Categories
Internet reviews

Glitz by Louise Bagshawe (my book review)

My review: 7 out of 10 (worth a read)

I’ve kind of got into reading “chicklits” lately. I think that it’s because they provide an escape into a happier, hip world where everything always turns out great in the end and you join the characters in their happy moments and the things you learn as they get through their woes.

Glitz - Book cover
Glitz - Book cover
Louise Bagshawe
Louise Bagshawe

This was the first book I had read by Louise Bagshaw, having just finished the two books by Lauren Weisberger that she wrote after The Devil Wears Prada. First Everyone Worth Knowing and Chasing Harry Winston.

Glitz had me interested in the story all the way through – the actual plot that is and how it would end was what kept me reading really. It’s a thick book at 535 pages and I was not that impressed by the way it was written. I found it bitty, the story jumped through the time line in an unsatisfactory manner. One bit that confused me was that the girls went to the Seychelles to see Uncle Clement a couple of weeks after having returned from there after Christmas. I haven’t read back through but it read like they came back and a number of weeks had passed but then Bai Ling came at the beginning of February. On the time between Bai Ling arriving and the end of the book I felt the reader was forced to delve in and out of key moments in a way that an experienced writer would not make them do – the story did not flow through.

The beginning of the book was quite long but when it got to the juicy bits, there could have been more detail. For example – other than the first dinner party there was no description of what Bai-Ling was up to for much of the book until there were a couple of sentences towards the end about how the Chambers girls had been taking it in turns to entertain her. It sounds a little implausible that Bai-Ling spent months of the rest of teh time sitting in her hotel suite when the purpose of her visit to England was to coach her to join society. Then there was the detail of the girls’ careers. I would have loved to read about how they developed in more detail but they seemed to get off to a flying start and become e successful with no problems at all  – may be that is how it is when you are rich.

I loved the rich descriptions in the book. For every scene you knew exactly what the girls were wearing and from which designer: Chanel, Choo, LK Bennett, Dior – it was all there. the dresses, suits and shoes described in beautiful details. here was a lot of suit wearing going on though, which seemed quite old-fashioned to me. Although, the girls did turn out to be past their mid-thirties, which came as a surprise to me.

I loved the lifestyles that were portrayed – the beautiful homes and the way the girls moved around them and used them. You were right there with them looking at the rooms and the clothes. That’s the real reason I read these things = the escapism in these girly novels.

I think I’ll try another one of her books. They all have quite enticing titles. I think may be Career Girls is next.  I don’t tend to read chicklits about married life and the such – I guess I am not at that stage of life. Am on the look out for another writer who offers engrossing novels without the tribulations of juggling babies in it. Any ideas?

<Many thanks to Guest author Citywannabe>

Categories
formula one News sports

Fellow racer’s mistake lets Lewis Hamilton win F1 championship in Sao Paulo!

Lewis Hamilton has today become Formula One champion and the youngest F1 champion ever at the age of 23 years. He won the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo just a few hours ago.

Lewis Hamilton with British flag after win today
Lewis Hamilton with British flag after win today

Here are a number of observations I’d like to make about this.

  1. Lewis Hamilton was in exactly the same position this time last year on the same track. He needed only to come fifth in the final Grand Prix race in order to win the championship and would have become the youngest winner at age 22. I remember the excitement worldwide. It was a “dead cert” win. I couldn’t watch the race last year and wasn’t worried as I knew he would win. So mouths were left wide open when he lost. I recall thinking I had heard the newsreader on BBC news wrong when the results came in. The world was in shock and it the worst luck that he had encountered gearbox problems and not finished in a championship position. Räikkönen won that one.
  2. Today’s Grand Prix had a nail biting finish. Lewis was in exactly the same position, needing only to come fifth in order to win the F1 championship. This year everyone was more cautious and concerned about him winning after many commentators realized Hamilton seems to buckle under pressure. And right they were too. Everyone was at the edge of their seats as it seemed that Lewis was going to come sixth in the race today. Our heart’s were almost broken for a second time.
  3. Would Lewis Hamilton have lost once again if not for the mistake of a fellow racer? I watched the race this year. It seems to me that if Toyota had called in their racer, German guy Timo Glock, for a change of tyres then the German may not have started falling back because he was still on dry tyres when he should have been switched to wet wheels. This gave Lewis the opportunity to overtake him on the penultimate corner and get into fith position – talk about on the wire –  just a kilometer before the finish line of the Brazilian Grand Prix he would have lost the the championship for the second year running. Do we think that there are real issues with Hamilton or just the work of Lady Luck that put’s him in these predicaments?

Point is that Lewis WON – yippee!! The British can be proud of their ninth Formula One champion in twelve years : ) and even more so knowing that Hamilton has reached greatness from humble beginnings. May be even more so as he is the first black formula one champion. But Brazilian Felippe Massa is another one to look out for in the future.

Categories
Credit Crunch Finance Money News

Icesave is saved: British investors getting money back! I’m saved!

I heard on the grapevine that an ex-senior employee of the FSAcommented at a gathering last week that investors with money in Icesave would not be seeing their cash until February. I, having moved all my ISAs (i.e. my life savings) to the fab guaranteed interest rate ISAs offered by Icesave, in the last week of May 2008 was not impressed. What luck! Moneysavingexpert.com’s Martin had been singing the praises of Icesave and telling “moneysavers” (as he calls the readers) what the (low) risks were for months. I had done his money makeover: got the Halifax 0% interest credit card for a year, fixed my electricity rate, lowered my phone bill, switched my current account to Alliance & Leicester (now owned by Santander, one of the biggest banks in the world as they keep telling us in bold red writing for the last week – do they think that means anything after the carnage we’ve seen in the last month?… in fact doesn’t that just make them seem riskier?!) and. Where was I? Oh yes, I had moved three years worth of ISAs to Icesave. Only the sheer convenience of having my regular savings at hand in a Plussaver account attached to my Premier Direct Alliance and Leicester current account had stopped me from handing my life’s sweat and blood over to Icesave. Who’d have thought that the economy of Icelandic bank Icesave, infact Iceland as a whole, was not as solid as ice?

Thankfully I was in the U.S watching the Dow Jones nose dive when the collapse of Icesave was announced. And, having had enough of hearing about the beginning of the end of the world as we know it, I tuned out of the news for a few days on my return. So I didn’t find out about what had happened to Icesave until the British Government announced that it would be backing all British savers’ investments in the collapsed Icelandic bank and moving things forward to retrieve the funds as soon as possible. Of course, no doubt, this was helped heavily by the fact that a number of local councils had their cash stashed with Icesave, as did many charities. Which reminds me, can anyone tell me why a cat charity should have £50 million in savings? How many old cat loving spinsters did they have to knock off to build that stash?!

Anyway, harmony has been restored to my world (or savings at least) by the announcement on Friday 24th October that Icesave, the Icelandic Government (of bankrupt Iceland, which has been lent $2.5 billion by the IMF) and the British Government had reached agreement on the return of our dosh, and had promised to guarantee return upto £50,000. By 3 November investors will be hearing from the FSA (Financial Services Authority) or was it the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) regarding return of retail depositors money. Hopefully it’ll be a quick process involving online application for the return of your savings. For those of you who are thinking “what happens if one doesn’t have internet access?”, well (1) you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t and as you are, really, stop worrying about everyone else and (2) Icesave was mainly dealing with internet applications from retail savers so everyone affectedprobably has access. Speedy payout is promised, but what that means is your guess as much as mine. Hopefully with the FSA and FSCS involved it means payout before February, but that rumour I heard is still bothering me. I’m losing tax free interest on my savings as you read this! Good news is that (somehow) it will be ensured that the ISA status of ISAs with Icesave is retained. Sounds like an administrative nightmare to me.

Totally unfair on me and many other ex-Iceland fans that ING purchased Landesbanki and no one wanted Icesave. That’s the last time I’ll be putting my money in a country that melts away at the sign of financial trouble, let alone global warming! I mean, imagine, we could have woken up one day to news that Iceland had melted. What was I thinking back in May 2008, whistling away in the financial bubble?!

For further information go to: icesave.co.uk and http://www.fscs.org.uk/

<special thanks to guest writer CityWannabe on CafeArjun.com>

Categories
inspiration Internet News personal reviews sexy

Ten years of Sex and the City: girlfriends like these

Sex and the City has been a phenomena for the last ten years. Has it really been that long? Yes it has. August 1998 was the airing of the first episode of this cult show, recently followed, in 2008, by a movie by the same name.

Carrie Bradshaw has changed every woman’s notion of fashion and given every girl dreams of what clothes are all about. One could go as far as to say that the show made Manolo Blahnik’s and Jimmy Choo’s iconic brands. But the one service (or dis-service as some critical religious groups may say) that Sex and the City has done for woman (and maybe, secretly, man) kind is all to do with (of course) sex. Sex and the City was undoubtedly the first mainstream show to openly discuss explicit sexual subjects. The discussions between the girlfriends, the Samantha Jones, Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbes had women worldwide hooked and wishing they had friends like those. Those weekend brunch and after-work drinks conversations brought up every sex-related topic that females everywhere had been afraid to discuss and, quite frankly, many that the viewers had probably previously never thought about. Everything from STDs to girl on girl action.

The four friends had very different personality and in the real world it’s difficult to see how they could have come together as close as they were. Samantha Jones, try anything once, sex missionary (but in every position but missionary), self-confessed BJ-addict, different man every night but still made it look somehow classy. Almost all the porn and great sex advice in the show came from her scenes. Charlotte York: prom Queen, straight As, conservative, sexual prude even, looking for the perfect man, always offended at Samantha’s use of sexual language and, almost ironically, marries a man who has emotionally-rooted impotence and then discovers her own infertility. Carrie Bradshaw: made it all look so easy, always on top, that washboard stomach, rippling stomach muscles as she rode her man using those powerful thighs (and always seemed to make love with her bra on?), and of course the most emotionally attached to her sexual experiences. And finally utterly cynical Miranda Hobbes: who taught the masses about phone sex in season three, has predictable sex honed down to the last move with her partner;. The character that softens as she becomes a mother and later marries.

And let’s not forget the “fifth girlfriend” as, Stanford Blatch, gay best friend of Carrie Bradshaw and with almost as good taste in fashion (and men). Stanford is distinctly stereotypically gay but in a completely non-Will and Grace, “oh so hot, what a shame he’s gay, looking” way – all short, balding and teddy bear cute. And, accordingly, has dilemmas of his own with men and looks.

So, are we gonna miss these girlfriends, now that the show is finished and the movies been released? No. I’ve already started again at season one. And anyway, there is always Lipstick Jungle…