Film Friday #255

Lilting (2014)

After the tragic and unexpected death of his partner, Kai (Andrew Leung), Richard (Ben Whishaw) attempts to connect with Kai’s mother, Junn (Pei-Pei Cheng) who is living in a care home. Junn, who speaks next to no English is unaware of Kai’s sexuality and believes that his “friend”, Richard is the reason she was not able to live with Kai. In an attempt to warm Junn up to the idea of living with him and of sharing the truth about his life with Kai, Richard hires a translator (Naomi Christie). His intention is not only to help him communicate with Junn but also to help her communicate with her English boyfriend (Alan). But Richard is not prepared to deal with the complexity of his own grief at the same time as Junn’s and for every step he takes forward two are taken back. This affecting drama is absolutely beautiful to look at with starkness of its emotions reflected in its wintery pallet. Both Whishaw and Cheng give outstanding performances and while this is a compact story it is engrossing. A touching study on grief, the secrets we keep from each other and the nature of obligation. Highly recommended. 4/5


Richard spent the contemplating the meaning of life… but also wallpaper

We Are What We Are (2013)

The Parker family live deep in the woods and keep themselves to themselves. What their neighbours don’t know is once a year they perform a dark and disturbing ritual that they’ve been carrying down generation after generation. When their mother dies, daughters Rose (Julia Garner) and Iris (Ambyr Childers) realise they will need to take over from her, something they’re definitely not ready for. At the same time Doc Barrow (Michael Parks) has convinced a local deputy (Wyatt Russell) that the unexplained disappearance of his daughter may be connected not only to a series of other disappearances but also to the Parkers. There is no doubt that We Are What We Are is a very strange film with a very strange and somewhat unlikely premise, however I really enjoyed it. It’s gruesome, dark, well acted and beautifully shot and both the visuals and the score are excellent for creating an atmosphere of foreboding. I liked the device of the old diary being used to unravel the family’s terrible secret and I also liked how the sisters growing up meant they started questioning where their loyalties lay. One of the few good horror movies I have seen this year. 4/5


Rose and Iris were making good use of their mother’s new lipstick

My Old Lady (2014)

When Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) inherits a Paris apartment from his estranged father all he is hoping to do is sell it fast and make a profit since he’s completely broke. What he wasn’t banking on was the the apartment would come with an elderly tenant named Mathilde (Maggie Smith) to whom he’d have to pay rent. And if that wasn’t enough her spiky daughter, Chloe (Kristin Scott Thomas) is also in residence. As Mathias tries to oust mother and daughter while dealing with his own conflicted feelings towards his father he learns more and more about Mathilde’s relationship with his father and how this affected his parents’ marriage as well as Mathilde. At the same time he finds himself equally drawn to and repelled by Chloe. I guess this is a pretty intense take on how parents can fuck up their children and at what point you have to start taking responsibility for you own actions. On the other hand it was billed as a comedy and there is nothing funny about it. With that expectation taking on this rather heavy, slow-paced film full of unlikable characters is a bit of a bummer no matter how awesome Maggie Smith is. 2/5


What do you mean that matching mother-daughter nighties are not de rigeur?

Robin Hood (2010)

I feel like I should mention straight off the bat that this movie is really kind of like a Robin Hood origins story, which I did not know when I started watching it. And so I spent almost two and a half hours wondering when the hell the bit about the stealing from the rich and giving to the poor was going to happen. I think maybe if I had have known that I would have been less disappointed with this but then I can’t stand Russell Crowe who was playing the eponymous hero so who knows. Anyway English sort of history, Prince John – massive douche, starving peasants, the French, Mark Strong, lots of arrows and obviously Mark Addy playing Friar Tuck. I can’t really tell you what was going on because I got mega bored and lost interest. 1/5


I’m on a horse


Things I have been cooking lately #138: Cauliflower mac ‘n cheese

The last few days have been absolutely freezing in London. I don’t know about you but for me when I am cold all I want is comfort food. This recipe comes from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals and it’s one of my favourite things to eat when I need a bit of a warm, stodgy cheer-up. In the original recipe it comes with all kinds of side things but I find it to be just as delicious all on its own (and a lot more manageable to knock out in 30 minutes!).


Read more…


100 Days of Selfies: Day 81 – 90

So we’re onto the penultimate selfie collection and think we’re going to have to call these 10 days “when Abbi was sick and tired” because I haven’t been very well over the last couple of weeks. It’s nothing serious, just a bit of rundownness and a bug but I have certainly been sleeping a lot more than I usually would! Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #138: Salted caramel cheesecake

Over the weekend we had some friends around for Sunday lunch and I wanted to make a really exciting dessert. I very recently pinned this amazing looking Salted Caramel cheesecake from the fabulous Jane’s Patisserie and neither myself nor any of our guests were disappointed because it was a knockout. Thanks Jane for once again posting such a stunning recipe!


Read more…


100 Days of Selfies: Day 71 – 80

The last ten days have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me for reasons that I need to keep under wraps for now. I am usually someone who is on an even keel and generally positive and upbeat so having less of a handle on my emotions that I normally would is proving a bit of a struggle which I think is pretty evident from the next round of pictures. All is well though and there is no need to worry about me.  Read more…


BOOK REVIEW: Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This book was my pick for our most recent book club. I had read a few reviews and seen the marvelously creepy cover as well as the hyped up marketing campaign and it sounded like it would be right up my street plus it’s young adult fiction, which has always done quite well in my book club. Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #137: Chicken, butternut and quinoa stew

I decided to make this stew on a week night… which was a terrible mistake. This was not because of the stew itself but because I massively underestimated how long it was going to take me to make it (almost 2 hours) and we ended up eating at 10pm. So I am putting that out there as a warning. This is a Sunday lunch type of affair not a quick mid-week dinner. It is so incredibly worth ever minute of effort though. This stew is not only gloriously flavoursome, it’s also very wholesome. What are you waiting for?

wpid-img_20151103_080143.jpg Read more…

My 35th birthday weekend in pictures

As most of you know this last weekend was my 35th birthday weekend and it was brilliant!

Mr O and I both took the day off on Friday and I got to have a massive lay in that was only improved by the fact the Mr O brought me a skinny cappuccino to have in bed

Mr O and I both took the day off on Friday and I got to have a massive lay in that was only improved by the fact the Mr O brought me a skinny cappuccino to have in bed

I got loads of cards from friends and family... these are just some of them

I got loads of cards from friends and family… these are just some of them

Read more…

Today is my thirty-fifth birthday

I turned thirty-five whole years old today and I have to say that despite the fact that I am now officially closer to forty than thirty, I have never felt (or looked) better in my life. Age truly is nothing but a number. I have decided to take the day off from work and spend the morning with Mr O before we head over to Essex to enjoy some Bonfire Night fireworks with his family… where Mr O senior is likely to be the most excited person there… like every year.

This is the face of thirty-five… no make-up… no filter… bring on 40… I am ready!


genre grandeur

November Genre Grandeur over at Movie Rob

Those of you who follow the very prolific Movie Rob will know that he picks a genre every month an invites everyone to join in with reviews that typify that genre. This month I was given the great and most auspicious honour of choosing that genre… and I have gone with “alternative romances”.  I am not the world’s biggest fan of a typical Hollywood romance but I do enjoy films that explore the concept of romantic love from a more unusual angle. If you’re not sure what that might mean, here’s a post I did a while ago about some of my favourites.

I would love it if anyone decided to join in. You can send your submissions to Rob by the 25th of November at  Try to think out of the box!

I will be reviewing:

Closer (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

(500) Days of Summer (2009)

Warm Bodies (2013)


100 Days of Selfies: Day 61 – 70

This week’s selfies are a bit rough and ready. I had to give back the phone I was borrowing from my friend as my insurance finally replaced the phone I supposedly liquid damaged. The camera on this phone is just nowhere near as good as the other one was, which is making me a bit sad. Hopefully you will still be able to see what I have been getting up to.  Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #136: Kinda Thai prawn stir fry

Every now and then I throw random stuff together in the kitchen and then think, I really should write this down before I forget it! I have called this “kinda Thai” because I used a a few typical Thai flavours but I can’t imagine it’s in any way authentic but it was very tasty as well as being a light and healthy weeknight supper. Unfortunately the photography was a bit questionable because we were so ready to eat it!

stir fry

Read more…


Film Friday #253: Halloween Special-ish

So I was totally going to watch 4 horror movies this week for Halloween Film Friday but then I got super busy and I only watched like three… so this is 3/4 of a Halloween special…. which is more horror movies than I’ve watched for the whole rest of the year so um… go me? Read more…


Quote Challenge Day 3

I am a little behind on the quote challenge but better late than never, here I am with my final quote which is all about living a life where you seize the moment, have loads of adventures and regret nothing because anything less than that is not a life.

Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life – Robin Sharma


My diet tips for losing weight… as requested

Following on from yesterday’s post about my body transformation this post is about the things that worked for me as I lost weight and changed my body. I am not a nutritionist or a personal trainer and I am in no way professionally qualified to offer any kind of advice to anyone (nor am I responsible for anything that happens to you because you followed my advice #justsaying). This is simply what worked for me. Read more…


A little story about my transformation

Those who have known me or have been following this blog for some time will know that over the past two and a half years or so I have changed somewhat physically. Recently one of my colleagues, who has become a bit of a fan of this blog asked me if I would write some of my weight loss tips and share them here to help inspire others. I certainly don’t pretend to be any kind of guru but I have learned some important lessons that I think might be interesting to anyone who is on a similar journey or who want to start one. But before I get onto that (in another post) I wanted to give some context. Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #135: Easy vanilla cupcakes

As much as I love experimenting with flavours, sometimes the most classic things are the best and there really is something very special about a simple vanilla cupcake. Of course when you go classic and simple it is essential to get things just right so finding a good recipe that not only gives you a light and delicious cake but is also really easy is essential. Recently I have been closely following (and drooling) over the posts on Jane’s Patisserie so  decided to give her vanilla cupcakes a go. Mine were nowhere near as pretty as hers but the flavour and texture were amazing. Thank you, Jane!


Read more…


100 Days of Selfies: Day 51 – 60

The latest group of selfies once again has me pulling all kinds of faces. If I have learned one thing from this project it is definitely to embrace not always presenting a “perfect” face on the Internet and getting in touch with what an expressive person I am – something I discovered hasn’t gone unnoticed at work. In my new job teams get together once every two weeks to do a retrospective of how things have gone and how we can keep doing good things and work on things where we can do better. We do all kinds of crazy activities to tease out our feelings and I personally really look forward to retros. This week we drew ourselves as superheros and it turns out that my team really buzzes on my energy and enthusiasm. Fortunately for me they are so awesome that they make it super easy. Read more…


Film Friday #252

 Sicario (2015)

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent who specialises in kidnapping cases. After she and her team make a grisly discovery during a raid her determination to get a shot at the drug cartels involved is greater than ever which is why she agrees to be seconded onto a special task force lead by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin). Read more…