Posts tagged ‘The Good Life’

January 31, 2014

Comfort Viewing: what are your favourite shows?

We’ve been watching our way through the Academy Awards nominees, Golden Globe winners and lots of new TV shows recently—and seen some incredible performances. I’m really looking forward to Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, having loved him since his Dazed and Confused days—which has a brilliant soundtrack that always makes me smile.

But alongside this, I’ve been craving some comfort viewing. The relentless quest for the new can be a bit tiring, and at the end of a seemingly endless January (and never-arriving payday!) I’ve been curling up on the sofa and watching some shows that I’ve seen so often, I could probably parrot every line back to you.

As I’m trying ever-so-hard to be a minimalist, I have hardly any DVDs left. Here are those that are my required comfort viewing, and so I still own. I think there’s only one film and one TV award winner amongst them…

Television

  • The Good Life. Obviously. Because I feel like I know every word. And I understand that the show isn’t really about Tom Good’s quest for self sufficiency. Anyone who has watched it as many times as I have realises that Barbara is the person who keeps the Goods afloat, and really the whole thing is a vehicle for Penelope Keith as Margot to steal the show time and again.
  • The West Wing. Preferably the first series. Everyone is fresh and new; it’s so utterly engaging, even if sometimes the politics baffles me. So many corridors to “walk with me” down. I rarely watch an entire series from start to finish but this is a notable exception.
  • The Darling Buds of May. Absolute rose-tinted cheese fest. I make no apologies for this. Plus, it’s David Jason, who can do no wrong.
  • Poirot. Or Marple. Or any other crime drama in which the actual murdering is terribly civilised and we’re completely confident that wrong-doers will be caught. Because what we’re really looking for in a crime drama is tension, resolution and the return to status quo. That’s the comfort and why they’re so damn popular.

The Good Life. Best TV ever…

Film

  • Amélie. Beautiful, dream-like Amélie. A bit too sweet for some, but I find it charming. Plus it’s set in Paris—albeit a rather different version to the real city—which I love and return to year after year.
  • Die Hard. There’s just something about Die Hard that I find incredibly comforting. The good guy wins, despite all odds. Plus, it’s Christmassy. And Bruce. In a vest. Enough said.
  • Twister. Sorry. I know this is low-brow. But I love Helen Hunt in this.

Documentary

  • Signé Chanel. A totally fascinating French documentary series about the people working behind the scenes to create Chanel Haute Couture. Sits well with Twister and Die Hard, doesn’t it? From Karl himself through to the incredible white-coated women who painstakingly turn his drawings into fabric reality, this peek into the inner world of Chanel is the perfect way to pretend I’m learning French…

There are a few others that I’d add to the list if I wasn’t trying to be a minimalist. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for one, which I was obsessed with in college. Man on Wire is a superb documentary, and Dirty Dancing will always have a place in my heart, as I’m sure it does in many of yours.

What would your desert island viewing be? Is there something that you think is so unmissable that I should add it to the list? 

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November 9, 2013

Blog Chat: BEDN #9

Today’s blog post is about the subject of blogging itself. I’ve had a day off from #BEDN because yesterday was a bit of a crazy day. If I’d done a post on the prompted subject, which was ‘A Day in the Life’ you’d probably just have needed a lie down after living vicariously through my dashing around.

Anyway, after a day off it was time to get back in the ‘Blog Every Day in November‘ zone, and I did that by reading one of my favourite blogs, Espresso Coco. On there, Dave had written his post using questions from Janet (who writes a blog that I’ve just discovered because of #BEDN) and so I was cheeky and asked if I could use them too. And because they’re clearly both fabulous, they said yes.

So, here we go…

How and when did you decide to start blogging? Um. I have utterly no idea why I started blogging, if I’m honest. Other than for some misguided feeling that the world needed to know what was going on in my head, perhaps? Seriously, I think it was more that I wanted to write, and couldn’t get my head around the idea of being a ‘writer’ (still can’t) and so I thought that starting a blog would be a good way to have a go at writing about things that I was interested in, in a safe and accessible way.

I wrote a blog called ‘Daisy, Daisy’ on Typepad for a really brief period of time, which has now been mothballed because I lost heart with it. Then, after a while, I decided that I wanted to try again, and started ‘Margot and Barbara’ in May 2011. If you asked me now why I blog, it’s basically because I have to. I often go round in circles, loving and hating my blog with equal force. I’m always on the verge of quitting and always on the verge of self-hosting to make it more than a hobby; two completely opposing views about my blogging future. For now though, you’ll find me here, writing because I don’t know how to stop.

What’s the story behind your blog’s name? For those of you of a certain age, Margot and Barbara will be synonymous with The Good Life, and indeed, that’s where my blog name comes from. You can find out more about why I chose the name over on my About Me page. Really, it’s an odd name and I accept that. People often think that there are two people writing it, and if I ever get unsolicited spam emails about ‘working with your blog’ they’re always, but always, addressed to Margot.

On the plus side, many of my Leeds-based Twitter friends now call me ‘Babs’ and I love them for it.  For the record, my name is Elizabeth. You can call me Liz, if we’ve met and you’ve bought me a beer…

What’s the best post you’ve ever written? Dunno. You tell me? In terms of the number of hits it has received since it was published, it’s this post about equestrian influences in fashion. I’m clearly not a ‘fashion’ blogger though, despite my love of clothes, so it’s an unusual post for me. I might write more fashion posts, as I do love the subject. But I’d write from the perspective of a 37 year old woman with a strong belief in sustainability, small wardrobes of clothing, long sleeves and looking good on a budget, so not sure I’d have much of an audience! What do you think? The other things I’d quite like to write a bit more about (at least at the present time) are cycling and beauty. I appreciate that makes this blog a bit odd, but at least it’s honestly who I am. My favourite posts are those that feel true to me. When I feel as though I’ve been open with people, and it’s got a good response, then that’s a good post.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about blogging? Hmm. The worst things are probably trying to fit it into my life. With a full time job, two small kids, one very important lovely boyfriend (with a blog of his own!) family and friends to spend time with, an allotment, loads of hobbies and a to-do list as long as my arm, it’s always a juggling act to find the time for it. It’s partly why I sometimes struggle with blogging and decide to quit, only to return after a few days off, with yet another plan, post or series that I want to write. It’s like a bloody drug… I’m also trying to make more time for finding, reading and commenting on other blogs. Being part of the blogging community is important, yet because I don’t fit into an easy niche, I do sometimes feel a bit lonely.

The best thing about blogging, without question, is the people I’ve met. That, and finding a place where I can be just me. A place that I can talk about the myriad of different things that interest me, and generally find at least one other person on the whole planet who is interested too! I don’t have any great advice for would-be bloggers other than this: if you want to blog, then do. Find the things that you care about, write about them as often as you’d like, as well as you can. And above all, enjoy it…

March 19, 2012

Theft.

This isn’t the post I thought I would be writing today. In fact, it’s not a post I thought I’d be writing ever. On Saturday, someone walked into my house, picked up my beloved Mulberry bag, and walked out again. We were all in the house, sitting a mere 20 feet away in the next room, or, in the case of my children, upstairs in bed.

Upon seeing that the back door was open, the first thing my husband did was run upstairs to check on our kids, so don’t think that I haven’t thought about the absolute worst that could have happened. Really, I know that someone just took advantage of us leaving the back door unlocked after we’d opened it to let the kids catch hailstones in a bowl earlier in the evening. I still feel a bit sick thinking that they could have tried that door many times before, and finally been rewarded by our forgetfulness.

After a truly dreadful recent event, I have had lots of good fortune recently. I have met lots of new people, kindled some new friendships and invested time in older, important ones. I’ve been to wonderful events, had lovely family time and even won a competition. So, there is a part of me that thinks this happened just so I didn’t get too big for my boots. As if the Universe was redressing the balance. Giving me something bad, so that I make sure I appreciate the good.

In being the victim of some really horrible behaviour, I have actually had my faith in the overall goodness of people restored by the reactions of others. From my lovely friends both virtual and in real life, I have had nothing but support and kindness. They have sworn on my behalf, given out hugs, made cups of tea (essential in any kind of British crisis) gone out and searched the local area and on Ebay for signs of my stuff. One lovely soul spent half the morning getting my work laptop extracted from the cupboard in which it was locked (my key was taken) and my boss let me work a short day so I could deal with everything. When I went in the library to tell them that I needed new cards, the lovely librarian gave me my reserved books without charge, simply because she is wonderful. Of course, the books I had reserved were all Agatha Raisin crime novels.

Many of us do love a crime novel. Mainly though, the appeal is in the solution. At the end of a crime novel, especially old favourites like Agatha Christie, we can be assured that justice will be meted out and the bad guys will get what they deserve. Sadly, real life does not often provide us with tidy and satisfying solutions. I doubt the person who stole my things will ever be caught, which makes the whole thing more difficult to live with. There is an episode of ‘The Good Life’ television programme (after which this blog is lovingly named), in which Tom and Barbara’s house is broken into. Because they have nothing worth stealing, the perpetrators simply trash the place. They refuse to back down, saying that what happened was not their failure, it was someone else’s. What has just happened to me is not my failure. I admit that I’m shaken, sad and angry but I will not be beaten by it. I will not let my overwhelming faith in people be ruined by the failure of one.

So, now I’ve got that out of my system, let’s move onto happier things, shall we?

October 14, 2011

Quernus Margot and Barbara

I am very happy to introduce you to a Quernus version of Margot and Barbara, made for me to celebrate the launch of this blog by the very talented Kirsten of Quernus Crafts. As usual, the attention to detail given to these two by Kirsten is astonishing.

Margot and Barbara, my alter egos for this site, are from The Good Life tv sitcom of the 1970’s. I know that those of you who love the show will recognise them, even in mouse form! The Good Life is one of my favourite shows of all time, one that I return to time and time again, especially in times of stress. When life gets a bit overwhelming, there is nothing better than a genuinely warm and funny tv show, especially when you already know all the dialogue.

It also gave me the perfect pair of alter-egos to  help me describe myself and my interests. If you want to read more about this, have a look at this page: Who are Margot and Barbara? and in the meantime, have a look at the wonderful Quernus version…

Margot and Barbara

Margot.

Barbara

And from the back...

Thank you Kirsten, once again you have exceeded my expectations, I love them.