Weekend in brief: went to the V&A’s Ballgowns exhibition – it wasn’t that great, but the refurb on the main fashion galleries that are free to view is fantastic and much more entertaining than the dull pay-to-view exhibition that has used a range of boring dresses to tell a state the obvious story about how eveningwear has changed from the 50’s to now. Very uninspired. Don’t waste your money. Walked through Chelsea and marvelled at the beautiful red brick Victorian architecture and sent hatred through the walls of every gorgeous house that I will never be able to afford to live in. Had a delicious lunch at The Surprise pub down a backstreet off the King’s Road. Watched The Five Year Engagement. The best thing about it was the shots of San Francisco. I’m going there next summer. Made orange shortbread. Delicious. Use this recipe, add a dash of vanilla and about a quarter of an orange worth of orange peel and you’ve created culinary magic. Add clotted cream and raspberries and you’ve just made your own day. Bought this lovely book. Cried at this film on TV. Wished I could afford to wear Chanel. All in all, had a great time.
Whilst at the cinema I saw the trailer for Anna Karenina. Inwardly I groaned at yet another seminal literary heroine being butchered by the simpering pout of Keira Knightley, but in general it looks like it will be an inventive and visually sumptuous film and I’m looking forward to watching it when it comes out in September. I read Anna Karenina while languishing on the sofa during the miserable British summer of my 16th year; it swept me away and triggered my love affair with all things Russian. However, ten years (TEN YEARS!! How am I this old?!) have erased my memory of the plot, and as such I am going to re-read it this summer. If anyone would like to join in, please do. It will be lovely to have some company.
Finally, I woke this morning to read the horrendously sad news that the marvellous Nora Ephron has left this world, no more to delight us with her sharply intelligent, endearingly wise and fantastically witty writing. Her delicious (and my favourite) film You’ve Got Mail was what made me fall in love with New York; its almost poetical portrayal of a city at once majestic and domestic captured my heart in a way no other foreign city ever has. Subsequently, reading Nora’s essays about the city she loved with a passion convinced me that it was a place I needed to one day call home. So, in a way, she wrote the plot of my dreams. Her work has long inspired and delighted me; she has been a true role model, demonstrating that you can be intelligent and ambitious while still being unfailingly optimistic, whimsical and romantic in your approach to life. By all accounts she was a warm, generous, infectiously joyful woman, who was never afraid to try something new and saw the positive in every situation. Her loss is a great one; her presence here a gift that will keep on giving through the words she leaves behind. Thank you, Nora. Rest in peace.
One of my favourite quotes is a Nora Ephron – “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” Definitely words to live by.