We Are The Glitterati And We Are Here For Your Cats (And Some Cake)

Crown and Glory Glitterati Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium Meet Up

I am a member of The Glitterati – a super sparkly assortment of subscribers to Crown and Glory. For £20 each month we receive a box of Crown and Glory goodness worth £50, lovingly wrapped in tissue paper and sparkly tape. So far I have received three boxes and I have been utterly delighted with each of them. It has made me try bold and beautiful accessories that I wouldn’t have dared to put on my bonce even just a few months ago. Every item feels like a work of art.  This in itself is pretty amazing, but The Glitterati is more than a subscription service with an awesome name. 

Our Glitterati Gang Leader, Crown and Glory Creator Sophie King set up an exclusive Facebook group where we can swap items, get ideas on how to wear our heavenly head wear, snatch up extra offers and share our love of brightly coloured hair, glitter and all things C&G. Plus over on Instagram, you’ll find the #CGGlitterati hashtag full of sparkly superbabes completing monthly photo challenges, showing off their C&G collection or just taking standard snaps of the side, back or top of their head. . 

Basically we are a community, and a wonderful one at that, I am full of glittery gratitude to Sophie for bringing us all together. 

As if that isn’t all exciting enough, the beautiful Amber organised a Christmas meet up and it was at Dinah’s Cat Emporium, a very splendid cat cafe in London, yes tea, cakes AND cats! 

There is something very special about the way you are greeted at Dinah’s (even beyond the “you must be with The Glitterati” welcome), it is like going to a secret society underground cat club. We were ushered through members-only style to the back and downstairs, after being carefully briefed on the correct cat etiquette. There is no waking, feeding, grabbing or harassing the cats allowed, because of course, the cats are in charge.

Downstairs there is a lovely living room feel, but the whole place is a purrfect haven for kitties. I now have a ton of stylish interior ideas to make my own indoor cat more comfortable and stimulated! I was impressed by the whole set up, which was friendly and well thought-through. The staff were fantastic and the atmosphere relaxed. If you’re a cat lover, then you should visit – make sure you book in advance.  

The Glitterati girls were all amazing and looked gorgeous all wearing their C&G. We drank Winter Wonderland tea (taking deep breaths of its seasonal scent), ate cake (the salted caramel brownie was delicious and the red velvet cake looked gorgeous), stared at cats longingly, said “aww” quite a bit, attempted to brush some cats and lure the kittens over to our table and we chatted happily in between. 

CGGlitterati at Dinah's Cat Emporium

We had agreed in advance to do a cat-themed Secret Santa, and the I received was incredible! It was a box of gorgeous goodies, including a classy cat scarf, cute cat ring and a lovely loom band bracelet, handmade by young up-and-coming designer Bella (who is also the niece of my Secret Santa… remember you heard about her here first!).

Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be any more grin-inducing glee, there were some surprises from Sophie, who sent us a couple of extra gifts, as well as a generous contribution towards the cake and a very special Crown and Glory pass the parcel package. Oh my goodness, there was a prize in each layer and I got two! Some sparkly clips and these amazing black and silver no-snag hair ties, which I nearly brought a couple of weeks ago, so I’m glad I resisted now! The gorgeous Natasha got the last layer and walked away with a pair of the Liberace kitty ears in gold and we were all appropriately envious of and excited for her! 

It was a such a wonderful evening. Huge big thank yous to the team at Dinah’s who were marevllous, Sophie whose presents were appreciated, but presence missed, and of course to the amazing Amber who organised the whole gorgeous get-together.

Before I close, to need to add that my own cat Eddie was rather put out that I’d been out flirting with other felines and even worse, that I am now blogging about them. So to make him feel utterly adored (which he is) I’m including some snaps of my favourite fluffy fella. 

Eddie Cat

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Style Shortcut: Write Your Own Fashion Rules

Write your own fashion rules

If I were a wild free spirit, I might say rules were made to be broken. But I’m not. I’m polite, I don’t want to cause any trouble and I prefer order over chaos. When I know rules have a clear purpose or positive outcome, I quite like them.

When I was a literature student, I was once told you need to know the rules of grammar before you can break them. This was probably, at least in part, a comment on one of my many misuses of the English language. But it makes sense to me that once you understand a rule, you can play with it, experiment to find how far it can bend before it snaps, and then see what you can make with it afterwards.

However when it comes to fashion rules and beauty standards, there is so much well-meaning advice mixed up with ridiculous unrealistic media representations that we can be left overwhelmed – I’m supposed to wear which stripes what ways now?  

So I say write your own rules!

Obviously I think personal style is important enough to blog about, but it is possible to take it too seriously. I also think style should always be fun and creative. I value high-end fashion as an art rather than a lifestyle, I love to look at those striking designer statements, but it is far removed from the realities of my life and my wallet. I also think self-expression is an art, whether it is bold or subtle, instinctive or strategic, shop-brought or hand-made. It’s good to mix it up. I’m not into trends, but their influence makes me try and learn new things and keeps my style evolving.

As I like a good rule, I’m always making up my own, with the positive purpose of stopping me procrastinating. I am insanely indecisive, but I can happily make dynamic decisions about my style and I think this is because I’ve defined some rules for myself. My friends often laugh when I come out with one of my random rules when we’re shopping, so I have started jotting them down for your use or amusement. Here are some of them…

Cherish every garment. Some people will tell you not to settle for ok in a relationship or a job, I say don’t settle for clothes that’ll just do. Be head over heels for that floral crown, or those really soft socks, and everything else in between.

Always give it a try. You never know until you give it a go. We all make assumptions about we can and can’t pull off. I am often surprised by what works on me (or what doesn’t). Try it on, keep it playful, have a good laugh at what doesn’t work and be prepared to change your mind and admit you look bloomin’ beautiful when it does.

If it works in nature it can work on you. If an outrageously orange flower can grow next to bright pink blooms and look gorgeous, then you can wear them together.

Whatever you wear, wear it with pride. Whether you decide to wear a stand-out statement piece or go for a more subtle style, commit to it with confidence, be ready to look the world in the eye and hold your head high.

Strictly no riding. I have no time for a skirt that rides up or trousers that ride down.

Only buy shoes you can walk in, and if they are party shoes, that you can dance in. My legs look awesome in high heeled mules, until I try move… then I look like Bambi doing a robotic dance. Personally whatever I am doing, I feel better knowing I could break into a run or a dance at any time.

Know that every day is good enough for your Sunday best. Don’t leave your favourite clothes unworn, dress up whenever you feel like it, never wait for an unspecified special occasion.

create a stylish and creative life - sunday best - cassyfry.com

Don’t follow fashion, follow your instincts. If your heart, guts or any other internal organ knows that you love it, then wear it. It’s ok to indulge in the latest trends (after all they will be readily available on your High Street), but take what you want and never let the fashion and beauty industry define you. Similarly, if you want to change your style, just do it. Don’t say it’s not really you, if you are drawn to it, it is obviously the new you!

Keep it simple. The trick is to make an effort, but don’t try too hard. Do this by getting the basics right for you. For more inspiration, check out my post about creating a signature style and this post by Gala Darling about having a style uniform.

When in doubt, wear your favourite colour. I own a lot of red things because I love it! If there is a colour that makes you feel great, wear it!

Be cautious about who you take style advice from. If you get an eye roll, bitchy eyebrow raise or indiscreet giggle from someone about your chosen attire, take a look at what they are wearing before you take it to heart. Chances are you just have different tastes and that’s ok! If they want everyone to dress the same, that’s their problem. (I wrote a bit about this in my post about body confidence). Only listen to invited genuine advice from good stylists or stylish people who you can respect. 

Unless looking at them makes your eyes go funny, wear whatever patterns you like. Even clash them. Always play with your patterns!

Tie a bow on it and put a cherry on top. By which I mean, find the right topping for you – a huge glittery bow, red lipstick, scarf, pocket square or a big smile – the small detail that makes you feel finished. For me, it is eyebrow make up, earrings or hair accessories.

Glitter goes with everything. That is all.

What style rules do you live and shop by? Tweet me @CassyFry or comment below.

Revelation Review: House – Manu Delago and the Aurora Orchestra

House at Revelation St MarysExpectations are tricky things. It is wonderful when they are met, even more so when they are exceeded, but sometimes we will be disappointed, and that’s ok. Good things can come out of the unexpected. There is a lot to learn when things don’t go to plan and, love them or hate them, there will always be surprises.

Last month I went to Revelation St Mary’s to see Manu Delago and Aurora Orchestra perform ‘House’ and I went along with high expectations based on previous experiences.

I have seen Manu Delago perform before in some incredible collaborations he had put together for Kings Place. That was an impulsive booking in the name of cultural adventure. I was intrigued after I heard him talking on the radio about the hang, an instrument that looks like an upside down wok and sounds enchanting. I went not sure what to expect, but with a curious and open mind. That was a risk that paid off, and that experience was a big reason I was keen to see House.

I didn’t know anything at all about the Aurora Orchestra, but I’ve seen a few classical performances at Revelation St Mary’s and they’ve all been good. A classical collaboration with an exciting percussionist and featuring something called ‘Music For Two Acoustic Toothbrushes’ sounded like a sure-fire winner to me, but while the toothbrushes didn’t disappoint, overall the evening did not live up to all my expectations.

Firstly I was surprised to find that most of the audience was made up of families – parents, siblings, grandparents, friends. Each came with their own expectations, excited to see a member of their family perform on stage alongside professional musicians, but not too sure what kind of compositions they were about to hear. From snatches of overheard conversations, the teenagers involved hadn’t given much away about the performance!

While there was a mention of the schools performing alongside the professionals within the event description, I was expecting the majority of the evening to be the headliners. I thought the education element would be elegantly inserted into one part of the performance as a stand-alone piece, as it was for the VOCES8 event I saw earlier this year, but the schools performances were interwoven throughout. I don’t think that in itself is a bad thing, in fact it is refreshing to see education work being given an equal platform to professional work. While the compositions were each interesting, the musicians all good, the performance didn’t flow. It felt fractured and confusing.

There were some lovely moments, like the piece performed around a dining table using cutlery, plates and glasses with each musician wearing a napkin. Manu Delago’s Secret Corridor which closed the first half was really magical, I loved the sound of the hang and the strings together. The toothbrush duo was simple, clever and quirky, it fascinated everyone in the room. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that is now brushing their teeth with a new sense of rhythm.

The compositions and the education work were both good, but they just didn’t come together in this performance. It wasn’t a disaster, it was just different from what I was expecting, there were many delighted people in the audience.

I’ve been considering what would have made the performance better for me. I think it would have benefitted from having a compere for the evening to introduce the headline musicians and give some context of or explanation about the different pieces and why the compositions had been selected. It would have been good to hear the musicians talk about the instruments, which included some unusual percussion and would have been interesting to hear about.

Conductor Fraser Trainer did explain that the children and young people had brought in household items that made an interesting sound to work with, but I would’ve liked to have heard a bit more about education work. Maybe if there were any were brave enough, a few words from one or two of the young people too – this can be pretty scary for the artists too as you never know what they are going to say, but it is good to hear it directly from them in their own words. I was delighted to see one young person commented on Facebook that she realised when she got home that it was a really big deal.

I learnt a bit more about myself as an audience member too. I want to take risks on seeing something new and I want to go to arts venues that try different things, but even when you think something is a safe investment, you don’t really know what you will think, what it will make you feel and how you’ll respond. That is what makes art so interesting. Regardless of what you expect, you don’t know what you will experience until you go and that is what makes it exciting and keeps me seeing new things.

Culture Fix – Art, Love and War Stories

artwork by Ant Pearce

Time to try a new regular-ish feature. As I consume more culture than I have time to blog about, I thought I’d give you a short and sweet round up of what I’ve seen, heard and enjoyed over the last couple of weeks.

What I have seen… After discovering his work at The Other Art Fair I went to see more of Ant Pearce‘s art work at the Platform#4 exhibition at Leyden Gallery in London. I loved his work in gold thread (pictured above), so beautiful. 

What I am reading… The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich. So far it has been surreal, sweet and surprising. A really refreshing read about relationships.  

What I am watching… At the movies, I loved The Imitation Game, it was superb. On the small screen, I am obsessed with Gotham right now.    

What I am listening to… free downloads from the magical Nikki Loy, a sweet and sassy singer songwriter, her track Effortless makes me want to spin in circles in a shower of glitter!

What has inspired me… The War Stories exhibition at Brighton and Hove Museum, which is based around personal stories, the narrative is well thought through and really quite moving. 

What has made me say wow… The Peepers installation by Maisie Broadbent in the Royal Pavilion Music Room, a space which in itself has plenty of wow factor, the new work was perfect for it!

What has made me smile… a freebie from Veronica Dearly in my latest Crown and Glory Glitterati Box. I love her design work.

Revelation Review: Merry Opera Company – Handel’s Messiah

Revelation St Mary's Ashford Kent

My first cultural fix of the festive season was a visit to Revelation St Mary’s to see the Merry Opera Company perform Handel’s Messiah. However this production was no Christmas cliche, it was a contemporary operatic performance that used the church venue to explore the nature of faith, while delighting the audience with Handel’s iconic work.

The performers emerged one by one as we took our seats, infiltrating the audience before the singing started, some busied themselves around the church, while others hid in plain sight. Dressed in a diverse range of modern attire, from business suit to track suit, each performer had a distinct character.

Director John Ramster sent each cast member a brief backstory of their character before rehearsals began, sketching the narrative of their life and what brought them to a spiritual place. We saw glimpses of this before the music began, a spectrum of emotions and purpose – joy, sadness, fear and duty. Their stories were subtle, implied but no told, I felt more like an observer than an audience member. As people-watching is one of my favourite past times, I loved this! I was free to make assumptions based on my own experiences, using a mixture of empathy and stereotyping. Some characters gave away more than others, just like some people are more guarded than others, but each was fascinating to watch. 

The magnificent music that filled the church was created just by the organ and the 12 singers. There were some wonderful voices and as the performers were all around us, using the full space, we were really in the middle of it, surrounded by sound.

There was no special stage lighting or scenery and props were minimal, but effective. Wooden crates were moved about and used as a platform, a seat and a pulpit for solos. The actual pulpit was used playfully too, there were moments of levity and I think paper plate halos are the best use of disposable kitchenware I’ve ever seen. 

Messiah has three sections – birth, death and resurrection. The performance complemented the musical narrative, the tone shifted as the characters developed through each part of the piece. Each section was marked with a costume change – from everyday wear to formal black mourning wear and finally with each performer adorned in white. The big hits in parts two and three were crowd-pleasers – Hallejulah was stunning and got a rapturous applause.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and as an atheist I felt slightly shy about going to see a piece with such strong religious content, in a church, on a Sunday, but I was delighted. It was a lovely experience and a captivating performance. 

Link Love: Have A Very Crafty Christmas – DIY Guides

Pom Pom Wreath

I’m getting ready to hang my pom pom wreath on my front door (actually I’ve already done it!). I am usually Christmas crazy, but I am only mildly merry at the moment, the festive feeling hasn’t quite kicked in yet. One of my favourite ways to get in the spirit (besides a Tia Maria and orange juice… trust me, it’s good) is to get crafty and and make some festive things. So this month, I’m sharing some links to Christmas DIY guides from some fabulous creative bloggers.

An Alternative Christmas Wreath - For fans of fluffy pom poms and all the colourful colours. (Okay this one is from my own blog, but it’s a guest post!)

Super Cute Felt Reindeer Tree Decorations - A simple sew DIY for a super cute handmade Christmas.

An Adorable Gift Idea Using A Jar And Glittery Washi Tape – To put some sparkle and thoughtfulness back into your festive presents. 

Brown Paper Packaging Tied Up With String – For gorgeous DIY wrapping ideas.

Gorgeous Gift Tags - A festive freebie to download and print. 

Turn Thrifty Finds Into Christmas Decorations – Like I need any more excuses to go charity shop shopping.

Magical Christmas Lanterns - Light up a sweet silhouetted scene. 

A Light Up Marque Sign - For the more ambitious DIYer with a drill! 

And… Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Baubles - Cowabunga!

A Love Letter To Carter USM 1987-2014 – The Final Comedown at Brixton Academy

Carter USM 1987-2014 Brixton Academy

In 1991 at age 12 I was sat on the sofa watching the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party when Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine took to the stage and performed After the Watershed. I immediately realised that I’d been wasting my time on all that boy band nonsense and became a punk. 

Actually that isn’t true, although I wish it was, as it’d be a much better opening to both this blog post and my teenage years. Unfortunately my love of terrible chart music continued for some time (and traces are still noticeable today). Carter USM were obviously an interesting feature of the line up, they stood out, got my attention, my ears pricked up and the lyrics washed right over my head. I didn’t understand it, but I knew it was cool.

Fruitbat’s attack of the Schofield was exciting. I couldn’t wait for the Poll Party to be over so I could stop the VHS tape recording (I taped it every year) to rewind back and analyse what the hell had just happened. Damn those TV cameras panning over the crowd, I wanted to see the action! I remember being really excited to read all about it in the next issue of the magazine. I had a subscription, Smash Hits was my bible back then and I studied it’s silly and snarky teachings and learnt lyrics off by heart. Smash Hits were also responsible for introducing me to Morrissey, Jesus Jones, The Charlatans, Blur and The Farm. I am eternally grateful for this infiltration of indie music. It served me well. When I eventually got bored of the charts, I was aware there was other music out there and I found it. 

A few years later, I finally got it, I understood why Carter were cool. I developed a penchant for bands with socially astute and clever lyrics and good music that made me feel something. I sought out Carter CDs, began to build my collection and with it, my love for the band. I didn’t get to see them before they called it a day in the late nineties, but I did go to see Jim Bob and Fruitbat perform on their other projects. I didn’t experience the phenomenon that is a live Carter gig until their reunion in 2007. It was incredible. 

Carter shows are different from other gigs and not just because I love the band. There is a real sense of camaraderie. The closest thing I have experienced to it is going to a football match, we all wear our team colours, there is much singing/shouting/chanting and a lot of drinking. Of course seeing Carter is much better because (1) their music is more entertaining and less stress-inducing than football, (2) there is a lot more dancing and (3) you always win.  

Last night I saw Carter for the final time. I was excited and nervous. I hadn’t been in a mosh pit for a while – at least not the kind of impassioned and energetic mosh pit created by Carter fans. I wasn’t sure my fragile physical body could handle it, but the spirit was willing. The only time I have ever been headbutted in the boob was in the chaos of a Carter gig. This time I wore a padded bra to protect my girls and my trusty boots to protect my toes from the inevitable trampling. As expected, the excitement and enthusiasm was overflowing and infectious. The crowdsurfing started before the band had even come on stage!  

The whole evening was perfect because we all made it that way. There was a sense of occasion, a fun finality which put everyone on top form. There was none of that waiting for the main act to get the party started, it was well already well under-way before we got inside the venue, and definitely for the support acts, who each had a huge supportive crowd.

The support acts were superb. I loved The Frank and Walters, they sounded great (and get bonus points for their stylish attire – a big yes to orange shirts worn with ties and braces). The Sultans of Ping were fantastic too, I have a new-found appreciation for them now beyond Where’s Me Jumper? (which always makes me think of my lovely punk chum Lex). Then we partied like it was the 1990s, singing along to James, EMF and Nirvana before the band took to the stage.

Photograph by Peter Fry

Photograph by Peter Fry

 

With the sad passing of legendary Jon Beast earlier this year, their intro had to pay tribute in some big fat bastard kinda way. Enter 13 bare-chested Jon Beasts giving it all that, each with a huge letter on his chest spelling out Y-O-U-F-A-T-B-A-S-T-A-R-D which we dutifully and joyfully chanted. When Jim Bob and Fruitbat took to the stage and we started Surfin’ USM, it was marvellous mayhem. 

Every song was sensational – everything is more poignant when it’s the last time ever. It is hard to pick out my highlights because it really was about the whole experience, but there were especially lovely moments. During Rent I witnessed a blossoming bromance between three men. I swayed melodramatically with a lovely lady during A Prince In A Pauper’s Grave, instantly choreographing moves in the way that seems to be genetically coded into most of us girls. As the song ended we hugged happily and then continued with our own mosh pit journeys.

I danced, I got pushed and pulled and generally thrown about, I waved my arms about and threw myself about like I didn’t care what I looked like (I didn’t). The sequence of nine high energy songs that nearly killed me was Billy Smart’s Circus through to Bloodsport For All (which was dedicated to Nigel Farage obvs). Here’s the full set list. Every time I thought that my legs were going to give out, another awesome song carried me through. It helped that the security staff were such supportive stars and kept the crowd hydrated and happy. Bravo Brixton, Bravo! 

The mosh pit mellowed during The Music That Nobody Likes, but I didn’t. It is one of my favourites and I had a bit of space for some seriously bad dancing. Then Impossible Dream, which was magical, the lights, our hands in the air, Jim Bob singing “give me your hands, you’re wonderful”. That moment meant quite a lot. Carter’s music has given me so much hope over the years, it has made me laugh and dance through difficult times, inadvertently teaching me lots of pop culture, and this was the moment I really felt that.  

There were two encores. The first started with a skit between cops and robbers to the theme from the Sweeney – I am hoping this was a scratch piece developing Carter USM The Musical – before the band reemerged to perform Glam Rock Cops. They were joined on stage with some awesome dancing PC ladies in a fittingly TOTP style, which I loved. This encore closed poignantly with The Final Comedown

We all knew there was more as we hadn’t heard Sheriff Fatman (cue more mosh chaos) and GI Blues. A really beautiful ending to an incredible evening. 

Today I can barely move, but I am still so happy to have been there, to feel part of it, to be surrounded by and to have shared it with so many wonderful strangers. Thanks to everyone who made it amazing, and of course to Jim Bob and Fruitbat. I am eternally grateful for Carter USM.

 

Mind The Emotional Wreckage… Films That Make You Cry

I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.

A while back I read this post on Miss Sue Flay and I thought, I have to write my list of films that make me cry! Then I realised the enormity of the task. You see, I cry easily and often, so it is a long list.  Music and books make me cry too. I’ve cried at the theatre and at football matches. I cry when I am angry as well as when I am sad, I cry when my hormones go all wibbly wobbly (which is often). The only thing I don’t seem to cry at Christmas adverts. 

Sometimes I avoid potential tearjerkers, but other times, I seek them out. Watching a film and having a good cry can be cathartic, a quick win to relieve the emotional pressure. Of course, sometimes it is unpredictable and spontaneous; a great work of art, a piece of moving music or sensitive storytelling can make you feel things that weren’t there before.

As a self-confessed weeper, I have split my unruly long list of tearjerkers into the types of film that make me cry.

Based on a true story…
Examples: Into The Wild, Schindler’s List, The Elephant Man

These are potentially devastating and should be handled with care as you can’t shrug them off as a work of make-believe. When done well, these films are particularly poignant, as they contain real lessons from real people. The truth of their authentic stories will inspire you and haunt you forever. The examples I have given above made me cry so much, that I have only viewed them the once! Of course not all true stories are distressingly sad, but a sad story that is true is a powerful thing indeed. 

Romantic pathos…
Examples: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mood Indigo, Brief Encounter/The Passionate Friends

These are my opposite of the true story as I can watch this again and again. I’m a sucker for a romantic film with an ambivalent ending. You can always rely on David Lean for an ending full of longing, which is why two of his films sprung to mind – if you like Brief Encounter, then definitely give The Passionate Friends a watch. 

The bonds of friendship…
Examples: Girl Interrupted, Beaches, Steel Magnolias, Stand By Me, Dead Poets Society, Turner and Hooch

I love a story of solidarity and friendship, hence the longer list of examples. Human connection is often both the cause and the cure of emotional pain. Although you’ll see I’ve included Turner and Hooch, because sometimes the life-changing friendship is with an animal (arguably adorable animal-people relationships could have it’s own category). Like real life, these films will usually make you laugh as much as you cry.

War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, except maybe for generating stories that make us cry at the futility of man’s violence…
Examples: Platoon, Regeneration

I will never understand why we continue to wage war on each other, I hate the unnecessary sacrifice, which is probably why I find war films so utterly and inevitably sad. Add classical music or poetry to guarantee some sobs. 

Somebody is terminally ill. It probably won’t end well…
Examples: Love Story, Philadelphia

You know what you’ve signed up for when you watch these films. Actually that makes the tears more containable, I’m likely to let salt water spill quietly from my eye sockets and trace tracks down my cheeks and then move on. Unless it’s a true story, then I’ll be an emotional wreck for the foreseeable future.

Unlikely sci-fi/fantasy/action films…
Examples: The Terminator, Alien 3, The Crow, Highlander

It continues to amuse my friends and family that I shed a few tear drops at unlikely action flicks. These always catch me by surprise as I was expecting to be thrilled, scared or just entertained with cheesy lines, but remember whatever the context, where there is drama, there is potential for tears.  

Animated heartache…
Examples: Up, Dumbo

Bloody Disney do it every time! While most tearjerkers save it up for the end, Disney and Pixar want to squeeze as many salty teardrops as possible. So in Up they hit you with sadness straight at the start, using a montage of all things. It’s still wonderful though. The same goes for the scene in Dumbo when he visits his mum in mad circus elephant prison. It makes me blub big time. Just thinking about it makes me well-up and reach for the bottle… Luckily there isn’t any problem that can’t be solved with champagne and pink elephants. Love this old Guardian article about that!

It’s a Wonderful Life…

This is one of my favourite films of all time so it gets its own heading. I don’t always cry. It’s mostly lovely. But sometimes it gets me. I think it might be getting sadder as I get older, as my own  life (and potential) pales in value to that of George Bailey “the richest man in town”. Alongside that sadness is the happy, life-affirming knowledge, that when you ask people for help, wonderful things happen. 

 

What kind of films make you emotional? Is the saddest movie you’ve seen on my list? I know I’ve missed off a few of the obvious tearjerkers. Let me know if there is any good-sad films worth watching or any epic tear-inducing movies I should avoid for the sake of my emotional sanity! 

Be Bold: Put Yourself And Your Work Forward

Be Brave Be Bold - Putting Yourself Out There

I am officially rubbish at putting myself forward. I know that isn’t the most enticing opening to a blog post, but hey, I’m going to go with it anyway. From the outside, it might look like my life is a series of interesting experiences and you might assume I’m always out there seizing opportunities and chasing my dreams.

While I am full of gratitude for the many wonderful things I have done, I have to admit that most of them have come from saying yes to existing opportunities, and sometimes just because I find it hard to say no. This can be great as I often agree to things that take me out of my comfort zone and surprise me, but it also distracts me from going after the things I really want and putting myself forward for the kind of scary-exciting opportunities that might get me closer to my actual goals. 

I’m still working on the recipe for success, but I think it is a combination of lots of hard work and a little luck, mixed with knowing what success actually looks like for you and the confidence to go out and make it happen. Then not forgetting to pop a cherry on top to celebrate your achievements and show them off to the world. Those ingredients all sound pretty good to me, but much like my actual cooking, I still haven’t mastered the execution and the kitchen is in chaos. 

I have some psychological blocks to get over before I can effectively self-promote and go for the things I really want. I love sharing amazing things others have done and I tell people to share their achievements and awesomeness with pride. I’m less good at following my own advice and being my own cheerleader. So I decided a little while back that I needed to start putting myself forward more. 

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All journeys start with a small step. Back in September, I put myself forward by submitting a short poem to Wise Words Festival. This was a safe way to test my footing because I did it just for fun and was not anxious about the outcome (definitely no secret ambitions of being a poet!) It was just a nice way to get my name out there which combined my love of words with my passion for shopping!  It was also good practise of going for something, rather than waiting for something interesting to come to me.

My poem (about the little love affairs I have while window shopping) was selected and displayed in the Whitefriars Shopping Centre in Canterbury (pictured above). Hooray, yay me! Only I didn’t do so well at the next step of shouting about it, partly because I didn’t find my poem until after the festival, but mostly because I got it a bit shy and self-conscious about it. (I was also a bit distracted and over-excited by my night in the Wise Words Yurt!) 

It strikes the eye
like Cupid’s arrow
footsteps falter, hearts hesitate…
before you walk inside

Reading the poem again now, it seems well suited to this post, outlining three steps to putting yourself out there: (1) spot the exciting opportunity (2) assess the good-scary, do you really want it? (3) be bold, take the next step and go for it. 

Why did no one tell me I should be treating self-promotion, opportunity-seizing and the pursuit of ambitions as if I were shopping?! 

In October, I decided to take my next bolder step and entered my blog into Arts and Culture category of the UK Blog Awards 2015. I would love to make out I was nominated due to my immense popularity, but as the awards enticed me to ‘be bold’, I am proud to say I went for it and entered myself. I’m still in the process of whipping this blog into shape, but it is never going to perfect, I’ll always be working on something, so why wait? I couldn’t think of any reasons I shouldn’t enter. It felt a bit scary (because I do have not-so-secret ambitions about becoming a super blogger), which confirmed that yes, this is something I should be putting myself forward for. 

The public vote is now open! The votes decide the shortlist to be presented to the judging panel. So in order to get my blog in front of the judges, it is up to me to tell people about it, attempt to charm some votes or maybe just ask nicely for your help. Another thing I am terrible at is reaching out to other people for help, but the good news is that between now and the end of the month, I am going to get a whole lot of practise in asking, starting right now…

I want this blog to get bigger and better. I want to create great content and reach more people. I plan to do this by consistently working hard and also by being my own cheerleader, putting myself forward for opportunities to raise the profile of this blog and my work, but I do need your help too. If you like my blog, I’d love your help and your vote. All you need to do is click on this link and enter your name/email.

If you want to be super helpful, tell someone else about my blog or share my UK Blog Award URL: http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/cassy-fry/

Voting aside, inspiration is always helpful, so let me know what you have done to be bold and put yourself forward. Any advice appreciated!

Lots of love and huge big thank yous!  

Style Shortcut: Stylish Ways To Keep Warm Inside And Out

I’m one of those people that really feels the cold, I have terrible circulation and I spend most of the winter with a purple complexion. Trying to wrap up to stay toasty warm while not looking like an enormous fabric monster is quite the sartorial challenge. I’m always looking for ways I can keep cosy while staying stylish. In some ways, it is easier when you’re going outside, once you’ve completed your quest for the ultimate winter coat, you just need huge knitted scarves, coordinated with woolly hats and cute mittens. As I live and work in beautiful draughty old buildings, I also need stylish ways to keep warm inside. 

Turban from Crown and Glory - Cassy Fry

Heavenly Headwear – This turban from Crown and Glory is a welcome addition to my winter wardrobe, not only does it look super glam, it envelops my head in velvety snugness and is perfect to wear indoors and out. Obviously I had to order it in more colours!

Lovely Layers – My layering essentials include some thermals, but not the frumpy kind. I love the heatgen long-sleeve tops and leggings from M&S, which make me feel more like a dancer than an old lady. They’re not quite as efficient as the old school thermals, but they are super soft, snug and perfect for layering. 

Stylish Scarves - A chunky knit scarf is perfect for Sunday afternoon strolls, but for days indoors, I keep my neck warm with soft cotton scarves with cute and quirky prints. I mostly buy these at craft and vintage markets or from Etsy – as a stylish literary lover, I need this Alice in Wonderland scarf to add to my collection!

Gorgeous Gloves - I am addicted to buying cute gloves! Top of my winter wishlist are some fabulous fingerless gloves. These long black cashmere gloves look gorgeous and this pair inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, ideal for writing in! 

Stylish Ways To Stay Warm This Winter

Cute Cardigans and Sparkly Sweaters - My search for stylish knitwear is on-going, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough. I love vintage knits, but unfortunately I haven’t mastered knitting yet. Instead I shop second-hand either on line or in charity shops. I’m a sucker for a cute cashmere cardigan to wear over dresses, jumpers with a little sparkle or a cute print (like this one!) and classy knitwear like this pearl detail cross-over knit I found in a charity shop in Margate.

Super Long Socks – My final winter essential is the over-the-knee sock, because they keep my legs warm under my trousers and are super cute.  

The only thing I haven’t yet found a stylish solution for is a cold nose! Let me know if you have ideas for that!

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