Interior dreams focus – bathtubs

Question – where do you go in your home when you really want to relax? For me, the answer is always the bathtub. I fill it with hot water and beautifully scented bubbles, take a good book and a glass of wine, and I lock that door. For thirty minutes or so I am in my own world, away from the family, social media, the telephone, and anything else that might disturb me. I chill and relax, and, at the end of it, I feel ready to face the world again. My bathroom is a form of sanctuary, and my bath is the place where I can find a bit of peace and quiet. A shower probably gets you cleaner, but a bath cleanses mind and body, and would be my choice every time.

Whether you have a corner bath, a whirlpool bath, a stand alone tub, or a walk in bath, your bath can be your own slice of heaven. Size should not make any difference – a corner bath may take up less space, but have built in seat options that make it so comfortable. Disability should also not be a reason to not have a dream bath, companies like Premier Bathrooms have a range of beautiful and luxurious walk in options that are practical and brilliant for those with mobility issues. Your bath can be modern and minimal, or as ostentatious as you would imagine Kim and Kanye choosing, it is totally up to you.

If I’ve not yet convinced you that you should pay extra time and attention to your bathtub, maybe a little trip down Hollywood memory lane might change your opinion. When I think of glorious baths in movies, I think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, or the glamorous Margot Robbie covered in bubbles with a glass of Champagne and scented candles. Think of showers on the other hand, and I struggle to get further than Janet Leigh meeting a sticky end in Pyscho.

So, if you are looking at sprucing up some of your interiors this year, take a closer look at your bathroom and your tub. You know you deserve it.

Golden Globes 2017 – Best Dressed

Last night saw the start of Awards Season in Hollywood, with the awarding of the annual Golden Globe Awards which honour the best in film and television from the previous year. As always. the Golden Globes are all about the fashion, as well as being a pointer to who might win big at The Oscars next month.

I have to say that from a fashion point of view, the awards were a little disappointing. I was unimpressed with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana, both reliable fashionista’s who failed to shine on the night. I also thought that this was a show that missed real fashion moments that usually come from the likes of Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Watts, JLo and Gwyneth Paltrow¬† – non of these ladies were in attendance.

Even amongst the dresses we did see, I was disappointed in general. I loved the colour and design of Jessica Chastain’s dress, but wished it wasn’t quite so ‘booby’ – a little more fabric would’ve totally nailed old Hollywood styling. I really liked SJP paying tribute to Carrie Fisher with her Leia-esque hair, and the dress was stunning, but I can’t think it would’ve been even more beautiful without the sleeves.¬† I’m still torn by Sienna Miller’s dress – was it cool and understated, or a little too ‘beachy and underdone?’ Best Actress Emma Stone looked beautiful in a sea of stars, but it was a little underwhelming if I’m honest.

So what did I love? Well, my favourite colour is yellow so I was loving the looks from Viola Davis, Maisie Williams and Reese Witherspoon. Special mention must go to the beautiful Natalie Portman, nominated for playing Jackie Kennedy and totally channeling that Camelot, White House style. Mandy Moore and Kristen Bell both wore black, plunging dresses with aplomb, they were just super stunning and hair and make-up was perfect.

Art Deco is my era of choice, so I love Drew Barrymore in her unusual white and silver dress. Naomie Harris flew the flag for Britain in a slinky metallic column dress, whilst there were princess moments for young stars Hailee Steinfeld and Lily Collins.

What was your favourite dress from this year’s awards?

Kristen Bell
Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773dc) Kristen Bell 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Mandy Moore

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Naomie Harris

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Claire Foy

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Drew Barrymore

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Amy Adams

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Natalie Portman

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Natalie Portman arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Lily Collins

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Regina King

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Sarah Jessica Parker

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Thandie Newton

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773eu) Thandie Newton 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Jessica Chastain

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Jessica Chastain arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Brie Larson

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773fo) Brie Larson 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Kerry Washington

Mandatory Credit: Photo by BEI/Shutterstock (7734784ho) Kerry Washington 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Emma Stone

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Blake Lively

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Sienna Miller

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actress Sienna Miller attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Reese Witherspoon

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Viola Davis

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Maisie Williams

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Hailee Steinfeld

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock (7734775hf) Hailee Steinfeld 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

The 39 Steps is a laugh a minute at the Birmingham Rep

The classic John Buchan novel that became a classic Hitchcock film is also a play, or maybe that should be amended to a farce or slapstick comedy. The 39 Steps opened at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre last night, and had the audience crying with laughter. Using a brilliant ensemble cast of just 4, and with hilarious one-liners and physical comedy to rival the silent movie greats Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, The 39 Nine Steps is the most fun you can have in less than 2 hours.

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The Hitchcock version of the book is a taught thriller filled with tension and menace, but the play is a totally different proposition, played with its tongue firmly in cheek. Richard Hannay is a typical 1930s English gent, a little down on his luck and a but aimless in the idea of what to do with his life. A chance visit to the London Palladium sees him meet a mysterious woman, and when she is later murdered in his home, Richard becomes the only person who can save Britain from the work of a malevolent spy organisation known only as ‘The 39 Steps’. If this sounds all very sinister, the truth is actually anarchic craziness that has the audience splitting its sides with laughter.

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As the hero Richard Hannay, Richard Ede is great fun. Dashing and witty, he has a real talent for physical comedy, particularly when faced with having a dead body sprawled across him(his escape is hysterically funny). He is well matched by Olivia Greene who plays all the female roles, showing off a great range of accents that range from a Scottish Lilt to heavy Russian. And then we have Andrew Hodges and Rob Witcomb, who complete the cast and are referred to in the programme as Man 2 and Man 1. This is understandable as they play so many roles, but human (policeman, hotel owners, farmers, salesmen, milkman, spies, etc, etc) and also inanimate (literally every obstacle on route when Hannay and Pamela escape across the Scottish moors.) Superbly funny, showing immense versatility, Hodges and Witcomb hold the play together beautifully.

39 1

39 2

There are other moments to enjoy in this play. It is fun picking out all the references to Hitchcock, from his cameo when Hannay escapes from the train, to moments that echo North by Northwest and Pyscho. The set is sparse, and is often set up in front of your eyes, with doors that keep moving and a car that is quite literally constructed at the point when it is mentioned.

The 39 Steps is great fun. Quite simply, an unmissable hoot.

The 39 Steps Birmingham Repertory Theatre 1st March to 5th March 2016.

Click here for ticket information.