27 Feb 2012

And the Big Hug Winner is... Uggie!

Unless you've been cast off an atoll in the middle of the ocean lately, you sure will have heard of The Artist, a black and white silent movie which has set Hollywood ablaze with 5 Oscars! The film is set in the 1920s with the unique selling point of having been filmed in 2011 (which is one of the main attractions of the film).

(Picture source: Huh)

The plot centres around matinée idol George Valentin's struggles to stay ahead of the acting game with the advent of talkies. This French film inspired by the early heyday of Hollywood motion picture celebrates celluloid as a parody that faithfully sticks to the mannerisms, fashion, studio décor and cinematographic challenges of the times.

Two artists (picture source)

Alongside main actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo is a canine companion with flair who has more than one trick up his sleeve as an artist of his own: welcome Uggie, a talented 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier sure to melt your heart!

Uggie 'The Artist' Dog Steals Oscar Spotlight (picture source: Terra, 27/02/12)

We love Uggie to bits here at La Baguette (although he's not the only JRT that we are smitten for!). We wish the four-legged silver screen star every success in the future and a happy retirement as we hear he's off counting the dollar bills on a Honolulu beach over a well-deserved Margarita. Well done Uggie for your composition role!

Meanwhile we'll follow your adventures on Twitter, blow you kisses on Facebook, and enjoy your recent appearance on the Ellen de Generes show. What a star!

21 Feb 2012

February 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 5)

Fave #5: Find yourself and never lose it with Lost in Translation!

Talk-shy in Tokyo (picture source)
Lost in Translation (2003) is one of La Baguette's favourite films of the last decade! It's as far from the typical full-on, effects-packed, all-singing all-dancing American blockbuster as can be. We're talking low brow, low budget American film, personal, timeless and almost European in its approach.

Not only has the Sofia Coppola feature film reached cult status but so has its title. The press, bloggers, Joe Bloggs and others have all adopted it as a catchphrase.

The trappings of daily communication, convention, social codes and relationships are stretched further and put to the test when you're plucked out of your comfortable Western surroundings and thrown into Japanese culture and way of life, carried out by a tide of human density, human emotions, innuendoes, misunderstandings, silences and long glances, surprised looks, blank stares, late-night jet-lagged errings and forced introspections.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are both American, yet they come from two different if not opposite walks of life. They face their own doubts and fears and solitude. They also meet up, they get lost together, they rejoin and they part.

This is a beautiful, intimate, chemistry-charged film. Neither smarmy, chick flick nor dramatic. It's a film about relationships, with number one, with the busy partner, with others. It's grand, yet awesomely personal at the same time. A delight on the box! We ♥ it!

20 Feb 2012

February 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 4)

Fave #4: Get one step closer to vegetarianism with Meat Free Monday!

Carnivorous friends, if the road to veggie is paved with good intentions that you feel unattainable, how about start off the week with a neat little compromise like going meat-free for the day? Monday is ideal as a good detox day after the week-end's excesses, and one day can't be that harsh a start surely, even if you are a die-hard meat eater!

And even less so when you know that not only will you be doing your health a favour while giving animal life a break, but also helping the planet at large? And you will be carrying out your one-day diet in stellar surroundings (or did I mean 'Stella', as in Stella McCartney?).

According to Meat Free Monday, 'The estimated 634 gallons of fresh water required to produce one 5.2 ounce (147g) beef burger would be enough for a four-hour shower. For comparision, the same quantity of tofu requires 143 gallons of water to produce.' Check MFM for more fascinating facts, as well as for mouth-watering recipes.

To La Baguette it pays off to be a round-the-year veggie, but it certainly is one step in the right direction for any of our meat-loving friends to give one day a week an animal miss! (to be continued)

Ready to commit further?

18 Feb 2012

February 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 3)

Fave #3: Shoot to the stars with The AstroTwins!

The AstroTwins, photography by Tracy Toler

La Baguette's had an on/off interest in astrology since her late teens. At times, and depending on my life path, what should have remained a casual hobby or penchant would verge on the obsession. I clearly remember the pivotal 2001-02 years, when I'd spend hours on Astrocenter trying to find ready-made answers and guidance when held back by personal setbacks.

I'd even bought one of those cheap paperback daily predictions that I'd read and re-read and interpret in a way that would fit my personal circumstances while trying to persuade myself in the process of all the good stuff that was supposedly in store for me... I'd even got myself a self-help book on I Ching, and would push divination further by pulling an Indian tarot card from some obscure website on a daily basis.

(picture source)
In contrast I went through long spells when horoscopes and astrology would totally disinterest me. Sometimes curiosity (and boredom!) would get the better off me, especially on late nights, and I would look out for the stars off the net. Nowadays though my astrological hunger is kept down to a handful of trusted sites from years back, like Jonathan Cainer (although his cryptic tone can unnerve you), Susan Miller's AstrologyZone and Michele Knight. To these I will add one of my major online discoveries this year so far. Enters The AstroTwins.

American professional astrologers and sisters Tali and Ophira Edut speak a language that I understand. Plus they look friendly and reassuringly next-doorsey (see top picture)! They talk like sisters to sisters, in an informal youthful jargon-free kinda way. They have dusted off a science often associated with the Merlins and Nostradamuses of this world, and sexed it up. Thanks to those girls, astrology doesn't look like the science for the desperado, but almost like a way of life, intelligent, meaningful, insightful and honest.

I'm sold! I've signed up to their weekly horoscope and as a bonus I got their free compatibility guide: "How to get along with anyone (yes, even that person)". Accurate and fascinating. Now I understand about that karmic link to the 5th degree of separation between my sign (Gemini) and that of Capricorn. Past life experience? Sign up too and find out... (to be continued)

16 Feb 2012

February 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 2)

Fave #2: Get organised with an Exacompta diary!

The Cassandra pocket diary by Exacompta
Now folks, those who know me at home may be right to question my sense of organisation and tidiness, although this organised chaos of mine does indeed summon some amount of logic and order, believe it or not. However at work I like to keep my desk clutter under control and my computer files as streamlined as can be.

As for my handbag, you won't find any chaos in there! Explanation: many many years ago I read a magazine article about a supermodel who said she'd learnt to keep her handbag clutterfree, as in her early modelling years her agency used to get the girls to empty their handbags once a week, and she'd kept the habit ever since. I don't literally empty my bag every week but the mantra has certainly struck a chord and I keep its contents in check and travel light, although it doesn't only hold essentials but also little wonders, from a sample of Marc Jacobs 'Daisy' to a tin of cachou to my pocket-size Exacompta diary.

I'm quite picky in terms of diaries and despair when my mum or workmates hand over one of those free diaries. Chance is they'l be bulky, or the paper will be scratchy and poor quality or the layout just impractical. I like my diaries small, stylish, uncomplicated, minimalist and professional. Exacompta does the trick. One day when I'm rich and shamous I might even treat myself to Smythson. (to be continued)

More about stylish diaries: here.

14 Feb 2012

February 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 1)

Fave #1: Become the Elephant Man (Woman)!

When it might look like all's well that ends well for the elephant cause, don't let false ideas kid you... Pachyderms are still being poached and tracked down for their ivory today. The cull is gross and is wrong, and unless we voice our discontent and keep boycotting ivory goods, the illegal trade will carry on regardless of the Law and regardless of the ban.

What can you do as an individual? Remain vigilant, spread the word around you, sign elephant welfare petitions, join us in the Elephant March (see below) and support wild animal charities like the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). In other words, use every opportunity available to make sure you give elephants a voice!

Put together, those seemingly insignificant acts will help strenghten the elephant protection cause and hopefully stamp the massacre. Remember: elephants are finite and extinction is therefore a strong possibility under the current situation they find themselves in. Once they're gone for ever, it will just be too late! And ultimately do you really want 'the lucky few' to be parked in zoos and safari parks, rather than free to roam in the wild like their elders? So spare a couple of minutes now for a worthwhile cause. (to be continued)

Hey Gorgeous!

If the object of your affection hasn't yet plucked up the courage to utter them magic words to you, then I'll double make the point of saying them: I Love You guys and thanks for your support and following! Happy Valentine's, you gorgeous things!

Sources: (1) Zing it with a 'Classic Lemon Zest' bouquet by award-winning Cheshire-based florist The Black Rose! (2) Be a hoot like the 'Adorned Owl' illustration by my friend and French artist Isabelle Duvignon! (3) Bring it to the crunch with a medium tin of love chocolates by British confectioner extraordinaire Biscuiteers! (4) Oomph it with 'Chocolate Wafer' from San Fran-based Miette Bakery!

Want more? More V Day frolics over at our sister site Mirabelle Design Inspiration!

11 Feb 2012

Snowed Under! (Part 2)

Hey, it's been snowing across the net too! So then stay in with us, snuggle up and check out this selection of beautiful inspiring photography... Oh, hang on a minute... Is it me or is there a Valentine's hint down our icy Winter theme?

Sources: (1) via Pinterest. (2) 'The Kylie Fashion Shoot' by Stylist (pictured by William Baker). (3) 'Triple Layer Vanilla Ruffle Cake' by Red Magazine. (3) 'Vanilla Rosewater Cupcakes' by Sprinkle Bakes.

Snowed Under! (Part 1)

The cold wave that has been sweeping through Europe over the last couple of weeks has been well documented across the media. Images like that of the Vatican under snow will be remembered for some time, and so will the chaos that this unforgiving Winter has brought to our lives in different degrees of harshness. Let's bear a thought to those less fortunate, who sleep rough on the streets or manage just about to keep home temperatures bearable despite being affected by the recession.

'Adamo ed Eva Pupazzi di Neve ai Fori Imperiali' by Libero Guerra, via Flickr

When you might think Corsica is safe, think again my friends, for we've been having our share of the bad weather too, and working outdoors for a garden preservation society I have been able to appreciate the cold first hand!

As I am typing up this post from the comfort of my parents' home on my spare day, it is snowing out there. Bearing in mind that I live a mile away from the coast, the weather is bound to be even harsher inlands, especially in the alpine region of central Corsica. Roads are routinely blocked most winters with snow drifts and I don't dare to imagine what they must look like right now.

However intrepid snow veterans like some of my mates will have used this as a challenge to brave over 20 miles of treacherous icy tracks to reach the disused ski resort of Haut Asco to snowboard down the piste freestyle. Others like I would rather play it safe and stay indoors. The only ice I like is the one in my glass, with a shot of Havana Club and a dash of orange, thank you very much!

Now if Winter is your cuppa and it makes you jingle and jiggle all the way, be my guest and feel free to browse our selection of topical Baguette posts to keep you warm and fuzzy on the inside and deliciously frappé on the outside: 'A Week-End Wonderweb', 'What a Load of Waffle', 'Winter Comforts', 'T is for Tea' and 'Hot Shots'. (to be continued)

1 Feb 2012

Lessons in Love

Not sure whether this quiet time of year is the reason why it lends itself beautifully to an introspective mood, but lately friends and I have been discussing matters of the heart, otherwise known as the ta-da troublesome knee-jerking four-letter word starting with an L. No, just leave 'Lust' out for now, the L word in question is... (take a deep breath!) 'L-O-V-E'.

Rosie Parsons wedding photography
For starters, it's oh so funny how I find out that coupled-up friends are more likely to envy the single life rather than their (supposed) love-filled existence... And somehow the debate takes me back to re-runs of SATC. My friends with boyfriends in tow envy the fact that singletons like I are free, free to do what we want, when we want, where we want... And wait a minute, singles like I are invariably drawn to whimper back that they wish they could actually share their freedom with erm someone. Get the picture? No-one seems happy with their condition.

If I am honest, I recall that when I too was in a relationship, I used to envy my single friends who could do as they please and gave the impression of having it all (minus the relationship - which in a bizarre twist of fate did seem like a minor detail to the coupled-up woman). Having said that, there were times when I didn't envy their condition as single girls, when they were exposed to predatory conduct in social situations while I could hide behind my relationship status and enjoy the appearance of comfort and stability, although whether or not I was actually happy in the relationship was a different matter.

Love in untroubled waters: 'From Here to Eternity' (1953), photograph by Rex Features
We want it all but we can't exactly have it all, even in an ideal world. Some things may morph into something else (like the pretence of happiness), while some things have to give (individualism and selfishness), some need to lean towards compromise (freedom, independence) and others may simply snap or at least frazzle when bent too low (personality clashes, different lifestyle aspirations, self-awareness and love of self). This is the price to pay for being either single or in pairs. Either way, life is no bed of roses... Then again who wants roses when beauty is that thorny? I'll opt for the daisies.

Be my 'Sweet Valentine' (illustration by Isabelle Duvignon)