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Spaced – Definitive Viewing

September 15th, 2008

Spaced - Definitive Collectors’ EditionBefore Simon Pegg delved into films and sold his soul to Hollywood – his next film sees him starring alongside Kirsten Dunst – he was responsible for one of the best British comedy series. It’s hard to believe, but Spaced graced our screens nearly a decade ago now, although it’s hard to find another comedy series that’s topped it since.

Starring and written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, the pair play two strangers who pose as a couple in order to rent a flat, and focuses around them, their friends and their neighbours. It’s laden with pop culture references, but you don’t need to be a complete film or movie swot to get them. Each episode is also based on at least on film, including Star Wars and The Sixth Sense. Despite this surreal angle, the sitcom is surprisingly believable and true to life, featuring characters we’ve all come across at some point.

This Definitive Collectors’ Edition features both series of Spaced, as well as loads of extras. If you’ve never seen Spaced before don’t bother with buying just one season, you can pick up the whole lot for just over £15 and I guarantee you’ll want to watch it all!

Spaced – Definitive Collectors’ Edition is available as part of Amazon’s Autumn Deals for only £15.97.

Elbow win Mercury Prize

September 11th, 2008

Elbow - The Seldom Seen KidManchester based band Elbow triumphed at the Nationwide Mercury Prize, winning the accolade for their album The Seldom Seen Kid. The prize is judged by music industry insiders and awards the best album of the last 12 months. Also nominated this year were Radiohead, Laura Marling, Adele, British Sea Power and The Last Shadow Puppets.

Aside from the prestige of winning the award, the band also receive a cheque for £20,000. Elbow have been together for nearly 20 years, and have experienced their fair share of lows, including waiting nearly a decade to be signed, and then being dropped a few years later. The Seldom Seen Kid is the band’s fourth album, and is dedicated to the memory of Brian Glancy, a friend of the band and a much loved prominent figure on the Manchester music scene who died suddenly in 2006.

It received huge critical acclaim, and is arguably the band’s best work to date. From the dark, foreboding sounds of Grounds for Divorce to the beautiful centre piece of the album The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver, The Seldom Seen Kid is melancholic, uplifting, heartbreaking and epic.

The band described their win as ‘the best thing that’s ever happened to us’, and after years of producing incredible but largely unheard music, their gracious and humble attitude showed that no one deserved it more than Elbow.

Get a copy of the Mercury Prize winning The Seldom Seen Kid from Amazon.

The biggest hype since Arctic Monkeys…

September 8th, 2008

Glasvegas by GlasvegasGlasvegas release their debut album today, one of the most highly anticipated and critically acclaimed albums of the year.

Hailing from Glasgow, the four piece have been together since 2000, but only really made it onto the music radar late last year when they released the single ‘Daddy’s Gone’ which started a bidding war amongst the major record labels. Their self titled album showcases their honest, brutal, but also beautiful lyrics, in a retro rock and roll style that’s high in atmosphere and low in pretension.

Currently in the middle of a hype storm, with claims of ‘the best thing to come out of Scotland’ and ‘they’ll outsell Oasis’ flying around, it’s a wonder the band managed to make an album at all under such immense pressure. But they’ve made an album that well and truly lives up to the hype and the high standard set by their singles. Whether they outsell Oasis isn’t important, they’re certainly more relevant and talented and crucially, far more gracious. Their debut is a powerful collection of songs that sum up our culture in an eloquent way, set to huge, epic-like music.

See what all the hype’s about, get Glasvegas by Glasvegas from Amazon for £8.88.

Lost in Austen

September 4th, 2008

Lost in AustenITV debuted its new period inspired drama last night, Lost In Austen. The plot revolves around city girl Amanda being transported into the world of corsets, dances and chaperones from her favourite book Pride and Prejudice through her bathroom door, and swapping places with Elizabeth Bennet (played by new Bond girl Gemma Arterton).

Despite sounding decidedly cheesy and a bit naff, the show was very funny, particularly the struggle Amanda endured attempting to speak ‘proper’ English, and surviving without modern comforts (like a toothbrush). No doubt it will have ruffled a few Austen purists’ feathers, but taken with a pinch of salt this is a light-hearted twist on a literary classic.

Next week Mr Bingley declares his love for Amanda, who attempts to rebuff his advances by telling him she’s a lesbian, and more characters from the famous novel are introduced.

Catch it at 9pm on Wednesday on ITV1.

Bake your own Cupcakes!

September 1st, 2008

Susannah Tee Cupcake BookI love baking, especially cupcakes, and I’m always on the lookout for new recipe books. I recently got The Cupcake Book by Susannah Tee, and after some rigorous testing (and much cake eating) I can confirm that Susannah’s recipes are delicious.

The book is split into three sections, including one dedicated entirely to chocolate. There are also some healthier recipes, including delicious Banana and Honey cupcakes and Blueberry Muffins. And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite there are some beautiful cupcake pictures in the book, as well as hints and tips on cooking equipment and decorating.

The recipes are easy to follow but be warned – they make big cupcakes! You need to use muffin cases rather than fairy cake size cases, and most of the recipes make one and half dozen. Luckily though they also work perfectly fine when halved.

Pick up a copy for only £5.46 from Amazon and get baking!

The Cutest Cup & Saucer

August 31st, 2008

laura-ashley-milner-cup-saucer.jpgContinuing on my hunt for apartment accessories I turned to Laura Ashley. Famous for her floral prints and home accessories I was inspired.

I want the Milner Floral Breakfast Cup and Saucer. The bone china set is decorated with pretty floral detailing and would look great in the kitchen with the rest of Laura Ashley’s Milner kitchen ware and it would even make a great gift.

Even better, it’s on sale now, it was £12 but is down to just £9. Visit Laura Ashley online if you’re thinking about renewing some kitchen accessories or looking for gifts for a friends house warming.

Furnish Your House With A French Touch

August 31st, 2008

dibor-chest-of-drawers.jpgIn my search for furniture I came across some lovely French style furniture pieces in InStyle magazine. Searching for the designer I was introduced to Dibor, an online furniture and accessories store.

It’s an absolutely fabulous site if your looking to French up you apartment or house. Think vintage looking furniture and glamorous accessories. I love this chest of five drawers. The vintage looking chipped painted colour and style makes this a must have piece and what’s even better you can get a matching wardrobe and bedside table.

The chest of drawers is priced at £575 available at Dibor online. Visit the online store for more French accessories now!

James Bond – Quantum of Solace

August 29th, 2008

bond.jpgFilm fanatics contain your excitement; the next installment of James Bond is coming to a cinema screen near you on the 31st of October 2008.

Picking up from where Casino Royale left of, Bond (Daniel Craig) infuriated with rage from loosing the love of his life Vespa (Eva Green) and being betrayed by her goes on a rampage to track down the organization who blackmailed her in the first place. Starting with Mr. White the man we see in the last scene in Casino Royale Bond and M interrogate him. Look forward to the usual action packed violence, another Bond girl and more expensive cars.

Visit the Quantum of Solace website to see the advertisement for the film.

Pre-order Mama Mia

August 29th, 2008

mama-mia.jpgSo who didn’t love Mama Mia, the get up and feel good musical has been a box office success and even though it is still currently showing at the cinema it is available to pre-order.

The film see’s three men played by Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgard fight it out to win the heart of old flame Donna played by Meryl Streep who all simultaneously show up to her hotel in Greece because they were invited. But not by her, by her daughter Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried who wanted a father to give her away at her wedding. As the drama unfolds it’s delightfully complimented by a series of ABBA hits performed by all the characters.

An all around feel good summer film, pre-order it now at Amazon online for just £10.98.

The Times BFI London Film Festival 2008

August 29th, 2008

fim-festiva.jpgEurope’s hottest film festival is approaching beginning on the 15th of October until the 30th 2008.

Last year saw a wonderful selection of films including hits such as Lions for Lambs, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Closing the Ring. This year promises to see more movie hits but sadly I cannot disclose the programme information as it’s not been put online yet.

The film programme for 2008 will be published on September 10th so keep checking The Times BFI London Film Festival website for programme info and tickets.