Monday, August 31, 2009

"Majestic Movies"

Prince Caspian,Narnia

Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian

I thought some of the you might enjoy this. Inspired by the recent release of The Young Victoria, Yahoo 7 has put together a gallery of film stills from some of the most popular royalty-themed movies of the last 20+ years. You may be surprised at some of the inclusions. . . Narnia, anyone? How about The Princess Bride - or The Princess Diaries? Personally I think they should have included Shrek.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"The Young Victoria" released in Australia

The Young Victoria

Yesterday - August 27 - was the release date for The Young Victoria. Sadly, I don't know that I'll get to see it on the big screen. The only cinema we have in town is currently undergoing renovations! I might have to wait for the DVD.

Anyways - the majority of Australian reviews seem to be very positive, which is great news. Here is a selection of reviews, as well as various news articles.

At the Movies | The Young Victoria

The Daily Telegraph | The Young Victoria

The Age | The Young Victoria

Herald Sun | Emily Blunt stars in The Young Victoria

The Sydney Morning Herald | Emily Blunt rules as the young Victoria

MovieFix | The Young Victoria

The Age | Sarah Ferguson: Duchess of Hollywood

Can't wait to see it. . . looks like it's going to be a simply scrumptious film! Here's the official trailer:

More links:

Official website


Charity's Place


Clothes shopping

Clothes shopping. . . hmm. Do you like it or loathe it? Personally, I like it and loathe it by turns. I can tolerate, even enjoy, up to 30-40 minutes of shopping, but after that it just gets too stressful and too confusing.

I'll be all excited (sometimes - often there's not much in modern fashion to be excited about) about certain new season trends, with a mental list of clothes items to look out for whilst shopping. Then, after an hour's shopping, I'll come home totally disillusioned, feeling like I never want to hear the word "fashion" again.

It's times like these when I almost wish I had an older sister. It's good to go clothes shopping with my mum, but - we don't often get the chance to go for a leisurely shop with just the two of us.

Yes, an older sister, one who has time on her hands, enjoys shopping, and has good taste in clothes.

On the topic of sisters - I frequently feel like I should have been a younger sibling, rather than the oldest. Big sisters are supposed to be responsible, mature, confident, and good at bossing people (younger siblings) around. I'm not as responsible, mature, or confident as I would like to be. And I am certainly not good at bossing people (younger siblings) around. Oh, I'll try it, but I don't do it very convincingly. Me: "____ [insert name of sibling], get down from there!" or "do this!" or "do that!" or "don't do that, you're not allowed!" Younger sibling almost always pays little or no attention, sometimes retorting "you're not Mummy!" or "yeah, whatever. . . "

Seriously, my 11-year-old sisters boss me around much more than I do them

Getting back on topic: which is the best way to go clothes shopping? I have tried two methods, and haven't been very successful with either:

1. Go through your wardrobe, carefully consider what you need to get rid of and what you need to buy for the season, be it summer/winter/whatever. Make a list of clothes items to find and purchase.

2. (This is a much less organised method): simply go to the shops, try on whatever takes your fancy, then pick the several items that you like the most and need the most. 

I find both "methods" can be somewhat stressful. 

So how do you find/buy the clothes you need without: a.) getting too stressed/exhausted and b.) spending excess money?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I have just discovered this website. What a great resource! There are dozens of ebooks available *free* for download. The site has a focus on women authors, with many well-known and not-so-well-known classics available.

Included are such authors as: The Bronte sisters, Georgette Heyer, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Gaskell, Fanny Burney, Mary Grant Bruce, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Johanna Spyri, and of course Jane Austen, as well as many, many other famous women writers.

There is also a blog, with various book reviews to browse through.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Damsel's Daybook II

For whatever reason, I forgot and/or haven't time to do this these last couple of weeks. But I'm doing it this week!

A Damsel's Daybook

Outside my window. . . it is dark! We've had an extremely hot winter's day - 36 degrees C. It's been the hottest August days on record. Remember, it's supposed to be the middle of winter here! Anyways - so even though the sun was beating down today, because it's winter it still got dark very quickly.

I am thinking about. . . hmmm, what have I had on my mind lately? Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, India, different cultures, different personalities, the beauty of the world, the awesomeness of God. 

From the kitchen. . . we've just had bacon and eggs for dinner, so the kitchen smells like B&E. Earlier today I made some delicious gingerbread. . . yum.

I am creating. . . err. . . this blog post! LOL. Nothing very craft-y these last few weeks.

I am reading. . . Persuasion by Jane Austen. *Sighs* My all-time favourite Austen novel. What a treat. :-) It's our book club book this month.

I am hearing. . . Daddy talking with our guests in the dining room, crickets outside, baby whimpering a little (she's very tired).

I am hoping. . . that tomorrow will be cooler, that the Holy Spirit will continue to move in a mighty in our lives and our church, that Australia will win the next Ashes series 5-0.

I am planning. . . to do dinner cleanup. It's my night this week. Greasy dishes and pans from bacon and eggs. 

I am wearing. . . long navy blue skirt, short-sleeve button-up top in a dainty green-and-cream stripe.

My wish of the week. . . hmm. . . wasn't this kind of covered in "I am hoping. . ."? Okay, my wish is that it will be a blessed week, and that I will grow closer to God.

Must go now and do dinner cleanup. Plus Naomi is waiting to use the laptop!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Men of Austen

Persuasion 2007

I've just discovered THIS on PBS's Masterpiece site. Silly, but fun. I got a few giggles out of it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy. . .

Lake Como, by William Degouve de Nuncques

Sorry there haven't been any posts this week. . . 

Sunday: drove up to Brisbane, visited THE DAWN TREADER SET [pictures to come soon], stayed up until 11pm, drove to Brisbane International Airport, picked up friends from India, arrived back at hotel after midnight.

Monday: drove back home from Brisbane. Very tired. . . 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. . . our Indian friends (a pastor and his wife; the pastor is an old friend of my dad's) have had very various appointments and speaking engagements.

Today: drove two hours to a ladies' conference in another town, along with several other women from church. 

Very tired, very busy, and as you can imagine, it's been difficult to get into routine with guests staying with us, and Daddy being at home (he has two weeks off work while our friends are staying with us). It's been a tremendous blessing having our guests and my dad at home, but - it's just hard to be normal, and get back into my normal routine! I'm sure you all understand. :-/

Maybe it's a bit silly - my apologising for not blogging, every time there aren't any new posts after 4-5 days. I don't know. 

Hope you're all well, and are having a great weekend. :-)

P.S. - This is a bit random, but - I think it will be a long time before I truly understand extroverts. Maybe I will never understand them. How anyone could find it genuinely difficult to not talk, when I often have so much difficulty in talking, etc. Wish I could get rid of my stammer. :-/ Are any of you readers bona fide extroverts? Maybe you could shed some light for me on the mind of the talkative, extroverted person. :P

Edit: that postscript was a bit silly. Ignore it, if you like. :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lord of the Rings soundtrack


I was getting sick of my old playlist, so I've replaced it with a new one, featuring music from the Lord of the Rings movies.

The tracks are all in chronological order, from The Fellowship of the Ring to The Return of the King.

I took out some of the more intense tracks - I wanted nice background music, not the music from an intense battle sequence. If you want to listen to the complete playlist, featuring pretty much all the LOTR tracks that I could scavenge from, click here.


Current Mood: Blah

Friday, August 14, 2009

Discovering the world of Lewis Carroll

Over the last few days I've been reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I had seen a couple of movie versions and read and abridged version of each, but this is the first time I've read the original, non-abridged books.

In a word - they are delicious! Nice and short, easy to get through in a day or two. Packed full of puns, parodies, nonsense rhymes, and all the crazy creatures of Carroll's imagination. Not to mention the illustrations by Tenniel - which are half the fun of the books.

I thought I'd share one of my favourite poems from Alice in Wonderland. It is a parody of the following verse by Robert Southey (make sure you read this - it makes Carroll's rendition all the funnier!).


The Old Man's Comforts and how he gained them, by Robert Southey

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigour at first
That I never might need them at last.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth could not last;
I thought of the future whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are chearful, and love to converse upon death!
Now tell me the reason I pray.

I am chearful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!
And He hath not forgotten my age.
And now here's Lewis Carroll's parody. I particularly love the sixth stanza. :-D

You Are Old, Father William, by Lewis Carroll

'You are old, Father William', the young man said,
  'And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
  Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

'In my youth', Father William replied to his son,
  'I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
  Why, I do it again and again.'

'You are old', said the youth, 'as I mentioned before,
  And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
  Pray, what is the reason of that?'

'In my youth', said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
  'I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box -
  Allow me to sell you a couple?'

'You are old', said the youth, 'and your jaws are too weak
  For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak -
  Pray, how did you manage to do it?'

'In my youth', said his father, 'I took to the law,
  And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
  Has lasted the rest of my life.'

'You are old', said the youth, 'one would hardly suppose
  That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose -
  What made you so awfully clever?'

'I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'
  Said his father, 'don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
  Be off, or I'll kick you downstairs!'

Current Mood: Amused

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park 1999

Fanny's (Australian actress Frances O'Connor) first ball

I've just finished reading Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. This is only the second time I've read it through. I thought I'd take the time to jot down some of my thoughts, as I did with P&P a few weeks ago.

(I'm assuming that my readers are familiar with the plot and characters; if you're not, get yourself a copy of the book and read it, for goodness sake!)

Mansfield Park 1999

Mary Crawford (Embeth Davidtz)

In MP, moreso than in almost any other Austen book, one gets a sense of the living, breathing society of Regency England. I'm not just talking about the upper-middle-class and the aristocracy. In MP, we see many instances of the Bertrams and their associates interacting with people from all levels of society, including the lower classes.

There tends to be this public perception (no doubt influenced by all the movie adaptations of Austen's work that have been made) that the characters in any given Austen novel do little more than:

Mansfield Park 1999

a.) Sit inside and drink tea; the ladies might also do some embroidery, while the gentleman bestow gallantries on all and sundry,

b.) Spend hours and hours gracefully walking through the beautiful park grounds of various stately homes; the ladies in their bonnets, the gentlemen in top hats,

c.) Get all dressed up and go to balls, participating in complicated, well-choreographed "country dances", and, mostly importantly,

d.) Fall in and out of love; the gentlemen making, the ladies receiving, various proposals of marriage.

Of course, this is all complete rubbish. 19th century life was comprised of much more than drinking tea and going to balls, and this illustrated again and again in MP.

Mansfield Park 1999

Henry (Allessandro Nivola) and Mary Crawford

Some examples of the Bertrams' active involvement in Regency life:

*Tom Bertram, the eldest son, the one who should be responsible and mature, is rarely at home. Instead, he is constantly spending time with various friends, drinking, partying, attending the [horse]races. . . (hey, I didn't say that all this "active involvement in Regency life" was positive!)

*Edmund is also not often at home through much of Fanny's girlhood. He is off attending school at Eton, then university at Oxford.

Mansfield Park 1999

The indolent Lady Bertram (Lindsey Duncan) with her beloved Pug

*We are told that Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram used to go to London every year, where Sir Thomas would "attend his duty in Parliament" (chap. 2) until eventually Lady Bertram decided she couldn't be bothered with the annual trip to London, leaving her husband to go alone each year.

*Sir Thomas regularly checks his "plantations" on his estate (chap. 20). Presumably crops/trees? The "farming" aspect of having a large country estate in the 1800s? 

Mansfield Park 1999

Julia Bertram (Justine Waddell) with Aunt Norris (Sheila Gish)

*Aunt Norris is a busybody (almost like a much nastier version of Mrs. Lynde from Anne of Green Gables) so not surprisingly she is constantly interfering and bossing people around (e.g. the housekeeper and gardener at Sotherton, chap. 10; the carpenter's son, chap. 15, etc. etc.)

Mansfield Park 1999

Fanny's childhood home in Portsmouth

*William's involvement in the navy. And indeed, the Price family and their home provide a unique glimpse into the lives of a genuinely poor family living in the city (Portsmouth). They have enough to keep clothed and fed; but little more. 

The above are just a few examples out of many.

Mansfield Park 1999

Henry Crawford and Fanny Price

Mansfield Park is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels, depending on how deep you want to delve into the moral and philosophical questions that are posed with brilliant subtlety. There are many passages in the book that could be seen to have a secondary meaning in them. But, on the other hand, Mansfield Park is also enjoyable simply as a wonderfully good Regency soap opera, with drama and love triangles galore.

Mansfield Park 1999

Henry and Fanny again. . . 

I realised once again just how different MP is in tone from Austen's other books. There are hints of Jane Austen's marvellous wit here and there, but for the most part MP is much more serious than any of the three books Austen had previously penned - Northanger Abbey, S&S, and P&P.

Mansfield Park 1999

The young Fanny (Hannah Taylor Gordon) travels from Portsmouth to her Uncle's house, Mansfield Park

Jane Austen doesn't usually use up many passages in poetic descriptions of nature -- this doesn't mean that JA didn't appreciate the natural world; I think she just preferred to focus on people, not landscapes, in her novels. Here in Mansfield Park, however, our heroine Fanny Price is a nature-loving soul, and there are several descriptive passages of a kind that we don't normally see in Austen's novels.

Mansfield Park 1999

Henry Crawford. Henry CRAWFORD! He is the only Austen "bad boy" for whom I have any real sympathy, but in the end I always want to wring his neck. You stupid man! If only he had stood firm and resisted temptation, he could have won the heart of the woman he loved and lived happily ever after with her. Instead, he took the bait, he failed the test, and in doing so, forever shattered all his hopes of happiness.

Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad domestic example, indulged in the freaks of a cold–blooded vanity a little too long. Once it had, by an opening undesigned and unmerited, led him into the way of happiness. Could he have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable woman’s affections, could he have found sufficient exultation in overcoming the reluctance, in working himself into the esteem and tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been every probability of success and felicity for him. His affection had already done something. Her influence over him had already given him some influence over her ... Would he have persevered, and uprightly, Fanny must have been his reward, and a reward very voluntarily bestowed, within a reasonable period from Edmund’s marrying Mary.

Had he done as he intended, and as he knew he ought, by going down to Everingham after his return from Portsmouth, he might have been deciding his own happy destiny...

...we may fairly consider a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing for himself no small portion of vexation and regret: vexation that must rise sometimes to self–reproach, and regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality, so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable, and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom he had rationally as well as passionately loved.
(MP, chapter 48)

Henry, you IDIOT!

Mansfield Park 1999

Another one of the reasons why I like Henry - he has the sense to fall in love with the right girl! Edmund has steadier principles and better morals than Henry, and yet he falls for the selfish and worldly Mary Crawford. Eventually, in the final two pages of the book, Edmund comes to his senses and realises it was Fanny he loved all along, &c., but I still get a little bit annoyed with him for falling in love with Mary instead of Fanny.


Now - a couple of discussions starters.

  • Have you read Mansfield Park? How would you rate it against Jane Austen's other books? What did you think of Fanny Price?
  • Henry Crawford - did you loathe him, or did you (like me) secretly want Henry and Fanny to get together? In literature, who are some of your favourite could-have/should-have/would-have bad boys who almost came good, but didn't?

The pictures featured in this post are from the 1999 adaptation of MP. It's not a great adaptation of the book, and in some ways it wildly diverges from Austen's plot and characters. I don't necessarily recommend the film, but the pictures are gorgeous.

Current Mood: Sleepy

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I am Anne Shirley

Who are you in Anne's circle of friends?
Who are you in Anne's Circle of Friends?

That was a bit unexpected! Of all L.M. Montgomery's heroines, I think I'm least like Anne, in terms of personality. Oh well! That was a fun quiz. :-D

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Damsel's Daybook I

Autumn has started "A Damsel's Daybook" at her blog. It's basically the "Simple Woman's Daybook" for young women. Click here for more info. It will be happening every Monday, but I just couldn't resist posting my first one now, even though it's Tuesday. 

Outside my window. . . lots of green, and a tablecloth drying on the washing line.

I am thinking about. . . how I wish library books didn't have to be returned. :P I guess I'll just have to buy my own copies of the library books that I particularly love.

From the kitchen. . . my sister Grace and myself have just finished making two fruit cakes and a double batch of banana and chocolate chip slice. They're in the oven now!

I am creating. . . another pair of socks and numerous knitted lace edgings.

I am reading. . . Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens.

I am hearing. . . turtledoves cuckooing and numerous other birds singing, baby sister chatting away, chairs and feet thudding on the floorboards above me.

I am hoping. . . that my banana slice isn't going to be a total disaster. It's a new recipe, and I'm not quite sure how it's going to turn out. . .

I am planning. . . what do with the rest of the afternoon. 

I am wearing. . . teehee! this is fun! :-) Ahem, yes, I am wearing rather boring clothes - blue skivvy, long denim skirt.

Around the house. . . activity! Little people moving, playing, doing stuff. . .

My wish of the week. . . that I was capable of reading 6 books at once. And that I had time to re-read The Lord of the Rings. Okay, that's two wishes - I'm cheating! Better stop now. . .

Current Mood: Bouncy

Monday, August 3, 2009

Because I'm a hopeless romantic. . .

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall. . . 

I love a good royal wedding! And we haven't one since 2004, with Mary + Frederick in Denmark and Felipe + Letizia in Spain. Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla doesn't count. Neither does Prince Louis of Luxembourg's wedding. True, there was Peter Phillips' wedding, but that was a very low-key affair, too.

Well - getting back on topic - Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips, is getting married! The date hasn't been announced, but Zara's boyfriend of six years, Mike Tindall, has confirmed that there will be a wedding - sometime! Both Zara and Mike are professional sportspeople (Zara equestrian, Mike rugby), so of course they both have very busy schedules - hopefully they will be able to find the time to get married sometime soon!

So that's two royal weddings to look forward to - Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and now Zara Phillips.

I'm sure Zara will be a beautiful bride, and I really, really, hope everything works out well for them! :-)

Sorry, I know this post has been a little bit random. . . but you know the feeling when you hear something so exciting, that you just want to share the news with somebody. . .

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Knitting ideas?

For those of you who have experience in knitting and/or crocheting: what are some *small* knitting projects that I could try?

I've been knitting a lot of socks lately, but I'd like to have a go at making some other small knitted items. Any ideas? It has to be something small, and preferably something useful or wearable, using only one or two balls of yarn.

I'd like to have a go at knitting myself a jacket or coat some time - but an item like that would use heaps of balls of wool, and good-quality knitting yarn isn't cheap! So for now I'm just trying to think of some smallish knitting or crochet projects to work on.