Queen of Coney Island.

When you live and breathe Old Hollywood for at least 80% of the day and you’re most definitely a Vintage Soul at heart, it’s pretty rare that you come across something or someone Modern that you love – shocking, I know. Therefore, when I first listened to Lana Del Rey, which must be around five (!) years ago now, I knew I had found someone special. Like many of her fans, it was hearing the viral Video Games that instantly drew me to her, I wish I had heard her Pre-Fame, but sadly it didn’t happen like that.

Nevertheless, the moment I heard Lana’s voice, I knew that the love for her and her music was definitely not a fleeting phase and five years on, she is without doubt my favourite Artist. The only downside of loving all things Vintage is that sadly, these years have long passed by and there’s only so many music and films you can watch, before you ultimately run out. Of course, that would take many man years, but the refreshing thing about finding a Modern Interest is just like yourself, they are constantly growing and changing. Plus, if you’re an Artist they’re always releasing new content and there’s usually something to look forward to.

Today is Lana’s 32nd Birthday and I hope her special day is just as wonderful as she. I love so many things about Lana, she’s so creative and different, she doesn’t try to fit in and conform to the Top 40 standards of Music and I think that’s so important. She is raw and real, with many of her songs being about personal experiences and true emotions, which I think makes her so connected to us fans. I’ve never been fortunate enough to meet Lana or even watch her in Concert, but from what I know about her, she seems such a loving and caring soul, which truly endears me to her even more.

As you all probably have realized by now, I don’t really listen or follow Modern Music or Artists anymore, yet one of the few Musicians I do is of course, Elizabeth Grant. It feels strange to say Lana’s, “real” name if you will, but for those who don’t know much about her, there it is. The fact that Lana also seems to really appreciate Old Hollywood and the Vintage Look is also a huge bonus for me. It’s so wonderful that someone as famous and talented as Lana can bring an Era that is very important to so many people through to such a large audience.

Lana is not only incredibly talented and a beautiful person inside and out, she’s so very inspiring through her own story. Lana has suffered her own share of demons and personal struggles, yet through strength, perseverance and honesty, she has managed to battle her way out of them. She has had many setbacks and never let that defeat her, showing if you work hard and believe in yourself you can achieve your dreams and goals. Plus, through her honesty and openness in her music and interviews, she has helped so many people realize that after the storm comes sunshine.

If I had to pick one song or album of Lana’s, which is an almost impossible task, I think my favourite would have to be, Summertime Sadness, or maybe Ride? I honestly don’t think I could pick an album, they’re all so different and equally important to us fans. Speaking of her Music, I am beyond excited for the upcoming Album, Lust For Life, which should be released on July 21st! All three songs that have been released so far I have absolutely adored, so my hopes are pretty high and I know Lana won’t let us down.

I can only dream that Lana will ever see this and the reality is that she probably wont. However, I just hope that she knows how loved and appreciated she is by the millions of people who listen to her music and adore her for simply being her beautiful self.

Happy Birthday Lovely Lana!

“I have a personal ambition to live my life honestly and honor the true love that I’ve had and also the people I’ve had around me.” – Lana Del Rey in Complex Magazine (2012)

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Happy 91st Birthday Marilyn!

Today marks the Birth Date of probably my favourite human who ever blessed the Earth with their presence, the beautiful soul that was Marilyn Monroe. As she left it at such a young age, it’s almost incomprehensible to believe that she would be ninety one years old if she was still alive.

Each year I like to pay tribute to my angel by writing about the incredible person she was, the unique life she lived and all of her accomplishments in such a short space of time. I feel as a devoted fan of Marilyn’s that it is my duty to help spread the truth about this beautiful soul, by aiming to let society learn about the real woman she was and to not be influenced by the unsubstantiated conspiracies and myths.

Therefore, instead of writing my usual styled posts on my favourite girl, I have decided to be slightly more creative and this time share a number of anecdotes that you may or may not know about Marilyn. In doing this, I hope that it will give you an insight into the kindhearted soul she was and hopefully you will take a moment to think about her on this very special day. 

When Marilyn was a little girl and occasionally spent time with her mother, Gladys, she noticed a photo of a dark haired man with a mustache displayed in her home. The man bared a similar resemblance to one of her favourite Movie Stars; Clark Gable and Norma Jeane Baker liked to think of him as her father. She had loved going to the cinema ever since she was a child and must have seen Clark on the big screen many times. In reality, this man was Marilyn’s actual father – Charles Stanley Gifford, who had been seeing Gladys before she became pregnant. Ultimately, he never acknowledged Marilyn as his own and they never had any relationship.

On a happier note, many years later in November 1954, Marilyn would finally fulfill her childhood dream of meeting Gable at Romanoff’s, where The Seven Year Itch Wrap Party was being held in her honour. They danced with one another and shared how they would both love to work together, with Gable telling Marilyn, “You have the magic.” This wish would eventually happen in 1960, with The Misfits generally being cited as one of their best performances.

During Marilyn’s first marriage to James Dougherty, she noticed a cow on it’s own, standing in the rain. Deeply upset about this, when Jimmy returned home he saw his wife desperately trying to bring the cow inside the house, even asking him to help her do so. Jimmy’s nephew, Wes Kanteman recounted to Author Michelle Morgan about this sweet memory saying,

The cow was a young Jersey Heffer that had beautiful eyes and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane and apparently thought she wanted in so she opened the gate and was going to bring her into to the house. After much conversation about the matter, Uncle Jim convinced her that she belonged in her pen and Norma Jeane finally gave in and it was over, but she still thought that the cow would have been better off in the living room.”

On 1st June 1952, Marilyn turned 26 years old and celebrated by finding out she had landed the coveted role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, beating out the previous Top Blonde at 20th Century Fox – Betty Grable. She was to be starring opposite Jane Russell, who would be receiving $100,000 dollars compared to Marilyn’s contract salary of $500 per week  – shocking, I know. Still, Marilyn didn’t complain and put her heart and soul into making one of her most iconic movies. However, when Marilyn found out she didn’t even have her own dressing room, despite being the star of the film, she finally spoke out and recalled this story to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, which was released two days before her death in August 1962.

“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” And I want to say to the people, if I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did.”

Marilyn was a huge lover of animals and during her life owned quite a few pets, from dogs, to cats and even two parakeets called Butch and Bobo. During her time in New York she adopted a cat and to Marilyn’s delight, she became pregnant. She was so happy and looked after the beloved pet dearly, reading up on how to care for her during the pregnancy, repeatedly ringing her maid to check on how she was doing and spoiling her with treats. When the labour finally came during the middle of the night, Marilyn rang her good friend Norman Rosten, asking him to come over and help to which he politely declined and went back to sleep.

He later said, “There was never a more spoiled prenatal cat in feline history.

Marilyn was known to be extremely generous, even saying in her last interview, “I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with another.” and it’s most definitely fair to say she followed what she believed in. Her giving nature didn’t just involve her friends, even acquaintances received this kind treatment as retold by Author Donald Spoto.

Maggie Banks, an assistant choreographer, recalled that a wife of a company electrician was seriously ill. “I saw Marilyn hand the man a roll of bills; he started to cry, and Marilyn just hugged him and walked away.” Likewise, Evelyn Moriarty never forgot that Marilyn anonymously donated one thousand dollars to defray the funeral expenses of a crew member’s wife.”

Marilyn famously said, “I only know I want to be wonderful.” and I think it’s definitely fair to say, although she may not have achieved true happiness, she the utmost worthy of being called wonderful.

Happy Birthday beautiful, I think of you daily and I love you dearly. ♡

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There’s Something About Margot.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Margot Robbie is fast becoming the most sought after actress on the planet. I’ll admit, I’ve never watched Neighbours so I hadn’t heard of her Pre-Hollywood, but I’ve been following her career since the trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street came out sometime in 2013 and she is without doubt, my favourite modern actress.

Not only is Margot beyond stunning, but she’s an incredibly talented actress and even though she’s only made around 12 movies, she’s created such diversity with each role she has taken. Her performance as Harley Quinn in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016) has been applauded with critical praise and is already incredibly iconic. Not only do the public love Harley but the Margot herself has invested a lot into the character, with hope of producing a spin of movie for the character.

It’s hard to believe that Margot’s been acting for a decade now and at just 26 years old has achieved worldwide recognition, I decided to go through each of her movies that I’ve watched and give you little reviews:

Pan Am (2011)

Although not a movie, this was Margot’s first attempt to break Hollywood and she played one of the four leads in this TV Show.  It centers around four women who work as fllight attendants for the iconic Pan Am Airways in the 1960s, so if you’re a fan of that era and the fashion then this is definitely worth watching. I personally really liked this program and although it’s sad that it only ran for one season, it definitely worked out in Margot’s favour!

About Time (2013)

This film is a really sweet Romantic Comedy starring Rachel McAdams, with Margot playing an early love interest of the leading man, Domhnall Gleeson’s character. Although only a supporting role Margot definitely stands out and makes the most of her part.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

This movie is without doubt Margot’s breakout role and the film that catapulted her into the Hollywood Limelight. Margot plays Naomi Lapaglia, Leonardo Dicaprio’s trophy wife and although she’s an absolute beauty to watch, she gives one hell of a performance. It’s hard to believe when watching Margot in this movie that she’s not the Brooklyn Duchess of Bayridge and is actually born and bread in Australia. Personally, I think Margot should have been nominated for a million awards for her portrayal but with Jennifer Lawrence being a bigger name at the time and playing a fairly similar role, I feel that may have worked against her. I have to say a huge thank you to Leonardo Dicaprio and Martin Scorsese for casting Margot in this movie, as a huge Leo fan this film is what brought her to my attention in the first place.

Suite Francaise (2014)

Margot has a very small but important  role in this Michelle Williams World War Two drama. She plays a young English girl who receives a lot of male attention from the soldiers stationed in their village and has an affair with one of them. Although only in a few scenes and wearing unrecognizable in a brunette wig, Margot never fails to stand out and shows great emotion. I thought this film was incredible and even if Margot wasn’t in it I’d watch it over and over.

Z For Zachariah (2014)

This film is very different to the other films in Margot’s Filmography and therefore stands out as pretty special. It’s a science fiction drama were a huge disaster has wiped out the majority of humans and only Margot, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine are known to have survived, creating a love triangle between them. Margot famously dyed her signature blonde locks to brunette to play this character at the height of The Wolf of Wall Street’s release, showing how dedicated she is to her work. 

Focus (2015)

Definitely one of my favourite Margot films, so much so that I actually saw this twice on the cinema last year! Margot and Will Smith have amazing chemistry and make a great team in the con artist world, so much so that you forget there’s a twenty plus age gap between the pair, not that it even matters really. This film is filled with glamour, intelligence and is full of twists, never leaving a dull moment. You really can’t lose Focus when watching this movie – see what I did there?

The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

I absolutely adore the cast in this movie, Margot, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and an amazingly ripped Alexander Skarsgard, what could be better? Obviously there’s not much need for me to explain the plot behind this movie being how iconic Tarzan is. I thought both the acting, scenery and CGI were amazing and I especially liked the flashbacks on how Tarzan and Jane met. I will definitely be buying this when it comes out on DVD. 

Suicide Squad (2016)

Publicized as the movie of the summer, Suicide Squad has gained a lot of praise for its actors performances but a hell of a lot of criticism for the film itself. I personally loved the film, I agree with the majority of people that I would have loved more Joker and Harley scenes – sadly a lot of them were cut from the movie. However, people need to remember that this film is about the Suicide Squad itself and the mission they are trying to fulfill. Margot and Jared Leto were the stand out performances for me and I thought Will Smith and Jay Hernandez were wonderful too. It seems to me that all film critics do is complain and moan about movies, especially Marvel and DC. At the end of the day, I don’t even know why they are taken so seriously – it’s just an opinion after all so it shouldn’t influence your perception. I’ve noticed many people comparing the comics to the movies and Heath Ledger’s Joker to Jared Leto’s – all being completely different so what is the point? If you are a comic reader you’ll know that the film actually put a lot of subtle references in to plots or items from each characters backstory.

So there you have it, my Margot Robbie Filmography review! The only film I’ve not seen in her Hollywood Career is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot as it sadly didn’t get  a big release. However, it comes out in DVD in September and I will definitely be buying it! What’s great about Margot is not only is she amazingly talented and beautiful, but she seems so humble and down to earth and such a sweet kind hearted person in general. She strives for strong female roles and gives her full commitment to each character and movie she’s involved in. Margot has achieved so much since she burst onto our screens as, “The Hottest Blonde Ever” in The Wolf of Wall Street and I can’t wait to see all the amazing success for her to come!

What’s your favourite Margot film?

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54 Years Without Marilyn.

It’s hard to believe that on the night of August 4th, Marilyn passed away and would no longer bless us with her presence on Earth. It’s even more amazing that this didn’t happen last year, but fifty four years ago today. Marilyn was found on the early hours of the morning on August 5th and thus her death was announced as that day, however, rigor mortis had already set in which shows she actually passed sometime late the night before.

When I think about this day I’m filled with sadness, as the world didn’t just lose a huge star, more importantly, we lost a beautiful person which a kind soul and sensitive nature. I often wonder if Marilyn can see the world now and knows the huge legacy she has left over half a century on. Would she believe she was capable of this? Sadly I don’t think so, she never gave herself much credit for her special qualities. However, I’m sure she would be filled with happiness and feel loved, something she strove to find her whole life.

Although there is a huge amount of love for Marilyn, there are a lot of misconceptions and upsetting myths and lies that people have spread about her. You’ll probably notice that if a star dies young and tragically, millions of ridiculous theories with zero credit or substance start pouring out each year. Whilst making notoriety for themselves and lots of money, they neglect the one person that they’re making a profit from and not once do they think about the damage they are causing.

I can’t begin to tell you the amount of ignorance I’ve had to deal with regarding Marilyn over the years, some of it is curiosity, some just downright offensive and a lot can be pretty morbid. I shudder to think what Marilyn herself would feel if she knew about this but then I remember she had to deal with a lot of judgement and misconceptions during her life time. Even then she was ahead of her time and always handled things with maturity and grace;

“Those people that have been writing all those lies about me. All I know, it’s their problem. Those people, I don’t even know [them], or if we have met, it’s been brief. Can I take it? Are you kidding? I’m used to it, and remember the old saying: consider the source.”

–  Marilyn to photographer friend and author George Barris in the summer of 1962.

[Marilyn: Her Life In Her Own Words, page 128.]

Of course, everyone is entitled to have their own opinion and feelings about someone, however, at least learn the actual truth and stop reading perpetual myths and lies as fact. I know it’s hard to believe but I do realize that Marilyn wasn’t actually perfect, but hating someone based on judgement and conspiracy is just plain ignorant and petty. At the end of the day I just remind myself it’s their loss, they’re the ones missing out on one very special lady.

I hope whatever you do today that you take a moment to think about this beautiful human being and hold a special thought for her. Marilyn may have not achieved her dream of having her own family, but she did achieve everlasting love and devotion from her millions of fans all around the world. She is instantly recognizable and ultimately immortal due to her iconic screen presence which is truly like no other.

When I think of Marilyn, a feeling of warmness and hope comes over me, to me this incredible lady was one of the strongest people who has ever lived. She suffered abuse, loneliness, isolation and through all of this worked extremely hard to achieve her dreams. Marilyn never stopped believing  and always aimed to perfect her talents and improve herself, even when so many never saw her more than an image.  It’s incredible to see how far she came in just thirty six years with such odds stacked against her.

 I wonder if she ever thought someone was looking down on her, perhaps a Guardian Angel? I bet she never thought that so many, including myself, would one day see her as theirs.

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50 Years Of Valley Of The Dolls.

It’s hard to believe that fifty years ago the iconic Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann was published. It became a huge success, becoming the most popular selling fiction of 1966 and has since sold over thirty million copies, not bad right?

The novel follows three girls; Anne, Neely and Jennifer, who follow their aspirations of becoming stars. They all meet and befriend each other as we see their lives unfold through success and failure over the next twenty years. Although a work of fiction, there have been numerous links to the characters in the novel and real life stars and a lot of the content is said to be based on the authors experience as a struggling actress.

Within a year of it’s release Twentieth Century Fox bought the film rights and one of the most iconic movies of the decade was released. Although panned by most critics as extremely over the top, the movie was a huge commercial success and has since gained a cult following. The one star of the film that received little negative criticism was Sharon Tate, who played Jennifer North, arguably the most sympathetic character of the novel  and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Newcomer. Admittedly, as a huge fan of Sharon, this is the original reason I wanted to watch the film, however, after seeing it numerous times it is without doubt a 1960s classic and a must see. Not only is the glamour and clothes beautiful, but it contrasts with the darker side of materialism and fame and ultimately makes you think, is it all worth it?

To celebrate fifty years of Valley of the Dolls the book, which has sadly been out of print for some time, has been re-released and is available on amazon to buy for just £6.99! I’m actually ashamed to say that although I’ve seen the film numerous times, I’ve yet to read the book! However, this is not because I didn’t want to, as I love reading, it’s just quite hard to buy for a good price as it was pretty rare. I’ve heard that the ending to the film and the novel are very different, so I look forward to comparing them and seeing which I prefer! The film is also being released on Blu-Ray this September which I am very excited about.

I think the number one reason that the novel and film are still so relevant fifty years later is because everything that Jacqueline wrote about half a century ago is still happening now! Not only is the fashion and style still being replicated and endures but the pitfalls of fame and drugs are constantly being talked about in the media. Although it is often viewed as frivolous and something to indulge in and not take seriously, it covers an extremely serious subject of addiction. It’s actually quite sad when you think not much has changed half a century on, but at least there is more awareness.

Since the book was published in 1966, it has been adapted numerous times for television and film, songs have been written, styles have been copied and the title is forever etched inside our minds.

“Everyone has an identity. One of their own, and one for show.”

– Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.

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Happy 90th Birthday Marilyn!

It’s hard to believe that today my favourite person, Marilyn Monroe, would be turning 90 years old, it even sounds absurd to say as she is forever etched in our minds as eternally young and beautiful. However, I wish she was here now to see how loved she is, even more so than the fifty fours years ago when she tragically left us.

For the past few years I have always made sure to write or blog about Marilyn on her Birthday and Death Anniversary, so if you’ve followed me for the last four years you’ll probably be pretty aware of that. Therefore, I’m not here to say anything new really, I’m just here to speak from my heart because as silly as it made sound to some people, that’s truly where Marilyn will always have a special place.

“Respect is one of life’s greatest treasures. I mean, what does it all add up to if you don’t have that? If there is only one thing in my life that I am proud of, it’s that I’ve never been a kept woman.” – Spoken to Photographer George Barris in July 1962.

Marilyn came into my life unexpectedly just before my 17th birthday in October 2010, when I picked up a Vanity Fair Issue with her on the front cover as their cover girl. As mentioned before, I’ve told the story numerous times of how I instantly felt connected to her and started my research and I’ve been collecting ever since.

I think I’ve always felt attached to the underdog, which ironically, many people probably don’t see Marilyn as. After all, she was viewed as beautiful and loved by all – America’s Sweetheart. However, when you actually take the time to learn about Marilyn, you realize she succeeded against extreme odds. She came from a broken home, was an illegitimate child to a mother who suffered with paranoid schizophrenia  and after the first seven years of her life with the Bolender family, Marilyn was shifted around to various different guardians and even an orphanage. She suffered physical and emotional abuse, anxiety, depression and insomnia but never let any of this stand in the way of achieving her dreams.

“The time I sort of began to think I was famous, I was driving somebody to the airport, and as I came back there was this movie house and I saw my name in lights. I pulled the car up at a distance down the street; it was too much to take up close, you know, all of a sudden. And I said, “God, somebody’s made a mistake.” But there it was, in lights. And I sat there and said, “So that’s the way it looks,” and it was all very strange to me, and yet at the studio they had said, “Remember, you’re not a star.” Yet there it is up in lights. “
Spoken to Richard Meryman for Life Magazine in July 1962.

I also owe Marilyn a lot of thank yous as since discovering her in October 2010 and setting up my blog, alwaysmarilynmonroe I have met so many incredible people and experienced so many wonderful memories. Not only did I find an inspiration for each day, I found a Guardian Angel, someone who would always be there in spirit and never judge or upset me. Someone who could cheer me up by just watching one of their films or seeing a photo and someone who went through so much but never gave up on herself even in her toughest times.

Sadly so many look at Marilyn as a victim, due to the endless conspiracies, (thanks Norman Mailer) and her young death which makes me really frustrated as in doing this they miss out on an incredible person. They view her as just a pretty face and a little dumb blonde when it reality this blonde was an avid reader, with a library of over 400 books ranging from Russian Literature to Psychology.  They’ll call her a drug addict without having any compassion or understanding for her debilitating anxiety, depression and insomnia. They’ll hear about how hard she could be to work with or her lateness without knowing she suffered such extreme anxieties that she would often stay in her dressing room terrified to act a scene encase she messed up. Many even think she was playing herself on the screen and have little respect for her talent, thinking, “How can someone so beautiful be a good actress?” The irony being if they did some legitimate research they’d realize she was probably the greatest of them all as she’s fooled so many people for all of these years that she is the person they all perceive her as.

“What I really want to say: That what the world really needs is a real feeling of kinship. Everybody: stars, laborers, Negroes, Jews, Arabs. We are all brothers.”
– Spoken to Richard Meryman for Life Magazine in July 1962.

Another year has gone by and Marilyn’s star keeps growing brighter and brighter, people are still fascinated and enthralled by this beautiful soul. Did Marilyn have her faults? Of course she did, it’s hard to believe, I know, but she was a human being just like us. I love Marilyn for Marilyn and that will never change. I’d like to think that there are more genuine fans who love and respect Marilyn then conspiracy lovers who just follow their ignorance.

If I could hope of anything to come from this article it’s respect for Marilyn and maybe a little more compassion and understanding. She was a woman ahead of her time, a talented artist, a caring and sensitive soul but mostly importantly, she was a beautiful person.

“Fifty years on, we’re still watching her movies and talking about her. That’s not a dumb woman – trust me!” – Lauren Bacall to TCM in 2005.

More on Marilyn;

alwaysmarilynmonroe IG
Celebrating Marilyn’s 88th Birthday
52 Years Without Marilyn
Happy Birthday Marilyn
53 Years Without Marilyn

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The Secret Illness.

Although most of my blog posts here on meganmonroes are about make up and vintage fashion styles, other topics such as Mental Health Awareness are incredibly important and close to my heart.

Over the past few years I’ve spoken quite a few times about my struggles and through being so open and honest, I have met a lot of other people in the same position as well. With a physical illness, you heal the injury and most of the time move on from it, with a mental illness it’s not always so easy. Please don’t get me wrong, as someone who has had a serious operation during their life, I know that physical injury is incredibly debilitating and painful. However, I know if I could choose to have a physical or mental illness, I’d choose physical every time.

Therefore, as someone who has improved a lot in the past four years, I still have my good days and bad days and it was down to one simple tweet that I am able to make this post. I suffer pretty severely with Intrusive Thoughts, which are a type of OCD called, “Pure O”, 99% of the population have intrusive thoughts, but 25% of the population obsess over them, sadly I am in that 25%. Ever since finishing my recent Therapy, I’ve gone slightly downhill with being able to manage my intrusive thoughts as it can be a lot harder trying to get better by yourself, even when you have all the knowledge and advice. It was because of this that I decided to tweet a message asking if anyone had advice for managing intrusive thoughts, with the hashtag #pureo. After clicking on this tag I came across an amazing website called, The Secret Illness and watched the short film, “This Old Ghost” which I found incredibly powerful and moving.

Through watching this film I learnt that the basis of the story is from a poem by an OCD Sufferer, James Lloyd who has kindly shared his story to bring awareness and attention to this serious mental illness. I decided to check The Secret Illness on Facebook and to my astonishment saw that Ashton Kutcher himself has posted about the project! He added the caption, “Never judge someone else’s story until you’ve lived in their shoes.” As OCD is so often trivialized and even made fun of by the media, it’s an incredible step for Mental Health that someone as successful as Ashton is bringing awareness to such an important topic.

Sometimes it can be hard to do the littlest thing as the mind bully, (that’s what I call it) can be so controlling, I’ve often cried and felt so low and frustrated with myself that I let the thoughts get to me so much. The mind bully would be happy  if I sat in a corner and cried to myself all day, but I’m not going to let it beat me or keep control. It’s not surprising that if you suffer with one mental illness you often suffer with another, the intrusive thoughts always increase my depression and fill with me anxiety. Through finding The Secret Illness I know that there are many sufferers like me and that I’m not alone, which is what the mind bully wants. Through speaking out and being honest and open I hope I can help raise importance about the seriousness of Mental Health and help people realize that you don’t have to suffer in silence.

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Yours Retro Magazine.

As a true vintage girl at heart, I was absolutely thrilled when I heard about Yours Magazine bringing out a specific retro style issue with all things Classic Hollywood and pre 2000s. Special thank you to Fraser from Immortal Marilyn and everlasting-star.net for kindly sharing this!  At £3.99 this isn’t the cheapest magazine but as far as I’m aware it’s the only one like it out there so personally, I’m happy to pay the price.

If you love Old Hollywood as much as I do then this is definitely the magazine for you, with my favourite Hitchcock Blonde, Grace Kelly featuring as Cover Girl. Not only is there a wonderful article on her inside, the magazine features many stories on stars such as, Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr to name just a few.

I know reading the articles isn’t for everyone but, fear not, the magazine is full of photos and not just the ones you have seen so many times before. As someone who knows a fair amount about the Golden Age of Hollywood, I was pretty impressed with the magazines research, I even learned a few new things myself!

However, there were two noticeable mistakes that stuck out and did slightly frustrate me. Grace Kelly’s age when she died was listed as 53, when she was actually 52 and it was claimed Marilyn held her first ever press conference at The Savoy Hotel in July 1956 – the press conference of course happened, but it was mostly definitely not her first. Of course these pet  peeves may be of little concern to a lot of readers, but as someone who is incredibly passionate about this subject, it is important for me to know that the writers are also just as informed.

Furthermore, although the majority of the magazines content is spot on with following the, “retro” content, I feel the magazine needs to be aware that it will not just attract an older audience. At 22 years old I am probably one of the younger readers, but I know I’m not the only modern girl with an old soul who loves learning about this subject. Not every single reader is buying this to, “reminisce” or feel, “nostalgic as the survey seems to imply.

What I really enjoyed about the magazine was the survey left for readers to give their opinions on the contents for research purposes. It’s very heartwarming to know that your views and interests are being considered and noted for future issues, you feel a part of the Yours Team’s aim and believe it is their aim to produce  a quality product.

As someone who’s interests lie in the bygone era of Hollywood, it’s wonderful that such a unique magazine is so accessible and easy to find. If you’re not in the UK I think you can still purchase the magazine online, so fear not! I really hope it sticks to pre 1970s content, if I wanted to read about today I could easily just buy a modern day magazine .

If I could ask the magazine to stick to one thing it would be pre 1970s content, if I wanted to read about the stars of today, I could easily buy a modern day magazine. I really hope Yours Retro continues for many more issues to come, I for one will definitely be looking out for the next one! 

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My Top Five Alfred Hitchcock Films.

Sadly, a lot of people today won’t know much about the classic movies from Hollywoods Golden Age. To many, CGI and blockbuster budgets are a lot more appealing than dialogue and black and white films. However, what I would guess quite a few people recognize is the name Alfred Hitchcock.

A man like no other, he revolutionized movies and has inspired many Directors and Stars of our day. As a person? Well,  from what I’ve read he was definitely one of a kind and not everyone’s cup of tea, but as  Director? He’s without doubt one of the best.

During his fifty year career, he was forever breaking boundaries and daring to do what others could never imagine. I think one film that everyone will know about, well one scene especially is Psycho (1960), the chilling music by Bernard Herrmann is forever etched in viewers minds.

Hitchcock was always using recurring themes in his films, from his signature cameo appearances, (To Catch A Thief has to be a favourite) to his love of icy blondes who often meet a gruesome end, he was a Director like no other! Although he made nearly seventy movies, I’m going to pick my top five that I’d recommend you watch. I’ve seen the majority of this films from his best years; the 1940s through 1960s so I think I have a fairly good judgement.

James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)
James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window (1954)

Ironically enough, the first time I watched this film, I didn’t understand the hype around it. It revolves around a recovering Photographer, L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, (played by James Stewart) who watches his neighbours out of boredom and convinces himself that one has committed a murder. With Hitchcock’s most famous blonde, (Grace Kelly) being James Stewart’s leading lady and looking ever so beautiful in Edith Head’s costumes, I assure you, you’ll be gripped! They don’t call him the Master of Suspense for nothing. A huge hit during it’s original release and #37 on IMDB’S Top 250 Movies, this is a must see! 

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest (1959)

North By Northwest (1959)

Not only is Cary Grant at his sauve best at fifty four (!) but the chemistry between himself and the wonderful Eva Marie Saint is absolutely thrilling. Cary plays Roger Thornhill, a man framed for a murder and on the run. In the late fifties, Hitchcock was well into his obsession with his leading ladies and actually picked out Eva Marie Saint’s clothes himself and made her cut her hair (sobs) specifically for the role. The two things that make this film stand out have to be Cary’s iconic grey suit and him running from a Plane. I must say that he shows great comedic talent in this film despite its dark theme, yet sadly so many beautiful stars were only appreciated for their looks, Cary Grant is one of them.

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)
James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958)

Although not a big success when first released, Vertigo is now considered once of Hitchocks finest films, if not his best. James Stewart was unfairly blamed for the lukewarm reaction of Vertigo, being twenty five years older than his leading lady Kim Novak and he and Hitchcock never worked together again. Jimmy plays Scottie Ferguson, a now retired Police Offier suffering from Vertigo who is hired by an old acquaintance to investigate his wife. This film is full of twists and turns and has a shock ending, classic Hitchcock. Once again he was so specific with the aesthetic look of his movies that he personally styled Kim Novaks iconic updo himself!

Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in Marnie (1964)
Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in Marnie (1964)

Marnie (1964)

Considered by many to be his final masterpiece, Marnie stars Alfred’s last, “Hitchcock Blonde”, Tippi Hedren. Although their relationship started off full of optimism, with this film it came to a sad abrupt end, due to Hitchocks obsessive behaviour with his leading lady. Tippi was groomed to be the new, “Grace Kelly” after she had married Prince Rainier of Monaco and retired from films. Therefore, Tippi was signed to an exclusive contract with Hitchcock and made The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964) before escaping his controlling nature. Besides Psycho, I would say this would be Hitchcocks most controversial film, he reportedly wouldn’t make the movie if the censors cut the disturbing rape scene, which fifty years later is still incredibly uncomfortable to watch.

Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

By 1959, Alfred Hitchcock was arguably the biggest Director in the world and there he was making a highly controversial movie that no Studio would touch, on a budget less than one million dollars. Not only did he decide to do this, he hired leading lady Janet Leigh and killed her off less than fifty minutes into the movie. Although Psycho cemented Anthony Perkins into cinema history, he was forever type cast after playing the infamous Norman Bates. Even watching Psycho fifty years on, it’s incredibly hard to believe that this movie past through the censors in 1960. Everyone thought Hitchcock was killing his career, however, he had the last laugh, not only did the film make over $32,000,000 – the majority of the profits went to him as no one believed the film would be successful.

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Old Hollywood Actresses I Relate To.

As you probably know by now, Old Hollywood is a huge passion of mine and I have spent a lot of time learning about the stars and watching movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood.  I was tagged on Instagram to post six Old Hollywood Actresses I relate to and I must say, I found it a lot harder than I expected! After  narrowing my list down to about nine stars, I finally picked my beautiful six.

Marilyn Monroe

(1926 – 1962)

I think it’s safe to say that I relate to Marilyn the most out of all of the Stars I’ve picked. Marilyn suffered with depression and anxiety, she was her biggest critic and a very sensitive soul. She also loved to read, learn, adored animals and looking after others. Marilyn was also very misunderstood and people often judged her on their perceptions, without knowing who she really was.


Gene Tierney

(1920 – 1991)

Gene suffered a mental breakdown and experienced depression and anxiety throughout her life. During her lifetime she was very candid about her mental health and contributed to lowering the stigma considerably in today’s society. I absolutely adore Gene, she was a beautiful soul and I relate to her suffering, but her recovery gives me hope.

Brigitte Bardot

(1934)

Brigitte is strong willed, passionate and determined, never following societies expectations and always being her own person. She fights for what she belives in and loves to love and be loved. She adores animals and fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. Brigitte is also misunderstood and has been judged by certain perceptions which are not accurate.

Audrey Hepburn 

(1929) – (1993)

I like to think I have Audrey’s caring heart and sensitive soul. She had so much joy for life and was very humble. She thought other people were more important than herself and gave so much to those in need. I can relate to her passion about what she believed in and her determination to help in whatever way she could.

Katharine Hepburn

(1907) – (2003)

Katharine was always a bit of an outsider and rarely followed societies expectations. She was quirky, an individual and a bit different. She was very ahead of her time and could be quite sassy and I like to think I have some of her spirit. She was reliable, loyal and devoted a lot of her time to those who needed her.

Carole Lombard

(1908) – (1942)

I like to think that I have Carole’s sense of humour, she was witty, loved to laugh and could be a bit cheeky! She didn’t always act like the lady people expected her to be in a time when women were meant to behave in a certain way and I love that about her. 

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