Tuesday, 26 February 2013

I'm so tired of not feeling good enough

... of feeling unattractive, undesirable, incapable, overwhelmed, inadequate, uninteresting and more besides.

Questioning, questioning, questioning. All. The. Time.

It's exhausting.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

When I grow up I want to be ...

I know I'm not the only person that's ever spent (lots of) time day-dreaming about what life would be like as your favourite hero/heroine.
For me, it started in the playground of Junior School when every breaktime was dominated by games based on "Thundercats" and evolved, over the years, into a fixation with Disney Princesses (Ariel and Belle in particular) and Nancy Drew.
At University, I learnt self-confidence with the help of Gwen Stefani and Shirley Manson.
Skipping to my 30's, and I've discovered a host of strong, powerful women - Sydney Bristow, Alice, Veronica Mars ...

And, of course, Buffy The Vampire Slayer; forever a constant in my life:

Who would you like to have grown up into? And did you manage it?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Animal print clothing

I was walking through the entrance of my local Asda and spotted this gorgeous little leopard-print blazer:
Animal Print Jersey Blazer from George at Asda
The picture doesn't do it justice at all - you really need to see it on the hanger - but it totally reminded me of how much I used to love wearing animal prints, which I vaguely alluded to in a previous Buffy the Vampire Slayer related post.
I can imagine wearing this blazer at work, as the print is quite subtle and not too in-your-face. I can also imagine this would make a good introduction into the world of animal print clothing if you've always wanted to have a go but never really had the confidence to try it before. I only wish I'd tried it on to see how it had actually looked on me.
But nevermind, as it's given me a bit of a yen instead for a fabulous pair of animal print trousers. Something along the line of these:
Skinny Leopard Print Trousers by Missguided
In fact, I could totally be persuaded to wear animal print trousers with a matching blazer to work, as long as it fit really nicely and the print was classy rather than cheesy. Teamed with a top and shoes in a block colour, and keeping any jewellery low-key, I think it could be a surprisingly professional look.
Out of work, I fancy wearing the trousers with a top in quite a striking colour - red or maybe a burnt orange. There was a time when I thought the only colour you could safely wear with animal print was black but after catching a few glimpes of Kate Spade's collection at New York Fashion Week, I realise I've been missing out and a bit more experimenting is called for!
What about you? Are you a fan of animal prints? 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Review: Seductress - Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire edited by D L King

SEDUCTRESS - Erotic tales of Immortal Desire
edited by D L King


RELEASE DATE: 08 November 2012

GENRE: Paranormal Romance / Erotica

In this deliciously dangerous paranormal collection, D L King presents stories that will shock and entice. A lineup of top authors focus on the all-powerful succubus, a sexual vampire who is as beautiful as she is deadly, and the victims who tremble with fear and desire. Readers will be enraptured by these dark, atmospheric tales of sex and seduction.

I haven't read any erotica before, as I find the whole concept a bit, well, bizarre really. I mean it doesn't seem to suit the whole "get in knackered from work and sit down with a cup of tea and a good book once the kids are in bed" scenario which, lets face it, is pretty much my life at the moment! Am I supposed to slip into some lingerie (ha!) and light some candles first? Pick up some seduction tips? I just don't get it.
Now you know that, it won't be much of a surprise to hear I had preconceived notions about what this book would be like; gratuitous sex in all sorts of positions, domination, lesbianism and a token attempt at giving them a paranormal twist.

First the good news, the cover art is beautiful and atmospheric and the book itself feels very glossy to the touch; quite sensual in fact.
There are 21 stories in this collection, each by a different author, which means you can dip in and out of it as and when you like and you don't have to keep track of any characters or what you've read before.
Some of the stories were exactly as I'd expected: "I'm a demon. You're out of your depth. I will dominate you and hey, look where I can put my tail, you like that don't you?!". But others really captured my imagination.
The highlights for me were:

A Surprising Summons by Kaysee Renee Robichaud
When Konstantin summons Loreline, neither of them imagined that they'd develop a bond that would last throughout his life. What begins as just sex becomes romance, passion and love but alongside this is waiting, longing, and the sorrow and pain of their ultimate parting. This story was quite heart-breaking and not what I'd expected to find in an anthology of erotic fiction.
Succubus, Inc by Elizabeth Brooks
This was one of my favourites. I loved the idea of a Company called Succubus Inc, their training programme, that you can be fast-tracked for promotion, and the contracts that the clients have to sign. But what sealed the deal for me was the twist at the end about how a succubus is made. A genuinely enjoyable read.
Star-Crossed by Evan Mora
A reinvention of Romeo and Juliet with Romeo as a vampire and Juliet, a succubus. It's written in a really chatty, modern way with a big streak of joyful humour running through it. I can imagine this being developed into a full-blown book.
Minions have needs too by Anya Richards
Any story that uses the word "minion" is an immediate winner for me! Say it with me - minion, minion, minion! I liked this one because the message was basically not to take other people for granted or underestimate them otherwise the tables will turn on you. You heard it hear first - treat your minions with kindness and respect!
Sweet Tooth by Nan Andrews
This is definitely not your typical succubus tale. It revolves around Shelly who, on moving into a new house, finds a box of recipes in a drawer and the more she bakes, the more her dreams start to take a distinctly erotic form. Maybe it's because I have a sweet tooth but this particular story really seduced me and left me wanting more than cookies!
The Girl on the Egyptian Escalator by NJ Streitberger
What I liked about this story is that it focuses on Spencer, a man who gets involved with the Egyptian succubus, Sekhmet, after she catches his eye on the escalator. I used to have quite a thing for Egyptian history and mythology, which I think is partly why this story appealed to me so much. But what I also liked was that the ending brought events full circle so there was a real sense of the ouroboros about it.
What I realised from reading this book is that it's not easy to write about sex, let alone good sex, and I imagine that to do it well, you have to have a great sense of understanding and confidence about your own sexual being. This is definitely something I would like to have, as it's safe to say 2 children has stripped away my natural womanliness and replaced it with a natural motherliness instead.
I'm also surprised to say I'm open to reading more erotic fiction and you never know, I may have a go at writing some myself one day! Until then, where's my recipe book?! 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The last slayer loves . . . American Horror Story

*Warning - contains spoilers*
*Claire - don't read this until you've caught up with the season*
After the sometimes promising but ultimately disappointing Season 1, I decided to give Season 2 a chance in the hope it would have learnt from its mistakes and figured out how to take itself to the next level. And I'm so glad I did because, without a doubt, this was one of my top 2 must-never-miss tv programmes of 2012/2013.
If you've never heard of it before, American Horror Story is a horror, television anthology series aired on FX (recently renamed Fox). Each season is a self-contained mini-series featuring its own characters, settings and storylines, which means you can jump into a season without having seen any of the others.
The first season "American Horrory Story: Murder House" had some great moments but was really quite ropey. By comparison, "American Horror Story: Asylum" had me completely gripped from beginning to end.
Set in 1964 in the Briarcliff Mental Institution, it touched on themes such as religion vs science, nature vs nurture, Nazis, alien abduction, demonic possession, twisted experiments, the abuse of power and attitudes towards both race and homosexuality. I think it speaks volumes that it's managed to cover such diverse themes without me once raising a sceptical or questionning eyebrow.
As always, you never know who will survive the season and without a doubt, the one character that anyone who's been watching this season has been rooting for is Sister Jude, played by the incredible Jessica Lange.
Alcoholic songstress and seductress:
Believing herself to have killed a child while driving drunk, she seeks redemption by transforming herself into the strictly devout, yet sadistic, Sister Jude:

Only to find herself admitted as a patient and driven insane by electro-shock treatment:

Lange has been absolutely phenomenal this season. I really can't praise her acting enough and I am so EXCITED to hear she'll be taking a lead role in the third season of the franchise. The range of emotions she's displayed and the journey her character has taken has really driven the season forward and created the emotional depth and connection with the viewer that the show was so badly lacking in the first season.
Then there was Lily Rabe in the role of Sister Mary Eunice; Jude's innocent and loyal second-in command. She effortlessly moved from being a faithful and devoted follower into a demonically possessed master-manipulator.
With some wonderful lines, such as:
"We'll be watching The Sign of the Cross. A movie filled with fire, sex and the death of Christians... what fun!"
"This is the beginning of a whole new era. All you need to do is trust me with your entire soul and I promise you everything will work out"
"I know everything. I'm the Devil"
Kudos to Rabe for not straying into the realm of an evil caricature and keeping the sinister menace ratcheted high.
I know the way her character came to an end is probably a contentious subject, particularly as it happened a lot sooner than I thought it would and yes, probably was a bit easier than it should have been. But lets face it, it had to happen that way and I can't believe there's anyone out there that didn't gasp when Dr Arden, lost, broken and defeated, chose to cremate himself along with her body. It was like the ending to a Shakesperian tragedy and a fitting conclusion to their sort-of-but-not-quite-yet-maybe romance.
I could be here all night singing the praises of Evan Peters as Kit Walker, Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters, Zachary Quinto as Dr Thredson, Chloe Sevigny as Shelley (poor, poor Shelley who most definitely did NOT deserve the horrors inflicted upon her by Dr Arden), Franka Potente as Anne Franke and Britne Oldford as Alma. Instead, I'm going to end this post with a couple of images relating to one of my favourite characters, the Angel of Death played by Frances Conroy. She may have only had a minor role but she played the character with such dignity and, dare I say, sweetness that it really made an impact on me.

Roll on season 3. And if you've never watched American Horror Story, what are you waiting for? Get hold of season 2 now, Now, NOW!

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