine those umbrellas dripping onto his lovely paint work :O

Pip Glanville

I got very excited when I saw this picture. I used to have frog wellies when I was little!! Oh how I wish I owned them still.

asos

Everyone needs a beautiful Cath Kidston umbrella when it's raining.

And after all that I now need it not to be raining over the weekend. I have an outdoor korfball tournament that involves camping :D

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

As of today, I am working on it!

Bits of Wisdom

I need to write this post now so that it's fresh in my memory and so I can't dilute my thoughts over night.If you follow me on Twitter you will know that I've spent the last two days on a 'working together' course. The reason I went on this course is that during my appraisal at work I was giving feedback about my confidence around other people. And, although my manager knows I am very good at my job do I give that impression to people outside our team. This really hit a nerve with me, actually I felt pretty hurt by it. Do people think I'm incapable? I immediately looked into training courses and decided that the 'working together' course sounded perfect. This feedback about me had come from an over boisterous colleague of mine. Even before this course I could easily admit that I tend to withdraw when confronted by 'in your face' individuals. I was always quite shy when I was younger. University helped build my confidence and my teacher training built up my confidence even further, but I still revert to how I was at school when put in that situation. That probably gives you an idea as to what school was like for me. I wasn't bullied, but I was very quiet and kept myself to myself. My friends knew me well, but I doubt a lot of people would remember who I was if they were asked 'do you remember Jenny J?'

The course was pretty intense. Two days of analysing myself and having others analyse me was pretty tiring. Last night I slept like a baby even though the constant hum of a boiler had kept me awake the night before. We have talked about so much in the last two days that it is going to take time for me to put things into practice. And I hope you don't mind me sharing my journey with you guys.

I've realised that I have pretty low self esteem. Actually, I already knew this, but just figured I could get by in life without having to do anything about it. I am very aware that I hate speaking on the phone to anyone. Why? Because I have quite a soft, high pitched voice, which makes me sound a lot younger than I am. I'm scared that I'll mess up what I'm going to say and people will laugh at me. I'm scared of people being rude or judgemental and I'd rather not put myself in that situation.

You may have noticed that I don't post many pictures of myself. I think I look fat at the moment. I hate my side profile as I have a reasonably prominent nose and my teeth aren't straight.

If I was out with a group of friends at a club I would never be the one approached by the cute guys. I realise now that was to do with my self confidence and not because I was less attractive than my friends.

So the first task for me is to work on my self esteem. We sat in groups and discussed ways in which we can enhance self esteem in others and ways we can enhance self esteem in ourselves. Here are a few of the things we came up with:

Others

Positive feedback, compliments, praise - remember to be genuine about these three things. Don't give a compliment if you don't mean it. We'll see through you!
Listen - and I mean really listen. Show genuine interest. Ask questions that you want to hear the answers to, don't fake it. We know if you're not really listening. If you're really interested and listening to someone you'll delve deeper into the subject matter.
Responsibility - give us responsibility. Show us that you trust us.
Ask for advice - show that you value our opinion.
Having high self esteem yourself can be infectious. If you can raise your own self esteem it will often raise other peoples too.

Own

Affirmations - this is something I need to work on as I didn't really know what they were. Our trainer mentioned that affirmations only work if you're willing to do something about it and if they are realistic. It's no good making yourself believe you can drive a car if you really can't, because you will crash. But telling yourself 'I can learn to drive this car' is realistic and achievable and you're not going to put yourself in any danger. Also, make sure they are positive. Not - 'I am not ugly', but 'I am an incredibly beautiful person, inside and out'. Notice by just mentioning the word ugly in the first affirmation it puts a negative spin on it?
Value and respect others - again this is a cyclic thing. If you value and respect others you are far more likely to value and respect yourself.
Step out of your comfort zone - pushing yourself can help raise self esteem. Do something you wouldn't normally do. For me this could literally be picking up the phone to a stranger rather than emailing them.
Set yourself realistic but challenging goals - for me, I'm not going to be running a marathon this time next year. At least, I can't see me being able to do it. But, I can picture myself running 10k and when I achieve this I know that I will feel great!
Reward yourself - I think I'm okay at this one. For example, I've started the couch to 10k programme and to reward myself I bought some very snazzy pink trainers.

So this is where it begins. I'm going to get hold of a couple of books our trainer recommended - 60 Tips for Self Esteem and Be Happy and really make an effort to do something about this.

I am also going to be more positive. A great way to do this is to write down, at the end of each day, five positive things that have happened to you that day. Our trainer said that if you make a little mental note every time something positive happens you'll soon find that that the problem isn't finding five positive things but actually choosing five from all the positive things you've stored in your head. You'll soon stop noticing the negatives and just think about the positive things that happen in your day. They can be as trivial or as deep and meaningful as you like. So here it goes, my five positive things for today.

I woke up in a beautiful hotel room in a huge comfy bed
I had a lovely healthy breakfast of lots of fresh fruit and natural yogurt
I met some incredibly like minded people in a similar situation to myself
I feel empowered to do something about my issues
I get to cuddle my lovely boyfriend tonight


I hope this post wasn't too long and waffly. I really need to write these thoughts down and my blog seems the perfect place to do this. I figure there are probably a ton of people out there in the same situation and, as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

I hope you guys enjoy sharing this journey with me and I'll be sure to share more of the fab stuff I have learned in the near future.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway :)

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Friday, 20 May 2011

Friday Favourites #12

It's back. I gave up on Friday Favourites a few months ago but I miss it. So it has made a return and I actually had fun hunting down some pretty awesome stuff to share with you guys.

For those of you in the UK, it is nearly time for the wonderful Springwatch to start. This year it has moved from Pensthorpe Nature Reserve (which is just down the road from me) to my home country, wonderful Wales. It is actually going to be filmed on an RSPB reserve called Ynys-Hir. Not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but I work for the RSPB. So I'm pretty chuffed that they've chosen one of our reserves as their home.

So here is your Springwatch inspired Friday Favourites.
Hunkdory Home

Ben bringing me breakfast in bed on this cute woodland tray. Bliss.

Firebox

Deer hooks. My house is going to be full of deer. I can see it now.

Hunkdory Home

I have a big pink clock with a pig on it in the kitchen. It doesn't work. Perhaps this could be it's replacement.

Shiny Shack

I never use shower caps. But I think I may start if it means I can wear this cutie on my head.

Firebox

How cool is this? When the squirrel sinks down out of view, your plant needs watering!

Totally Funky

You see, obsessed with deer. But how cool would this look hung above the fireplace?

I think you can picture what my house is going to end up looking like :D

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A soggy, inspiring weekend

So the weather has taken a turn for the worst over the past week. It's always the way. We moan when it's sunny and then we moan when it's rainy. The weather gods just can't win. I just hope it's sunny for my Alice in Wonderland tea party on Friday. Although I have bought some pretty fab wellies if the worst comes to the worst.


I spent this past weekend in Manchester with my lovely friend Eli. We met at university and have stayed in touch ever since. If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know that I'm slightly sports mad. Well Eli is even more of a sports/fitness fanatic. So much so that she ran the Manchester Great Run on Sunday morning. A 10k road race through the streets of Manchester city center. She was then crazy enough to swim the Salford Great Swim with me in the afternoon. I don't know how she did it. My arms are still killing me today!

The Manchester 10k seemed like so much fun. Perhaps not the running part, but the atmosphere. There were thousands of people and although we were stood in the crowd watching, it was brilliant. We watched Eli start and then we walked around to the finish line to watch her come in. You could tell how hard the race is by the pain on peoples faces as they were reaching the finish line. The crowd was great at cheering people on and getting them across that line. I've just started the couch to 10k programme on my iphone and I'm hoping I may be able to enter the event next year. Although I did witness a lot of vomiting and being carried to the finish. I'd definitely have to do some serious training!

Here are some pics of Eli running. She is such an inspiration. Her dad was diagnosed with myeloma not so long ago. Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells found in your bone marrow. It has no cure and a 5 year survival rate is seen as very good. She spends so much time raising money for Myeloma UK. I just think she is amazing. I really do want to run the 10k with her next year and raise money for this important charity.




The Salford Great Swim is the 1 mile open water event that I did last September. As you can see from last year's photo it was much sunnier in September. All it did this year was throw it down with rain. It was bloody freezing in the water. Even colder than last year. I didn't do as well as I did last year. I clocked a time of 30.19 so I wasn't too far off. I was pretty chuffed seeing as the conditions were rubbish and I haven't done any open water swimming yet this year, just pool swimming. If anyone wants to check out the route we swam you can do so on this website.


I need to find another open water event to do now so that I keep going training. I'm the sort of person who needs something to aim for or I get lazy.

I hope you've all had a great weekend. What have you guys been up to?

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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A couple of movie reviews: Scream 4 and Thor

I promised I would review Scream 4 and I've been to see Thor since, so here is a double movie review post for you!


So, funny story for you. There are all the usual chain cinemas in Norwich - Vue, Odeon. But one of my favourite cinemas is the one just down the road from us. It's called Hollywood and is in a pretty grotty area of Norwich. But! It shows all the latest movies and I can usually get hold of buy one get one free vouchers. It's cheaper than normal anyway so we can watch a movie for around £3. Two little old ladies run the till and popcorn counter, it's rather run down and shabby, but I love it! Anyway, it is never very busy and I joked with Katie that we'd probably be the only ones watching the movie. Ha ha ha wouldn't it be funny if we're the only ones watching Scream 4, wouldn't that be freaky. Seriously, we were the only people there. It would have been the perfect opportunity for some phsyco cleaner to renact the movie. We even left the back row empty behind us. How brave are we!?

On the actual movie, I'm not sure there's all that much to say. If you've seen the other movies it's just more of the same. It's the 15th anniversary of the Woodsboro masacre. Sidney Prescott is back in Woodsboro to promote her new book, and guess who's back? That's right Ghostface. Queue lots of cheesy lines, stupidly obvious murders and Katie and I guessing who the killer is. We were both right by the way. It was good fun, but I wouldn't bother seeing it at the cinema. Courtney Cox's overly botoxed face on a massive screen was what gave me nightmares. Although it was worth the £3 just for the 'I'm going to slit your eyelids open so you can watch me stab you in the face' line.

My rating ~ 3/5


Now this film was good. Not amazing, but good. It was funny, had an easy to follow storyline, had amazing special effects, good action and beautiful people. That's all I need.

If any of you know the norse mythology stories about Thor and Odin then you'll have a vague idea as to the plot of this film. Here's a Jenny style summary - Thor is a naughty boy and is cast out of Asgard to Earth by his father, the king, Odin. Asgard have a war with the Frost Giants. Thor's brother is a secret naughty boy, becomes king and causes trouble. Thor is now a good boy so is allowed to return and save the day. Hoorah!

Okay, so the story is slightly more in depth than that and I did enjoy the movie a lot. Plus the Guy playing Thor is HOT! I think Natalie Portman can do no wrong and parts of the movie were really funny! I am also going to buy a book about Norse Mythology so the film has affected me slightly more deeply than I'm letting on.

My rating ~ 4/5

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Monday, 9 May 2011

Sweet suprises

I've had an unexpected blogging break. Ben is back from Norway and it's been great to spend the evenings with him and catch up. But now I'm bored of him. Only joking. But I have been getting blogging withdrawal symptoms so I thought it was time to turn the computer on.

On Saturday I was very excited to receive this package. I even ignored my new clothes that had arrived from Dorothy Perkins and dived straight into this box of fantastic!






I decided to take part in Erin's candy swap back in April and was paired up with the lovely Grace. Grace lives in the States and I was VERY excited to receive my goodies from her. I am not disappointed. I love Lindt chocolate. Seriously, it's as if Grace is psychic. It is my favourite chocolate. Very closely followed by Green & Blacks. We can buy Lindt chocolate here in the UK but I have never seen the truffles and chocolate bars that Grace has sent me. Amazing! And I can't wait to try the dark chocolate and raspberry. Nom nom nom.

I spent far too long in the old fashioned sweet shop in Norwich on Saturday. The place is amazing, the shelves are full of jars of old fashioned sweets. I've bought Grace a mix of traditional British sweets and the modern varieties you can buy in the shops over here. I hope she likes them.

This candy swap has been far too much fun. I'd love to take part in more virtual projects like this.

I hope you've all had a great week. I'm looking forward to catching up on some blog reading now.

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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Looking back: April

Inspired by the lovely Kaylah, I thought I would take a look back on the month of April and share with you guys what I've been watching, reading and much more.


The photograph above will always remind me of what a beautiful month April 2011 was. This photograph was taken during my sister's visit to Norfolk. We took a road trip and stopped at this beautiful woodland. There were beautiful bluebells everywhere. The sun was shining through the trees and the lovely buzz of bumblebees could be heard while we walked through the woods.

Movies I've been to watch

Tangled ~ such an amazing movie. In fact, I've just bought the soundtrack.
Scream 4 ~ I'll be writing a review on this one shortly. Quite a funny story on our trip to the cinema for this one.

Books I've read

I'm not reading as much as I'd like to be these days. Must sort that out.

Galapagos ~ It's basically about a bunch of people who get stranded on the Galapagos Islands. Due to some fertility disease the women are coming down with in the rest of the world, they turn out to be the only people left on the planet that can reproduce. Over a million years they evolve to have flippers an fur. Very weird. I don't think I'll be reading it again. Perhaps I'll write a proper review soon.
I'm currently reading The Princess Bride which is just as good as everyone says. Made even better by the fact that I've never seen the film. Seriously!

In my DVD player

The IT Crowd
The Social Network
Milk

I'm not going to list the crap stuff. Crap stuff happens due to random rentals from Love Film.

Music I've been listening to

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Ray Lamontagne - Trouble
500 Days of Summer Soundtrack

Fab blogs I've discovered

Mozzypop
Orchid Grey
A Lost Feather

Things I'm excited about

Ben should be back from Norway next week. It feels like he has been away forever. He's going to decorate the living room.
Planning a little getaway to the Lake District. We have friends who own a camp site up there. Free holiday. Plus it's beautiful.
Potentially planning a long weekend in Paris with my two favourite people, Ben and my sister.
My Take That tickets arriving. WAA HOO!!
The outdoor korfball season starting. Playing in my first summer tournament tomorrow.
The softball season starting. Played my first match this week. And we won. Good times.

I hope you've had a lovely April too!

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