Oscars 2012 – Winners

Congratulations to all of those involved with the production of The Artist! What a winner! Hope you all enjoyed that funny video which I posted along with the nominations. Here is a great post which summarises who the winners were and features some glamorous pictures from the night.

The Happiest Cow


Winners from the Oscars 2012

Best Picture: The Artist


Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist


Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady


Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help


Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners


Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist


Cinematography: Hugo

Art Direction: Hugo

Costume Design: The Artist

Makeup: The Iron Lady

Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran.

Film Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Sound Editing: Hugo

Sound Mixing: Hugo

Documentary Feature: Undefeated

Animated Feature Film: Rango

Visual Effects: Hugo

Original Score: The Artist

Original Song: Man or Muppet from The Muppets

Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants

Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Live Action Short Film: The Shore

Documentary (short subject): Saving Face

Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore



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The Oscars 2012 – No Harry Potter for Best Picture?

Will you be tuning in to watch the Oscars tonight?  Who do you think will win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress?   Who will you be rooting for?

Here are the nominations:


War Horse

The Tree of Life

The Artist


The Descendants

Midnight in Paris

The Help


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Alexander Payne – The Descendants

Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life


Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Demian Bichir – A Better Life

Brad Pitt – Moneyball

George Clooney – The Descendants

Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis – The Help

Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn


Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn

Jonah Hill – Moneyball

Nick Nolte – Warrior

Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


Berenice Bejo – The Artist

Jessica Chastain – The Help

Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer – The Help


Bullhead – Belgium

Footnote – Israel

In Darkness – Poland

Monsieur Lazhar – Canada

A Separation – Iran


The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Bridesmaids – Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig

Margin Call – JC Chandor

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

A Separation – Asghar Farhadi


A Cat in Paris

Chico and Rita

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots



The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

Hugo – John Logan

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

Moneyball – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin.

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan


The Artist

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2


Midnight in Paris

War Horse


The Artist

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


The Tree of Life

War Horse


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo



Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse



The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse


Man or Muppet from The Muppets – music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie

Real in Rio from Rio – music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown and lyrics by Siedah Garrett


The Adventures of Tintin

The Artist


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

War Horse



The Artist


Jane Eyre



Hell and Back Again

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory




The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement

God is the Bigger Elvis

Incident in New Baghdad

Saving Face

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom


The Artist

The Descendants

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo





The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

La Luna

A Morning Stroll

Wild Life




The Shore

Time Freak

Tuba Atlantic


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


Real Steel

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon


Albert Nobbs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The Iron Lady

I know who I’m cheering on!  Enjoy your popcorn!


I will be very interested to see what J.K. Rowling comes out with next; however, I do feel slightly sympathetic because whatever the new book is about, it’ll be critiqued and compared by HP fans like viscious pigeons attacking bread crumbs…!


J.K. Rowling, the author of the popular childrens book series Harry Potter is writing her first book for the adults. The book’s title, publishing date and subject has not been announced. The publisher Little, Brown says that much of that will be shared later this year.

In today’s press release, Rowling said the following:

“Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry’s success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life.”

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10 Reasons Why J’adore Paris

Here are my top 10 favourite things which I discovered in Paris, in no particular order:

J’adore Paris parce que j’adore…

La cuisine // The cuisine


My new obsession - délicieux!

Although I’m not one for snails, generally speaking all Parisian food is pretty fantastic.  I’m talking in particular about things that you find in a pâtisserie – little cheesecakes, chocolate éclairs, MACAROONS…  In fact, all desserts!  Crème brûlée, chocolate mousse…  Yum!!

La librairie célèbre, qui s’appelle Shakespeare and Company // The famous bookshop, called Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare & Co.

Shakespeare & Co. - The door to paradise.

This little piece of heaven on 37, Rue de la Bûcherie is definitely one of the highlights of the city.  The bookshop, selling English-language books, was ranked as one of the 20 most beautiful bookshops in the world and just days after reading about it on a post by Flying by the Seat (re-blogged by The Book and Biscuit, which is where I saw it), I was thrilled to be able to put it at the top of my to-see list.  It truly is a magical and inspirational place which still retains the original ambiance of Sylvia Beach’s shop in the 1920s, which was popular with the ‘Lost Generation’ (Fitzgerald, Hemingway and friends).  It is a hub for English-speaking writers in Paris (hopefuls or already printed) and many volunteer, tumbleweed (stay the night) or read and write there.  George Whitmore, who opened the shop which stands opposite the Notre Dame today, passed away in December, 2011 and the shop is now run by his daughter, Sylvia Whitmore. Rest in peace, George Whitmore, who died at the age of 98.

Les magasins // The shops

Strolling down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées

I loved the Avenue des Champs Élysées, the little boutiques down side streets and the fact that everyone is Paris looked so well presented!  Almost everyone I saw looked smart, sophisticated and ‘chic.’

L’architecture et la Seine // The architecture and the Seine

Notre Dame

The Notre Dame when the sun was hiding

The Seine

The Seine

The lavish Renaissance buildings create rather dramatic scenery, as well as making city walks much more appealing. You can absorb so much simply by walking around and admiring what is before your eyes. The Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica are notable places to see.

La métro (et on peut aller partout à pied) // The metro (and you can go anywhere by foot)

I loved how easy it was to go from place to place!  I met someone who was from the south of the USA and they agreed – you certainly don’t need a four-wheeled drive to get around.  Top up your card, pick your direction, hop on and away you go!  As long as you are wearing a comfortable pair of shoes, your carbon footprint can stay minimal.  The accordion players busking on the metro were also greatly admired by all.

Les marchés // The markets


The market

France is famous for its markets which sell all sorts of little bits and bobs, from wonderfully smelly soaps to hand-woven bags.  It was just my luck that I found a quaint, little market selling only old French books.  The books were so interesting as I had never heard of most of the titles – they were all in French!

L’histoire de la ville // The history of the city



The façade of Versailles


Looking out at the gardens of Versailles


Marie Antoinette's bed

One of Versailles' many marble corridors with statues on either side

Versailles is an exquisite place to see and it did not fall short of my expectations.  The grandeur which was shown in the Marie Antoinette film from 2006 (starring Kirsten Dunst) shows Versailles in its full splendour.  Although the château is now lacking furniture which was lost during the revolution (which they are trying to retrace), some rooms have been fully renovated; for instance, the Queen’s bedroom which has been redone to match Marie Antoinette’s era.  I would definitely recommend taking a day trip there if you are visiting Paris!

Les musées // The museums

The Louvre

The Louvre

The Louvre, the Rodin Museum, the Orangerie Museum and the Pompidou Centre are just a few examples of the fascinating museums to visit in Paris.  You can visit the Louvre for €10 and under 18s are free.

La langue et les gens qui le parlent // The language and the people who speak it

French is a deeply beautiful language and what I noticed in particular was how friendly everyone was.  Whether it was a waiter who smiled and bounced up to your table to kiss the ladies’ hands, or a friendly old lady asking for directions, almost everyone was always smiling and seemed approachable.

L’environnement multiculturel // The multicultural environment

Obviously, if you’re in a modern city, it’s going to have an international feel.  However, Paris stood out to me as being especially so. Maybe it was because I was a tourist and therefore surrounded by other tourists; however, everywhere I went I would hear a different language being spoken.  One of the beauties of Europe (the ‘continent’) is that everyone speaks multiple languages which means that from walking around, you are exposed to dozens of assorted languages which are beautiful to listen to.

I loved every second of my stay in Paris and wish that I could go back again.  Fortunately, many of the tourist hot-spots were relatively vacant as it was off-season and the February weather was rather cold; however, this was great as it meant that the queues were minimal, it was less tiring and I could see everything.  In front of the Mona Lisa, people would just step aside to let you take a photo since there were so few people visiting!  I can imagine in the summer that it must be completely chaotic…

What do you love about your favourite destination or the place where you live?  I’d love to hear from you.


P.S.  Sincere apologies to native Parisians for the tourist-ness of this post; please feel free to share the more ‘authentic’ things to see and do in your city, if you feel that way inclined!

Victoria 4 Albert

After reading a post by Madame Guillotine (Victoria 4 Albert), I watched this sweet animation by Chiara Ambrosio following the love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  It has been released especially for Valentine’s Day to promote the re-opening of Kensington Palace.  More episodes will be released soon on their website, so watch this space!  Watch the film here.


Belle the Blind Alpaca – Devon

Courtesy of Tara Wray Photography (Regrettably, I didn't have time to take a picture of Belle; however, this baby alpaca is just as charming!)

Whilst visiting friends in Devon, I spent a portion of my weekend on a remote farm, feeding alpacas.  I met Belle, a blind alpaca who is so sweet and passive, she wouldn’t even scare a baby.  She began losing her sight a few years ago and now has to be led to her food.  Sadly, this means that she can no longer watch the serene sunrise of Devon in the morning.  Out of the four alpacas in the field, only one stood to the side, munching on a different patch of grass.  Poor Belle…

If you’ve never seen any, you’re missing out!  Alpacas are beautiful creatures which are larger than sheep, but smaller than horses and cows.  These inspirational animals originate from South America where wild herds roam the picturesque Andes.

Although I wasn’t in Devon for long and unfortunately the weather was rather miserable, I could see that the writers of Devon such as Agatha Christie, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Kingsley  must have had a wonderful childhood there.  The hilly landscape is beautiful and the tranquil atmosphere is certainly enough to awaken one’s inner creative spirit.

Below are some pictures, including one of a quintessential pub with a thatched-roof which I spotted, but found that it was closed.  Please excuse the bad quality – by the time I got my camera out, it was almost too dark and misty.  I’ve fiddled with the exposure so that you can see everything, but the quality is rather dismal.