Friday, 27 February 2015

A Day on Set

Last week, I had the chance to spend a couple of days working as a runner for an independent film production company -Freakworks Films - based in Edinburgh. A runner is someone who is on hand to help the cast and crew wherever possible  and make tea whenever needed, perhaps not the most glamorous job in the film industry but certainly a very, very fun one.
                   
When I was in, Freakworks was working on a historical production for Harlech Castle in Wales. This was super interesting as there were loads of medieval props and costumes involved.
                         
The first day was a day for the crew to set everything up and film the shots which didn't require the actors. The director, Andrew, had been given a brief by the client and had planned all the shots he wanted to film which he'd then edit together in post production. A lot of time on the first morning was spent trying to get props to look and work exactly how Andrew imagined they would. I got to work with the prop guy, Paul, for a bit which was so interesting as if something just wasn't quite working, he'd come up with a solution off the top of his head using what was at hand. For example, for one shot petals needed to fall slowly in front of the camera and when this didn't look quite right, Paul decided to thread the petals along some fishing wire so they were controllable.
                       

I worked a lot with Emma, the production assistant, who was in charge of ensuring that everything ran smoothly and to time and I also had the very important job of getting everyone's lunch! 

I spent the afternoon working with Lauren in the costume department and even got to dress up as a knight when Lauren needed to work out how all the armour fitted together!
                       

Day two was totally different despite being on the same set. All the cast were along and I got to help out with their costumes as well as ensuring their tea and coffee mugs were kept topped up. I also did a bit of admin, helped out with the lighting and even had my hand make a cameo appearance in the piece!
                     
The days were long and full on - we spent a full 12 hours on set the second day as we had a deadline to meet - but it was a brilliant experience and gave me such a good insight into the the world behind the screen. I got to speak to loads of really cool people and learnt so much in the short time I was there. Definitely worth the 6.20am starts!

Hope you all have a good weekend! Do you have any plans?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Sunday, 22 February 2015

TV Highlights

THE MURDERER HAS BEEN REVEALED and what a plot twist it was (I'm talking about Easteneders just to clarify, SUCH an exciting week!) and the TV listings weren't the only exciting thing either, I had the chance to spend two days working as a runner on the set of a short history documentary in Edinburgh this week which was fantastic. I had an absolute blast and learnt a lot about the film industry at the same time however I'm hoping to do a post on my time on set next week so for now, onto the TV highlights:

15/02/15 - I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse 
 
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I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse is a new reality TV show which I was very intrigued by. The show follows a group of 'survivors' who have to keep themselves alive during a 'zombie apocalypse'. The team were given challenges to find necessary supplies like food and bedding while avoiding the killer zombies. It was very different to anything I'd watched before but I really rather enjoyed it!                      

15/02/15 - The Casual Vacancy

 
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The adaptation of J.K. Rowling's adult novel has arrived and I love it! The Dicken's style novel follows the dramatic events that unfold in the peacful town of Pagford following the death of Barry Fairbrother which opens a casual vacancy on the town council. I was really intrigued as to how the book would translate on TV but it works very well, it's quite dark and is more modern than I was expecting but that's certainly no bad thing. However, like in the book, there are a lot of characters and it gets a bit hard to keep track of who is who but I'm sure that will get easier as the series progresses

16/02/15 - Dance Moms

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Dance Moms was brilliant this week, the team headed to LA and Abby completely lost it! There was a load of childish drama and bickering as well as some amazing dancing - the best sort of guilty pleasure!

 18/02/15 - The Great Comic Relief Bake Off

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Johnathan Ross, Zoe Sugg, Abbey Clancy and Gok Wan took to the Bake Off tent this week and produced some great television. Johnathan Ross was particularly bad which was particularly enjoyable, although he did manage to produce quite a tasty looking showstopper - unlike Zoella! (Her cupcakes did look the best though.)

 EASTENDERS!
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OH. MY. GOODNESS. Eastenders was absolutely brilliant this week and not just due to the big reveal! Loads of loose ends were tied up and new storylines were established, there was a birth, a muder and more than one confession, excellent TV! A particular highlight was the recreation of the opening scene of the first ever episode in Thursday's first installment, I thought that was a really lovely touch to celebrate the 30th anniversary. Each episode this week had a live section and then Friday's episode was completely live, which is absolutely incredible from a production point of view. It's amazing how they switched back and forth between live acting and pre-recorded material without a hiccup and without continuity errors in setting/costume. The actors were all fabulous too, I guess it's one thing to present live but to act a very emotional scene live must be a whole different kettle of fish, it was so good that I felt a bit emotional myself and I do NOT get emotional at TV programmes! I also loved how other programmes on BBC One got involved with Eastenders's huge week; there was a special Eastenders edition of Graham Norton on Monday, a little countdown clock on The One Show and a live 'behind the scenes' programme after Friday's episode.

Moving away from Eastenders, there was a great feature on BBC Breakfast on Monday morning - which you can watch here - about a little boy called Billy Byron who's name has been borrowed by his favourite author, Michael Morpogo, as the name of the hero in his new book. Billy made an appearance on the Breakfast sofa where he received a video message from Michael which made for a lovely, cheery piece. It definitely brightened my Monday morning!

What an excellent week of television it has been! Next week will have to do a lot to top it although The Oscars, The Brits and the Broadchurch finale are on so I'm not ruling it out just yet!

Did you watch anything good this week?

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend!

Lots of love,

Heather x

Friday, 20 February 2015

Hummus and Pitta Recipe

Have I ever told you how much I love hummus? Well, I love it a lot, I love it so much that I decided to attempt to make some myself - along with some pitta bread as what's hummus without pitta? - and I'm pleased to say it was a resounding success!



Whilst it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing culinary creation, it was really simple to whip up and rather tasty, even if I do say so myself, so I thought I'd share the recipe! (I'm also on the hunt for a better location to take recipe pictures, our shiny kitchen worktops really aren't cutting it.)


For the pitta:

250g wholemeal flour
150ml water
2 tsp olive oil
1.5 tsp fast action yeast
 Pitta bread is so easy to make that you barely even need instructions, you literally just add the flour, yeast, oil and half the water to a bowl and begin mixing, continuing to add the remaining water as required until a dough is formed. You then knead the dough on a clean surface for 5-10 minutes until it feels nice and smooth. Once the dough is smooth, return it to the bowl and cover with a tea towel before leaving it to prove for around two hours - until it has doubled in size.

Before proving
After proving
 Once the dough has doubled in size, sprinkle a baking tray with flour and pre heat your oven to 180°C. Split the dough, being careful not to work it too much more and place on the floured tray, my dough made eight reasonably sized pittas (I had to split them over two trays). Bake for roughly six minutes, until air pockets begin to emerge.



For the hummus:

1 can chickpeas
1 clove garlic
2tbsp lemon juice
2tbsp water
1tbsp olive oil
(A lot of hummus recipes use tahini -  a sesame seed paste - but my recipe worked well without)
Again, hummus is so easy that an extensive recipe is hardly required. The most challenging part was de-shelling the chickpeas, who knew they had shells?! This was quite time consuming and involved squeezing the chickpeas until they popped out of their papery shell but it ensured the hummus was smooth and creamy. Once the chickpeas are appropriately deshelled, simply add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Those pesky shells
Mmmm hummus

 So there you have it, a super simple hummus and pitta recipe! Let me know if you give it a go :)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, do you have any plans?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Crêpe à Croissant


Happy Pancake Day!! Is there a more appropriate for a blog post about a crepes? I think not.


Crêpe à Croissant is another little gem situated on Byers Road. It may not look like much from the outside but rest assured, this place is not one to pass by!


Crêpe à Croissant is one of my favourite haunts and is always high on the list of spots when it comes to choosing a place for pre lecture lunch - lecture are so much more bearable when you're full of pancake!


We all know that I have an incredibly sweet tooth but I am also a creature of habit and have ordered the Mega Marshmallow - Nutella and marshmallow - nearly every time I have visited. However, when Mimmi and I popped in last week, I was (somewhat) more adventurous and switched my marshmallows for banana which was just as good, if not better than my usual! Mimmi went for a Nutella, pear and almond scenario which looked super good too!



Crêpe à Croissant is home to some of the best crêpes I have ever had, I'm getting hungry just thinking about them! They're so light yet still filling and they definitely don't scrimp on their toppings. Is a Nutella crêpe really a Nutella crêpe if it doesn't contain a third of a jar of Nutella? There's a huge range of sweet crêpes including one with an apple pie filling which I've heard is amaazing. There's also a wide range of savoury crêpes, which I have resolved to try next time I'm in. Ratatouille maybe? If you're not a crêpe person - why not??? - there's also a selection of sandwiches, croissants and baguettes on offer which I've been told are brilliant but which I never intend to try!

The floor length windows make the café a great spot for a bit of people watching which, combined with the delicious food, makes Crêpe à Croissant the perfect place to pass and hour or two!

Do you have a favourite pancake/crêpe topping?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Sunday, 15 February 2015

TV Highlights

This week has been dedicated to essay researching, planning and writing although I did make it out for a lovely afternoon tea today so that sort of made up for a week spent in the library! It has been a little quiet TV wise this week but the start of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off was a definite highlight and I can assure you now, looking at the TV guide, next week's post is going to be jam packed!!

11/2/15 - The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 

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THE BAKE OFF IS BACK and the first episode of the four part celebrity special was wonderful! This week, there was an all female line up featuring the singer Lulu, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley from Absolutely Fabulous and Dame Edna Everage. The four had to bake a giant cookie, 12 raspberry tarts and a chocolate cake inspired by an important event. Lulu, Jennifer and Joanna all took the competition pretty seriously and produced some pretty impressive bakes, Dame Edna on the other hand was absolutely hilarious! Paul and Mary trying her 'bakes' - one of which had to be cut out of the tin with pliers - made for some great television!

12/2/15 - The One Show - Julia McKenzie and Rufus Jones

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Julia McKenzie and Rufus Jones joined Matt and Alex on The One Show sofa on Thursday to talk about The Casual Vacancy (the TV adaptation of J.K. Rowling's adult novel) - which I expect will feature heavily in next weekend's TV highlights post! Julia plays Shirley Mollison whilst Rufus plays her son, Miles. Rufus was saying that he had read the book prior to reading the script and t was really interesting to hear how he felt he had to act script Miles different to book Miles. There was also a lot of discussion about how the ending of the adaptation has been altered which I am excited to see - some things that work well on a page just wouldn't translate well on screen! I also really love the way that Matt and Alex conduct interviews, they're so friendly yet still in control which always makes their interviews really easy to watch as there are never any awkward moments which just make me cringe.

Eastenders 

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Oh my goodness, Eastenders has been driving me craaazy this week! Next week is the big, live murderer reveal so the story line is really building up. Lauren now knows who the murder is and has said that a lot of people's lives will be ruined when it gets out. There have been so many little moments this week that have made me change my mind about who I think has done it - could two people be involved?! No one has ever explicitly said that it was a one man/woman job! Also I'm sure Lauren referred to the murderer as a 'he' which narrows the field but maybe she's got the wrong end of the stick... I think that's a sign of a really good programme/story line, something which really gets the audience invested and has them forming their own ideas and endings, I NEED to know!!

Do you watch Eastenders? Do you have any theories??

Lots of love,

Heather x

Friday, 13 February 2015

Soap and Glory - Eyes and Lips

One essay down, two more to go! I promise I'll get back to properly reading all your lovely blogs next week but for now, I hope you enjoy part two of my Soap and Glory Make-Up review :)


Liquid eyeliner has always been something that I have struggled with (do you actually need magic powers to be able to apply it in a straight line?!) but Soap and Glory's Supercat eyeliner is definitely one of the better ones I have used. It applies really nicely - well as nicely as possible with my limited eye lining abilities - and lasts the day without flaking or fading. It's really pigmented and the applicator is an excellent shape for a subtle, thin line. It's also excellent value at just £6!


Soap and Glory's Thick and Fast HD Mascara was the only Soap and Glory make-up product that I tried and was even slightly disappointed in. It is a good mascara but I'm a mascara girl and for me, it just didn't quite live up to Number 17's Blowout Mascara or Maybelline's Mega Plush Mascara (my favourites.) With a brush that claimed to volumise, intesify AND curl my lashes, I was expecteging something amazing, which sadly this isn't. It does last all day and it doesn't flake off down my face like some mascaras but whilst it did curl my lashes to an extent, it definitely didn't add volume or intensify.


Sexy Mother Pucker on the other hand is a seriously good Soap and Glory product. I got this in Naked Beige and I adore it. It's a sort of shimmery dusty rose colour - perhaps a bit pinker than you'd expect from the name - and is SO versatile, I wear this all the time! The colour doesn't last all day but it does go a fair few hours before I need to reapply and it doesn't dry out my lips - maybe due to the shea butter - which happens more often than I would like with lipsticks. 10/10 would recommend and definitely see myself investing in a few new shades. Would I go as far to say that this is my favourite of all my Soap and Glory products? I think I might!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and Valentine's Day however you spend it!

Do you have a make-up product that you can't leave the house without?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

TV Highlights

They say bad things come in threes and this week the threes have just kept coming. By 'bad things' I don't mean anything absolutely horrendous, just things like missing a train, losing a favourite mitten and falling flat on my face coming out of a lecture -  not good! It was one of those weeks that you sort of really just want to end, however a weekend trip to the cinema to see Big Hero 6 (amazing!!) with an old friend did help lift my spirits.

 I also need to apologise for being terrible with reading and commenting on blog posts, it is  getting to that time of the semester where essay deadlines are beginning to loom! I am also currently spending about three times as much time in the library than in front of the TV but fear not, I did still manage to scrape together a few highlights:

1/02/15 - The Last Tango in Halifax

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Sunday's episode was the last episode in the season and it was a lovely one to end it on. The plot line for the whole series has been very original and just really enjoyable with ups and downs a plenty. You know that what when a programme is set in summer and the scenery, sets and costumes are all bright and cheery and it just makes you feel so much better? Well that was definitely the case here. The ending was really apt and really lovely but I won't spoil it in case you fancy watching it. I'd definitely recommend it if you're in the mood for a heart warming drama.

2/02/15 - Broadchurch


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Oh my goodness this is getting good!! I'm actually finding that I'm more invested in the sort of sub plot about Hardy's previous case than I am in the murder trial, maybe because I wasn't all that into the first series. Saying that, the whole court room proceedings/lawyer business is pretty interesting and I have to say I LOVE Jocelyn, what a great character!

5/02/15 - Eastenders


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The reveal of Lucy Beale's murderer is getting so close and things are just beginning to fall together which is just making everything tense! Lauren Branning found a slip of yellow paper which the audience knew to be an important clue but all it really had on it was a number - I think it was the telephone number of the murderer meaning Lauren knows now...There have also been a few really nice Lauren and Peter scenes this week including one where they got re-engaged (long story if you don't watch the show!) They're definitely my favourite TV couple at the minute so I loved this turn in the story!

This week also saw the last episode in the series of Silent Witness which I'm sad to say was a bit of a disappointment. I was so excited when the series returned and the first two story lines were amazing but the following three just weren't up to the same standard...lets hope next year's series is consistently good!

Have you been up to anything exciting this weekend?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Friday, 6 February 2015

Soap and Glory - Face

It's been quite a while since a make-up post has featured on here so I thought I better get writing one! Having had all of January to try out my lovely new Christmas make-up, I decided I'd share some of my new favourites with you.

Soap and Glory has always been my go-to brand for bath and body stuff but I have always been a bit sceptical of the make up range - surely a brand that is SO good at lotions and scrubs can't make good make-up too?

Well, I was very wrong as it turns out that Soap and Glory's make-up range is just as good, if not better than their bath and body range!


Having lost my trusty Revlon concealer just before Christmas, I took the plunge and treated myself to the Kick Ass Concealer by Soap and Glory, my first ever Soap and Glory make-up product. I fell instantly in love with the concealer and was treated to some new goodies from the range for Christmas which are fantastic too - shout out to my mum for picking up on the hints! In order to prevent this post from becoming an absolute essay, I thought I'd split my collection over two posts, face today and eyes and lips next week.

Can we take a moment to appreciate just how beautiful the packaging is??
First up is the aforementioned Kick Ass Concealer which I got in Light. Now this isn't just any concealer, it's a three step concealer. Step one is an under eye brightening concealer, step two is an allover complexion concealer and step three is a translucent setting powder. I feel the need to clarify here that you DO NOT need to put one concealer on top of the other as this is what I initially thought. I told you my make - up skills were questionable.


Both concealers are really light and creamy which means that you don't have to use a lot. The brightening eye concealer has a pinky tint which works well to hide dark circles whilst the complexion concealer is yellowy, helping to combat those horrible red spots and blemishes we all love.

From what I've read, not everyone was impressed with the staying power of this concealer, especially the under eye one but for me, it was one of the longest lasting concealers I've ever used!


My only slight issue was with the 'translucent' setting powder which came out a bit too white to be translucent. I prefer to use the concealer with my own powder but the attached powder is useful for when I need to top up on the.

The whole thing comes in such a handy little pot with a mirror, perfect for even the smallest of bags. Overall it's an impressive little product and something which I would definitely buy again.


My second face product is the new Kick Ass Blur and Brighten Concealer Crayon in Light, once again. This is a bit heavier than either of the other concealers making it my product of choice when I've had a late night or an early morning. It works well under the eyes but is also very good for covering redness and blemishes. It goes on really smoothly and lasts just as well as the three step. It is a roll up crayon which makes for really easy application and it blends in really nicely - another great Soap and Glory make-up product.

Have you tried anything from the Soap and Glory make-up range?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Kingsman:The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service was among the last batch of films to be released in January 2015 and I can tell you now, it was not what I was expecting.

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I was basing my expectations on this summary from IMDb: "Based upon the acclaimed comic book, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius."

I was expecting a pretty serious spy film with a bit of a comic element, like a funny James Bond but this was a full on comedic spy film, almost a spoof. Don't get me wrong though, I really, really liked it! 

It was quite different from the films I normally go for and took a bit of getting into, especially the sort of purposly bad CGI thing that was happening throughout but it was perfect for a last minute Saturday night film.

The story followed Eggsy, a teenager from an bit of a bad background, as he competes to earn a spot in Kingsman, a top secret, secret service. Eggsy falls at the last hurdle but returns to the service when he accidentally sees his mentor being killed by a tech villain who is attempting to cull the world of those he deems 'unimportant'. Eggsy works with the few remaining trustworthy Kingsman spies to put a stop to Valentine - played excellently by Samuel L Jackson - and his evil plans.

Plausibility is something that I really like with spy films, stuff that happens in James Bond could actually happen. This film is not plausible in the slightest -  the president's head exploded in a cloud of purple smoke for starters - but this just acted to make it a really easy watch. A bit of a guilty pleasure really and worth seeing if you're at a loss of an evening.

Now for the all important question: would I buy it on DVD? It's definitely not something I'd rush out to buy upon release but if I came across it in a sale I'd pick it up to watch over a pizza with friends. Something that doesn't require a lot of attention but enjoyable all the same!

Have you seen Kingsman: The Secret Service? Or are you planning on?

Lots of love,

Heather x

Sunday, 1 February 2015

TV Highlights

With lectures and tutorials back in full swing, it's been a pretty quiet week EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT I GOT A TWEET FROM J.K. ROWLING (still fangirling so hard, absolute QUEEN.) But aside from that, there's not much to report. This week marked fifty years since the funeral of Winston Churchill, this has meant that there have been a lot of really interesting programmes on about Churchill which is excellent if you're a bit of a history geek like myself! However, historical documentaries aren't all I've been enjoying:


25/01/15 - Ed Sheeran on Top Gear

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Top Gear has always been a funny programme but it soon became hilarious when Ed Sheeran, who had never driven before (and who I love), was put in the show's Reasonably Priced Car and let loose on the Top Gear Circuit.  In almost every episode of Top Gear, a celebrity is invited to try a timed lap in the Reasonably Priced Car to see where they place on the leader board. This week was no different except that Ed Sheeran had never even turned a car on let alone raced one. Ed received his first ever driving lesson from the show's stunt driver, The Stig but was soon let to his own devices completing a lap in a time which placed him second last on the board. Having only passed my own driving test about 9 months ago, the memories of driving lessons are still fresh which  just made the whole thing funnier, the perfect spot of light entertainment for a Sunday evening.



26/01/15 - Broadchurch


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Broadchurch, now in it's second season, was absolutely huge last year when it first aired, however, I never really caught on the bandwagon. I decided I'd stick with season two and see how it developed - surely there couldn't be ANOTHER murder - but I wasn't all that impressed with the first few episodes. This week's was different though, I really, really enjoyed the episode and it actually got me excited for the following week's installment. There wasn't anything particularly different about this episode, I think the story line has just progressed to that point where I'm involved now and I want to know what happens - got to love a good murder mystery which you think has been resolved but actually maybe hasn't!!

26/01/15 - Dance Moms

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This week's episode of Dance Moms was brilliant once again. The group dance was inspired by Orange is the New Black and was incredbible - it never ceases to amaze me just how in sync they all are. Of course, there was also a lot of Abby/mom drama which just adds to the whole thing!


30/01/15 - Churchill: The Nation's Farewell

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This was a documentary about Churchill's funeral and was so so interesting, definitely worth a watch, especially if you're into history. The mayor of London, Boris Johnston, spoke a little about Churchill and said that had he been alive today, he expects Winston Churchill would have been an excellent blogger!

30/01/15 - Dame Judi Dench on Graham Norton 

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Who doesn't love a good chat show? This week Dame Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Sharon Horgan, Rob Delaney and Jack O'Connell appeared on Graham Norton's sofa and all were fabulous! However Dame Judi Dench was my personal favourite, she was absolutely hilarious and discussed everything from her new film - The Second Best Exotic Marrigold Hotel - to YOLO. There was also a brilliant section on hotel reviews that had me in stitches. If you missed it, I'd highly recommend catching up on iplayer.

Hope you've all had a good weekend! What have you been up to?

Lots of love,

Heather x