Inspirational Women – Helen Mirren

Who is an inspiration to you? Is there a women who makes you want to high five and say yes everytime she appears, speaks, does something? www.flowersdirect.co.uk have been looking at all the inspirational women there are, and how we like to say thank you to them, they have produced a lovely e book on the topic, and have been sharing the inspirational women on social media using the hashtag #InspiredBy.  They asked me if I would write about a woman who inspires me.

Now, I have a family full of inspirational women. My mom, sister and sister-in-law are all big inspirations on my life and how I live it, and I have friends, and people I have met through blogging who also serve to inspire. But I thought I would make this post about a girl (woman) crush who inspires through her style, her talent, and, to be quite frank, her ballsiness, being a leading lady at a time when most of her contemporaries seem to have faded into the background. I am talking about the astounding Helen Mirren, who continues to shine as a movie queen despite being well into her seventh decade, and always look radiant and interesting, often outshining men and women a fraction of her age.

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Helen has always been beautiful and sexy, and that remains, even through she is now into her seventies. But her beauty is the natural kind, she embraces her wrinkles and laughter lines as a part of her, and plastic surgery is not on the agenda. In a similar way her style is impeccable, fashion forward yet age appropriate -she doesn’t have to try too hard, she is effortless. I would like to say I would like to be like her when I’m older, but hell, I’d like to have an inch of her style and charisma now.

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Helen is not afraid to age for a role (i.e playing The Queen who is a good twenty plus years older than her), and she bucks the trend of older leading men, younger leading ladies by playing opposite male co-stars quite a bit younger than herself…and basically stealing the movie in most cases. Helen shows that life can begin at 40, but doesn’t have to end when you pick up your pension, that you don’t have to resort to a blue rinse the minute you collect your bus pass, and I think that alone makes her an inspiration.

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Shirley Valentine – A Jodie Prenger Masterclass

Jodie Prenger proved, once again, what an amazing talent she is as she brought Willy Russell’s 1980s heroine Shirley Valentine to life at the New Alex Theatre last night in a one women tour de force.

Leaving a note on a post-it on the fridge, explaining that she had ‘gone to Greece, be back in two weeks’, Shirley Valentine has proved to be one of Willy Russell’s most enduring and beloved characters. Shirley is a bored surbuban housewife who feels that life, and all it has to offer, has passed her by at the age of 42. Her kids are grown up, and she has grown apart from her husband Joe. She dreams of a time when she might have some excitement, or at least something different in her life. A ticket for a two week holiday in Greece might just bring the excitement that she needs, but will she really be able to return to her mundane life once she has had a taste of something different?

This is Shirley’s story told in a series of monologues, first in her kitchen where she is tied to the cooker and the kitchen sink and talks to the wall, and then from the beach of her Greek island escape. Jodie Prenger brings Shirley vividly and brilliantly to life as she tells those stories. She commands the stage with her sheer presence and force of personality, by turns hilarious, and by others poignant, and with a faultless Scouse accent. Prenger makes Shirley so real, funny, sympathetic and brave. As she tells those stories of Bryan and Malandra, and her husband Joe, you really root for her to go out and enjoy herself.

Even though Shirley Valentine is now over 30 years old, it still resonates – there are still plenty of Shirley’s out there, and that is why the ending is so heartwarming. You don’t really know what Shirley’s next step will be, but we do know that the downtrodden housewife has disappeared for good, and that is a brilliant thing.

 

Shirley Valentine

New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham

Until March 11th

 

BAFTA 2017 – Fave Looks

The most important night in British film is always a good place to look when it comes to glamorous Hollywood Stars and the best of British truly shining on the red carpet. I am talking about the Bafta’s of course, aka the British Academy Awards, and this year has proved to be a bit of a vintage one in terms of fashion, with some really lovely looks including a suitably regal one from the Duchess of Cambridge in Alexander McQueen.

This years awards showcased a range of beautiful looks in a range of colours and styles.  There were strapless styles, halter necks as showcased by Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive and a range of sleeve lengths, with Michelle Williams opting for a 1960s style shift from Louis Vuitton (does anyone else think she looks more and more like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby? Or is it just me?). Naomie Harris was beautifully romantic in Gucci ruffles and frills, whilst best supporting actress winner Viola Davis was bringing a beautiful touch of spring in her striped Jenny Packham dress which just showcased her incredible curves. (Don’t mind admitting I have terrible boob envy when it comes to Viola).

When it comes to taking a  fashion risk you know that you can rely on Emma Stone, a real Hollywood fashionista. This time her risk totally paid off. I LOVED her beautiful midi dress from Chanel that she wore over the top of a pair of peg trousers. The sparkle of the outfit and the otherwise minimal styling was so fresh and beautiful. I really can’t wait to see what she wears when she picks up her Oscar (we all know it’s going to happen!).

There are several other looks, all beautiful, that I really loved tonight. What was your favourite from the British Oscars?

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Viola Davis

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Penelope Cruz

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Amy Adams

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Michelle Williams

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Nicole Kidman

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Naomie Harris

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Duchess of Cambridge

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Emma Stone

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Ella Purnell

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Daisy Ridley

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Felicity Jones

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Thandi Newton

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Noomi Rapace

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Isabelle Huppert