Lewis Carroll…

Image1Today marks the 184th birthday of Lewis Carroll, author of—most notably—Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Many will recognise the name, though perhaps not many know that Carroll is a pen name for Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.


As a child, one of my very favourite stories was the 1951 film version of Alice in Wonderland. We’re talking about back when it was taped on VHS (by my grandmother) and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana inevitably started before the credits finished. It was a tape I treasured and watched until the beginning lagged in a high-pitched shrill, only attempting to sound normal as Dinah swatted at daisy petals. I can’t say for sure what made me fall in love with the tale. Maybe it was the bright colours or the catchy tunes. More likely it was the start of my love for fantasy, this strange new world Alice discovers and the unique characters living there.


You can imagine my excitement in 2010 when a Tim Burton version hit the big screen. I thrilled at the promise of a Burtonesque Underland and, while the story itself left me wanting more, the aesthetics were stunning. Of course, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter was perfect and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen an excellent match.


Image2This year, the sequel to Burton’s Alice is set to release in May and it looks to be just as dazzling as the first. If you haven’t seen the trailer for Alice: Through the Looking Glass, I suggest you do so right now. The clock is ticking as May 27th edges closer… Don’t be late!




Happy 2016!

Whether you’re a New-Year-Resoluter* or not, you can’t deny that the start of a new year has the same appeal as a shiny, white canvas fresh from the art supply store.

2016 smaller

I can’t say I’ve ever felt the mystical power hidden in the clicking over of a new year. The change in date is not going to make chocolate any less tempting. Or persuade you to cut down on your daily coffee intake. It doesn’t mean you’ll magically spend less money or drink less wine. Nor will it reduce stress enough to kick the smoking habit.


No matter how many times we promise ourselves that this year we’ll accomplish those goals, by the end of January, most of us have already fallen off the wagon. The cliché New Year’s Resolutions are vague and littered with things we know we should do, but just can’t seem to get right. For those of you who plot them out in December and miraculously stay committed throughout the following year, I take my hat off to you. Few of us get it right, even if we start with the greatest of intentions.


In recent years, I’ve discovered a simpler, more attainable way of anticipating the coming year. Instead of those impossible resolutions, the ones with VAGUE stamped in bold red letters all over them, I set smaller, specific goals.


Setting a resolution like losing weight or saving more money, is not going to work unless you have a precise plan on how to accomplish it. Think about how that’s going to fit into your normal day-to-day life. Perhaps it means you’ll take the stairs instead of the elevator, or budget your monthly expenses so you have a small percentage to put into savings each month. If your resolution is to write or paint more, set daily/weekly goals for the number of words written or the hours spent in front of your easel. Think about the big picture and then whittle it down so that you can accomplish smaller pieces at a time.


And don’t go too crazy all at once. If you plan to quit smoking, drink less, lose weight and stress less, then you’re setting yourself up for failure no matter how you look at it. I can’t imagine the strongest of person tackling all of that in the space of twelve months. Keep it simple. Decide what’s the most important and figure out how to do that first, then you can always slot in a few other, minor goals.


Lastly, don’t forget that a new year only has as much power as you give it. Plan for what you want, and then ensure you stick by it. Maybe consider adding something fun, like enrolling in dance lessons or sculpture classes. Don’t let those goals consume you with an impossible workload and no reward. If that’s your plan, you’ll likely spend the year in misery or giving up before June.


To those setting resolutions and those plotting smaller goals, good luck! And remember, 2017 is only a few months away…




*A new word for a new year