Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Carving a Pumpkin on Halloween

I carved a pumpkin the other day for the first time in my life. In my desperate attempt to do something authentic for Halloween, Barney was created. He ended up looking pretty smiley (I was going for the evil look, but hey you win some you lose some) I was however curious to know the real traditions of Halloween and how it came about. So gear yourself up for a little bit of Halloween history-

*Halloween was originally known as 'Samhain' at a Gaelic festival about 2000 years ago. They believed that the new harvest year began on November 1st. The Gaelic's also believed that the night before the boundary between the living and the dead became blurred. Alas, October 31st became the day when the dead walked the Earth!


*Mexicans also celebrate 'The Day of The Dead' on October 31st. It's a way to celebrate their family and friends who have passed away. This also follows on the Christian holiday of All Hallow's Eve.

*By the 1800's, playing pranks the night before 31st October became a huge tradition! The city of Detroit was hit the hardest with deadly arson attacks, most commonly known as Detroit's Devil Nights. The tradition has died down, but there is still fear every year that a new arson attack will strike.

*The holiday slowly became more and more commercialised. People began dressing up in costumes from witches and ghosts to real figures in the public eye. Black cats were also introduced as a symbol of bad luck during Halloween. The carving out of pumpkins (Jack-o-lantern) is actually a British tradition- the flickering lights within is associated with haunted folklore.

*The tradition of trick-or-treating came from the myth that ghosts could disguise themselves in human form, knock on someones door and ask for food or money. If you made the mistake of turning them away empty-handed, you would be cursed.

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Jamie Dornan will be playing Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Of Grey

Irish. Actor. Calvin Klein Model. Musician. Married (Dammit)
Ladies Meet Your New Christian Grey
JAMIE DORNAN
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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Celebrities Who Fight For Women's Rights

Feminism has evolved over the years
According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, the definition of 'feminism' is the following; the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes'.

That's one way of putting it. I don't mean to argue with the beloved dictionary but it may have solely meant that 50 years ago. Over the years and in today's society of flourishing education, exciting career paths, social media and changing family ideals, feminism holds a personally constructed meaning for everyone.

We have always been enamored with various role models in the public eye, who are more than happy to use their platform to tell the world what feminism means to them.  Heck, even Miley Cyrus twerking haplessly into Robin Thicke's crotch is an expression of her feminism. Us reacting in horror and sharing our opinions about her performance, unknowingly makes us feminists too. As modern day women living in a Westernised soiciety we share our opinions, because we can. We don't feel inferior. Female porn stars may claim their feminist right to bare all and engage in sexual activity in-front of a camera, whilst others who fight tirelessly to limit the excessive amount of widely available porn due to degrading female values also consider themselves a feminist. Needless to say, feminism isn't solely limited to women- Sure a few feminists here and there may claim to 'hate' men, but most do not. Even men are in on the act, considering themselves 'feminists' and openly support the rights each woman has. Needless to say, it's great to see the varying ideals of feminism that supports individuality rather than just an umbrella of harsh stereotypes that was once associated with the 'F' word. Below, celebrities speak out on their varying forms of feminism;

Sasha Grey- one of the most
well-known pornstars in
the world
*Comic Ellen Degeneres is ofcourse an avid supporter of same sex marriage and also promotes wholesome educational needs- 'Instead of showing people your boobs, show people your brain.' Personally, I wish I had paid more attention at school.

*Successful ex-porn star Sasha Grey has defended her career path by stating, 'What one person sees as degrading and disgusting and bad for women might make some women feel empowered and beautiful and strong'. It may be a controversial industry that many feminists dismiss right off the back, but I openly welcome the porn industry and the right to creative sexual expression.

*Ellen Page sounded off on abortion after portraying a pregnant teen in the mega hit film, Juno- 'I am a feminist and I'm totally pro choice, but what's funny is when you say that people assume that you are pro-abortion. I don't love abortion but I want women to be able to choose and I don't want old white men in an office being able to make laws on things like this'. She has a point. Only women who go ahead with abortion know their own personal pros and cons of the procedure. Everyone has the right to make that decision.

*Natalie Portman came under fire when she accepted her 2011 Academy Award for thanking Benjamin Millepied for giving her the most important job of her life, becoming a mum. If SHE feels that that is the most important job in the world for her, then rightly so.

*Reese Witherspoon frequently talks about domestic violence as the face of make-up brand Avon- 'Women in other countries aren't educated or have a difficult time getting to schools and Avon is dedicated to raising awareness around the world'. We are so lucky to have so many varying forms of feminism in our society, whereas there are some societies that are still fighting for just ONE form of feminism.

*Lena Dunham regularly pushes the boundaries in her hit show 'Girls'. She has become a new generation of 'cult' status for women- because many of us don't have a Victoria Secret's body, are desperately trying to climb the job ladder and generally find sex a bit fiddly.

*The ultimate career women- Hillary Clinton stated, 'I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and has teas but what i decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life'. She had it no other way but to endorse her profession with passion, rather than letting her husband be the sole breadwinner.

*Charming singer, John Legend performed at Chime for Change this year- an organisation that seeks to improve the well-being of women around the world. 'All men should be feminists. If men care about women's rights, the world would be a better place'. And vice vera. This isn't about hating the opposite sex but working hand in hand.



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Friday, 11 October 2013

Looking Back on The Crystal Maze

Today's children want to grow up and be a contestant on 'The X-Factor' or 'Britain's Next Top Model', but for me, just about making it in the 80's and growing up in the 90's, I wanted to be a contestant on 'The Crystal Maze'.

I came across a reference for the show the other day and I immediately started to reminisce about the spectacular series. Anyone who wasn't allowed to watch TV as a young child or for whatever other reason isn't familiar with the show- the series basically features 4 different time zones, where a group of contestants took part in a series of challenges in order to win crystals, which were worth 5 seconds each. This allowed them time inside the Crystal Maze, where they competed in the final challenge! The 4 time zones consisted of Aztec (my personal fave!), Medieval, Futuristic and Industrial which was later replaced by Ocean.
Richard O'Brien today

For me the greatest thing about the series were the presenters! The presenters played a huge role leading contestants from one game to another. The presenter in series 1-3 was Richard O'Brien. His distinct appearance included a shiny bald head and a long fur coat. Many fans remember him vividly with his Mumsy in the Medieval time zone. Richard is now 71 years old, a regular theater performer and he has also married 3 times and fathered 3 children. He has also spoken about his on-going struggles with gender identity, describing himself as transgender or a third gender.

Ed Tudor-Pole today
Ed Tudor-Pole took over in season 4. He was a rock-star in his own right as part of the band Tenpole Tudor. On the show he took on a Tudor-like appearance and had his own presenting style to O'Brien. Many preferred O'Brien as a presenter and Ed isn't too keen to talk about the show. In an interview in 2009, he said- 'you've got to bear in mind that I did it for five weeks twelve years ago. So I'm not an expert on it'. He is now 57 years old and has a son.
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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Breaking Amish Review

Breaking Amish-The cast of season 1
It's not a show that everyone feels the dying need to see but I truly think Breaking Amish on TLC is a must watch! It's especially intriguing for those coming from a religious background like myself. I've just finished watching the second series 'Breaking Amish:LA' which is a spin-off to the first huegly successful series.

To those who aren't familiar with the show, it basically follows a group of young men and women who have decided to leave behind the traditions of their Amish/Mennonite religion to experience life on the other side. Things me and you take for granted, they attempt to become accustomed to. They go from using horses and buggies to riding in cars, using electricity, shopping for clothes, furthering their career aspirations and inevitably deciding whether they want to stay or return to their faith. All these exciting new experiences for them have surprisingly been met with intense drama which is incredibly fascinating to watch.


Season 2- Breaking Amish:LA
The first series based in New York featured love birds Rebecca and Abe, emotional wreck Sabrina, resident bad-boy Jeremiah and wannabe model Kate. They set standards high in terms of drama and turmoil. They even had their own spin-off called 'Breaking Amish: Brave New World' where they continued to pursue their new lives. I always found myself tuning in each week with not much expectation but each time I was shocked at the fighting, the drama and the decisions they made. But I have to admit, that I understand their decisions- no matter how bad they are. This is the time when they were finally free and finding themselves. I, as well as many others out there have done beyond stupid things out of freedom and 'finding ourselves'- And we all continually will. It just so happened that theirs was on screen. The cast of the first season set the bar pretty high and I was hesitant about the new cast heading to Los Angeles- but the same thing happened. I was on the edge of my seat and bowled over by the drama which featured accusations of witchcraft, a secret pregnancy, police questioning and a tainted love triangle.
Kate Stoltzfus from
Season 1 has achieved
a successful modelling
career, with a photo-shoot
in Maxim!

The underlying thing I loved the most about this series is the cinematography. There were moments when the visual effects took me back to a vintage old school film. Shots of open roads, fields and train tracks were just breath-taking. It really gave the impression of a secret life hidden away from the temptations of today. I watch so much reality television that the difference was blatant.

There is of-course the ever-present accusations of 'fakeness' from the audience. Apparently pictures have been found of the cast from years past when they've dressed in English clothes, living it up with friends. I'm not too fussed about these claims. Many teenagers from all sorts of different faiths rebel when they get a chance. Sure they probably experimented with the outside world on occasions before, but it probably consisted of a few parties and outings- Nothing like moving away for a couple of months and completely immersing themselves in a different environment! It does however seem like elements of the show are scripted for obvious reasons, but I still wouldn't call it 'fake'. Nonetheless, I'm hoping for season 3! Maybe Breaking Amish:Miami ?

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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'Sir' without adding, 'You're making a scene'- Homer Simpson

SUNDAY CELEBRITY ROUND-UP

The resemblance is uncanny

1) Hulk Hogan had a successful reality show a couple years back and then everything went wrong. His daughter Brooke's music career has yet to take off, his son Nick went to prison for being involved in a car accident that left his friend with severe injuries and his marriage to Linda crumbled. However, looks like things are slightly better for him now. This week he decided to poke fun at Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball video wearing just a tank top and thong. Nice.

2) Lily Collins has the most angelic face with eyebrows to die for. She has also been named as the new face of Lancome. Jealous? Me?

3) Another thing I wish I could pull off, but probably couldn't is blue hair. Demi Lovato looks like the perfect rock chic with her newly dyed blue locks.

Demi looks FAB!
4) A lady who represents me to the T? Lena Dunham! I'd rather watch her work over someone unattainable like Megan Fox (even though she's ridiculously H.O.T) This week Lena shared an intimate love letter to her boyfriend Jack Antonhoff. The letter was released due to an art project and was from October of last year when she was travelling in India. The letter is an endearing 'I miss you' lovefest. Young love. 

5) There has been some heated exchange of words between Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Conner, after Sinead expressed her concern over Miley's recent twerking behaviour. Cyrus in return poked fun at her mental illness and dragged poor ol' Amanda Bynes into the feud. Anybody but Amanda!! So not cool.

6) Some more good news for another Glee star! Naya Rivera is engaged to Big Sean! She looked gorgeous in post-proposal photos.
North West, Kardashian
OMG IT'S NORTH WEST!

7) Madonna has been so open about her life over the years so it came as a shock to learn that she was held at knife-point and raped when she moved to New York City to pursue her career in the 1970's.

8) Oscar winner Jodie Foster has found happiness in new girlfriend Alexandra Hedison, who was once Ellen DeGeneres' girlfriend. Small world!


9) To all those dedicated Simpson fans..the show is returning for its 26th series! The show has been going strong for more than a quarter of a century! Truly an iconic show. However, it has been revealed that one of the main characters will die :(


10) Kim Kardashian has given us another glimpse of baby Nori! She looks even cuter all wrapped up!







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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Watching The X Factor Live!

The live audience auditions and boot-camp rounds of this years X Factor (UK) have come to an end- And I have to say that this year it was especially interesting watching the auditions take place, seeing as I was in the studio audience at one point! I decided to have a little scroll through Applause Store back in July to see if there were any tickets available to any shows I enjoyed viewing. X-Factor obviously stood out on the website and was inevitably calling my name. I applied for tickets and then the wait begun. One beautiful morning later that month, I awoke to an email saying that I had indeed bagged the audience tickets for X-Factor. YAY! I knew my little brother and one of my closest friends, Wisam were fans, so they decided to come along with me.

The day however, didn't really go according to plan. We headed to Wembley and it was probably one of the hottest days of the year (they even referenced the summer heat during an episode) and on top of that, all three of us were fasting due to Ramadan. We didn't expect the lack of food and drink to be an issue as we thought we would be in he middle of jaw-dropping talent to take our minds off hunger. However, the afternoon show which we were attending was postponed. By 4 hours. The morning session had over-run. By 4 hours??! Other afternooners who received the news found it the perfect opportunity to relax and have a bite to eat. I mean food=relaxation right? We just couldn't do that. We decided to take shelter from the heat in a nearby building and engage in conversation and people watching.

Finally time came and we were ushered in, immediately inundated with apologies for the lateness. We settled into our seats and soon after watched Dermot O'Leary do about 10 takes introducing the live auditions of the show. There I was thinking Dermot was perfect and nailed it on the first try every single time. Nah but I still love him. The judges then walked out and due to our far away seats, they looked like miniature creatures. Have to admit, I was pretty jealous of the people sitting at the front. We were explained that the contestants had already auditioned in a room before, which was pretty surprising- I was kind of hoping to see the bad ones! Nevertheless, a flurry of contestants came on stage and I soon forgot about the long wait and began to enjoy myself. The most notable contestant from that day had to be Alejandro Fernandez-Holt, even though he just got eliminated. Yes, I was there for THAT Spanish rendition of 'Hero'. The other contestants were great too, with a few who got the boot with good reason.

Soon, we were able to eat and we rushed out and grabbed American style chips and burgers. Fantastic. We stayed for a few more auditions and then headed back before it got too late. Great experience! I know a lot of people go to these auditions to see the judges and the funny auditions- I wanted to as well. But I also wanted to see how everything worked behind the scenes, the production, the screw, the set-up etc etc. Glad I went :)
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